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  • Writer's pictureKamla-Kay McKenzie

5 things to do before submitting to modeling agencies

Updated: Sep 21, 2022

One of the many questions I often get asked is, "how do I get a modeling agency to sign me".

When picturing a "model", the first thoughts that usually flash like a bulb in the mind are their physical, often superficial outer features.

We think of models as the vision of perfection.

We think of clear skin, bodies that are often envied; visuals of long legs and fierceness, and if you are watching a shampoo commercial, the bounciest hair that falls perfectly in place every time.

Just like corporate jobs with set expectations of their new hires, modeling holds no exceptions to meeting certain standards, albeit from a different listing.

There are certain physical features to get you initially noticed and later on some intrinsic characteristics which can propel you into greater success away from the oversaturated pack.

If you are in the current position of not yet being agency signed but hoping to find your photo in times square for a Target ad or on the next TV commercial in a Burberry Campaign, it would behoove you to begin working on improving the following 5 things.

Improving upon the following 5 will increase your chances of getting signed, re-booking work with the same clients and maintaining a healthy emotional state.

Kamla-Kay Clear Skin

1. Clear Face - Skin

The modeling agencies will not be fooled by your Instagram filters.

Modeling is all about visual representation. The face on an ad is usually the initial force that causes a consumer to pause in their tracks to look at the product or service being sold. That is why the stock imagery industry is booming as clients recognize that faces, compelling faces, are what draws viewers in.

In that sense work on - you guessed it - your skincare routine.

If you happen to have acne prone skin, seek the help of a dermatologist. If that is not an option for you due to location or cost, there are dozes of over the counter drugstore products and remedies that you can use to improve your skin.

In addition, YouTube has plenty of success stories of what worked for others so feel free to do your own research and improve any unevenness or blemishes.

I have had friends with successful stories of using a bio-oil treatment on their skin (sold at drugstores).

I personally cleared blemishes on my cheeks after beginning to use a product called Vivant Skincare as a result of doing a modeling shoot for them and liking the products while I was on set. I used their products to clear up my uneven cheeks and the dark spots that lined the center of my back.

I also found that mixing a 1/4 cup of raw apple cidar vinegar with 3/4 cup water in a bottle and using that at night on my skin with a cotton swap was helpful although it did not work as fast as the professionally produced products.

Basic skincare tips includes

1. Use astringent, or toner after washing your face to get rid of oils and excess make-up.

2. Use sunscreen even if you have darker skin like myself as that just aids in making the blemishes darker. You can purchase a face moisturizer that contains SPF.

3. Drink your water - and if you are not a huge fan of water, still limit your sodas and sugary drinks and instead add fruits to your water instead to sweeten up your intake.

4. Be cautious of eating too many fried foods and too much sugars as this can contribute to acne prone skin in some people.

2. Toned, Healthy Body

Even for models who are curvy and considered to be in the plus-size modeling category, they 2 have to be mindful of their bodies. Whether you are a size 0 or a size 14, be sure to be considerate of the food that you are eating and/or maintain a regular exercise routine should you need to lose or gain weight.

Consult with a nutritionist or the help of a trusted friend/family about good eating habits to get ideas of how to improve on your physical appearance.

I would like to note that should you want to become a model and feel the need to lose weight, or if you are told to lose weight by an agent, do so in a health manner.

You should not be starving yourself to fit a certain image. There are plenty of healthy ways to either shed or gain pounds. As stated above, there are a myriad of plus sized models in the industry; many of whom are making major dollars with their curves.

3. Angles

When a client books a model for a print or video shoot, they are expecting that you are experienced enough in front of the camera and that they do not need to direct your every move.

Therefore it is imperative that you practice poses and hone in on being able to easily move from one angle to the next.

Unless you are under the age of 17, the agency is less likely to want to spend as much time molding you. You will get left behind if you aren't ready or a deer in headlights in front of the camera.

Every model knows at least 10 go to poses that if your mind goes blank you have your "safe" fallback poses.

Once you find your safe poses, transitioning to the next post is just a matter of slight movements from one angle to the next.

Look at how models are posed in ads and catalogs and practice those in front of the mirror. It takes practice but with time it gets more fluid in motion.

4. Fix da attitude

I once read an interview where supermodel Gisele Bunchen said something to the effect of one thing that allowed her such great success as a model was her attitude and demeanor whenever she was at work.

Those with negative attitudes seldom make it very far in the industry and the few that slip through the cracks may not have the best reputation.

Clients like relatable. They want friendly and pliable.

When you are hired for the job, even if you hate the outfit you are being asked to wear because it makes you look like a peacock, when you agreed to take the job you are then expected to act in a professional, respectful and cordial manner on set.

If you are that person that is quick to flip when things do not go your way, or you prefer to do things on your own and make you own decisions even when you are on the clock, modeling may not be suited for you or this is the time to begin making some changes to your attitude towards authority.

On sets of jobs, we often have 5, 10, 15, 20 people staring at us, multiple giving directions. Maybe another 3 people hanging over you to adjust your clothing, hair and make-up. If you will not be able to handle the pressure, the directions and or the corrections, this will be a hard pill to swallow.

5. Self-Esteem

They - whoever they are- always say to save the best for last.

This industry has a way of rearing it's ugly head in your direction in more ways than one that can knock you off your high-horse really quickly.

While there are amazing agencies and client out there that support their models fully in positive ways, this is an industry that can be racked with rejection, broken dreams and superficial lies that can quickly affect your self-esteem and perception of self-worth.

Even the most confident person can walk out of a casting or an agency office feeling as if they are worthless or that they just failed in life as a result of what was said..and in some cases..not said.

Rejection from not booking a job, a client saying you are not tall enough, or that you need to lose weight, or that they already have enough black models on their board, can be mentally draining.

On the contrary, the disappointments, setbacks and rejection can make one wiser, stronger and more diligent in creating a path to reach their goals.

Being aware of what reality you may be potentially exposed to despite what boosts of confidence your loved ones filter your way should make one keenly focused on guarding your self-esteem and what you allow to seep into your subconscious mind.

Regardless of if modeling becomes your career or if other paths turn out to be your destiny, just know that you are good enough as you were created and that someone else's opinion of you - as fragmented as it may be - does not determine your worth.

Follow the top 5 beauty and personality adjustments as needed and you will be well on your way to making more of a pleasant impression upon meeting with agencies at open calls and with clients on sets.

Let me know in the comments what you think you need to work on the most :).

We all have something we could improve upon.

** Don't forget to follow me online by clicking @KAMLAKAY & @PRIMEANGLES for more useful tips and inspiration.

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If you know other aspiring models, share this blog post with them. Elevate with your friends.

Peace & Love,



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