I often say that TOP isn't a forum, and I seldom just throw out plain unadorned discussion-leading questions for the sake of eliciting answers. But no one knows everything about anything, of course, and right now I have a question that I think readers in the know could educate me about more quickly than I could do the research myself.
Twenty-five years ago, I taught at a girls' high school, had fallen in love with a model*, had recently assisted for a studio advertising photographer, and was soon to be a partner in a studio myself. I even had a student who had paid for her own college education (completely, and yes, really) by modeling in Japan every summer during her high school years**.
So I knew a lot about (not all about, but a lot) the modeling scene and modeling as a career. When one of my students came to me wanting a headshot or a comp sheet or with questions about a modeling career, I could at least talk intelligently about it.***
No longer—my knowledge is out of date.
So my question: if a young woman came to you asking what she needs to try modeling, what's today's answer? What body type (height/weight) is the standard for what they're looking for these days? What kind of work is available? Where is it? What are the going rates for part-time character models, catalog, fashion, runway? What does a standard headshot look like these days, and does a model need one? What's the current equivalent of the composite sheet—do they still use those, or is there some more up-to-the-minute version, on the web or something? Assuming the prospective model has no tearsheets, are single-photographer comp sheets useful, or does it have to be a mix? What are the better agencies? (I'm mainly interested in the Midwest, if that's not a non sequiteur.) What's the path of least resistance to breaking in?
A side note: It's always a bit obnoxious for a person asking a question to specify who he wants to hear answers from, so I apologize in advance for that, but I'm really looking to hear from people with firsthand recent experience—people who are models or who work with them. I don't need to hear about something somebody read in a magazine or saw in a movie, and out-of-date info isn't going to help (as I say, I already have a lot of that myself).
If you can help educate me, or rather re-educate me, I'd appreciate the help.
And, as they say on the forums, "thanks in advance."
Mike the Ed.
"Open Mike" is a series of open-topic posts by yer 'umble 'ost that appears on certain Sundays. Recently we have had a hard time staying off-topic, but we'll work on that.
*She was a hair model—they'd fly her to New York, some haute couture hairdresser o' the moment would work his magic arranging her coiffure, she'd be photographed, and she'd return to school on Monday morning with a check in her purse which to her art school friends seemed astronomically large. A few weeks later she'd show me the latest issue of Elle or Glamour or Vogue sporting a stunning picture of her looking ravishing and ready to slay men's dreams with a single dusky glance.
**I have a very interesting picture of her around here that would make a wonderful web tutorial if I could ever find the "before" print. And if I had a working scanner. Oh, never mind.
***Mostly, I just talked them out of it.