The moment you sign a contract, your agency should take control of your career. Some agents are better than others, so be sure to ask lots of questions and be proactive. Make sure that after your first meeting with the agency, you have a clear plan and timeline for your development and next steps. Don’t be afraid to take notes – sometimes the excitement of finding an agency can cause a new model to forget a few details. In general, your next steps should include grooming, testing, and practice.
Unless you happened to stroll into open call looking perfectly in line with what clients are booking, your agency will likely have you change some aspects of your appearance. The most common change is hair length, cut and color. Other common requests are clearing up skin, teeth whitening, eyebrow grooming, and changes to your body (lose/gain weight, tone up). These costs are your responsibility, so don’t expect the agency to pay for them.
After you are appropriately groomed, the agency will recommend a photographer for you to test with. Please take the agency’s advice regarding photography! Your agent knows what s/he is doing and will only send you to photographers that are appropriate for your look and market. Again, this will be your financial responsibility unless your agency offers to advance the cost to you. Expect to pay anywhere from $350 to $550+ for a shoot. Most agents will want you to do at least two tests before they put a card together.
Some models have a good intuitive sense about posing and movement while others need practice. If your agency doesn’t offer advice, ask for it.
Most agencies will recommend mirror work – the process of standing in front of a mirror and trying out different poses and facial expressions. Watch the lines of your face and body and how your proportions change as you move and the light changes. Some angles will work better for you than others and it’s important to learn what works and what doesn’t so you can use that knowledge on shoots.
If you are in a market where fashion shows are common, your agency should coach you on your walk. Again, if they do not offer it, ask.
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