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How Do I Become a Model?

Here is advice from Lisa Wegner and Joanna Inverso. Lisa moderates the Modelz Q&A section of Canadian Actor Online, which offers helpful advice on modelling at www.canadianactor.com, runs a production company and works as a model and actress. Joanna is one of Toronto's veteran models and operates a consulting company for models.

I want to be a model. How do I know if I have a chance?
To be a professional model you need a beautiful face, good teeth, healthy hair, nice smile, and great legs. As important as looks are sizes - a model has to fit the sample sizes perfectly. Standard measurements for a female model are 5'9" and taller with 34" chest, 24" waist and 34" hips. Even with the perfect stats, there are no guarantees of work. There is literally no work for petite models in Toronto. Shorter girls (5'7" or 5'8") work in Asia and there is a good petite market in some American cities (difficult because of the work visa). Body measurements for petite modelling are extremely small. Be wary if an agent tells you there is petite work in Canada.

What are typical male model statistics?
You're looking at being at least 6' with a 40" chest (but probably not much bigger than a 42", or clothes won't hang right), not over a 32" waist, inseam probably about 34". Suit size would be either a Regular or Tall coupled with your chest size. (If you had a 40" chest, your suit size would be either 40R or 40T). Shoe size should be between 9 and 12.

I am not a traditional looking model type - can I do catalog work?
There are opportunities in commercial print (not fashion) that doesn't have height requirements, but catalog work is difficult to get. The clothes have to fit perfectly (see requirement measurements above). Flipping through a catalog, you wouldn't know that the person smiling out at you has perfect measurements, a top agent, a portfolio full of work and years of experience. Catalogs also tend to book the same models season after season, so there are not a lot of openings for new faces.

Where do I start?
Modelling agencies have "open calls": a time each week where a new model can go and see an agent. From this meeting you might be asked to join with this agent. I would recommend seeing several agencies before committing to anyone. If a particular agent isn't interested in representing you they will give you feedback and advice (if asked). Advice from the top agents should usually be listened to. A good agent has nothing to gain by not giving truthful feedback.

What is a good plan to follow when looking for an agent?
There are really only so many good modelling agents in any city. Go and see them all and go with whoever is the most interested and you have the most rapport with. If no one is interested in taking you on at that moment, find out why. Is it something you can change? Then decide if it's worth it to you and change it. If it's something you can't (or won't) change (your height, your nose) then talk to another agent. If none of the top agents are interested, you might want to put some thought into why.