Can You Be a Model?

I saw this posted a little while back on Benjamin Kanarek’s Blog and I thought I would share it with all of you.  It was a repost of a message from photographer John Fisher from Miami, FL.  John has been a commercial photographer for over twenty years, specializing in fashion and commercial advertising.  Over the years his clients have included General Electric, Hyatt and Sheraton Hotels, Inner Harbor, Atlantic Coast Cotton, CBS Sportsline, Playboy, as well as Bisou-Bisou, Red Chic, Yuka/Paris, InGear Sportswear, DJ Resort Wear, Venus Swimwear and many others.  He has also worked with some of the top fashion agencies in New York and Miami, having placed models who have worked for such agencies as IMG, Elite, Ford, and Wilhelmina.

So the question that is posed to him often, and that many of you may have asked a photographer or yourself…  Can I be a model??  John’s response…

From one of my photo shoots with Abbie. Click photo to see more photos.

I’ve seen them come, and I’ve seen them go (but God, in her infinite wisdom, makes more!)  I actually get asked that question frequently, in fact I invite it. The people I invite to ask the question for the most part could model. The real question (for these people) is rarely “can I model?”, but rather, “will you model?”

Will you go to a place where you don’t know anybody, set up camp, be responsible for yourself (at an age where most American girls are hoping to get invited on their first date), and commit yourself to the life?

Will you go to ten castings in a row where you stand in line with 20 or 30 other girls who look a lot like you (and you have never in your life seen anyone else who was your age, 5’10, thin, and actually pretty)……. And not get picked? And then go to the eleventh casting with the same sense of excitement and joy that you went to the first casting?

Will you give the industry your undivided attention for the two years it will take to get you fully developed? Will the industry be your boyfriend/girlfriend? Will you not go home except for Christmas, and book round trip because you know you have to be back on the 2nd of January? And actually come back, on the 2nd? Will you on your own change planes in Abu Dhabi on your way to Shanghai? Live with 5 other girls you don’t know in a model’s apartment in Milan with one bedroom and one bathroom?

Will everything about fashion be endlessly fascinating to you? Will you learn a basic walk in high heels and do it over and over and over, until that’s the way you walk? Do you accept that every guy want’s to date a model, they just don’t want the girl to actually model? That no boyfriend is “supportive”? That your friends back in Lake Wobegone will say you are stuck up, think you are better than they are, that you’ve “changed”, and ignore them?

Will you watch your diet, accept the fact that your body is going to play a dirty trick on you as you get older? You used to be able to eat anything and everything, and unless you learn not to, you will fight a losing battle after seventeen or eighteen. Can you accept that you must stay out of the nice car, even when it’s raining and the car appears warm and dry? You have a chance to have your own car, not now, but soon. That nice car that you get to ride in? It belongs to someone else, and there will be another girl in the nice house, driving the nice car, and wearing the nice clothes in six months, a year, or if your lucky, two years. And you will have lost your opportunity to be a model, to have your own car, house and clothes. You can not buy back the time you lose in the beginning.

I can tell if you can be a model. I can not tell if you will be a model. I can see your face and body, I can not measure your heart. You will not try this business, the business will try you, and most will be found wanting.

Strangely, models have it easy. They do have access to managers and agents (in fact they must have them). And it happens quickly for them (two years? Humph, I can do that standing on my head!). But everything I’ve said can be said of those who want to be fashion photographers, and it’s harder, much harder, and takes longer.

That it is hard is what makes it great, if it was easy, everyone would do it! (And no one would pay to watch!)

Hope you enjoyed this and that you found it helpful!!  I will be posting some insights on being a photographer from the view of a model on Monday.  Valuable insight for both models and photographers.