Many young women dream of becoming fashion models. Made popular by such TV shows as “America’s Next Top Model” and “Victoria’s Secret” annual fashion extravaganza, fashion modeling has attracted young women, many of whom are college grads and single moms.
In 1990, supermodel Linda Evangelista uttered the most famous quote in modeling history: "We don't wake up for less than $10,000 a day." She was referring to herself and fellow supermodel Christy Turlington, who were shaking up the industry with almost celebrity star power.
In today’s fiercely competitive modeling industry, youth and “flavor of the month” rule. As Heidi Klum would say, “One day you’re in, the next day, you’re out.” Still, eager young girls from every latitude join hundreds of anonymous 15- and 16-year-olds who swarm the runways of New York, Paris and Milan each season.
Some tips from the pros on how to enter the field:
Start Young. Most successful international models begin their careers in their teens—early teens. So start taking care of your skin and hair. Get braces if you need them. Take classes in commercial print, runway walks and posture. Include classes in speaking, dance and ballet. Learn how to show the best features of your face and body, and how to conceal imperfections (nobody’s perfect). Ask your teachers to help you put together a portfolio of your best shots. Update and improve your portfolio constantly.
Start Small. Take small jobs at the mall for store openings and do little fashion shows. Most models start out doing some runway, move up to catalog, and if their professionalism and personality impresses enough people, they might eventually end up with the king of modeling gigs--a multiyear, multi-million dollar contract as a Victoria's Secret "angel."
Develop and Project Self-Confidence. Realize that you’re just as good as every other beginning model out there, and that rejection is a big part of this industry. It’s just something you’ll have to learn to get used to if you expect to grow as a person and as a professional. Take everything one day at a time without dwelling on the big picture. Pick yourself up and go to the next audition with a smile.
Stay in Shape. Heidi Klum, Adriana Lima, and Alessandra Ambrosio make millions every year. They seem to love what they do and are tireless pros. But they have to work at it. Which means regular and often grueling physical workout routines to keep body fat in check and muscle tone tight. It also means following a strict diet. Save the donuts, burgers, French fries, pizza or alcohol for very rare occasions. And no drugs or tobacco. Some top models do marathon runs of 70 shows in six weeks. This calls for the stamina of a pro athlete.
Be Punctual. This is critical. Always be on time for a shoot, no matter how insignificant you think the job is. Word of an unreliable model who shows up late travels like wildfire in this industry. A shoot with all its prep work, support people, location costs and studio time is extremely expensive. Even a few minutes waiting can cost clients thousands of dollars.
Best of luck. If you have any additional suggestions, feel free to include them in the comments section.