Model Life, my graphic novel also shares the highs and lows of striving as a model. Model Life is now a mobile comics on iVerse's Comics + app download it and get a free excerpt on your iPhone and iPad
Today on FOX411’s Pop Tarts column, there is an article called Fashion Industry Full of Predators, Especially Behind the Lens, Models Say. Within it, I shared some of my own insight on being taken advantage of, walking into the wrong places, being infront of the wrong camera lens, and my early modeling mistakes--you can also read more about my own not so glamorous early experiences and overcoming the odds in my modeling memoir Almost 5’4”.
I encourage you to read the article here: http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2011/10/11/fashion-industry-full-predators-especially-behind-lens-models-say/
Thankfully I have overcome those not so glamorous moments and the sketchy encounters I have had with bad people as a younger model.
The truth of working and striving as a model, is it’s lonely. It’s all about managing yourself and knowing yourself, you need a strong confidence and deep self-love, because it’s an extremely competitive pursuit full of rejection, it’s not as glamorous as it might seem. Being prepared for the unexpected is a good idea because it's likely you will run into a few jerks.
These days while working as a body part model (modeling my legs, behind, backside, hand, feet, or torso for a magazine, a product ad or a commercial) showing my body is actually a constant part of booking work today. It comes with the territory for castings involving health, fitness and beauty and body related jobs, but no matter how well known the brand or magazines is, I always watch my back. I always try to get as much information about the brand, name of the company or photographer from the agent before a photo-shoot or before I attend a casting. With how many brands and products being launched today, I try to do my own research. The modeling agent might know the client well, but I don't. Castings for well known national brands have been in studios the warehouse areas of Long Island City, way out by the Brooklyn Navy Yard and I've booked jobs for catalogs in NJ and all around the NYC area, and I always go prepared with the details of the where, the who, the what ahead of time. It's best to be. I like to know where and what I am walking into. I do my own research and I encourage you to as well.
Remember castings are during the work hours. 9-6 p.m, and usually only mainly during the work week. A professional casting should take place in an office, a studio, a showroom, not in an apartment of an editor or photographer or the person casting the job.
Having confidence in yourself is hard to have even at any age and any profession. Unfortunately, modeling is an industry where girls get their career started at a young age. Yes, there are photographers and agents that take advantage of young models, luring them in with the success they could have if only they do this or touch that or degrade themselves. But not every agent or photographer is like this. I've worked with wonderful agents and photographers. Yes, there are numerous stories of very well-known photographers with world class reputations, which anyone can google and find out the names of. Are they really perverts, or are the girls just trying to make more of a name for themselves? Did they want to pose like that in the ad campaign or editorial or were they talked into it? What really goes on behind the scenes?
The brands and agents should share in the responsibility of finding out.
At castings you often don’t know what to expect until you get there, will you go in to the casting studio by your self or with a group of other models? Will they be wanting to see portfolios or just comp cards today? What does this casting involve? You should be told ahead of time what the casting involves by the agency/casting professional, and if the casting involves wearing a bikini or the body, when you are there a female casting associate should also be in the room/studio. Most professional casting professionals know it's right to have a female also there during the casting. Usually at my casting there is a female casting assocate there as well, but I will admit, not every single time. Also you shouldn’t be walking into a casting without knowing what it's for and what it involves, so get that info before you show up! You'll be more prepared and know if it's something you are comfortable with and you can research ahead of time.If something at a casting or on the job is uncomfortable speak up or walk out, always think twice, go with your gut, and think about your future and goals, nothing is worth degrading yourself for. There is pressure to stay since you might worry it will ruin your reputation if you leave or speak up, but I think it’s important for young models to realize you don’t have to sleep your way there, you don’t have to be scammed, you don’t have to touch or be touched by someone to get ahead. But please speak up, tell someone if this happens to you. It is a choice to have a voice. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember, there will be another opportunity that doesn't involve these unfortunate types of pressures. Don't think anything is the end-all and keep in mind, although there are some not so kind and wonderful people out there in this industry of selling a product, brand, magazine and image, there are great who are respectful, courteous and know the boundaries between what is appropriate and not.
I had a casting for a magazine for legs, feet and the butt and it involved being in a bathing suit, so I wore a simple bikini that still partly covered my butt. When I booked the job, and saw samples of what the goal of the shoot was, it involved a shot which showing more of my body than I had expected. On the table was a display of different underwear and it was best to put on the smallest underwear possible so that the straps of the underwear wouldn’t be noticed. If the environment wasn’t as professionalism as it was, a girl may have felt uncomfortable posing in a thong and sports bra like I did.
Always be aware of the environment and always expect the unexpected.