The most asked question I get is “How can I get discovered?” (or some variation of that). It’s truly not that hard, as long as you have the look and the work ethic required. A modeling agency will be sure to discover you if they spot your potential. It’s just all about getting their attention.
How to Get Discovered!
Mail in your snapshots! Five-year-old Emily didn’t object when her mom sent her pictures to our old office at Wilhelmina. “It sounded like it would be very cool to model,” Emily said. It must be if she’s still doing modeling at the age of 13. Mailing pictures to an agency is far and away the most common way to become a model in the kid’s business, but it isn’t the only way. Highlighted are some of the ways I’ve discovered aspiring model.
Attend an Open Call
Sometimes big companies such as Gap or Target will hold open calls where anyone can be cast in an advertising campaign. Usually the company will specify what type of models they’re looking for and will post the time, date, and location of the call in a flyer. You don’t need experience or an agent—just show up. Kyra, an aspiring professional dancer, was picked out of 1,500 aspiring models who spent all day in 95 degree heat, waiting in a line that went all the way around the block at Union Square in New York City. It was worth it for Kyra. She was discovered and has been working as a model ever since.
Enter a Model Search
You’re thinking, Me? Model search? I’ll never win. Keep in mind that someone has to win! You may have heard a lot about model searches or seen them advertised in newspapers, magazines, and online. You can enter for a small fee, with the possibility of being discovered, regardless of where you live. Ask your parents if you can check to see if there’s a model search you fit the bill for. Remember, you can’t win if you don’t play!
Other Options—Model Conventions & Schools
The chance to meet a number of the industry’s top agents and scouts in one place at the same time, or to walk the runway like a real model, could be the opportunity of a lifetime–but hang on just a minute. Let’s slow down and take a closer look at all the things to consider.
There are dozens of conventions that take place all around the country each year. Some have thousands of attendees who come from all over the country. There are smaller ones, too, that attract a more regional following. They may be a one-day event or take place over several days, with training sessions and competitions. The conventions can vary dramatically in quality and cost, so be sure to investigate the details thoroughly before you make a commitment.
As I mentioned earlier, if someone asks you for a large sum of money upfront, you need to do some investigating. Do your research and find out what’s really involved. Don’t be blinded by the stars in your eyes and the dream of seeing your face on a magazine cover.
A modeling school can be a good training ground for the aspiring model and it can provide exposure to the world of modeling. Many reputable schools, often owned by former models, provide solid training and access to good agencies. Again, do the needed detective work with your parents to see if this is the right step for you. Modeling school is not a MUST to get into the business, but it is definitely one way to go, especially if you live in an area with limited access to modeling agencies.
This time call a Mini-Meeting with your parents and come up with all the questions you and your parents want to ask the school or the convention personnel. Be careful not to be intimidated by what they say to you and make sure you understand what’s involved before you pay any money. If it’s a school you’re interested in, perhaps they will let you sit in on a class before you sign up. If it’s a convention, talk to someone who’s attended. The quality and cost of these things can be significant, so be sure to ask for references and explore all your options.