Hey friends :)
Welcome to day 2 of the #rsabizblogs 7-day blogging challenge. Today I'm going to take you through some of my work and how exactly I get it for myself- also what hasn't quite worked for me but might for others.
First and foremost, this is not a manifesto against modelling agencies. It just so happens that:
- Currently I live/study in a small city where honestly I wouldn't say there are any fashion/beauty/commercial modelling agencies per se, and
- in any case I'm different from some of the criteria set up for signing onto an agency (mostly height) so I thought it best when I started taking this seriously to build up my name, portfolio and working relationships first and worry about representation later.
Which brings me to my first point:
Build up your portfolio
At this stage you'll likely not be getting paid yet because you'll either be taking your basic shots (head and body shots, swimwear, casual, etc) to send around, OR you'll be shooting on a TFCD* basis with photographers, stylists, make-up artists and maybe small/young brands.
*(TFCD- Time for CD ie. everyone involved gets the photos for their portfolios, so you pay each other only with your time and effort)
Be a pleasure to work with and stay in touch
I like to think that on a shoot or at a show, I'm pretty fun or at least cool and professional which people appreciate as much as producing good photos and walking well and it's what they'll remember. I don't exactly take everyone out to lunch that I work with, but I make sure I follow their work on social media and always credit them when I post my photos. Keep those relationships and you'll keep working.
Social media FTW!
I'm going to let you in on a secret. Any paying gig I've managed to get while living in South Africa, I answered a call for models by the stylist/brand/photographer on Facebook or Instagram. Some of my best unpaid creative shoots, I reached out to someone on ModelMayhem.com or another social media site (or they messaged me) and we discussed ideas and made something great.
<< I was cast in my first commercial after answering a Facebook status put up by the stylist of the shoot
Let the relevant people know about you
This I can't always tell if it's worked or not, but it's put me on some people's radars. A while ago I made and printed my own composite cards and either gave them out when I met people at events (like a business card), or e-mailed to any brands I'd like to work with just to let them know I exist and am available.
On one occasion, I sent in my photos too late for a job and someone had already been chosen, but I let the casting director for the brand know that I live in both Kenya and South Africa which I know are two of their major locations, and she appreciated it. One other time, I sent some photos to a well-known Kenyan accessories designer, got a response and was invited in to a meeting/mini casting at her studio. I didn't get much further than that with the last one but I have a theory as to why and I know what I'd do different today.
Be ready to work at any time
This in my opinion is one of the harder parts of essentially managing yourself- keeping on top of your appearance (don't forget this is a superficial industry, even in the best of cases). You may not have anyone to tell you your skin is not looking its best so hydrate and exfoliate. Or that you're not as toned as your photos, let's get to work and not give the designer a rude shock when they see you in the flesh.
< ^ Some scenes from castings I found out about 1 week before (MAX). That's often how it goes though, freelance or not
As you know I recently wrapped my first ever fashion week which was a whirlwind and such a bomb experience. But there are things I could do better. Since travelling for a month in Europe, I hadn't been as disciplined as before about staying in good shape and then suddenly this opportunity came around and weeks after I sent in my photos I was on a runway in a bikini. I looked alright, but could have used some more ab work. And maybe a wax, come to think of it. Keep it real with yourself, these are things that you'll be compared with other models on and may well cost you work in the future.
And there you go, some of my tips for winning as a freelance model. This of course goes hand-in-hand with hard work, drive and honestly a little luck, but it can definitely be done.
Keep in touch and check for more of my work here: