Thursday, August 16, 2012

Viewpoints of a Model's Success

Is your personal success as a model based on just having nice pictures of yourself to show others? Or is that success based solely on how much money you're making? Well, how about other people in your career and life? How they may view your success can affect you, too. These are some suggestions of how to relate (or empathize) to some of the people that have different roles in your success.
#1. The Modeling Agency's Viewpoint of your success as a model:
Think like an agent. Are clients going to book you? If you are signed with almost any agency, the bottom line will be how much money you are bringing into their business (or may potentially bring in). Remember this as your first and most important business lesson in your career as a model. Modeling agencies are your pipeline to how you are marketed(promoted) as a model, and they make their money (income) from "percentages" from 1.) the model's commission and 2.) from the client's fee.
The more money that you make as a model in their agency is another dollar in their pocket. So, there's more involved in the bottom line of how your agent looks at your "potential" as a model. Will clients hire you? They are looking at how much "income" potential you can bring to their business. They must run their business efficiently, and you must do the same in the planning of your career, too. The agency's role in your representation is that of a glorified "employment agency" that is a go-between for the client and model. The modeling agency works to provide resources to market all of their models, so it's in their best interest to keep the right variety of models that are in demand.
The ultimate decision is made by the client to which model they want to use, but your agent and booker are your representative and they can sometimes have a strong hand in that process. Do not disrespect them! They know their power and should not be underestimated. Learn all that you can about the way your agency wants to promote you and follow their instructions on things that they need for you to do. This can increase your opportunities for success!
#2. Your Parent's view of your success as a model:
Parents worry about all of the horror stories that they have heard about over the years. Whether their child is under or over the age of 18...parents are entitled to worry about their children. PERIOD. Some horror stories are really worse than others. Will their child be lured into drugs or pornography? What about nudity? How far will their child travel away from them and who will be responsible for them if they are in a dangerous situation? Will photographers take advantage of their child or manipulate their photos and use them on the Internet without their knowledge? How will their child's self-esteem hold up against the "industry sharks"? Will their child be required to grow up too fast in order to survive in this industry? What about their education? Why do we have to pay money for our child to pursue a career as a model? (That makes parents skeptical, too!) So many potential questions from a parent's perspective.
A parent's view of their child's potential success can leave them with a lot of questions! Most parents are initially so proud that someone thinks that their child should model that they can view that alone as a "proud" success for you. So, don't be too hard on yourself or your parents if questions arise that need more communication and opens up an opportunity for discussion. Discuss scenarios together and show them that you, too, are trying to do your homework about this industry and want to make safe, mature (professional) decisions. The more that you learn goes a long way with your parents as you break them into your status as being a responsible person and model.
#3. Your "significant other's" view of your success:
Oh, my! Every model that I spoke to had similar stories about this topic. A close partner's viewpoint (boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife) can really be like an emotional roller coaster on your mind if you're in a somewhat serious or longer-term relationship. It really can place a lot of strain on relationships and I've seen more than a few models just not ready to risk losing someone "that means so much to them" and NOT take the risk of losing them. They said good-bye to their modeling careers.
It's confusing to both people in a relationship to have unknown fears, so just accept that this can weigh strongly on your decisions that you make during the span of your modeling career. Many models choose to not be in relationships because of the lifestyle that can come along with being a model. It may be a double-standard for you to feel that you have the "Looks" of a model and your partner likes having a "model" as a partner, but only to find out that insecurities, jealousies, and rejections can ruin what you think is a "great" relationship or cut short a promising modeling career.
Regardless of all the potential rejection and criticism that models face over the span of their career from industry professionals and the public, they can sometimes be torn more by their partner's opinion of them. What choice do you think that you'll make if your partner is feeling insecure or pressuring you? These are potential issues that can set you up for either success or failure, and not just as a model. Consider your short-term goals and how you can incorporate that path into the "Big Picture" of your future.
#4. Friends' opinion of your success as a model:
This one is complicated, too. Let's start with the word "Jealousy". You want your friends to be happy for you, but you may start to notice that they are treating you differently. Why? You will probably be correct to assume that jealousy is getting the best of most of them, but just also do a double-take on yourself that you may be acting a little different than they are used to you being.
Modeling is entirely a different dimension of reality (versus typical jobs), and you may not necessarily be your "old self" during your career all the time. Depending on the division of models that you fall into, this may really be a good thing "professionally", but try to be aware of where you need to keep "model-mode" ON and when it can be toned down a few notches. People are friends with each other because they can mutually have something special to offer, but relationships can change if you stop "getting" or "giving" what this relationship needs. Some people are just naturally the center of attention, and if you are a model, that can work for you, but can throw off the balance of some other relationships depending on their personality.
As for petty jealousies from acquaintances (or superficial friends) that are hurtful to your feelings, try to thicken up your emotions to deflect them away from sabotaging your self-esteem and you'll be in "good practice" for your actual modeling career that faces criticism from the industry and public all the time. The BEST friends are the ones who are there to listen to you vent, keep what you say in confidence, offer their opinion when they see you may need it, and are only a phone call (or Text, or Email) away when you need them for a laugh or a cry!
#5. The public's view of your success as a model:
There are a lot of models in print, on the runway, doing promotions, etc., but what are their names? Is that how the public view a model's success? Sometimes. The public really doesn't know the extent of who or why some models are more famous than others. They just "hear" or "read" who is the next hot thing (flavor of the month) by reading magazines or watching entertainment news shows. Public relations is an art of it's own when models and celebrities are involved. You may have a successful status as a model in your hometown if the newspaper writes about your local, national, or international ventures as a model (even if you know you are still a "small fish" in the sea of the modeling industry, but still, it's a nice perk)!
Being a model places you out there for comments by some brutally opinionated people who either think that their entitled to verbally abuse you or question why you are even a model. Ignorance is not a constructive foundation for you to listen to or even respond to. If there is a shred of truth to the opinion that you are hearing, politely acknowledge and mentally file it away, and work on it next time. You can't impress everyone, nor should that be your goal. That's not permission to be rude, but rather respond professionally when considering the source of criticism. I'm going to include the people who hire you into this category because they tend to look for what the public want to see representing their product. Your personality does put the "icing on the cake" when perhaps they are juggling who they want to hire, so how you present yourself publicly to them does matter. Show confidence as often as you can even if you're faking it!