I know this sounds kinda cliche, but I've dreamed of being a model/actress for a long time. Trouble is I don't know how to really get started. I've done some modeling for local photographers for $50 a shoot, and I acted in High school. However, I feel stuck like I can't get any farther in this career, and I'm not exacting making a living at it.

So I was wondering if anyone knew how I could jump start my career. Keep in mind I live in Delaware USA and relocating isn't an option.


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6 replies since 20th September 2010 • Last reply 20th September 2010

well you need an amazing portfolio and yes, you would have to relocate, find an agency...etc

first send your portfolio to agencies, and see if they will take you.

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Acting and modeling require different skills. I don't know much about the modeling side of things, but as an actor, I may be able to help.

Agencies aren't really the place to start. Depending on whether you want to do theatre and/or film, you really just need to jump into it. Take classes, of course, if you can. However, you will learn the most by doing it.

Start auditioning. Go for local theatre. Do student and indy films. You'll need to build your resume as well as make some connections. If you're interested in film work, you'll want to build a film reel.

You're not too far from NYC, Philly, Baltimore, and DC, if you wanted to audition elsewhere. I'm based in Maryland, myself.

Unfortunately, most agencies don't really work for the actor. They have thousands on file and you really need to do a lot of work to keep yourself on their mind. Few places have "real" agents that only take on a handful of talent. So, agencies aren't a panacea and won't really help you get your career started. You'll be lucky if they call you in for an audition at all, even after signing you.

I bet there are a lot of acting opportunities near you.

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What are your stats (height, bust, waist, and hip measurements)? What type of modeling are you into? With this information, I can help you a little bit with modeling. Without it... not as much. Happy

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@*Rachie Pin-Up* Well I know I'm too short for high fashion so I'm not even going to try to get down to the weight limit. I'm 5'4, bust 34 D, Waist (natural) 29 in, hips are 35 in. I'm really curvy so i'm not sure what kind of modeling I should be going for.

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Good lord, which beginner needs an agency? Bullshit.
Plus, there's a LOT of pretend-to-be agencies out there that only want your best... your money.
( Edit: The need to relocate is bullshit, too! You might wanna -travel- from time to time, but there's absolutely NO need to leave home! )

Well, I can only tell you about modeling, since that's the only part of it that I know "in person".

The first thing is to create a portfolio, which you already did. Make sure that the pictures you have show different styles, poses, and parts of you. Try to add at least one portrait that looks natural and shows a real smile.
Then just register on a preferredly professional website for models and photographers. A FREE one! Try modelmayhem, for example, it's not the best there is but it's a start.

About your style, that's totally up to you. You will find it just by gaining experience. You'll see if you prefer portrait or full body pictures, straight or weird angles, plain simple or extreme MakeUp...... And it is YOUR decision and yours ONLY if you want to do ANYthing nude. Do not, NEVER, let any photographer TELL you that you HAVE to do anything. ( I wouldn't add that if I didn't know girls who let themselves be verbally forced into nude art... )

A few tips I can't stress more, especially for beginners:
- ALWAYS insist on a contract that grants that you'll get -at least- 10 pictures ( already edited at best ) in not more than 6 weeks after the shooting; that allows you to use the pictures for your own purposes and that includes a few words about forbidden usage on any mature websites. Check if it says that both parties need to be asked before commercial use.
- Be aware that quite a few people in the business are relying on the fact that newbies are often really naive. Fakes, Scamming and pervs are common.
- You're not advanced enough yet to be offered a lot of money. Sorry. If someone comes forward offering you $2500 for a shooting, don't even answer. It's a fake.
- Always be on time. If you can't make it to a shooting, inform the photographer as soon as possible. Honestly. No flakes about dead pets or sick aunts.
- The most important thing: If the photographer that you're contacted by seems anyhow strange or if you just don't feel comfy, don't even set a date. Not only your instincs might be right and he might be a madman, but one can always see you relation to the photographer on the pictures.
- And please don't think fame will come over night. It may take years (!) untill you have a name in the business.

Phew. Enough with the textheavy. Good luck!

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Well, if she WERE runway material, then relocating and having an agency would be the only logical way to go. I, personally, was picked up by an agency as a beginner, and am all the better for it. However, this is not always the case, or the best way to go for every single aspiring model. Thankfully for me, I was picked up by a reputable agency as a beginner.

I'm also glad that you aren't convinced that you will be "the next Kate Moss." The industry is sick of hearing that from every single model under 5'8 (5'7 in the Midwest). ;)

A good way to start a portfolio, like Mi.ezekatze said, is to go to a free modeling website like The members range from absolute beginners to absolute professionals, and in every genre imaginable. This is also true of the photographers, makeup artists, and so on who frequent MM (as it's called by its members). I, personally, think it is a nice place to grow, as a beginner. There is a ton of b.s. there, as with any "social networking" website, but there is also a lot of good information. There you can collaborate with others in the business to get a good start on your portfolio, which you absolutely need if you ever want to get paid work.

Additionally, the more shoots you do, the more you will begin to develop your own personal style and genre preferences. To be absolutely honest (and please don't get scared when you read this), the most paid work outside of agency work is nude work. I don't necessarily mean fetish or "pron," unless this is what you WANT to do, but fine art nude photography, for example. I'm not saying you have to do it; I'm simply stating one of the realities of the industry, so you know that this is a cold, hard FACT, right from the get-go. Many models with your stats work full-time as traveling models--almost all of them are willing to do nude work. I am a professional model and I do not do nude work at this time--I also don't make nearly as much, or as reliable, money as these traveling models who are open to doing nude work.

(If you want to get into the demons of nude work, feel free to message me and I can get you in touch with a wonderful photographer friend of mine who will be able to explain the pros and cons of this--and other genres--in a completely non-threatening manner. I don't think we should really go too in-depth with this part of this conversation on a craft website. ;) )

I did a search on models with your stats, and I'm happy to report that I found plenty, and they are all sorts of models who are involved with pretty much every genre out there. I can't vouch for how much money they are or aren't making, but it is possible to do it, and at the very least, the type of modeling you want to do can always be done at an amateur level.

I hope I helped and didn't worry/freak you out. ;)

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