I regularly hear from models in remote locations asking if they should submit themselves to the top agencies in New York or Los Angeles.
My answer is usually a disappointing NO!
There is a simple premise that exists regarding location in most businesses. You work where you live or within a reasonable and convenient commute.
The majority of the modeling business is NOT like what you see in the movies. Clients do not routinely hire models that live out of their market. You model where you live.
The simple reasons. . .
The expense involved in paying a models travel expenses.
Commercial models are attractive looking real people. In other words – there is rarely a shortage of a given look in any metropolitan market – especially New York or Los Angeles.
Risk. There is a lot of cost involved in producing advertising, regardless of whether it is print or TV. Having a model travel a long distance to a shoot adds to the risk factor that something could prevent the shoot from happening without a hitch.
Even in smaller markets like Baltimore or Kansas City or Des Moines, if you live more than 2 hours from an agency – it is unlikely that an agency will want to do business with you. Unless of course they are unscrupulous and just want to take your money for services that you don’t need.
Example: New York – In a class of its own
The majority of new models who ask me about working in other markets want to work in New York and yet they are all of 5’6″ in height or less! Had they taken just a few minutes to look over the height requirements for the New York agencies they would have already known that they are too short.
The major problem though is not the height requirement. Indeed – every agency makes exceptions if they find exceptional talent with an exceptional look. Are you noticing the trend here?. The problem with making a trip to New York on your school break or vacation is that if you are signed by an agency, you had better be prepared to move there – immediately!
Will they pay for your move and expenses? NO. Agencies make a fair assumption. . . If you apply for work – you are available for work.
Here is where this concept becomes a major problem. Even if you are in a city like Philadelphia which is only 2 hours from New York, you will have a difficult time maintaining a good relationship with a New York agency.
You see, if you are lucky, the New York agency will call you at 5:00p.m. on a Thursday to tell you that you have an 8:00a.m. go-see the next morning. Yes – that means you need to be in Manhattan by 8:00a.m. for a go-see – not a job. You will notice I said “if you are lucky”. More often than not, you will be called at 10:00a.m. and told that they need you there by 2:00p.m.
They do not care that you are at work, in school, taking a final, babysitting your child, etc. That is your problem. If you turn them down once – you may get lucky and be asked another time. Turn them down twice – you can likely consider yourself finished with that agency and you have now burned a bridge. There is no shortage of models in a city like New York.
Recommended Reading about The Modeling Industry
- So you want to be a model?
- What are the different types of modeling?
- Glossary of Modeling Terms and Phrases from A – Z
- Who should be a model?
- It’s not enough to be pretty if you want to model
- Do I need to take classes to be a model?
- Obstacles to becoming a model
- Location, Location, Location – You model where you live