Frequently Asked Questions
Unfortunately, no. If they’re going to become a model, they will have to participate eventually. If you think they have what it takes to get noticed, we suggest you keep encouraging or trying to convince them to apply.
We’re not looking for professional photos. What we really want to see is fresh, natural snapshots of you that any friend or family member can easily take on their smart phone.
We want to see your natural look – clean, beautiful, and makeup-free.
No, we don’t have open calls.
Take a look at our roster and you’ll see our models truly do live and come from every corner of the world. Our online application process allows us to see the next great talent no matter where you are.
Fresh faces are exactly what we’re looking for. In this business, being new can be an invaluable advantage.
There should never be any cost to you to apply anywhere.
We recognize your obligations to your studies and we always say modeling is a hobby until you finish high school. We take care to tailor schedules for all of our young talent around school vacations and summer holidays.
Unfortunately, due to high demand we aren’t able to reach out to everyone. However, if we feel you’re right for us we will surely be in touch. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back from us. Remember, you might not be the right age or height, or it just might not be the right time. Believe us, things change quickly in this business so feel free to apply again in the future.
One of the biggest misconceptions about modelling agencies is that they are responsible for ruining society’s self-esteem. It is very important to understand that agencies are at the whims of those clients that book the models. If a client wants a tall, thin girl to show off their clothes, it’s very important that agencies (if they want to be successful) have the type of model that clients demand. If clients only wanted people of average height and weight, agencies would more than happily oblige. Some models, believe it or not, are too tall or too thin.
Although this site isn’t about the designers, we feel a need to explain why they then to choose models of a certain body-type, if for no other reason than to try to shed some light. When a top designer – a Tom Ford or Roberto Cavalli – sets out to design their new line of clothes, they must decide two things: the image they are trying to create, and the type of person that best fits that image. Most of these designers feel long legs, a thin torso, proportional measurements, a long neck, a symmetrical face, and long, smooth muscles are the female features on which their clothes are best displayed.
Equally important to note is that half, if not most of bookings involve commercial model, fitness models, child models, character models, parts models and plus-size models – models that aren’t necessarily tall or skinny. Some of the most successful agencies supply models that specialize in providing personality or a unique look.
Depending on the type of modelling you are hoping to do, you may be able to do just commercial print work. Most major designers will still opt for tall models for their print work because the sample size is created before the model is selected. If the model doesn’t fit the garment, a new model is selected. Often the creations debut on the runway, and then are shipped straight to magazines or photographers to be given new life.
For things such as swimwear, where curves and shorter torsos are often the better way to show off the bikini, shorter models have a better chance of success.
An agency’s most basic mandate is to promote the models it represents, either to clients, other agencies or both.
An agency that promotes to clients does so in exchange for a commission received in exchange for the model’s time and image. The amount of commission varies depending on the agency and the market. Most Milan agencies take 50% commission, while most North American and Australian agencies take around 20%. Greece is 35% and most Asian agencies take between 20% and 35% depending on such factors as whether the model takes their share before of after the client pays the agency. It can get complex.
An agency that promotes to other agencies is called a “mother agent.” A mother agent will often negotiate placements with foreign agencies, or agencies in other large markets. This is done so the model has someone working to promote them in markets outside their own.
The mother agency is responsible for ensuring the model is paid by the other agency at the completion of any bookings. A mother agent is then paid a commission of what their model earns in the foreign market. Usually the mother agent receives between five and ten per cent of the model’s gross income. The sponsoring agency that has found work for the model will still receive the amount (commission) their market demands.
From clients within the same market, collection is usually pretty reliable. It may take as long as three months for clients to get paid, but usually a few calls will get the job done. It is in your agency’s best interest to follow-up on such things. After all, they don’t get paid unless you get paid.
Where things can get more complicated is in overseas bookings. Once you have left the market in which you have been working, your contract will usually state the timeframe in which you will be paid. In most markets, you don’t get paid until the agency gets paid. This is why it is very important to stay in contact with your mother agent and let them in on all the details of the bookings. They can follow-up and make sure the agency representing you in the foreign market is harassing their clients to get all the money you deserve.
Sometimes foreign agencies do neglect the mother agencies and choose not to honour their contracts. The only recourse your mother agent has in this case is threats. It is not hard to tarnish the reputation of agencies that don’t pay their commissions.
The best way for a mother agency to prevent this from happening in the first place is to stay in contact with the model and the agency throughout the model’s term, to demonstrate their ability to provide more models to that agency (or its competitors) in the future, and to stay well-connected within the industry as a whole.
That having been said, most agencies are really good about paying their commissions.
When a model is booked for an assignment, there are often many people involved in the process. It may be that the agency was contacted by a photographer to do a series of ads. That photographer may have been hired by an advertising firm. The ad firm may have been contracted by the advertising department of a client for whom the ad is being produced. In this case the advertising department needs to requisition funds from their accounting department, then pay the advertising firm. The firm then pays the photographer who then pays the agency. Finally the money gets to the model. Unfortunately no want wants to pay the next person until they have been paid themselves, and the model is always last in line.
Agencies work for the models, not the other way around. Sometimes if an agency really wants you to come to their market they will advance your airfare, accommodations, some spending money and even the cost of a photoshoot upon your arrival. This is most common in parts of Asia, but can also happen in New York, Milan, London or Paris.
Usually, if an agency really wants a model to come to their market they will make some concessions. They might forward the rent, but expect the model to pay for the airfare and have their own spending money. This is to ensure the model does not treat the experience as a paid vacation at the agency’s expense. Generally if the model wants to recover the money associated with going to a foreign market, they should be prepared to work hard.
Nope. Agencies want to see your potential, and often snapshots are enough.
Test shoots can be extremely expensive, and are often useless if the photographer doesn’t have a good understanding of fashion (which few photographers really do).
Even if agencies want more than just snapshots, they should be able to recommend photographers with whom you can do a test shoot.
Unless you know a photographer that is proven to be successful shooting fashion, it is almost never worth the cost of doing a shoot.
Not unless your agency is run by wealthy, kindhearted financiers. Many agencies have fronted the cost for models they have trusted, only to get stiffed by the very same models they tried to help.
The professional relationship between a model and her/his agent should be kept professional. Agencies are not banks and therefore should not be expected to loan money to models. If a model is serious about being a model they should find a way to get the money together for photos and other materials (comp cards, portfolios) necessary to be successful.
That’s a tough one. In most cases, no. Sometimes though, good agencies align themselves with good photographers and the two work mutually.
No reputable agency should suggest they will not represent you if you don’t use their photographer. If the photo studio is located right within the agency, you should be wary. A good agency should be more interested in making money from your bookings than your photoshoots. Where there might be an exception is when the photographs are provided AT COST. In other words, you are provided with the receipts for the purchase of the film, the processing and the blowups.
Sometimes you don’t. Depending on what you are trying to attempt, you may be able to start with just Polaroids or snapshots. Often agencies looking for the next big thing will be more interested in seeing a model’s potential and true features. A photographer, especially one that does not understand current fashion trends, can end up making a model look really amateurish. It is common for these photographers to be among the most expensive.
Generally though, you will need professional photos before meeting with most clients. If you are looking to find an agency it is best to find an agency you trust, that can recommend photographers that understand what is necessary to build your portfolio.
Generally the photographer will expect payment immediately following the shoot.
This is called a test. Some photographers will offer free tests depending on the direction they are taking. But generally models pay for test shoots.
The images (either digital or on contact sheets) will either be given to your agency or you will be requested to pick them up. At this time you should sit down with your agent/booker and select the photos you will use in your portfolio.
If you end up with two or three really strong pictures from each look, that’s a successful photoshoot. It does not matter how many mediocre or lousy shots you have. All that matter are the really good ones.
Once you have selected the photos, you will order them from the photographer. IT IS VERY RARE for the photographer to release all the images to you or your agent. They tend to be rather protective of their work and in most countries the rights belong to them.
Again, you will be required to pay the photographer for every print you order.
A brief overview of cities overseas
Traditionally, the big markets for models were the cities that hosted the major fashion weeks; New York, London, Paris and Milan. However, over the past couple decades many regional markets have grown, and some of these rival the originals in work, pay and even stature with the traditional markets.
Most notable are the Asian markets. Beijing and Tokyo are huge markets that attract many top designers and are bustling with work. Hong Kong has lost a little of its luster to mainland China but still has a lot of work as do Singapore, Bangkok, Taipei, and to a lesser degree Seoul.
In Europe, Berlin has come on very strong, Sao Paulo continues to be a growing fashion hub for South America and you can’t ignore Dubai which is fast becoming another world class capital for fashion and another strong market for models from outside the area.
Some of the benefits of modeling overseas
- First there’s a ton of work overseas. New York does too, but it’s so competitive, and making money can be very challenging; especially for newer models.
- Most models amass a ton of tear sheets when working overseas. Print and magazines are still very popular in most other countries; you’ll walk away with a book that helps you get work almost anywhere.
- Most models can make a lot of money overseas.
- Lastly, it can be a lot of fun. You experience new places, make new friends, and the most cities are vibrant, beautiful and exciting places to live in.Height qualificationsIn Europe, most of the female models follow the same editorial guidelines as here in the States; they prefer models that are 5’10”, with exceptions down to 5’8 for special cases. However, in Asia, a beautiful girl who is 5’6 can be quite successful depending on the market. Although most cities are gravitating towards taller modelsAlso, unlike Europe, Asia can be more forgiving regarding your book. You can be a fairly new model and get a contract to model in Asia if the agents there like your look.Asian countries and their workChina: As the leading country for manufacturing clothing for North America and Europe, there’s a lot of work in China. The combination of having the range ready sooner there and lower production costs causes many U.S. and European brands manufacturing there to produce their catalogues right in China. The lines being marketed for the Chinese market commonly get introduced with runway shows and television commercials. This means a lot of work for models, especially catalogue and point of purchase materials.
Thailand: If working in Thailand you’ll probably be doing a lot of television commercials and they pay very well. They love Eurasian looks.
Taiwan: Similar to the Thailand market they gravitate towards younger models and again, Eurasian looks are popular for television commercials and catalogues.
Singapore: Singapore is not a big money market but a great market to get tear sheets and magazine work. You go there to build your book for the other markets. It’s a great place to start for many other reasons: It’s easy to get around, most people speak English, and it’s extremely safe and clean making it a great introduction to Asia.
Japan: Japan is a very mature and competitive market. Only the best models with strong books get work there. They prefer younger models and if you qualify there’s a lot of catalogue and other work. Japan, most notably Tokyo is also the most expensive place to live in Asia and not a place to venture without an agency solidly behind you.
More on looks
The different markets in Asia are, well, different. However, there are some basic guidelines for looks across the board. The leading look is Eurasian; however some Caucasian looks go over very well. A tall blonde American or European model (like I was) becomes exotic there. There are some looks that don’t go over so well, for example Hispanic models don’t get placed there very often. Just as height can be more forgiving in some Asian countries, so are other specs. Depending on the market you can curvier both in hip measurement and cup size.
Other attributes similar to the States can be helpful, for example a great smile, cute personality, and a good walk are all beneficial.
What’s the work’s like in Asia?
The amount of work differs based on the time of year. During the busy season you can easily go on 5-8 castings per day! The work that pays the best is catalogues and television commercials. A good thing since that’s the majority of the work in most Asian countries! You may also do occasional runway work and occasional showroom jobs. Expect to stay busy. If not, you’ll probably get sent home.
The working conditions are almost always good. Your agency handles almost everything for you. They arrange for a place to live, pick you up and drive you to your jobs, and feed you when working. They really want to make you happy while working there.
The negatives of working in Asia
I’m not sure you can really call any of these “negatives”, but instead “differences”. They only become negative for those that are unwilling to adapt.
Across Asia, the culture demands respect and commonly men still dominate the business world. As a female model you want you to act cute, fun and feminine. You don’t want to challenge anyone, pout or act dismayed. It doesn’t go over well there at all. For the most part respect is given back, but you may not notice that in traditional ways. Communications are different; don’t expect someone in a position of authority to be willing to massage your ego.
Some models get homesick, more so at first. However, there are always plenty of other foreign models living with you and it’s easy to make friends if you want to.
The work ethic is also different. The days can be long, especially when doing catalogue shoots. It can take a little getting used to but the good news is you’re working!
The key to enjoying yourself and dealing with things you aren’t accustomed is to communicate with your agent and also your mother agent back home. I’m constantly in touch with models I place overseas. Usually it is good news and going over work, but I do deal with the occasional homesick model, and in some cases (thankfully not often), problems.
Tips on modeling in Asia
The relationship of your U.S. agency with the foreign agency is extremely important: There aren’t many placement agencies that are connected with the right agencies overseas, having a good mother agent is important. You want to ensure you are being placed with the top agencies in Asia, it makes all the difference.
Before leaving overseas, get a Skype account and learn how to use it effectively. It’s a great tool to keep in touch with family and can dramatically reduce communication costs.
Always remember that being in a foreign country is different than being in the States. Communicate with your mother agent regularly about things good and bad and heed their advice. Because of the time change, email will be your predominate method of communicating.
Move around from market to market. Some models decide to stay in Asia years at a time, they work in different countries, not just to break things up, but the busy seasons can vary. Coming back to the States often can get expensive, but moving from one Asian country to another is much more affordable. I highly recommend being open to working in Asia 6 months or longer if you decide to go.
If an agency REALLY wants a model to come to their market, they may offer a guarantee. Japan is best known for doing this. Guarantees are usually in US dollars despite the origin of the model or their mother agent. The guarantee is a model’s assurance he/she will make a certain amount of money during their term in the foreign market. The higher their guarantee, the more incentive the agency has to promote the model.
In most countries, the model is considered self-employed and the agencies work on their behalf. This is definitely the case in Canada. To be more plain, the agencies work for the models. The model is usually required to pay their own taxes in their own country.
It is extremely important to keep track of your expenses and income. How honest you are is entirely up to you. We do though, recommend you at least make an effort to understand Canada’s taxes as they relate to modelling.
All models under agency representation are required to utilize special documents known as modeling vouchers. This is a unique document that makes sure you receive timely payment. A modeling voucher is, fundamentally, a receipt that is marked by the model and the client after the model finishes a job. Modeling vouchers give you a breakdown of the job you’re doing, unlike a model release form. Whether you’re doing a photoshoot, acting gig, or something else, you’ll be required to fill out a modeling voucher. After being signed, your agent should give you a handful of blank vouchers to use.
You must bring a modeling voucher to every job you are booked for. If the voucher is missing any information, neither you nor your agency can get paid, so make sure that you are familiar with all the information that must be filled out and double-check it before you leave. If your client has forgotten something, make sure they fix it because you may not have another chance to get in contact with the client again.
Vouchers are filled out as soon as the job is over, and it’s very important to check and double-check that everything is filled out properly and in its entirety before signing the voucher. If you hand in a voucher that’s incorrect or incomplete, your agency will have to chase down the client to fix it, which really slows down the billing and payment process.
Modeling vouchers usually contain carbon copies underneath that are different colors. Usually the top one is for the client to keep, the second for the agency and the third for you to add to your records. If you run out of vouchers, contact your agent and let them know you need more.
On a typical modeling voucher, you will see the contact information of your agency on the voucher. There should be room for you to put your name and signature, as well as an area where the client will fill out their company information, address and contact info. The voucher becomes a binding contract when the two of you provide your signatures,
In fact, most modeling vouchers are branded with the model agency’s name and address, so you may not even have to worry about filling in those details. All you really need to do is read everything over and write your name and sign your signature.
You should only fill your voucher out at the end of the shoot, when everything is wrapped up. Usually the person you want signing the voucher is the producer on set. It is always good policy to have everything filled out and ready to go so when they get the paper in hand, there isn’t anything to do but sign.
The good news is that the client is responsible for filling out most of the details, including the company name, address and contact information, as well as the time you started and finished, the duration worked, the job details (such as the type of job and what role you filled), and the rate of pay.
You’ll most likely be issued a big book of modeling vouchers as soon as you sign your agency contract. Your agent will go over all of the details and will tell you how to fill them out and who to give them to.
If you run out of vouchers, your agent should have you come by the office to pick up more, or they may even email you a blank voucher so you can print your own copies. You should use a different voucher for each job. If you have two jobs lined up in one day, then bring two separate vouchers. If you forget to bring a voucher to your booking, contact your agent to send you one by email and print it.
On the Book Management Website you can print vouchers.
After your job is complete, you have to do is drop it off with your agent- they’ll let you know where exactly to leave it. It’s best to submit your voucher immediately to your agency after your job is done. It is of upmost importance that you hand over your completed voucher as quickly as you can- preferably within the same day to avoid any delays. After all, both you and your agent will want to get paid as quickly as possible. If you are unsure if your agent received your voucher, call your agent to make sure that they got it. Many agencies, especially larger ones, may be too busy and may not realize that they don’t have your voucher until days or weeks later.