Model 101

Hey you,

This week was the first time I was able to put my model, host and entertainment knowledge to use for someone other than myself! I was asked by a friend who’s a teacher to do a tutorial on modeling and what working in the entertainment industry is like for a student of hers. The student is a teen, not quite tall enough to model so I told her about other opportunities in the industry like being an actor or host/spokesmodel (like me!). I told her there are all kinds of models; high fashion models, print and commercial models and spokesmodels. It was interesting to see her reaction to the types of models that were out there! She definitely learned a few things and I was happy to share my knowledge with her.

One thing is that I didn’t realize how much I knew until I wrote it all down, FOUR pages worth of information and that didn’t even cover everything! I could have easily written more. I realize, the longer I work in this business what a huge privilege it is and how thankful I am for what success I have had. Granted, I haven’t booked any major ad campaigns or TV shows, but I have appeared in main stream magazines, catalogs, websites

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From Nike’s Website circa 2007

in-store ads and commercials for everything from swimsuits to electronics. I’m thankful for that and I’m looking forward do booking even more.

I think one thing that people don’t consider when they think about entertainment professionals (actors, singers, hosts, dancers, comics, musician, performers overall) is that the advantage goes to people who are financially stable or thriving, start working at a young age and have support from family or friends.

First, being financially stable or thriving is a huge part. If as an aspiring performer, you have money to fund your venture, you’re leaps and bounds ahead. The initial investment of starting an entertainment career can be steep. If you’re a model you need to get good pictures, if you’re an actor you need good headshots and classes (unless you’re self taught), if you’re a musician (again unless you’re self taught), if you want to be a dancer you’ll also need classes, outfits and shoes for classes and eventually pictures, the list goes on!

Not only that, as an aspiring talent it’ll be a long time before you can make a living exclusively off your art. So again, being financially stable means being able to take no or low paying jobs to build up your skills and resume to get your career started. It also means being able to feed and house yourself while waiting for bigger and better jobs to come in, being able to get to and from classes, auditions and bookings on time! That could you need a car, which could be out of reach for many people. In addition to that stability, if you’re working your “survival” job, that job needs to be flexible so you can build you’re career. Bye bye 9-5, hello freelance and nightshifts 😀

Next, if you start working on your talent early on, particularly when you’re a child, you’re so much better off. If you start modeling, acting, dancing, singing, writing, whatever by the time you’re in your early twenties you have a lot of experience and you’re able to grow your career at a prime time. The earlier the better because you can start shaping your career before many have even decided what they want to do. Also you can build your life around it. The older you get the more responsibilities you have and it’s hard to rearrange your life. If you start building your self around the career you want early on you don’t have to worry about this as much.

Finally, having support from your friends and family makes a huge difference. We like to listen to the people we love for guidance, they give us security and love…we want to make them proud! If the people in your life support what you do it makes it easier to deal with the day to day hustle of developing your talent and hustling for jobs. It also means you

have people around you to celebrate your successes and help you through your losses. Building a career can be really hard if you’re doing it alone. Not only that, you have to be your own best friend and cheerleader…as a talent you need to learn how to trust your gut. People are going to tell you no at every turn but if it’s what you want to should keep going.

Anyways, that my two cents. Truth is, all these things apply to pretty much any career you want to start.

I hope you get to do any kind of job or life you want, and I got you’re great at it.

Ayo

PS: Some good resources about entertainment careers, check out the Art Career Project, for tips and tricks about the industry go to Backstage, and for modeling info check out Nikia Phoenix.

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