How to register with a modeling agency?
Signing a contract with a modeling agency is the best way for an aspiring model to give themselves the best chance of success.

Read on to learn more about what a modeling agency is and, more importantly, how to join one.

What is a modeling agency?
A modeling agency is a company that signs contracts with models and helps them find work.

Brands usually directly approach an agency to find suitable models for various campaigns and advertising opportunities.

Agencies can represent a certain type of models, for example, catalogue models, fitness models, or silhouette models, but the largest and most popular agencies tend to sign high fashion/runway models and sometimes have a subsection for plus-size models.

Where are modeling agencies located?
Modeling agencies can be located anywhere, but the majority of them are in major cities like London, Paris, and New York.

If you get through the application stage, you'll need to travel to the chosen agency in person for an interview, so keep that in mind when you apply. Modeling typically requires a lot of travel. If you do not want or cannot travel, modeling may not be for you.

How to choose a modeling agency?
Unfortunately, it's not that simple: it's a modeling agency that needs to choose you. You can apply to as many agencies as you want and as often as you want, but the likelihood of being accepted right away is low.

The more popular an agency is, the harder it will be to get noticed and accepted by it. Agencies receive thousands of applications each week and they can only sign a limited number of models. So it's good to remember that all models face rejection, as it's part of the job. Don't be discouraged if you're not accepted right away.

How to apply to a modeling agency?
First, you need to find agencies that match your criteria and represent your style of modeling. If you want to be a runway model, make sure you match the strict criteria set by most high fashion agencies. If you want to be a catalogue model, they may have a height preference, but the rules are generally much more flexible. You can carry out these steps online, as all agencies now have a website.

Make sure to do thorough research on agencies. Check, for example, if they represent different ethnicities, if they have a children's section, and if they work with plus-size models. Look at their fairness ethics and the type of brands they work with to get a better idea of the kind of models they're looking for.

Once you have selected your preferred agencies, you should find the "application" section of their website. The application will include a list of questions that you need to answer as precisely as possible. The questions will concern your name, age, measurements, and shoe size.

You will also be asked to attach a few photos of yourself. Choose them carefully, as many agencies will decide whether they like you based on your potential from these photos alone. Choose close-up beauty shots as well as full-body shots. If you have modeling experience, use some of those photos. If you're new to the industry, choose your favorite photos from your modeling portfolio.

Agencies are always looking for new clients and fresh faces, but the industry is so competitive that it's incredibly difficult to be accepted right away. If you're not chosen, you won't hear back from the agency. If you are accepted, you'll receive an email or phone call inviting you to the next step.

Modeling portfolio
The modeling portfolio is the number one tool that helps models find work. Your portfolio should contain up to 20 of your best modeling photos. They should be high-quality and A4 size.

Experienced models will select their favorite shots and include them in their folder. However, if you're new to the industry and haven't yet had any photoshoots, it's wise to hire a photographer to take photos of you to include in your portfolio. Include changes in outfit, hairstyle, and makeup to show your range of skills as a model.

I've been accepted - what now?
If a modeling agency contacts you and tells you they're interested, congratulations - you've got your foot in the door. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean you're automatically hired. You'll now have to go through an in-person interview with the agency.

You'll be invited to the agency's headquarters where you'll meet a team of industry professionals who will judge whether or not they think you'll be successful as a model. You'll need to bring your portfolio for them to review, and they may ask you to try on some outfits or show your catwalk walk. Be friendly and polite, and listen to everything they tell you, as it could turn out to be invaluable advice.

You'll probably know by then whether they're going to hire you or not. Stay positive and don't lose hope if you're rejected. There are many reasons why an agency may not want to hire you; they might have a model who looks too much like you, or they may think you don't fit the brands they're currently working with. You never know when your look will be in fashion, so don't give up.

Scam agencies
Unfortunately, there are many scam agencies out there trying to take advantage of aspiring models. That's why it's so important to thoroughly research any modeling agency you come across online and have never heard of before.

The same goes if an agency contacts you. You should consult the company's official website and verify all the details. Never call a number or send an email to an address that was sent to you on social media. Check on the official website for authentic contact information to avoid being scammed by strangers.

A genuine agency will never ask you for money upfront. Agencies make money by taking a cut from their models' earnings, not by charging them membership fees.

A legitimate agency will never ask you to send inappropriate pictures. They also don't tend to contact people via social media. Therefore, if someone sends you messages that don't seem professional, they're likely not legitimate.

Watch out for obvious typos and inappropriate or unprofessional words like "babe" and "hun."

When in doubt, never sign anything if you're not sure and never give your personal information to strangers.

How can I get noticed?
You can't plan on getting scouted - it only happens to a lucky few.

"Scouting" refers to when a recruiter from an agency approaches people in public who they think have modeling potential. This happens in random places like the airport or a shopping mall - some models have even been scouted in Primark or McDonalds.

It's about being in the right place at the right time and it's impossible to predict. To increase your chances of getting scouted, dress well and wear minimal but flattering makeup when you go out.

I wasn't accepted by a modeling agency, what next?
Don't panic. Most models are rejected initially, but you need to be resilient and stay positive.

Keep applying to agencies; you can apply to as many agencies as you want, as much as you want. A good rule of thumb is to only apply to the same agency once every 6 months or so to avoid pestering and annoying them.

Social media, especially Instagram, is a great tool for budding models who want to get noticed. Use it regularly and post high-quality fashion photos to boost your exposure and increase your chances of getting noticed by an agency or brand.

Network with everyone you meet. Even your makeup artists and hairstylists are worth befriending, as you never know when they might tell you about a modeling job, or who they might know in the industry.
May 25, 2023