Things to Expect When Applying to a Modelling Agency

If you’re applying to a modelling agency, the most important thing you can do is research. Every agency is different. It’s important you know the specific requirements of an agency before you apply. While there’s a lot of grey area, there are some general things you can expect when applying for an agency. Read on to find out more!

By Elizabeth Harrington

Know your market

While it may seem tempting to apply to every agency under the sun, it’s better to spend more time applying to an agency that’s right for you. This means choosing an agency that accepts your division (i.e. fashion, commercial, petite, plus-size, mature, kids, talent). There’s no point in applying for an agency that won’t accept someone of your height, size or age. 

It’s also important to know your potential market. Think about your look and style and what kind of jobs you could see yourself doing. Do you lean more commercial? Or are you after high fashion work? Take a look at agency websites to see what kind of models they normally choose. What’s their vibe? Do you think this agency can offer you the jobs you want?

Know your measurements

When applying to a modelling agency, you usually will submit your application through the agency website. They will ask for basic contact info as well as your measurements. Most agencies will ask for measurements including height, bust, hips and waist. Some will even ask for hair colour and shoe size. 

It’s critical you have up-to-date and accurate measurements. If your application is a success and you’re asked for an interview, they will often remeasure you so it will look poorly if you lied. So be honest and upfront from the get-go, and you can expect your chances of success to increase!

Have a portfolio prepared

When applying to an agency, you will be asked to submit photos of yourself. At minimum, you will be expected to submit a headshot and a full-length body shot. If you’re a fashion model, you will be asked for a full body shot in your swimwear. You may also be asked for a modelling photo that is more creative and editorial. 

The headshots and body shots are expected to be with no makeup/natural makeup, no editing and in natural light. Make sure the photos are recent, including your current hairstyle. Keep the photos minimal, avoiding things like gel lighting and busy backgrounds. Make sure the photos are high quality and also fit the size requirements, too. The last thing you want is to be rejected due to blurry images or images that are too large to download. 

Depending on the agency, some may ask for a modelling portfolio with professional photos. You can get these by doing things like test shoots and paid studio shoots.

Take a look at our article What is A Modelling Portfolio and How to Use It for more info

Make sure your social media accounts are up to scratch

Some agencies may ask for a link to your Instagram. This is a way for them to learn more about your look and your personality. Applying for an agency is like a job interview: would you be embarrassed if your potential employers looked at your Instagram? If an agency asks for your social media account, consider it a part of your CV.

If you have an amazing social media account, all the better! Having a strong online presence is a sign to agencies that you love the spotlight and aren’t afraid to hide your personality. 

Expect rejection

Unfortunately, one of the things you need to expect is rejection. The important thing is not to take it personally. It may be that at that particular time the agency were after a certain look. It’s a numbers game. The more you apply, the better your chances of success. 

While reputable agencies usually reply within a week or two, not every agency will write back to say if you’re successful. If you don’t hear anything, just reapply again in 6 months! Tidy and edit up your application, update your photos, and maybe next time, you’ll be exactly what they’re looking for.

Prepare for a face-to-face interview

Congrats! The agency loved your photos, so now it’s time to have an appointment in person. Treat this like a job interview. They like what’s on paper, now it’s time to see if you’re the real deal. They want to see if you look like your submission photos, so they may re-measure you (remember when we said don’t lie about your measurements?)

Make sure you’re dressed for the part. Keep it simple in tight-fitting, neat, classic clothes. No makeup or natural makeup is preferred, with simple hairstyles. If you’re a fashion model or plus-size model, remember to bring a swimsuit for your digitals, as they will want to photograph you.

They will take digitals

Digitals, also known as ‘digis’, ‘polaroids’ or ‘polas’, are photos that show what you look like naturally and unedited. These images are usually posted on the agency website. They will use these photos for casting, so it’s important they’re up-to-date. So whenever a model changes their look, they are expected to get new digitals. 

Like the photos you submitted in your application, the agency will usually want to take some during the interview

These photos will unedited and show you wearing no makeup, a simple hairstyle and basic clothing to showcase your raw, natural self. So make sure you’re dressed for the part.

For full-body shots, fashion and plus-size models are often asked to pose in swimwear (so remember to bring a swimsuit!). This can be confronting for some people, so it’s important you prepare yourself mentally for this.

You may be asked to walk

If you’re a fashion model, you may be asked to wear heels and do a quick walk. So make sure you’ve practised walking in heels before the interview! 

It’s also a good idea to practice modelling poses. While they’re not expecting you to know everything, they want to see that you’re passionate and committed to modelling. This is a great way of showing that.

Check out our article 10 Easy Model Poses for ideas on how to pose.

Act professional

It’s not just about looks here. The agency wants to see how you conduct yourself. Are you on time? This is super important when applying to a modelling agency. If you turn up late to your interview, they might think you’re unreliable. So act professional from the beginning to leave a good impression.

They want to know if you’re polite, well-spoken, energetic and most of all, confident. The agency wants to know if you’re capable of handling any job they throw at you. If you’re naturally timid or shy, do your best to show them you’re pleasant to work with. Remember, a smile may be the difference between being signed or not.

Be ready to answer questions

Your first face-to-face appointment is essentially a job interview. Expect it to feel businesslike. The agency are interviewing hundreds of girls, so this is the time to stand out from the crowd by showing your passion for modelling.

Make sure you do a bit of research on the agency, as they may try to suss out how much knowledge you have about them. 

They will also want to know about any time restrictions you may have due to work or studies. If modelling is something you truly want to pursue, you need to be clear that you’re willing to make yourself available in the future. 

Most importantly, be yourself. The interview is a time to let your personality shine!

Expect an offer

Depending on the circumstances applying to a modelling agency you may be given a contract on the spot. You’ll be expected to take it home and gave a read. Otherwise, it’s also normal to have a contract emailed within a week or so. The most important thing is to read the contract, research the agency, and know what you’re walking into before you sign.

If you need help finding a modelling agency, check out our articles below:

Model Agencies in Melbourne

Model Agencies in Sydney


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