Model 101: Where to Find Modeling Jobs as an Unsigned Model
When I introduce myself as a model the next question that follows is “Who is your agent?” . Yes at times, not having an agent would make me feel unfit to model. However my over 13 year run, extensive resume and continuous work makes me proud of my journey.
Mic did a fabulous article on freelance models, check it out here. The article highlights successful unsigned models and their triumph.
If you are not signed exclusively with an agent you need to read, print, share and study this post.
Here are some great ways to find some gigs on your own:
Paid casting website are worth every penny. Here are some of my favorite.
Actorsaccess.com: They cater to NY, CA, South and Midwest
Backstage.com: This covers most states and the site caters mostly to film, reality TV and theater but you will find a couple of modeling gigs too.
NYCastings.com: This one is more specific to NY/NJ/CT and PA. It has modeling gigs both fit and print as well as agency open calls and film/TV gigs.
You can also get gigs by networking at local fashion shows, workshops and events. An aspiring model, should never leave home without a few comp cards (will discuss this in future post) and business cards.
The best way to prep for an event is to write the names of folks you want to meet, their occupation and some fun fact on the person or the brand. Don’t be shy to approach them. Give them a firm handshake, maintain eye contact and deliver your 1 minute speech....make it short and sweet.
Sample: "I model, I am a size___, I am professional, reliable and anxious to learn. I would like to give you my business card in case you ever need a model for your next shoot or show."
Modeling is like any other business, you have to spread the word that you have a product (Y-O-U) and you are available to work. Some will bite and others won't; but like anything in life the more you try, the more opportunities you will have to get a HIT.
Follow your favorite brands, influencers/bloggers and plus size models (follow me here) to always “be in the KNOW”. Following the correct folks will give you the ability to see who has a new plus size line, who is seeking models, which is the next hot event, who is shooting what and where. These are all details you can use to sell and market yourself. Brands occasionally reply to DMs and have the ability to direct you to the correct party within the company.
In addition, make sure you tag the brands on all your pictures so they can see how awesome you look in their product. I personally have worked with models that were discovered via social media.
Note: Please don’t pitch yourself on the brands comment section. DM them or go to their website and look for a contact email.
Emails / Calls:
During my telemarketing days (I had many jobs), I hated to do this but now that I am my own business I understand the logic of doing it. This option requires fact finding skills and persistence. You need to look for emails, numbers or addresses to folks in charge of hiring models and target them by emailing, mailing them your comp card (including a handwritten personal note) and/or calling. Don't get discourage if you don't book a gig or receive a reply...this is a hard one but when done correctly it can be a WIN.
Note: Make sure all emails are professionally written, with no grammar/spelling errors and the font is reader friendly. Avoid large attachments or too many links. All of this can trigger the company’s firewall to move your email to their junk folder.
Work With Small Local Agencies
Most small agencies are easier to work with and surprisingly they might get you more gigs then being signed exclusively to a major agent.
I work with a few local non-exclusive agencies, no contract is involved and they only collect 20% of the work they find me. It is a very stress-free working relationship.
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