Often I’m asked what my tips and tricks are to staying consistently busy in an unpredictable industry that can have down periods without much work coming in. A lot of people talk about the modeling industry having an expiration date or that it’s not something to take seriously as a full time career. However, I’ve managed to be busier now than when I was first starting out as a teenager. The advice I’m about to offer is aimed towards aspiring models, however women in other professions may find some helpful insights that could certainly benefit them as well.
Here are my 5 tips to staying consistently busy in a competitive profession like modeling:
Tip #1: Don’t take ANYTHING personally!
Just because you didn’t book a specific job, it’s helpful to know that there’s absolutely nothing more you could’ve done to control that outcome. Sometimes you’re just not the right look, not the right hair color, height, size, or whatever for that particular season or that particular client. Keeping a positive outlook and knowing this, will bring you more good energy into opportunities that are the right fit for you. The only thing you can control is your attitude; so keep it constructive and upbeat.
Tip #2: Be nice to EVERYONE on set!
This seems like a no brainer, but often people forget it because they woke up on the wrong side of bed, are feeling hormonal, are busy on their phones, or just think their job is to just show up and look pretty. What you might not realize is that the person who is an assistant one day, can end up being a photographer or client another day. Your reputation and impression you leave behind will play a big factor in determining whether or not you’re going to be invited back again. It’s very easy to find a pretty girl to cast for a photo shoot, but what’s not easy to find is a genuine person who is friendly, easygoing, and is a pleasure to be around.
Tip#3: Stay in touch!!
This is another one that seems obvious, but more often than not, people forget to do it. There’s that famous term, “out of sight, out of mind.” It most definitely applies in this case. After a long day working with a team of creative people, if you’ve taken tip #1 and built some friendly relationships on set, the best thing to do is to stay in touch with those people! A nice thank you note to the photographer or follow up e mail to the client would be such a nice gesture that they will undoubtedly remember.
If you find yourself having a slow week, you can send some reminder e mails or text messages to a photographer you like or makeup artist you want to collaborate with and see how they’re doing. You never know, they might have a project that’s perfect for you that’s coming up. People get so busy with their own lives, that you’re most likely not going to be on the top of their mind. With a friendly “hello” or update on some of the latest work you’ve been shooting, it might spark their interest and potentially lead to some great new projects with them. I’ve found this to be extremely important in maintaining relationships with the creative people I work with. I’ve learned an agent can only do so much. They’re usually there to pitch you for a job or negotiate the budget and terms once you’re booked. It’s honestly your job to stay in touch and take better charge of your career.
Tip #4: Network through social media
If you have a favorite photographer, client you dream to work with, hairstylist you’re obsessed with, etc. take matters into your own hands and start following them and friending them on social media. I’ve expanded my network and had several national and international jobs and opportunities come up from doing this on my social media platforms. If you’re consistently updating new material to your pages, the better off you’ll be since those people you want to work with can keep seeing updates and get reminders of you. Whether you’re just starting out or have been doing this for years, the more content you’re putting out there, the busier and more in demand you appear to be ( and eventually end up actually being. )
Tip #5: Communicate clearly and often to your agent
You can’t sit at home praying to one day work for certain companies and just hope there’s a casting that comes up for it. If you are realistic about what your market is and which clients you would probably be perfect for, it’s best to write a list in an e mail or set up a short meeting with your agent to discuss some of these ideas and visions you have for your career. You might end up reminding them of clients they never even though about. They can personally reach out to potential clients rather than only waiting for clients to come to them looking. This will increase your chances of working more and showing your agents that you’re serious about your career and treat is like a real business. Trust me, you’ll be a lot happier having a more open and direct relationship with your agent. Rather than being intimidated by them, view them as your most important partner in your team and as one of your biggest supporters.
Your ability to convey confidence, sincerity, professionalism, and open communication with those you work with is the difference between being the girl who only works once in a while because she solely relies on her looks to get the job, versus the one who works non-stop because she knows it requires hard work and dedication.
Congratulations on your classy new blog, Donna.
It’s beautifully designed, well thought out, and very well written. I like the tone, too–positive, upbeat and real, just like you. I’m sure this will be keeping you busy for a long time to come.
I loved this article, very effective and well written.
Bruce A Weiss
Very interesting Donna, some of these tips not only apply to modeling but life as well.
Donna , your words are wonderful. I hope that young models, photographers, et al, will read and apply what you say here. After 30 plus years in the business, being professional and building relationships are more important than ever. Congrats and keep up the great work 🙂 Greg Autry