Know Thyself or You Want Me to Do WHAT?!


Photo courtesy of some amazing Japanese Mag, c.1996c

I know what you are thinking. Yet another tip sheet, lecture about how to BE a model. Well I’m here to tell you some hard truths – an ask and ye shall receive kind of bit. Why? Not just because I know what I’m talking about: I’ve been an international career model for 20 years, worked in every medium accessible to models, and have made a delicious living out of it; but because this information is important, and nothing is as important to me as the truth. And because I don’t like to see anyone’s time wasted – especially when it comes to a job title that is being distorted and perverted to basically get at young people’s pocketbooks.

The truth is that recently there have been a spate of girls on social media who are calling themselves “professional models”. I believe I must buy some of you a dictionary because i’m not sure you know what that actually is. I have read your testimonials on facebook, your harrowing stories of being mistreated, or asked to pose in situations that are less than ideal… and after reading baffling cases about how some young aspiring models are falling for some “photographers” lines about doing some very unsavory things for the camera and for some vague idea of “fame” – i feel there is a void of knowledge that could possibly help set the record straight. And I’m doing this because I care… for you, and for the reputation of this industry.

Not Everyone is Born to Be a Model

There it is. I said it… ‘Tis true. Being a professional model is a serendipitous thing. One that is bestowed on that most elusive of creatures: the long limbed, alien looking humanoid-being that one day is looked at with some boring curiosity, but practically blooms overnight into someone that most Nikon and Cannon cameras suddenly adore. And that is only the beginning. Beauty is everywhere. Beauty is in your soul. Beautiful people are a dime a dozen. So why aren’t all beautiful people professional models?

Like any job, this one has some specific requirements. Most of them physical. For fashion modeling you SHOULD be at least 5’9” tall (177cm). You SHOULD be less than a sample size 8US. Why do I say “should”? Because there are notable exceptions. Kate Moss – who is the last of the great supermodels – stands at around 5’7”, has uneven teeth, and crooked legs. But the closer you can get to these major requirements the greater success you will have at not being laughed out of an agent’s office. But there is one last requirement, something that can be described as physical, but its more than that. It’s something intangible, captivating, and you can’t quite put your finger on it… so i’ll call it – the “X Factor”.

Almost had you there, didn’t I? X Factor is the most important thing that will determine your success. The more you have, the better the chance of making a living out of this job.

So back to Facebook… and a life lesson for ALL people, not just model wannabe’s…

If it FEELS wrong, it IS wrong.

Bottom line. No exceptions. If you get a text from some random stranger saying to meet them at a hotel (or their home – GASP!) for a casting – RUN, don’t walk away. Say NO. There is so much power in that one little word. You will not hurt anyone’s feelings. You will not be penalized. Being professional is everything – and if you fear getting berated for not being professional and saying no (which you really shouldn’t fear it at all, the “photog” asking you should be worried about being labeled that) – make a counter offer, like to meet in a public place for your casting. Or take a friend you trust.
Being cheated out of a few dollars is unbearable enough. Why cheat yourself? No amount of “fame” is worth that.


You want me to do WHAT with your cat?
Photo by Yuko Tanaka