How can I get a model and what should I do?

Hi Priyanka

First of all this answer does not cover child / teen models, and because I am 99% certain you are female, this answer only covers female models.

I’m guessing from your name that you are from South or South East Asia. I also think that what you meant to ask was, “How can I become a model …”

First of all, you don’t say anything about your age, height or physique, so let us assume, for a moment that you are:

  • Of the right age to be considered by a major mainstream agency (about 18 – 22);
  • Tall enough to undertake top end fashion catwalk and editorial work (5′9″ / 1.75m);
  • The correct dress size (UK 6 / 8, US 2 / 4).

If you meet all three criteria, and you have “the look”, whatever that is, (nobody has ever given me a definition), then just to give you the bad news first, you probably have a one in a thousand chance of finding a major agency that will take you onto their books.

As a photographer I shoot model folios, I use the services of models in my commercial work, and I scout for one such agency (on mainland Europe) and they are very picky indeed.

That does not mean to say you can’t be a model, and there are many more people who are not quite tall enough, a bit bigger in terms of physique, or are older who earn an income as freelance models. In 2015 I worked with a female model who was 47 years old for a commercial product shoot … and she was perfect for the job. She was also two inches (5 cm) under agency height, and a size 10 – 12 (UK).

I engaged her through the alternative modelling route.

There are a number of websites around the world who offer people the opportunity to register as freelance models (and also photographers, stylists etc) and it was on one of those sites that I found that lady.

The three major international websites are:

  • Purpleport (based in the UK);
  • Model Mayhem (based in the USA);
  • Model Kartei (based in Germany).

All have their good points, and all have their faults.

The fastest growing international site, and one which I cannot fault in any way at all, is Purpleport.

On those sites you should be able to find photographers who will be willing to work with you on a collaboration / TF (time for … images) basis to help you build a portfolio free of charge.

I do not know personally of any such sites based in Asia.

A few very important points:

  • Do not pay big money for a portfolio. The places that offer that are almost invariably commercial makeover studios;
  • Do not register (and pay for registration), on any website that says it will take anyone on as a model. If major agencies could offer that then they would … and they don’t, because there are a limited number of well-paid jobs.
  • Do not believe anyone that invites you to come to the Middle East, (or anywhere else for that matter), for a month or more and offers you $3000 to $5000 plus flights and accommodation. Trust me – the flights are one way. Work the rest out for yourself.

Please post any questions in the comments section.

Barney Douglas

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