Good Morning and BIG thanks to the faithful listeners of the Anita Dean Show on 1340 The Light. At 6:30 a.m. L.A. time we were talking about breaking into the business of modeling. Since then, I have received many questions from people whose children, or who themselves are interested in modeling.

Here are some of those questions:
How do I get into modeling?
What kind of pictures do I need?
What agency should I go to?
How should I approach an agency?

So you want to be in pictures ha? First let me say that while I may not be able to offer you the flamboyant catwalk coaching of America's Next Top Model's Ms. Jay or the illustrious background of Super Model turned Boss Lady, Tyra Banks, I can offer practical advice to approaching the multifaceted business of modeling.

Most people I talk to seem to focus on the High Fashion end of modeling but honestly as much as one might want to be the next supermodel or covergirl chic, the reality is that the road to supermodel stardom is the road less traveled for most people. Fortunately, there are many avenues that can ultimately lead you to a lucrative and fulfilling career in the modeling industry.


The first thing you'll want to do is make a true assessment of your best attributes. Are you 5'11", skinny and love strutting your stuff in front of people? Do you get mistaken for everyone's school teacher or are you the perfect size 10 and enjoy trying on clothes all day? Knowing this will help you decide which avenue to pursue.

If you plan to make a career out of modeling, just like the lottery, you'll need to be in it to win it. Moving to a city like New York where the business thrives is not uncommon. You will also want to practice, practice, practice. By that I mean look at what’s being done and copy those people you see in the types of ads you'd like to do. On your own you can practice walking and posing at home in the mirror. Modeling classes to learn how to walk and pose can be helpful also (if they are legitimate).

Before you approach an agency, you have a little more homework to do. With all the information available to us via internet, you can research the different agencies and decide with ones are for you. They should have a website that lists the types of models they represent and some will display photos of their models and the work they've done.

When sending photographs in to the agencies, the idea is to show them who you are, so they'll know what they're working with. Regular size (4x6) photographs will do. Little makeup, not a lot of clothing and straight forward angles is the best way to go. If they see the potential for making money, they will take the time to interview you. If not, it's best to try again another time or move on to another agency that wants to work with you.

Open calls are fine. The agents are good at weeding through all of the hopefuls. Mailing your material in works sometime and sometimes doesn't. I have had success with it. I've always called and gotten the name of the person who opens the envelopes, informed them that my stuff was on the way and then followed up once I sent it.

Notice I didn't say anything about SCOUTS. Most of the time the people approaching you at the mall or at these mega castings with fifty thousands folks walking around looking to be discovered, are simply looking to sign you up for a deal which will charge you money for photographs, classes and scheduling interviews.

The bottom line is this: SCOUTS can't guarantee you work or a contract. At some point you will have to be walked into an agency and they will have to sign you. You can do that yourself. It's one thing for someone who works with Ford to approach you with a business card and ask you come in to see them, but another for someone to tell you they are out looking for models for Ford. The top modeling agencies don't send people to look for models. They don’t have to.

Also, agencies have their own connections with photographers and stylists and they like to be involved in the process. In most cases they will want you to shoot with their people and hand pick the photographs regardless of what you already have (which will cost you more time and money). By the way, agencies don't normally pay for that. It's rare these days that they front you money for these things but it they do, you will pay it back from your first bookings.

Another thing to remember is, not even the agencies can guarantee you work. They wait for the clients to make the decisions.

Earlier I said supermodel stardom isn’t for everyone. It’s true and keep in mind, you don’t have to be a size 4 or 18 years old to be successful in the business. Take some time to research how much money commercial print models are making. I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised. The person pretending to use the allergy medication, the American Express Card or the 409 Kitchen Spray, is a very necessary talent who has more opportunity to make a good amount of money, more often.

I hope you have enjoyed our Modeling 101 session. For more you’ll have to shoot me an email. I actually look forward to getting them and answering your questions.

Til then, I wish you all the best

Love ya!
Nina Shay