How to Become a Model #2…Agency Walk-Ins
This is for the brave. You’re putting yourself out there, fully squaring up to the face of rejection, and that’s a very scary thing to do.
The good news is: it’s utterly simple. You don’t need to do any prep for this, apart from make sure you look right – you don’t need pictures, professional make up or to learn any lines. All you need, at this point, is to possess a face and a body that you don’t mind being judged.
So! First things first: I’ve said it before and I won’t get tired of saying it: Only go into agencies who are on the AMA. This is the Association of Model Agents and it means that you have certain rights and protection, by law. DO NOT go into an agency that isn’t on the AMA. I did, and I was burned, by never getting paid on time.
So next you want to check you fit the criteria. Are you 5”7 and above? Are you a size 10 or below? (Or, if over, you may be aiming for plus-size modelling which is cool and well-paid) Are you below 21? If you don’t fit all of these criteria, then you really need to think about whether professional modelling is for you, as you are looking at near-certain rejection. I’m only saying that to maybe prevent someone from feeling hurt, not from any sort of elitist or mean impulse.
OK! So what now? Well, ring up the agencies and ask whether they do walk-ins, and at what time. You don’t want to pop in at the wrong time, as bookers are really busy and you’ll be starting off on the wrong foot. If it doesn’t fit in with your school time or schedule in general, then arrange a time with them. Just don’t go in off-the-cuff, as they might get all grumpy with you for interrupting a call. The best idea is to go in during school holidays.
What to Wear
So you’ve got your list of agencies! It’s time to choose your outfit! A lot of models choose their wackiest, most attention grabbing outfit, thinking it’ll make them stand out…
Alternatively, they dress up as if about to hit the town for a night out on the tiles, with sky scraper heels and a face full of slap. Both of these are bad choices.
How much is too much? This much #tangerinedream
The key words to remember here are:
Wash your hair and leave it to dry naturally. Cleanse, tone and moisturise your skin, gently. If you must, apply a little bit of powder to matt down shine, curl your eyelashes and wear a bit of tinted lip balm – NO MORE! The agency want to see the bare beauty, the bare skin and the bare bone structure that they’d be working with were they to sign you. If you were to walk in in your brother’s baggy T shirt, a pair of your Dad’s dungarees and no make up at all, you’d still be signed if you had the right face. Agencies aren’t as dumb as their reputation! You must be comfortable with looking natural if you want this job! I like to wear red lipstick. I LOVE my People Tree clothes of floral dresses and clompy boots. Below is an example of what I have frequently been seen in public wearing – and not on fancy dress days…
However when it comes to polaroids, I follow the ‘blank canvas rule’ and duly don my plain black vest top and black jeans. Boring, but professional. Here’s a polaroid of me, in said boring outfit. You only really look at my face, where as in the previous picture, you see everything but my face!
As for clothes: the more boring, the better for a walk in. A simple dress or, ideally, a pair of skinny jeans with a plain t shirt/vest top is ideal. It allows them to see your body without having to ask you to strip to a bikini (a bit painful for a total newbie). As for shoes – heels or sneakers are fine, but not platforms that launch your upper body into the outer hemisphere. You’ll notice, as soon as you start modelling, that your fellow models dress for comfort, ease and travelling on the tube without people taking photos up your skirt than anything else.
The best accessory to take with you in this situation is your mum, your dad, a legal guardian or, if no one else is available, your best friend. You won’t be judged for this by the agency. You want to feel supported emotionally for any rejection, and to have someone to talk through your choices with if you get a few acceptances. It’s also great, from a legal perspective, to make sure that you do have a guardian with you. I went in with my seriously uncool dad (sorry dad, but you do love motorways xxx) to Models 1, and was rejected. It was really nice to chat it through how I felt with him afterwards, plus he bought me a chocolate milkshake and we went to the Natural History Museum.
Doing the Walk-In
So, Today’s the Day! Get their addresses sorted, plan yourself an itinerary, pack yourself a lunch, put your comfy walking shoes on and get out there, head held high and full of positivity!
When you go into the agency, they’ll make you wait for a bit and then someone will come out to chat to you. Chances are, they’ll have made up their mind by the time they’ve shaken your hand. Try to feel as relaxed as you can at this point (I know it’s tough!). There are no right or wrong answers – they’re just trying to get a feel for your personality. Most bookers are very sensitive to the fact that it’s very young teens with very shaky confidence dreaming very big dreams about modelling, so they will be kind and gentle to you.
At this point you may be told that you’re not right. Smile, keep the tears inside, say thank you for their time and go get yourself an ice cream! If you can bear to (no pressure) maybe ask what advice they’d give you for getting signed. It might help you with future walk-ins. Chat to me if you want!
If they’re interested, they’ll now take photos of you. GOD the pressure! I’ll be starting vlogs soon, and telling you how to pose, but what you’ve got to do is keep your face natural! No pouting, no dramatically dipping your chin, no rapper hand signs. Just relax your features, look into the camera, and think about something you really love (your dog, your best friend, your brother (doubtful, you’re your brothers are like mine!)). They’ll do side profile, front on and body shots, and go in and show the other bookers.
Kim shows you how NOT to pose…
Next up is the tense bit. In most agencies, every single booker has to agree a yes or a no, based on your picture (some may come out to meet you, to make up their minds). It’s quite horrible, if I’m honest: a room full of people, judging your appearance and whether they can make money off it. But still – if you want to do this job, you need to get used to that feeling, believe me!
So it’ll be a rejection or an acceptance at this point. If you’re rejected, keep breathing steadily ‘til you’re out of there – you may want a little cry! That’s cool! I have cried many times throughout my career at certain rejections, even quite recently. It just means you’re passionate, plus being rejected on the way you look is a PAINFUL and HARSH feeling, and no one is going to judge you for that.
And if you were accepted? Hooray! I’d recommend heading to all the agencies on the list still, and seeing where else you’re accepted. As I’ve said before, big and small agencies have their different pros and cons, and the best bet is go where you really clicked with a booker or two. It’s fantastic to be signed, but it’s a lot of struggle and hard work from here to establish yourself as a successful, working model. Hopefully, though, support and advice from ModelTypeFace will help!