Should You Pay to Join A Modeling Agency?

Should you pay to join a modeling agency?

Lemme get straight to the point….NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

The End

via GIPHY

But seriously…No, You do not have to pay an agency to represent you.

When it comes to getting representation by an agency, you will have a percentage deducted from your check that will pay the agency for representing you. it can be anywhere from 15% – 25% depending on the agency and your contract. When it comes to spending money in regards to working with an agency, they may ask you to get your pictures done to their standards or to take acting classes. They may have a list of recommended photographers or acting coaches that would be able to help you but you don’t have to use them its completely up to you. They give you these reccomendations because your model tools may not be the right tools for them to use to market you properly.

For example, you may have a ton of photos in your portfolio in the style of an editorial or high fashion model. The agency that is interested in working with you feels that you would make the most success as a commercial model, so they suggest you get a few shots done that represent your commercial look. If you get them done, great, you should start having work in no time. If not, expect that it will be hard for the agency to “sell” you to clients.

If an “agency” asks you to pay money to have access to various jobs that are available, it’s not an agency, its a job listing service and if they are portraying themselves as an agency and not a listing service, don’t bother spending money with them. That just screams SCAM to me.

As a model, or with any profession, you don’t need to pay to get work. With the internet and social media, you can find information on various bookings and agents that can help you along in your journey, you just have to do your work and build your network to help you grow.

Read my post on how I got started in my modeling career!

Alean Elston, Pay to join a modeling agency

Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show…Did you see me on CBS?

Alean Elston CBS 3 Victorias Secret

If you are in Philadelphia Area and stayed up to watch the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, I hope you stayed up a bit longer and watched the news to see me giving you my runway and smizing tips!

 

Special thanks to CBS 3 and Tori Woodill for having me! I hope to come back for the 2018 show!

 

Just in case you missed it click here to watch!

 

If you learned anything from it, be sure to comment below and let me know what you think.

And if you are looking for my tips on what you should wear on a casting click here!

FAQ: I have braids/weave, should I wear it to a casting? #modeladvice

I get asked this question all the time from young models of color who want to break into the biz. In my experience, you should not wear your braids or a weave to a casting. Personally, have never worn braids to a casting but I can tell you that when I have been considered for bookings (after being submitted via a photo casting) and we start discussing the look for the show/event/shoot and I tell them that I currently have braids or faux locs… I can almost guarantee that I won’t get booked unless I am willing to take them out and have my hair styled according to their guidelines/desired look. Have I ever taken them out for a booking, YES and I only did it if the pay/project was worth the time and energy to take them out. It sucks sometimes but that is, unfortunately, the nature of the business.

When you go to an in-person casting, more than likely the job they are booking you for is not going to be styling your hair in braids and even if they are, they need to see what the current state of your hair looks like. Most models of color are not wearing their real hair in the first place and if they are it is in an afro (kinky or curly) or it is a low cropped cut.

My Advice:

Wear your hair how you like it. Be sure it is out of your face and make sure it shows off your face in the best light. With that said, I advise against wearing braids to a casting. Braids don’t show off your hair in its current state and if you wear a weave make sure it looks realistic, don’t wear bangs, and be easy on the baby hairs. Also, Stay away from the lime green and other unnatural hair colors.

The key to hairstyles for a casting: make it look as natural as possible even if it is a weave.

Reader Question: I have Pimples. Can I Still be a Model?

Recently I have been getting a lot of questions about modeling and going to castings, but this one I decided to share because it seems to be a recurring theme, especially among teenagers who want to pursue modeling. Check out the reader’s question below and my response.

Reader’s Question:
I have casting this coming Sunday. However my face has some scars and white heads and I’m just wondering if they’ll look at all my white heads and all because I’m sooo not flawless…. But I’m still growing. I know I’ll have clean soft skin if I don’t have these pimples. So I’m wondering if they don’t really care about the scars because makeup artists are able to do makeup for me next time, or do they really want clean face girls? I planned to cover up with foundation and concealer but you said they want to see you as you are. So I’m really not sure. What if I cover up and next time they are shocked to see my face scars?

My Response:
Your skin condition will be looked at when you attend a casting, you are being judged on your appearance, it’s the nature of the business. They may ask you about it, they may not, but you should be honest about its condition if asked about it. With that said, if you attend the casting, you should wear makeup to cover the scarring and even out your skin tone. Makeup won’t cover the pimples from being seen it will just take away the color of the scarring or redness, which will still allow you to be seen as a blank canvas. Should you get booked for the job, you should communicate your condition with the person who booked you so they can prepare for production.
Will your skin count against you? It’s possible. It takes more work/resources ($$$ for editing, makeup artists, [which isn’t always provided], etc.) to work with a model with problem skin compared to one without them. People in business like to control costs and stay within budget and time constraints and problem skin could hinder that. To increase your chances of being booked in the future, I strongly advise adapting a regimen that will help you achieve smoother skin. Usually a pimple here or there most agents look past it.


*The reader’s question has been edited.


So what do you think, am I right? What advice would you give to this reader? Do you have a question that you want me to answer about modeling? Comment below and I’ll do my best to get back to you ASAP.


This question originally appeared as a comment on Model Advice: What to Wear to Casting Calls and Go-Sees

“How do I know if its a scam?” Part 1 #ModelTipTuesday

Day 4 – Still kickin it on Alex Beadon’s Blog Challenge and today’s challenge is to answer a frequently asked question in a blog post. I think that this is something that I;ll add to my blog on a weekly basis. #ModelTipTuesday will be dedicated to your questions about modeling. If there are any questions you have, send them to me via any of my social media sites, or email me your questions. I will either respond to them directly or respond to you and post the question as a blog post for others to learn from. So, Here I go!

One of the constant questions that I get asked about is scams. This modeling business can be shaaaady baby! I like to think that most people are inherently good but the ones that aren’t make it hard to decipher the good ones from the bad. I know it makes it hard to know who to trust and who is really there for your best interest or theirs, but there are a few things that you have to look at in order to really understand if something is a scam or not.

Check this out

Signs this might be a scam (according to Alean):

  1. If they contact you by email
    1. They are speaking in is broken English, or text message slang, or slang period
    2. The email address that they are emailing you from is non identifying (ex: 7394xytty@gmail.com) OR it doesn’t match the name of the person sending it (ex: Im Lisa Johnson but my email address is MartinElizabeth@gmail.com)
    3. They tell you they work with a well known brand or designer like, Ralph Lauren or Gucci (No high fashion brand is booking models sight unseen via the internet)
    4. They tell you that you have been selected to work for that big name client and want to pay you a large sum of money for your work but part of it will be paid upfront. (NO AGENCY WILL PAY YOU UPRONT AND ASK FOR THE MONEY BACK!)
    5. In order to you to be paid you have to provide them with a ton of personal information and your bank account information (ALL THAT INFO IS NOT NEEDED ESPECIALLY BANK ACCOUNT INFO)
    6. They leave no contact info (phone number, address, etc.) for you to contact them if you have any questions or want to look them up.

Take a look at this email that was sent to a model friend of mine.

 

Hello,

 Good afternoon to you over there and hope you are doing fine today?

thanks for your response, Presently the company (Ralph Lauren)

needs a model to advertise their new outfit and i am one of the

favored supervisor for the project coming up next month in your state.

Subsequently,The date is between 28th and 29th of June (NOTE THAT ON

YOUR CALENDAR) and the shoot location will be somewhere very close to

you and i will let you know it after details have been received…

 Beside how much is your charge for 4hrs in a day (WE PAY $250 TO

MODELS FOR PER HOUR SHOOT) and you are gonna do that for 2 days (Total

$2,000 for 8hours).

Transportation allowance will be included as we continue to work

together,you could be invited over to the company to sign a contract

with us if you pose pretty well. In order for this effect i would

implore you to provide me with your statistics (SIZE) as soon as

possible? so that what you need would be taken care of asap…

 You will first receive $300 to start with,which will be sent to you

immediately,this is for your transportation allowance only (NOTE: This

payment is for your transport ONLY and your full payment for the job

will be paid to you in cash immediately after the shoot in the

location).

 The photo shoots will be taken and sent to the company and it will be

display on our online web and magazine (worldwide).

 The company have personal photographers and makeup artist,so we have

made all necessary arrangement for your good looking on that day and

also our photographers are available to give you best directive. They

will be contacting you for proper

arrangement of time and location after payment has been made.

Bonus: The cloths you will be wearing for the shoot.

ESCORT:As matter of choice,you can bring along any one of your choice

to the shooting venue. All traveling Expenses, Food and

Accommodations/Hotel would be covered by my company. my company will

cover all the expenses on your escort.

EXPECTATIONS: You must have positive ID.

You must have a nice pedicure and manicure.

You must have nice smile and humble personality.

You must be willing to pose very well and good.

No hairy armpits.

 Reference and other forms/documented papers will be send to you via

courier service a week before the shoot.

 Guess the arrangement is understood? In order for payment to be made

to you on time,i would need you to provide me with the following

info…..

 

Name in full:

Residential address:

City:

State:

Zip-code:

Phone number(cell and home):

Age:

Charges $2,000(8 hours):YES/NO

Transport allowance $300:

OCCUPATION:

AGE:

ATTACH 2 RECENT PICTURES:

 

Measurements:

 

Best Regards,

Rick McNeil.

 

This kind of scam is a variation of the Nigerian Email scam. You know those emails that say they are a random Prince from some unheard of land and  they want you to claim your inheritance left by a distant relative, and they want to send you a check for the amount but you have to pay them money back once you cash the check… Yeah they took that to modeling. Check out this link that details more red flags you should be on the look out for if you happen to get a random email like this one – http://www.newmodels.com/Nigeria.html

 

Good luck out there in model land! and remember a Good Model is a Smart Model!

 

Be smart lovelies!

 

xoxo, Alean

Before you start (or restart) your modeling career, you NEED to ask yourself this first!

I’ve been a little under the weather and super busy since my last post. But I’m back ready to continue where I left off and get back to Alex Beadon’s Blogging Challenge. This post is my response to the Day 3 prompt and I hope you enjoy it. Feedback and questions in the comments is HIGHLY encouraged!

 

About 11 or 12 years ago, I started my journey as a model. Over the years I learned a lot and there have been many times that I have revamped my brand, my image, and my strategy. This year I will be at my 12 year mark in regards to my modeling and I have been thinking about the work that I have done and the goals that I haven’t achieved and how the hell I am going to achieve them! One of the things that I realized is that I never asked myself (and you should ask yourself this too) the most important question in regards to starting a modeling career:

 

What kind of modeling am I best suited for?

 

I know most of you would like to think that you can book any type of campaign or you should be able to get any type of work just because you are the fabu you! But the industry doesn’t quite work that way. Like Meek Mill says “There’s levels to this” in modeling, there’s categories to this. And you shouldn’t waste your time shooting and building imagery (your brand) if you don’t fit into a particular category. Of course there are exceptions to that but these that are the exceptions have already established themselves in other areas and can easily move into other categories if you get what I mean.

Some examples of various types of models:

 

  • High Fashion Model
  • Commercial Model
  • Alternative Model
  • Parts Model
  • Glamour Model
  • Hair Model
  • Urban Model
  • Promotional Model
  • Spokes Model
  • And the list goes on…

Once you have figured out what type of modeling you are best suited for, you should do one of 2 things. Find an agency that specialized in the type of category that you are suited for or you should begin to develop your portfolio and other model marketing materials (comp cards, business card, social media, websites, etc.) in regards to the categories that you fit into. (If you sign with an agency they will assist you with developing the proper portfolio and materials to best “sell” you.) If you are 5”4’ and 125 lbs, you are not a high fashion model, don’t try to develop a high fashion image. You would most likely be a commercial model but not high fashion. Your pictures should reflect commercial imagery and not attempting to be a replica for editorial ads. For example, if you are a commercial model your pictures should look like this:

Source – Pinterest

And not like this:

Image Source – Pinterest

When building your portfolio and looking for some inspiration for the type of look you should be shooting for, get onto my FAVORITE inspirational app – PINTEREST! When you look on there, search for categories as it relates to you but end it with photography or photoshoot, for example, for myself and a beach shoot that I am currently planning on executing I searched “beach fashion photography” or “beach photoshoot” and it turned up thousands of examples that I could use to put together for my shoot, as well as taking note to the poses and angles that the models were doing to make those swimsuits, and clothes looks so great.

 

Some factors to consider that will play into what type of modeling you should be pursuing:

  • Your age (Not your actual age, but the age that people perceive you to be, you can be 30 but look 18, modeling is about the look not the actual age)
  • Your body type (if you are slim, thick, muscular, etc. it determines they type of modeling you should pursue)
  • Your height
  • Your personality (if you aren’t comfortable talking to strangers, promotional modeling or being a spokes model would not be the best thing for you to pursue)
  • Your look (do you look high fashion aka a unique/strange beauty, or do you look commercial aka Your face is relatable and friendly for consumers)
  • Your location (your location will determine the type of work that is typically available to you, for example, NYC known for high fashion models, some acting. While in LA or Miami they are known for commercial models, acting, and glamour models.)
  • Your overall goals

 

Ok, I think this post is getting a bit too lengthy so I’m gonna stop typing now! Lol

Next post, I think I’ll address scams! Stay tuned!!!

Comment below if you have any questions. Your answer may be addressed in my upcoming posts!

How I got started as a model…

The header pic, is a pic from about 10 years ago, maybe more an 10 years, of my first swimsuit shoot in Atlantic City. I thought I was DOOOOOOING IT! lol Thank goodness that was the beginning and there was a lot of improvement to be had!

 

Day 2 of the 7 day blogging challenge by Alex Beadon, and the challenge is to write about how you got your start as an entrepreneur. Since my modeling is how I got my start as an entrepreneur, I decided to detail that. If you want to know how it got me to start my business, I’ll be detailing that in the future on my company’s blog, “The Pour”

 

Here Goes!

 

What initially drew you in to become a model?

 

I have a cousin that was a model when I was a kid. I remember looking at her pictures in her portfolio and some of her tear sheets from the ads and print work that she had done and thought to myself, I want to do that. The pretty, perfect, and polished look that she portrayed was what initially sparked my interest in modeling. I think I was around 9 years old when I realized a model is what I wanted to be.

 

What challenges did you face?

 

Well, the number one challenge that I faced was getting started. I didn’t know how or where to start, who could point me in the right direction, how to get work, what did I need to be a model, what was a scam and what was worth pursuing? And so forth.

My first comp card. Thank the Lord for growth lol (that email address, I no longer use by the way)
My first comp card. Thank the Lord for growth lol
(that email address, I no longer use by the way)

How did you overcome them?

 

I did a lot of researching, back when I was starting there were a few ‘urban’ models who had websites that displayed their portfolios and resumes and also gave a lot of tips on how they got started (before blogging was popular) so I took some of their advice from their sites as well as other modeling advice sites and started out on pursing my career. A lot of what I have come to learn has been from trial and error and research to figure out what path would be the best path for me to try. Through my research, I learned that pictures are the main thing that will get you booked and without them you won’t be taken seriously as a model. SO I set out to do a photo shoot. I found a few social networking sites dedicated to models and photographers and I put a few pictures of myself on there that opened myself as looking to shoot in order to build my portfolio and I had a number of photographers respond willing to shoot me and a few even for free! I decided to shoot with one photographer (I paid him) and ended up learning a TON from my initial shoot and used those pictures to book more shoots in order to perfect my posing and my port, and thus I began to seek out work and the bookings started to come.

 

How did you get your first booking?

 

My first booking was fashion show that I was referred to do by the same photographer that I did my very first shoot with. It was for a local designer, I can’t remember her name, but I was booked for that show based on the pictures he showed her that he shot of me. I didn’t even know how to walk the runway I was a PURE newbie, Lol But I booked it!

 

What has been your biggest lesson as a model?

 

The biggest lesson I have learned as a model is the vital fact that pictures and your network can and will take you places. Without the pictures and without knowing people you won’t get far. It’s like the saying goes, “Its not always what you know, its who you know and who knows you.”

Allow me to reintroduce myself…

My name is Hov, (Oh) H-to-the-O-V.……..
But not really tho! Lol

Hi I'm Alean

If you haven’t figured it out by the domain name of the site, my name is

Alean Elston

(AL-leen ELS-ten)

and welcome to my digital space!

I’ve been modeling for 12 years now (and still getting stronger) and as I’ve gone about in my career I’ve come across some awesome people and learned a lot about business and a ton about myself. What I’ve realized is that I learned the most when I shared with others and when they shared with me. It enabled me to grow and I hope that I’ve enabled others to grow as well. With that being said, my goal is to connect with the aspiring models, the professional models, the drinks and business enthusiast, and the beverage and modeling/entertainment industry folks who want to follow along with me in our journey with my blog. I believe that if you are one of those people, then we have a few things in common.

 

I love modeling, modeling led me to start my own business, starting my own business enabled me to work with various beverage brands and sparked the passion of me working within the beverage industry. All of these things are very connected in my life and if you have a passion for any one of those things, there is where we share our connection. I’ve been in your shoes as the inexperienced model, looking to find out how to get started and how to start booking shoots, shows, and getting paid. I’ve been the business owner that struggled (sometimes I still struggle) to get the first client and develop the momentum to continue to build a customer base. I am the person passionate about cocktails and wine and beers and wanted to learn all I can about the business of it, I’m also the blogger that lives life just like you but my goal is to share my experiences and ideas and to connect with those who share the same sentiment, and build and grow.
The one thing that I hope that you take away from my blog is that you can have multiple goals but they mean nothing if you don’t pursue them. All it takes is a few baby steps towards your goals for them to gain traction and watch it grow faster than the speed of light. I’ve watched it happen to a number of my peers, and now it’s my turn.

Watch me work.
If you need to reach out to me with any questions, or you would like to work together please don’t hesitate to email me – alean@aleanelston.com

Blog Giveaway Sponsored by U.G.L.Y Tees!!!! [ENDED]

Ive been talking about doing a giveaway on my blog for the longest and I finally got the chance to do one! A special thank you to U.G.L.Y Tees who agreed to do an instagram contest with me and giveaway 3 shirts to some lick followers.

In the video at the top of the page I’m wearing the “Makeup is my Caffeine” Off the shoulder shirt in grey. If you’d like one without entering the contest you can get it here.

If you would like to possibly win a shirt, just follow the simple rules below! Good luck and see you on the gram!

To be eligible to #win, All you have to do is:

1. Repost this image or any image on the @uglytees instagram page
2. Include #uglygiveaway AND #iwearugly anywhere in the caption of your repost
3. Follow and tag @uglytees & @completebeauty

The winners of this giveaway will be announced via the @uglytees instagram page on June 17th.

Good Luck! and remember, “U Gotta Live Young”

***Wanna shout out from @uglytees? Tag us in your U.G.L.Y Apparel gear and we’ll repost it! Dont have any U.G.L.Y Apparel? be sure to get yours from uglytees.bigcartel.com***

The hairstyle that made me stand out to modeling agents #modellife #modeladvice

Over the weekend, I was in a Modeling Competition that one of my agencies holds every year. I’ve been with them for about 10 years now and I’ve never entered it, I never entered ANY modeling competition before but I’ve worked numerous events behind the scenes of them. They have a bunch of agents come from all over the country and the world to judge it and give out some amazing prizes. What made me enter it this year was the opportunity to go to China for an all expenses paid, paid model booking. Who could give up a chance for a free trip to China, international modeling creds to add to my resume, and did I mention being paid to model in China?! lol

Memories of my Last out of the country modeling related excursion. Ready to blow the dust off of my passport.
Memories of my Last out of the country modeling related excursion. Ready to blow the dust off of my passport.

I was a little self conscious about entering the competition, mainly because MOST of the people competing were literally half my age or younger (if you can guess how old I am, theres 50 brownie points for you lol), and a tad bit slimmer than me. I’m still slim just not supermodel skinny like I used to be! lol But I entered this competition because it was for a lingerie/swimwear client in China, and swimwear and lingerie is PERFECT for my body type so I thought I could walk away from this competition confidently with the winner’s trophy in the bag.

So did I win?