I always knew this point would come one day and I figured it'd happen when I'm past 30. Yes, I am actually 31 (my profile only shows apparent age, not the factual one, ha!) and I feel it's time to move on.
In the 10 years of my modeling (AND acting) career I've experienced ups and downs but now, looking at it after all those years, I see mainly what was amazing about it: traveling, freedom - financial and schedule-wise, learning to get tougher in negotiations, coping with all sorts of human behaviour... There are downsides, no doubt ("how much money will I make this month?", "oh no, my booking just got cancelled!" and so forth).
But I've also managed to put my finger on this very mysterious job - a model.
So what's this job like? Here's what I've found and I hope it will help the next generation!
What does a model REALLY do?
It starts out with getting yourself onto all possible sites that have castings, jobs, etc. Make sure you know how to tell a scam from a legitimate offers! There's a section on this on MM Edu - you must know this. Get decent polaroids done and no, I don't think you need to spend hundreds on that. A good Iphone, a friend or family member who can take a good shot and that's all you need. This is how I got into my first (reputable) agency called Modelplus in Warsaw. It's true that nowadays more and more agencies will want to see professional pictures but if you're not 100% certain you can tell a good photographer from a bad one, don't do it. As much as TFP is beneficial for you to get comfortable in front of the camera and you'll be able to see improvement with each shoot, I found that it rarely got me paid work. I don't want to discourage anyone from doing it but after about 2 years of modelling I preferred hiring someone for my test shots.
"Hiring someone for test shots? But you just said not to do it..." Yes. Now, I decided, after a couple of years, to work mostly freelance. I had worked out what was needed and wanted from me and from my shots and I knew how to tell a GWC from a pro and NOT get ripped off. This takes some observation, perhaps guidance, but as you get more experienced you'll "know".
"What's the best way of getting jobs?"
Personally, I've found this to be word of mouth. You have to start somewhere (casting sites, hoping perhaps an agency will take you - and don't forget: IT'S A NUMBERS GAME. Replying to 1 casting per day or contacting a couple of photographers per week won't get you anywhere). But the best stuff is when someone can recommend you. I've had innumerable jobs without even going to a casting simply because a friend said I was a good model. And I got hired. And the pay was probably better than the one offered on casting sites. Again, it doesn't happen overnight but it teaches you to always be friendly, reliable, on time - simply professional.
And speaking of professionalism - I had made it a point to always reply to requests and emails, even if I couldn't make it. Not only is it good manners but also... this person could be interested in working with you later or might appreciate you wrote to them and... recommend you to a friend. And here goes word of mouth again!
As far as castings are concerned, no matter how stressed you are - try not to show it. These can be stressful, especially at the beginning but the funny thing with those, and it always made me laugh, that the less I cared about landing the job the more likely I WAS going to land it. Time and time again. This doesn't mean to show up looking your worst and being rude but... it's just one of those inexplicable things that seem to be very much part of the show biz, including modelling.
It's not an easy job, despite the apparencies. I've found it quite hard physically; like shooting a summer collection in winter. Outside. All day... Zero financial security - and on that note, make sure your financial record and taxes and all are in good order because tax inspections don't just happen to "other people" and I've heard some gruesome stories. It takes a great deal of persistence and thick skin. So if you have that - go for it. Don't forget it has its own "magic" to it. You'll find out soon enough.
Now go and make me proud, Little Grasshoppers!
Much, much love to you all and I wish you my very Best!!