I often approach aspiring and established models asking them how they began their career in the modeling industry and a few things they have learned first hand. I found that every story is different and each journey is always inspiring. If you are a model or just starting out I would love it if you shared a little of your journey in the comments section at the bottom.
How I Became A Model
The last few years I have been focusing on sharing the knowledge as a mentor and began creating this online resource. The industry changes a little each year and it’s hard to find a place to start in learning where to build your career. Whether you are looking to become a model or reading inspiring stories to know that you are not alone in the journey. I personally have had many ups and downs and even contemplated quitting several times. The only problem is that no matter what happens I still love this industry.
When I look back now, It doesn’t actually feel that long ago. I sometimes still feel like I’m a new model or a new face as they call it, still learning… and that’s ok.
This is my personal journey and the thought process of what I went though when I finally decided I wanted to be a professional model. Sure I have modeled for friends or walked in a charity show but I wanted it to be my career.
In high school, I got pretty sick and didn’t know why. It wasn’t until I was 17, that I was diagnosed with severe endometriosis after the surgeons removed a football-sized, six-pound tumor. This left me with a magnificent scar 6″ scar across my stomach and a new outlook on life.
Fast-forward a few years and AA degree under my belt, I began to worry about what I really wanted in life. What was my true purpose? I raised with the idea of being whatever I wanted to be when I “grew up.” The only thing I didn’t know was that life would get in the way.
I went to school like my parents wanted. The feelings of being accepted into the psychology program at the only university I applied for and finding a “big girl job” as an assistant manager at a major chain sneaker store didn’t feel special. They felt as if I was living someone else’s life.
So It Begins
It was March a few days before my 23rd birthday.
(Yea, I know… Seems like an older age to get into modeling but I got a late start in the industry. Don’t let someone tell you that you are too old. If you really want something you’ll work for it. I DID)
It was the year that I was going to finally chase my dreams. I wanted to be a model. They had such different lives. Not just in front of the camera but behind it too. These were people who took care of their skin, knew how to wear stylish clothing and even got to travel and meet new people all the time. At least that’s how I thought it would be like to be a model. This was an attainable dream even with the horror stories but doesn’t every industry have a dark side?
We didn’t have wifi in our apartment, so I took to my smart phone and looked up agencies in the Dallas, TX area. There wasn’t as many as I thought there would be but I was still hopeful. “Maybe I could get signed in London or New York City,” I thought.
I didn’t know the first thing about signing to an agency. To google, I went: “How to get a model agency.” I realize now this wasn’t the best search but it got me started. It was like a wormhole, with each article I read it lead me to a new thing to search. I probably read for about 3 hours just on modeling articles. My final search was “Agency Open Calls Dallas, TX”. The first agency I found, that didn’t look like a total scam, had an open call for next week. “This was meant to be,” I thought.
Lucky for me I had already read what to wear to an open call from the blog college fashion. I pulled out my skinny jeans, a black cami and my new black pumps (that I couldn’t even walk in at first). I felt ready yet very scared for this new possible journey.
If you aren’t sure what an open call is, I would recommend that you take a look at our model glossary HERE!
I made the 45 min journey to Dallas and walked into the nearest Walgreens. I had my friend take full-length photos of me near the bathroom (it had the best light) on her small digital camera. Thank goodness for the instant print machines, after all the reading and research there was no way I was going to walk into my open call empty handed.
I was full of questions and couldn’t wait to ask them:
- What if they say no?
- Do I go on to the next agency until someone says yes to me?
- Do I give up on the dream and finish college?
- Should I write all these questions down for the open call?
- Can I be both a model and finish school?
- What if they don’t like my huge scar on my stomach?
- What kind of model am I?
We made it to the agency, went up the elevator and walked into the waiting room. Nervous and sweaty from the Texas heat, I was already red in the face. There was a runway video playing about how to runway walk and a few clipboards seeking model stats. I filled it out the best I could, (how do I know what my bust, waist, or hips measurements are?! My driver’s licenses says I’m 5’8). I turned it in and waited.
There weren’t any other models in the waiting room but a tall and slender model with natural hair gracefully walked out of the office past us and out the door.
It was finally my turn. I walked into a room and sat down at the table and tried to act natural. The agent was asking me regular questions about who I am and what I like to do (I didn’t know at first but now I know she was trying to gauge my personality). I told her everything I could with confidence including that I was nervous. I had modeled in small events and for friends before but I had never been paid or had an agent. She asked me what made me want to become a model and I told her the truth not what I thought she wanted to hear.
She took my measurements, I showed her my scar, I did my best runway walk (in those shoes I miraculously learned to walk in) down the hall and that was it. We sat back down to discuss the business aspects. I told her exactly what I was looking for in an agent and what I was willing to learn and do to become a model. Very pleased with what she heard she wrote down my information on what looked like an official form. She walked over to the file cabinet and pulled out a contract. She let me read over parts of it reassuring me that we wanted to the same things if I was to become one of her signed models. that I should shop around and find the best agency for me but set up and appointment if I wanted to model for them.
She saw the glimmer in my eyes and felt the passion from my words. Just so things didn’t seem to good to be true, she gave me some helpful advice. She said I should shop around and find the best agency for me. She was right. My career could have been completely different I would have signed with any other agency. Good or bad.
About a week later I signed with a boutique model management in Dallas, TX and booked my first shoot. It was an adrenaline rush. It felt like I was on the right path to finding my purpose although I still really didn’t know what that was. Honestly, who knows that at 23?
I was obsessed with learning about the modeling industry and immersed myself in it. I stayed in constant contact with my agent and slowly began working with her recruiting new talent and finding clients as well as working as a model.
It wasn’t easy but I eventually quit my job at the shoe store to focus on modeling. I wasn’t making the big bucks yet and was living off the money I had set aside but I was living my dream and focused on making it last. Broke or not, I didn’t care.
Since then, I have been published in several magazines, campaigns, and lookbooks. Modeling has given me the dream I’ve always wanted. I get to travel and meet new people all the time. I take care of my skin, focus on being healthy, and finally developed a sense of style.
I still model and can be booked through my agency, please visit my contact page for more information.
Like I said at the beginning, each journey is different and inspiring. What makes it special is that it is yours. I haven’t thought about quitting lately but I have set different goals for myself. There is more to this industry than just being a model.
I’m curious, how did you decide or become a model? Please share your journey and any questions below in our comments.