How to Model: 7 Expert Tips for Becoming a Model

Do you have what it takes to be a model? Aaron Newbill, Director of Scouting for Ford Models, gives his tips for aspiring models.

By Diana Vilibert

September 10, 2010 4:59 PM
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Chris Moore/Catwalking
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1. Do Your Research

Aaron says the biggest mistake that aspiring models make is "not doing the research beforehand." Not sure where to start? Aaron suggests that "One should check to see who is reputable first, length in the buisness, and who an agency represents." Look for an agent by flipping through your favorite magazine spreads and making a note of which agency represents the models you like. If you're looking into a smaller agency, do some internet research before giving them a call to make sure they have a good reputation in the industry.
runway model
Karl Prouse/Catwalking
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2. Be Prepared

"Classes can be helpful to individuals in terms of self confidence and comfort with aspects of the business," says Aaron, though he emphasizes that classes are by no means a prerequisite. Consider the option if you feel like you have something that's holding you back, lack knowledge of the industry, or if you're in need of a confidence boost. And like with any job, read up on the agency you're interviewing with, including past and present models signed with them and company news.
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Pascal Le Segretain
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3. Make Your Portfolio Picture-Perfect

Your book, or modeling portfolio, is your resume, so make sure that it's in tip-top shape before you schedule interviews or auditions or attend an open-call. "A great portfolio is a relative concept; after all, you cant please every client all the time," Aaron says, but make sure that your book has enough variation that an agency can see your potential. Aaron says, "The basis of a good book should show a model who is comfortable in front of the camera, one who has a range of expression and movement." Less is more: "As to length, a few great pictures can look better than a long book of fluff." Think of your portfolio as a story that you're telling to a prospective agency — a short story. "A flow to the book is important — after all you want to get and keep the client's attention," Aaron says.
runway model
Karl Prouse/Catwalking
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4. Be Yourself

So you've booked a meeting with an agent — now what? Resist the temptation to paint on new eyebrows or shop for a new outfit before your interview. Aaron says, "I always say "come as you are.' If you have a quirky look or style naturally, work that! Don't be concerned about changing who you are to impress an agency. When meeting prospective models we prefer to see them as they are: no makeup, natural hair, and their personality." Leave the flowing maxi-dress at home and keep your outfit simple: "Body-conscious clothing like skinny jeans and a tank are good so we can see the body."
Karl Prouse/Catwalking
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5. Smile for the Camera

In addition to your portfolio, bring some casual shots as well. "When we meet with prospective models we ask to see a couple of snapshots or Polaroids," Aaron says. "A simple headshot, bodyshot, profile, and a smile is good." Keep your clothes simple so they don't distract from your shape and face, and play around with different poses and facial expressions.
Slaven Vlasic
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6. Speak Up

Personality is key, so sit up straight and spit out that gum! Aaron says, "An outgoing personality is always a standout." They're looking for models who are "able to express themselves and not be nervous or shy. A feeling that modeling is something they want to do, rather than something they are being pushed into is key." He says that "the models that do well are confident, ambitious, and have a certain humbleness about the fact that being genetically gifted is what got them in the business," says Aaron. "In the end this is a business and respect and professionalism is really important." Arrive for your audition or interview early and ready — no scrambling to rearrange your book in the elevator!
Kristy Sparow
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7. Read Before Signing on the Dotted Line

If you've impressed the agency enough to get an offer, take a deep breath before doing a celebratory dance and signing a contract. "Do not sign anything without reading first!" Aaron says. "Do your research, and just go with what your gut tells you." Make sure any questions you have about your contract are answered and clarified before you sign.
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