If you want to be a fashion model…
First, you have to do your research on local modeling agencies and decide out which one would represent you best and which one would want to represent you. There are a few I know of in Seattle, including SMG. There is Seattle Model Guild (SMG), TCM Models, and Heffner Management.
Modeling agencies usually put the information you need to know on how to get started on their website. This includes what kind of looks they want to represent, requirements in regards to age and size, what photos to submit to them, when to come to the agency for casting calls (casting calls are when they decide if they want to represent you or not). It’s different for each agency.
For me, I started out by submitting the required unprofessional photos to SMG online and they told me to come in for a casting call to meet them in person. I came in to meet them and they told me to come back in 6 months because I looked too young at the time (aka; I had too much “baby fat” in my cheeks and they wanted to wait that out before representing me). That is what they said too: too much baby fat. This is NOT meant to be taken personal and I took it just fine. One thing you have to know about the modeling world is that criticism is GOOD and it is not an attack at you personally. In fact, I’m pretty sure that goes for whatever you do in life. Criticism is really good and helps a person get further in an industry, depending what the person does with it. Anyways, I took the fact that they wanted to see me AGAIN in 6 months as a great sign because that meant they were interested in representing me still.
So I came back and they had me practice my catwalk for a month before making me an official model for them. I had to sign a contract for them with my mom (I’m sure each contract is different for every agency). Do not go along with an agency that makes you pay THEM. You will, however, have to pay a photographer for a test shoot to get your portfolio started. Also, you have to buy your own comp cards, which are like business cards for models, which include pictures and stats, and you have to get your photos printed out for your book (portfolio). I had to get two color laser prints of each photo in quality photograph-paper. My photoshoot with Leo Lam was $550 (SMG has a list of “approved” photographers you are allowed to get your test shoot with). To get 50 comp cards, it was about $80. To have all my photos printed, it was about $50. That is just to give you an idea of pricing.
What an agency does is send you out on casting calls for hair shows, fashion shows, photo shoots, etc. A bunch of models will show up at these casting calls in hopes to get hired by the company for the gig. Each casting is different. Sometimes the people there will look at your book, take your comp card, take pictures, watch your catwalk, etc. If you get the job, the agency (for SMG) gets 20% of what they pay. To actually get a job, you need to be going to a bunch of castings per day/week.
I THINK that covers everything… If you have questions, just ask me!
If you don’t think an agency is for you, check out http://www.modelmayhem.com (MM). It is free to join and it’s basically a myspace/facebook for models, photographers, makeup artists (MUA’s), etc. You don’t have to be an “official” model to join. Anyone serious about the industry can join. This is where I get most of my jobs, by connecting with people on this site. You have to be careful with who you work for, though. Some people on there are scams. You should always have a friend or family member come with you if you’re meeting someone from there for the first time. It’s always good to have someone come with you no matter what. If you want a list of safe people to work with on there… well you can just look at the list of people I’ve worked with in my “about me” section. The majority of those people are from MM.
Modelmayhem is a great site to get started for makeup artists, photographers, designers, hair stylists, photoshop “wizards,” and much more also!
Feel free to add me as a friend on Modelmayhem if you decide to join. http://www.modelmayhem.com/867739