Reader’s Letter: All Agencies have Rejected Me for being Too Commercial. What Should I Do?

Dear Rebecca,

I read your post on how to avoid rejections. It is so good but I feel like I’ve heard it all before. Most times I go in for the London agencies walk-in times and all I get is rejection.

Most of the time they say I’m too commercial. What does that mean? Should I lose weight?

I have paid for portfolio pictures before, which I now know I shouldn’t have done. I got scammed – I got approached by an agency who charged me £50 a picture and that they wanted to help me with my career.

I feel like I have a better walk than half the girls out there, and I want to do really high end modelling.

Should I even be dreaming of modelling or should I start eating Nandos again? I need a direction to point me in.

Hello! Oh dear, I’m sorry you got scammed. It makes me so, so angry that girls get approached by these scumbag parasites. I hope you’re never going to do that again.

So firstly, let’s address what ‘commercial’ means. Modelling is pretty much split into commercial and editorial. The latter are the uber cool models you see on uber cool mags like Dazed and Confused and iD. Alien-like creatures who can rock the avant garde styling the mags favour.

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Editorial models also do a lot of catwalk – they’re generally very thin, and very young. There’s no money in this type of modelling unless you get to do campaigns. Commercial, on the other hand, is slightly cheesier. It’s more smiley, and more explicitly used to sell products. The models tend to look sexy, or girl-next-door.

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You will have been rejected for being ‘too commercial’ because the agency won’t be able to build your career. You see nearly all models start out as young, thin new faces who do a lot of editorial and travelling to build their book and their experience. As they grow older and their bodies fill out a bit, they are more appropriate for commercial jobs. Look at Leomie Anderson‘s career – she started out doing the Vogues, and is now walking for Victoria’s Secret and earning the big bucks.

If you start out as a very commercial model, it is harder to build your career. And you won’t have had the sort of experience that attracts commercial clients.

So please, please don’t get thinner! It’s really not about weight. Agencies will take on a model who has bigger measurements or is shorter than the usual, because they can still see potential, and I’m afraid that if you’ve been to all the legitimate agencies and rejection, it might be that modelling just isn’t for you.

I’ve seen your pictures and you’re very beautiful. Models aren’t always beautiful – they just have the right bone structure – and they capture the light in *just* the right way.

If you love fashion, maybe you could work from behind the lens. Make up, styling, co-ordinating catwalk shows, photography, journalism! There’s loads out there in the world you want to work in, which isn’t modelling.

I hate to shatter anyone’s dream – but I also don’t want to encourage anyone to chase a dream that can’t come true.

So go eat a Nandos and ENJOY it!

Cover image/Instagram



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