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  • Writer's pictureKamla-Kay McKenzie

How to avoid being rejected by a modeling agency

I know, it's frustrating!

Applying to modeling agencies and getting back an email that says "you are not a good fit for our agency" thus leaving you with a sunken feeling of yet another denial.

Often, the agencies are not very clear on why they will not be extending a contract to you and therefore you are left with more unanswered questions rather than a guided plan of how to improve your chances the next time around.

So, let's dive into 5 of the main reasons why you may be getting "rejected" by modeling agencies and thus give you an idea of what to change or improve upon to increase the odds of being able to put your signature on a coveted modeling contracted.

1. Your height/look is not a right fit for the agency

Let's say that you are an aspiring model who is 5'5" and you are applying to all the top fashion agencies yet not getting a response...or getting denial notes.

This is because the agencies best suited for your height and potential facial features are often not fashion agencies.

If the aforementioned height fit your description, you would be best suited to apply to a commercial/lifestyle talent agency and not a fashion agency.

Fashion model sitting on floor with clock purse vintage outfit
Fashion model photo sample

In this case, you would look for agencies that have models on their site who are of varying looks, shapes and heights.These models tend to have a more friendly face and less of a chiseled edgy look.

Most of the top fashion agencies such as Wilhelmina and Elite will only sign a model that is at least 5'8" but there are plenty of other options for shorter models to still have the opportunity to follow their passion.

Also, should you be a curvy or plus sized model, only some agencies represent both standard and curvy models on their board and then there are other agencies, such as Dorothy Combs Models, who only represent curvy models.

In addition, let's say that you are a black model and upon visiting the agency, you see that 9 out of 10 of the model photos on their wall are of white models, chances of that you will have a harder time getting signed by that agency if they tend to prefer caucasian models.

If these seem to be your set-back with agencies, do not let height, curves or skin color discourage you from reaching out to smaller boutique commercial talent agencies and agencies with a model diverse portfolio of models.

2. You are lacking professionalism

Have you ever gone to an agency and attended their model open call?

What time did you arrive to the open call--did you arrive 10 minutes before the casting call was about to end despite you having a 2 hour window to attend?

Does your Instagram page have tons of videos/captions of you cursing and just being negative about life?

Agencies are very perceptive to a models' professionalism and take it very seriously before they will offer you contract.

As a model, your behavior can negatively impact the relationship that an agency has with their client list and therefore, models who tend to be late, have mediocre or bad attitudes and those who have a sense of entitlement, often are not given the chance to work with top agencies if the agent is able to pick up on these traits.

If any of these personality or behaviors describe you, it would behoove you to make adjustments for the better in order to be taken seriously by an agency.

Kamla-Kay smiling with striped bathing suit short hair wig
Commercial model photo sample

3. Your digitals or polaroid images are not ideal

When submitting to modeling agencies, they often request that aspiring models take digital images - also known an polaroids, and submit those to the agencies.

Often, models fail to follow the instructions that the agency has outlined in terms of the specific angles that the agency wants the model to capture and the model may have also failed to have proper grooming/attire in the digitals.

Digitals are also considered not up to agency standards if they are blurry and have bad lighting.

To read more on how to take proper modeling digitals/polaroids that will help elevate your chance of an agency wanting to give your submission another glance, check out the taking agency digitals article that I wrote which is dedicated to helping you take killer modeling digitals.

4. The agency already has your look

I have been to multiple agency open calls and been told that the agency already had a model or models with my similar look.

If you are a thin, 5'11" blonde female model, you are 1 in a sea-full of other models with your similar basic profile.

Therefore, if you apply to an agency and this fits your description, the agency may say that they already have enough models with your same look.

Yes your eyes may be green and the other models are all blue, but you basically fit the look of the other blonde, thin, 5'11" women already signed.

5. Not good timing for modeling season

In some markets, there is a set time of the year where agencies are the busiest and when models tend to work the most.

The busy time(s) of the year are know as "season".

When agencies are beginning to prepare for "season" they will start to sign new models to their roster.

Once they have what they consider enough models on their agency board for that season, they will no longer accept new models unless it is someone with a look they cannot pass up.

If you happen to submit to an agency during their peak season, it's possible that their roster is already filled and that they are just not accepting any models or any other models with your look at the time.

Overall, paying close attention to how good your modeling digitals/polaroids are, being sure that you are professional in your contact with the agencies and in how you present yourself online and submitting to agencies that are most conducive to your look and height will dramatically increase your chance of getting a positive response should you have the look to become a model.

If you do happen to get denied by an agency that appears to be the perfect fit for you, it is always a good idea to apply again to that agency in 3-6 months if you are still hoping to be signed at that later date.

Feel free to leave questions and comments if have been rejected by an agency and are still hoping to get signed...

Also be sure to check out my model coaching class for aspiring models.

To hear more dialogue on avoiding getting rejected by an agency, be sure to check out my YouTube video on this very subject.

Peace & love,



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