How to become a signed model

 Many girls write me asking:

“How do I become a signed model?”

“Can you get me an agency?”

“Is this agency or scout who dm’d me real?”

Here is a simple and quick guide on how to go about obtaining an agency and beoming a signed model. Theres some model vocab for you at the end 🙂

First are you qualified?

16-25 is the desired age or look.
5’9″ is the minimum height for womens runway and usually 5’7″ for womens print.

No one will ever ask you your weight as a model. They ask for measurements. Weight means NOTHING. You can look at ten 120 lb women and they will ALL carry it differently and have different measurements. They care about your measurements. The only client I ever had to give my weight to was for when I was flying on a wire. If they care about your weight they don’t understand how weight works. signed model 

You must live in a large city or be willing to go into the city for jobs and castings. NYC, LA, Paris, Hong Kong, etc. The agency will expect you to be available for castings. Even if you live 2 hours from the city you signed in, because you signed up for it.

You don’t need to have a book already, but you will need fresh digitals to submit online or if you are going to go into an open call you will need something to give them so you should make a comp card out of digitals.

 

  • Book – Your book is your portfolio. You build it by booking editorials, look books, campaigns, or doing test shoots. All agencies will help you to build it, if they are asking you to pay a bunch to “make a book” its a scam. A real agency might ask you to pay for a test shoot or two to build but they will also find free test and editorials and such.
  • Open call – is where the agency has a set time and day that people who fit their criteria (each agency varies slightly so check beforehand) to come in and meet with someone in person. They will ask if you have a book and look at it if you do. They will ask you to sign, or possibly test with a photographer first, or they will pass.

Agencies pass for many reasons some being that they already have your look. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try other agencies. It’s about finding the right fit.

If you are what they are looking for they might send you to a test shoot to see if you can shoot well, they might ask you to change your hair a small amount and come back, or just sign you right then and there. Everyone’s experience will be a little bit different. The main thing is they should NEVER ask you for money upfront for anything other than a test shoot. (200 USD ish)  Usually they sign you and put it on your model account or set up free test shoots. If they are asking you for loads of fees or to buy things it’s probably a scam.

Google every single agency you’re interested in and make sure they are a legit agency with working models. Google things like (Agency Name) Scam, (Agency Name) lawsuit, (Agency Name) scandal. Check out Models.com too almost all the agencies are listed on there.

If you can’t make it to an open call or the agency you are interested in doesn’t have one, they will usually have an online submission form. It will ask for digitals and will usually specify exactly what they want.

  • Comp Card – comp cards are kind of like a business card for a model, the agencies print them and you pay them a small fee. They have 2-4 pictures from your book and your stats and the agency contact info. For open call you can print off some simple digitals, 8×11, and put your email, phone number, and your stats.
  • Stats – Model stats are as follows: Bust, Waist, Hip, Dress, Shoe, Hair, and Eyes. Every agency has their order they put them in. You don’t need to write the word before the measurement as you can see in my card below.
  • Digitals – are photos taken of you in natural daylight, with little to no makeup on, with little to no hair product, and in either a bikini or tank top and pants/shorts. They can be shot with a professional camera and backdrop. Or they can be on your iPhone against a solid background. The solid background is important. You could use any plain wall or hang a sheet if you can’t find a wall. Next is lighting. Lighting is the MOST important part. You might have to move around some furniture or look outside around your house to find a wall with great lighting access. Usually 10am-1130am is a great time to get some light. The shots they will usually ask for are full length, 3/4 body (cut right above the knee), profile (waist up), and a headshot (shoulders up). (Each agency ask for a certain 4 images. Be sure to read their guidelines.)

If you do not follow their guidelines they will most likely just move on to the next submission. Modeling is a career and one that you are the boss and the employee. You have to be professional, responsible ,and do a lot of things on your own without someone standing over you and guiding you. So if you show you can’t follow simple guidelines they might not want to work with you. So please take your time and follow guidelines so you have the best shot and put the best foot forward! Good Luck!!!

 

Here is my current card where you can see the stats are listed without the words first.

Here is what a digital print out should look like to take with you to open calls.

I hope this has answered all your questions on how to become a signed model!

If you have any other questions just #askcoco!

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