Anyone in the industry knows that modeling isn’t particularly industry; that’s why IMM Model Kirsty-Anne has shared with us a list of some important things she wished she knew when she first started.
1. You should expect to have a LOT of time on your hands. You probably won’t be working five days a week – castings account for much of your time and you don’t get paid for those! This doesn’t mean the industry isn’t for you or that you’re a ‘bad’ model! It takes time to build up relationships with your bookers and your clients. You have to be prepared for a lot of testing to strengthen your portfolio. Remember that you’re starting from scratch and that you shouldn’t compare yourself to people who have spent five years in the industry.
2. Register as self employed and sort yourself out with an accountant. Do this sooner rather than later and don’t bury your head in the sand because it seems overwhelming. Ask other models if they have any recommendations and try to find an accountant who specializes in the entertainment industry, as this will save you money in the long run. It’s boring, its time consuming, and no one wants to do it, but unfortunately it has to be done (sorry for sounding like your mum) but the consequences of not doing it are serious.
3. Save those pennies and prepare to be broke for a while! When I first moved to London I was already taking a financial hit with extortionate estate agent fees, moving costs and generally living way beyond my means, but what I didn’t realize was that I would be waiting months and months to receive my first pay slip… oops. Not only that, but there will be other costs too: test shoots, portfolio, comp cards, travel etc. Unfortunately, in the modeling industry you don’t get paid monthly – the agencies process the money as and when the client transfers it. Agencies will always do their best to chase any money owed but a lot of things could potentially go wrong.
4. Which brings me on to my next point: I booked a fairly big job towards the start of my career and immediately paid for a holiday on my credit card, with ‘money’ I hadn’t actually received yet. The company in the middle of the chain went bankrupt and I never saw a penny of what I was owed even though I did the job and I could see the pictures were being used. Not only that but I then spent the entire holiday worrying about money (or lack of) so much that I couldn’t enjoy it! Lesson learned – don’t spend your hard earned cash until it’s actually physically in your bank account.
5. There are going to be highs and lows. The above point was a definite low, however, there are plenty of positive aspects to modeling. You will book amazing jobs, meet incredible people and get to visit places you would never have the opportunity to visit in a different career. You may have a terrible week with difficult clients, but the next week you’ll book a job that will make you forget about it all. Be prepared for a rollercoaster of emotions.
6. Modelling isn’t for everyone. If you feel like you’re experiencing the lows much more than the highs then you don’t have to continue – it sounds simple, but I wish someone had told me that! The industry can be incredibly stressful at times and it’s ok to take some time out, or walk away from it completely – make the decision that’s right for you and not for other people.
7. Talk to people. Talk to as many people as you can (without looking like a maniac), and build up your network and connections. The industry is smaller than you think and you’ll start to realise that instead of six degrees of separation it’s about two. The modelling world can be a lonely one at times so seeing someone you know at a casting can really boost your morale.
8. Make friends in the industry. I’m sure you already have buddies, but will they understand how tired you are after six castings, or how important a test shoot with that photographer will be for your book? Probably not. Sometimes (or a lot of the time if you’re me), you need to vent to someone who’s sharing similar experiences to you, and vice versa. Advice from someone who’s in the same position as you will be much more useful than someone who thinks that you ‘don’t get out of bed for less than ten grand’ (I wish!).
9. Inevitably people will stereotype you! Unfortunately, models have been given a very unfair name by some people – ‘bimbo’, ‘lazy’ ‘airhead’ etc. I used to find myself fiercely defending my job as the idea of being perceived in this way didn’t sit well with me at all. Most of the models I have met are intelligent, a quality needed when you’re self-employed and don’t have a steady stream of income.
10. And finally… have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously. There’s so much potential to find yourself in such completely utterly bizarre situations, thatyou just have to take everything with a pinch of salt and see the funny side! In my opinion having a good sense of humour is the essential prerequisite to succeeding in the modeling industry – don’t forget to have a laugh, and good luck!