A) Prepare a resume slanted toward modeling assignments. This
resume should stress your education and experience in
performing and in people-related activities. It should
stress skills (ballroom dancing, writing, counseling),
rather than titles (dorm-leader, yearbook editor, drag-
racer), and should end with three personal references who
know you are interested in modeling. If possible, at least
one of these people should be an artist with whom you have
worked as a model. If you have worked with well-known
artists, be sure to list them, even if not as references;
list types of posing you have done (painting, sculpture,
photography, anatomy), as well as places which have hired
B) Get a business card prepared, and carry several with you
wherever you go. You should send two or three with each
resume; hand out two or three at each interview; tape or glue
an envelope of business cards on the inside cover of your
portfolio, hand a few cards out at your first session with
an artist or a group, if the people seem worth your while.
The card will be especially effective if it is typeset on
light-colored (not white) stock, with a graphic logo. The
color and logo should be different from the color and logo on
other cards you may distribute, so you can identify your
modeling card easily. Place on the card your name, the
title “artist’s model”, and a phone number where you can
be contacted, as a model, without embarrassment. Do not
include your address, but leave room so you can write that on
later, for people who may have a good reason to need it.
After you have started modeling, ask artists, photographers, and
students whose work you particularly like to let you keep one or two
of the studies they make. Put these studies together in a large
portfolio, and bring them with you to modeling interviews. A couple
of professional photographs should also be included, even if you do
not model for photographs. Credit the artists. Many artists will be
pleased to have you include their work in your portfolio. You will
almost never find it useful to show the portfolio, but it will give
you an idea of your own progress, and will be handy in case you find
that you do have a chance to negotiate a long-term contract, or one
that offers a high rate of pay.
It is usually wise to arrange an interview, at least by phone,
when you are preparing to work with an individual or a group. This
will initiate personal contact, and provide time for negotiating
details regarding a session. If the interview is direct, be sure to
bring your resume and portfolio, once you have them prepared. Make
sure that you become familiar with the scope of your particular
contract; make sure that your own rights are covered in it.
Even in a phone interview, be sure that you make certain requirements of your own clear, and that some particular requirements
made by your employer are also clear. Here are some examples:
A) What is the hourly rate of pay, and when and how will that
pay be provided (cash, check, once a month, at the session,
and such like).
B) Is modeling to be totally nude, or may you be required to
wear a posing strap (male G-string) or a leotard? If you
distinctly prefer to pose nude, it is helpful – and often
persuasive – to say so in advance.
C) Ask whether contracts are made session by session or on a
longer-term basis (e.g. by the month, or several sessions in
a day). This will allow for better planning, and better
decisions as to whether a contract is worth your time.
D). Ask whether you should provide a replacement in case of
emergency, or whether they would prefer to provide their
own replacements. If they agree to let you provide your
own replacement, ask if they prefer a replacement of your
own sex, or whether the choice is completely up to you.
E) Bring your portfolio; do not offer a “nude demonstration”.
Such demonstrations should be explained if they are
requested, especially if you have your portfolio. Make up
your own mind as to the appropriateness of a request.
Though it may seem surprising, a phone interview is usually
enough for a model and an artist to “size each other up”. If it is,
still try to arrive early at your first session (by pre-arrangement),
and bring your portfolio, for purposes of discussion.
A) The easiest way to become a model is to make an appointment with deans or directors of art schools. Bring with you a resume and portfolio, if you have them prepared. If you already know other models, or know artists who work with models, ask them to recommend you.
B) Look in the Yellow Pages for listings under “Art Instruction
and Schools”. Send your resume addressed to “director” with
a cover letter explaining that you do figure modeling, and
offering to call the office the following week, to discuss
possibilities. Call the following week, and try to set up a
portfolio viewing and an interview. Chairpersons of college
and university art departments can be reached the same way.
Some of these people already work with model agencies. If
so, ask for the names, addresses, and phone numbers of
coordinators for these agencies; see if you want to join
Deans and directors are likely to feel that models are a dime a
dozen. They are wrong. Worthwhile people will learn this from your
own preparation, and from your professional approach. When you have
met course instructors, and have worked with them for several
sessions, ask them to recommend you to artists who will be helpful to
you in developing your abilities and increasing the number of good
assignments for you.
For two reasons, it is good to keep track of income and expenses
related to modeling assignments.
A) To make sure that records are straight for tax purposes.
B) To make sure that your modeling assignments produce more
for you than they cost. Income is simply what you get paid
per session (including transportation money, if that is part
of the agreement) . Expenses should include phone bills,
transportation expenses, expenses for advertising and publicity
publicity (printing business cards and resumes, mailing
letters and resumes, putting together your portfolio, agency
fees and association memberships ) . A second type of expense
which can’t be measured in a “reportable” way is expense of
time. Time spent in keeping a short appointment at a place
some distance away might be better spent keeping a longer
appointment closer to home, unless the more distant
appointment offers greater rewards in ways that are not
financial. See Appendix C for a financial records form.