7 Reasons You Weren’t Hired for the Model Casting.

Why wasn’t I picked for the casting? We all know how disappointing it is to not get picked for a job you were hoping to book! Rest assured, “it’s not you.” Or it probably wasn’t you.

7 reasons you weren’t hired for the model casting.

  1.  You just don’t have the right look. It’s simply that. The client has a veryy specific look they are hiring for, and you didn’t fit. Even if you’re blonde and they’re looking for blondes… Are you really the closest model to the vision they had in mind? Maybe. Probably not. This is the case more often than not.
  2. Your hair is just an inch too short. If you’re at a hair casting: first of all, they are very hard to book unless you are open to complete transformations. I’m a professional hair model, among other things. I almost booked a really great hair job once, but my hair was slightly too short. I had the right look, but they needed very specific hair.
  3. They found their model before you even came to the casting. I know this is especially common with hair castings. They found the perfect model already, but the client is still pretty much obligated to execute the rest of the casting. This is why it’s usually a great idea to come at the start of a casting, rather than the middle or at the end, if you can help it.
  4. They SOUNDED like they wanted to hire you, why didn’t you get the callback? I know this is disappointing, and it could be any number of reasons. Most commonly, they just found another model that for better. Maybe it was budget, maybe it was personality. Regardless, you can’t stress yourself over it. Nothing is ever a “YES” until you are actually ON SET.
  5. Your agency. Yes, sometimes your agency really doesn’t have your best interests in mind. They have models to take care of other than you! I’ve had screw-ups with jobs in fashion week before, where I’ve booked one job and was put on hold for another and ended up not doing either one because of something that happened on the back end of things.
  6. Personality. Sometimes you might not have booked a job, because it was you. Maybe you were tired and didn’t have energy and they were looking for bubbly personalities. Either way, just be you and this probably won’t be a problem. Unless “you” means being unprofessional and rubbing off on people wrong.
  7. Not wearing the right clothes, or looking too “fresh” to the industry. If are, or you look, inexperienced, it may be a turn off to the client. The only way to not look new is to get out there, build your portfolio, build your wardrobe, and gain experience.

There are a million reasons why you weren’t picked for a job. The only thing that matters is: you weren’t picked. That’s it. No need to overthink it. It rarely has anything to do with something you did or didn’t do.

As a rule, I personally say: expect the worst, but always hope for the best. It takes a lot of tries to get hired for a modeling job. Just keep at it, and the right one(s) will come along!

Be Fierce!!

Briauna Mariah (:

A Model’s Unfiltered Thoughts on Agencies

Photo by Annika Forslund

I’ve been quarreling with myself on this topic for months now. I have provided you with plenty of info on modeling agencies in the past. However, I feel there is a missing element. Bias. Today I will impart my bias in regards to the topic of agencies. Today I will open up.

While I have not had a horrendous experience with agencies, like some, it has not been particularly pleasant either. Often, agencies have felt very intimidating, even bully-like.

A model is hardly ever allowed to be herself. She is scrutinized in detail. She is never good enough, always expected to fill in this role of the unattainable. As a society, our beauty standards are warped. They are unrealistic. Yet, young girls are expected to conform. This is what it feels like to be a model. Moldable.

At age 15, I was told I had too much baby fat. My legs have been called doughy. Some people have told me I can’t “make it” due to my size. That I have to conform. I have been pressured and harassed about my skin, urged to see a dermatologist I couldn’t afford, for a problem that was occurring because of my genes, and because I was unhealthy. Being with an agency has always been a stressful experience for me. I was always pressured one way or another, bullied strategically, bossed around, and strung along waiting for my paychecks.

This is my bias. And the experience is not too different from those girls around me.

Girls. We are women, young women. Yet, why do I keep calling all models girls? It is because even I feel diminished as a model sometimes. We are girls. Young. To be manipulated. Some never grow up. Some never learn. Some girls grow up learning from this industry and are left wondering what is wrong.

Agencies not paying their models has become a norm. Clients paying months after a job. Sexual harassment on jobs, and bullying. How can they get away with this?

For one, the industry remains wildly unregulated. On the other hand: we let them. A year ago, I decided I no longer wanted to be taken advantage of by a shady company with only their own interests in mind.

Unfortunately, a model can’t advance her career much without an agency.

To be fair, I have had a lot of exciting moments with my agencies. I have been in Mercedes-Benz fashion week. I have booked huge, lucrative photo shoots. I have been given the chance to book career-changing campaigns. I have been in Anna Wintour’s office building. There are always the plus sides. I often found myself in exciting jobs and opportunities I wouldn’t have gotten without an agency.

Without having been with the agencies I have been with, I wouldn’t be where I am as a model today. My portfolio is strong. My experience is strong. From the platform of being signed with an agency, I have been given the opportunity to expand and grow, not only as a model, but as a woman.

Here’s the thing. We can change this. Together. The fashion industry doesn’t have to be a harsh reality, but a positive environment.

My experiences in the fashion industry have pushed me to create a revolution. I want to promote positive change and health. Poor, low quality living is generally secretly applauded by many industry peers. Young girls loosing too much weight is celebrated! This helps perpetuate and encourage eating disorders among young girls across the globe.

So I need your help. Soon, I will be launching a crowd-funding campaign for We Speak, the agency of the future. I’m creating a healthy branding system for retail and fashion brands to use to encourage healthy living, and healthy women.

If you help fund and promote this mission, you are contributing your piece of a huge undertaking and fashion revolution. The industry has made small movements to a more positive industry, yet the experiences detailed above are still very much alive. Are you ready to roar?

www.facebook.com/wespeakny

Be Fierce!!

Briauna Mariah (:
Founder of We Speak
(917) 274-7324

P.S. We are on the lookout for experienced, healthy models in NYC! Email briaunamariah@gmail.com for submissions (our email system and site is currently undergoing construction!)

Test Shoot Wardrobe for Models

If you are providing your own wardrobe for a photoshoot… Know that something that looks good in person, may not translate as well in photos. As a rule of thumb, simpler is better.

Test shoots are easiest to provide wardrobe for. This is just a simple portfolio shoot with not specific concept. There may be some play on lighting/androgyny and some basic conceptual ideas, but if you stray too far out of this area, the shoot becomes more complicated and the wardrobe will need to be styled. It is best to either have a designer on board, a wardrobe stylist, or, if you need, you can “shop and return.”

For the simpler shoots, you’ll want a variety of clothing from your own wardrobe. Generally, it is a good idea to provide wardrobe similar to the clothes you’d wear for Polaroids. Here are some lists to help you choose what clothes to bring and get some ideas flowing!

Each category includes some items you can bring if you’re going to play up on that specific theme/look. Some may work better for you than others. Knowing your assets and how you photograph is key.

Sexy:

  • Any cute lingerie you have is a must
  • Black, white, nude, and colored bras and underwear
  • High waisted pieces and boy shorts
  • Bodysuits (lacey, interesting pieces with cool cuts)
  • Swimsuits
  • Sheer pieces
  • Tights
  • Leggings
  • Just-out-of-bed-T-shirts
  • Think American Apparel
  • Heels and/or cute/sexy socks
  • Pasties (as needed)

*Tip: know your boundaries. If you’re not comfortable with a certain style or showing more than you want, say so beforehand. Also, consider if this is the route you want to go.


Androgynous:

  • Button up shirts
  • Collared shirts/tops
  • Ties/bows
  • Men’s baggy pants/boyfriend jeans
  • Suspenders
  • Oversized t-shirts
  • Gender-ambiguous clothing items (non form-fitting)
  • Jean jackets
  • Vests
  • Muscle shirts/tanktops
  • Oxford shoes
  • Men’s shoes

*Tip: the key here is to hide your feminine side and make people wonder. Lighting plays a role here.


Commercial:

  • Everyday wear
  • Jeans
  • Skirts
  • Dresses
  • Cute outfits
  • Heels
  • Go with the seasons if you’re outside (cute scarves and jacket or light summery pieces)

*Tip: This area has a ton of options. Go with whatever you have. Go light and airy, or slightly darker and dense.


Edgy:

  • Go for rocker/out of the norm pieces
  • Look for black dresses, cool cuts, hard silhouettes
  • Bring your toughest/coolest jackets
  • Interesting tops
  • Jeans/ripped jeans
  • Pieces with spikes/leather/plastic
  • Sheer pieces
  • Bustiers
  • Boots


Simple:

  • Jeans/ripped
  • Shorts/high waisted
  • Form fitting tanks
  • Crop tops
  • T-shirts (form fitting or baggy but it must show off your body somehow)
  • Bras
  • Leggings

This is just a general outline to help guide you in the right direction for your shoot. You are most likely pulling from your own wardrobe, so use your best style judgement! Questions/additons/comments? Please write me below! I’d like for all of my blog posts to one day become an open dialogue!

Be Fierce!!

Briauna Mariah (:

10 Model Tips to Prepare for Your First Shoot

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of your first photoshoot. However, let’s avoid the “deer-in-the-headlights” look (I’ve seen it a million times) to get something really great for your portfolio!

Many new models don’t realize what it takes to get a good image until after their first shoot. It isn’t too hard once you get the hang of it, but until you do, here are some tips to remember to get you started on the right track!

  1. So long as we’re talking about preparedness…. Always make sure to bring essentials! The bare minimum? Nude undergarments… and whatever they ask you to bring. Or, if you know the clothing you’ll be shooting, wear nice undergarments that will blend well. Black, white, nude are the basics. Pasties are good to have on hand, as well as a pair of heels. If you really want to impress, paint your nails a clean, neutral color, and bring some supplemental wardrobe.
  2. Look at magazines. Find inspiration here. What do you connect to? Look for poses, and then do them. See what works and what doesn’t. Later, you can reference what you see during your shoot and try the poses out. If it’s not working, the photographer will tell you so. Also, watch fashion shoots on youtube.
  3. Pose/practice in front of the mirror. Find what angles you think look best. And then take lots of selfies. This is silly-sounding, yes, but it can help. What you see in the mirror doesn’t look exactly like a photo would. Find attractive angles, poses, and faces. Make a silly face in the mirror and see what you like and don’t like. I like to make silly faces. Sometimes the shot turns out great. I’ve had photographers refuse to take a picture of my silly face. They know what’s best for that shot. They are essentially your eyes.
  4. Practice your pretty model hands! Hands can make a shot or break a shot. If your hand looks like the claw of no return…. it’s going to look a little awkward. If it feels awkward, it may just look awkward, too.
  5. Know your assets. Maybe you won’t know what your assets are until after your first shoot. That’s ok. Figure out what your most unique and wonderful features are and how to utilize them. Example: lips. Don’t do the same expression with your face/lips for every shot. Try to change it up and see what looks best. Some assets are hard to work with, because they are so unique. But when you harness their power…. POW.
  6. Understand who will be on the shoot. Escort or no, it’s good to require a collaborator on board (such as hair, MUA, stylist, etc.), especially when working with someone you’ve never met before. Always be cautious with who you meet and where and never be completely alone with a stranger in an uncomfortable situation. Trust your gut.
  7. Relax. There is a good chance you will be nervous. It happens to all of us at one point or another. It may help to meet the photographer for coffee before the day of the shoot and discuss the type of images you’re each looking for. Hopefully you will have discussed them before! Good communication helps the shoot roll along smoothly and makes everyone happy.
  8. Be organic. Don’t hold a pose/awkward pose for long. You want to be constantly moving, so the images look more natural and fluid. Thinking of a pose and then executing it may look more stiff than you imagined.
  9. Don’t think too much. This goes back to organic movement. If you think too much, it will show in your face and your body.
  10. How to not look like a newbie? It’s hard to say, since the experience is different for everyone. A good photographer will know how to give you proper direction. Though, with time, they shouldn’t need to. Don’t be afraid to ask to see the photos during a quick break between frames, so you know how your movement and facial expressions are translating on camera.

When in doubt… simpler is definitely better! Look at agency websites and the models there. Many of their portfolios are made up of raw, organic black and white photos. Give some attitude, show the world what you’ve got. Don’t hold back. And be you!

Be Fierce!!

Briauna Mariah (:

Pros and Cons of Being a Short Haired Model

Pros
  • Don’t pay for haircuts like… Ever. I hardly remember the last time I paid for my hair cut or color. I’ve only paid for color once in my life since going short, which was back in 2011. That was my last fully paid haircut, too. In 2012, I tipped a guy to do my hair a couple times. So yeah, isn’t it 2014 now?
  • Get paid to not cut your hair. Don’t go out and pay for a haircut! If you cut your hair, there’s less for clients to work with and they may not hire you. Basically, growing your hair out is a future gig investment. Oooh yeah.
  • Try a plethora of new hair colors! Since becoming a short haired model, I’ve experimented with many different color variations, and got paid to do so!
  • Book awesome gigs. Hair pays and it pays well! My first hair job in New York was a huge national hair campaign for Joico 2013. Want to make a super easy $600 bucks (or more)? Wait for a hair job to come around.
  • Hairdressers are the best clients! No joke. Now that I think of it, the hair industry is the best part of the fashion industry. All the top hairstylists are best friends and they are the friendliest people on the planet. They will love you to death. I love them!
  • Androgyny. Look like a dude and be cool with it. I’ve been called sir so many times… you have no idea.
  • Be rocker and edgy. Short hair is just photographs so well. And it fits with so many different types of personalities.
  • And you can still be cute and girly on top of it all! Always a plus.
  • Unlimited cool cuts and style options. So versatile.
  • Everyone else loves your hair short. (As long as you can effectively pull it off. If you’re a good model, you should). It’s so… Rebel? Wait, how is short hair rebel these days? Beats me…. Some people are still old fashioned.
  • It grows fast! Optimize your fun hair-gig bookings. They can just keep cutting it.
  • Healthier hair. The ends are newer than long haired girls’ ends.
Cons
  • It’s hard to grow out. Especially when you’re booking hair jobs. They keep cutting it! But it pays so well….
  • It’s a bit more difficult to do the more “bombshell look.” It can be done though. With the right person and style.
  • Commercial work may be more difficult. Hard for me to say personally because I’m edgy in general. Commercial cant take me and my short hair.
  • Hair jobs pay well… But they’re less frequent than well paid, consistent commercial work.
  • A cool cut/style can start to look a little shaggy for a while after before it fills out.
  • If you’re getting you hair colored, note that the color fades relatively quickly. Sad day 🙁
  • Last con: There aren’t enough cons to demonstrate that you shouldn’t rock short hair. Umm… What’s wrong with short hair? Nothing. Because short hair rocks! Models with short hair are automatically awesome.

Questions? No? That is all.

Be Fierce!!

Briauna Mariah (:

Is My Agency Legit?

8 Signs you Should Seek a Different Agency Option

  1. The “agency” has a tuition. This is the biggest indicator that what you’re looking at is not a real agency. It’s a modeling school. Yes, maybe they’ve had some girls come out of their system into the industry with success but this is rare. The time of the modeling schools has come to an end.
  2. They are newly established and have bad online reviews. Ripoffreport.com is a good place to check out. Ask around. Ask the models on their board about their experiences. Us girls love to talk about ourselves… Amirite?
  3. They seem slightly desperate. Even if its just a hunch or gut feeling. Desperation is never attractive.
  4. Be cautious if they’ve scouted you organically. Make sure to do thorough research on their name. You could be scouted by a big name, but just make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into. Most established agencies will mainly recruit via open calls, online, and with you coming to them.
  5. The type of agency that they are does not match what you are looking for. Small town agencies may not be what you’re looking for or their clientele and opportunities may not be what you’re expecting.
  6. They do not have a steady list of clients. Often, higher end agencies will list their impressive array of clients. Note that some agencies don’t list clients, so this isn’t always the best indicator.
  7. They are not listed on models.com. The more established legitimate agencies are all listed here. For smaller cities, this may not be the case. But generally, there is one or a few main agencies for an area. You should find out which ones these are and stick with those as options.
  8. If you are already signed with them and they are not paying you. This could be a sign that their company is struggling. Or not. Many agencies take long periods of time to pay their models. Some are worth the wait and will eventually pay you, some are not. If this is something you’re struggling with you may want to consider small claims if its been well over the amount of time your contract allows for an agency to pay a model.


Be Fierce!!


Briauna Mariah (:

Do Modeling Agencies like Natural Photos?

Do Modeling Agencies like Natural Photos?

Someone asked this question, and, though the question yields similar answers that are contained in my model polaroid post, it can be approached in a slightly different manner.

This question can be answered in two parts. Polaroids, and portfolio. If you’re looking to be signed, these are some good things to keep in mind whether you have a portfolio or not.


Polaroids. 

Polaroids are solely for showing off what you look like without all the smoke and mirrors (aka photoshop and makeup). Clients and agents want to know what you look like and how you photograph. My Polaroid post goes into more specific depth. However, one thing that can be added to the conversation is the definition of “natural” in the fashion world these days.

When taking and submitting Polaroids to an agency, keep in mind that there is a such thing as too natural. You want good polaroids. If you’ve ever heard that your submissions don’t need to be professional, that would be wrong. There’s a clause to that statement. They don’t need to be taken by a professional, but they should look clean and somewhat professional. Because bad lighting, blemishes, and bad photos in general will not look good. I definitely went through this phase myself, early on in my modeling career. To the left is an example of a poor Polaroid on my part. It should be obvious but to someone new to the industry, as I was at the time, I thought that all the agencies wanted was to see a picture of me. This is incorrect, they wanted to see me looking fresh, in a quality photo that enhanced my assets. Poor (especially indoor, like my example) lighting and low quality images are definitely a no! Compare the lighting of the two photos in this post (see above). See the difference in quality?

For examples of a good Polaroid, visit the Polaroid post.


Portfolio.
In regards to your portfolio, natural, raw photos in should usually be the main component, unless you have very high quality images that are more styled/editorial/avante garde/etc. Things you would see in a magazine with the photography quality of a tear sheet. If it doesn’t attain that impeccable high quality, you could probably do without.

The photos in your portfolio should showcase your modeling and your look, if they’re not showcasing an advertisement or clothing. Consider them Polaroids 2.0. A little more makeup, a specific clothing style style, and high quality photography are great to have. Your photos should show emotion, mood, and your raw beauty. Naturally.

Now, consider a different definition of natural. Natural movement, and a sense of ease. Agencies look at this as well. Though, if you don’t have this, but you have the right look, agencies could still take you in for polishing.

Having high quality “natural” photos in your repertoire of images will help brand you and attract clients who are interested in your look. I think it’s safe to say that the more natural your professional images look, the cleaner the slate you become, and the easier it is for a client to see you  in their project.


What about conceptual photos?

Lastly, if you need to decide what to do with your edgy, cool pictures, that don’t really have the word “natural” attached to them, don’t fret! Supplement your portfolio with only the best of the best and aim to get really good tear sheets. While natural photos showcase you, tear sheets showcase your experience and look insanely good in your portfolio.

When in doubt, read up on Polaroids or on how to put a portfolio together.

Be Fierce!!

Briauna Mariah (:

Pros and Cons of Being an Agency Model

This post requires no prelude. However, this is the opinion of several experienced models and not just myself. We are all in agreement. Here are some pros and cons of being an agency represented model. 

10 PROS of Being an Agency Represented Model:

  1. You are, or should be, constantly busy with castings, test shoots, and jobs.
  2. You can make great connections and work with well known clients.
  3. You can be requested and sent to exclusive (closed) castings.
  4. If you are new, an agency is a great segway into the industry. Getting signed means, in a general sense, that you have what it takes. You are an unpolished gem.
  5. You have guidance available to you.
  6. You feel like an important asset to your agency.
  7. Your agency handles all transactions as well as your schedule. You don’t have to worry about prioritizing if you’re bad at those things nor do you have to worry about difficult clients.
  8. An agency helps you build an image and promotes that image to clients.
  9. Your agency is legally bound to the same contract that you are. This can be to your mutual benefit (it could also be considered a con).
  10. Lets face it, it can feel good to feel legitimized by an agency!

Now, lets get into the cons. The nitty gritty. Maybe I’m biased, but a lot of these can cancel out some of the pros. I know many other models who have had identical experiences.

10 CONS of Being an Agency Represented Model:

  1. Your paychecks are less predictable than if you were freelancing and managing your own invoicing because you are not in control. You have to continuously ask and rely on your agency for accounting statuses. You may not receive the money (at all, or in a timely fashion) unless you fight for it.
  2. There is a commission taken out of your paychecks.
  3. The image your agency promotes for you may be specific and limiting to your abilities.
  4. You will be encouraged to loose weight and be under regular scrutiny.
  5. Lets face it, some bookers can be intimidating. Nothing personal!
  6. You do not have the freedom of a freelance model. Freedom is good when you know how to utilize it!
  7. Extra work and modeling gigs are discouraged, especially in New York. These agencies like keep you busy and keep you for themselves!
  8. You have little to no control over your schedule and you don’t know when you may be asked to go somewhere.
  9. Your growth as a model may be hindered by relying on an agency to handle your career.
  10. You are tied by a legal contract and a specified amount of time with your agency, generally 2 years.

In conclusion, it is best to see for yourself! Measure your successes, roadblocks, and downfalls during your journey as a model decide which route you prefer: agency, or freelance? Share your thoughts below! Do you find your experiences similar? Different? Do you have anything to add? Comments, please!

As for myself, I am currently choosing the freelance route and I’m loving it! I still do consider agency offers that come my way. However, for the time being, I am a New York freelancer and available for hire! (Email me for rates if you’re interested! My portfolio may be viewed in the uppermost navigation bar. I suggest checking out editorial first!). If you would like to learn more about what it is like to be a freelance model, check out Sierra Mckenzie’s Freelance Models blog!

Be fierce!!

Briauna Mariah (:

How I’ve Dealt With Acne & Products that Work

As a model, nice skin is very important to me. I rely on good skin for the success of my career. The problem is, I have grown up with genetically bad skin.

When I moved to New York in July 2012, my skin seemed to have cleared up and was looking better than ever. Optimistically, I discontinued my old prescription, as it had lost its effectiveness anyways. Hormones and stress soon kicked in, however, and caused my acne to flare up, worse than ever. I was working hard on my new role as a New York model and my bad skin was extremely discouraging.

The bad skin caused even more stress–my face is my career!–my agency at the timed scheduled me to see a very expensive dermatologist.  I tried more antibiotics. It was a vicious cycle of stress, hormones, trying to find a solution, and more stress. The whole process of prescriptions, samples, and doctors visits was very aggravating. Near the end of December 2012, I met a terrific,  man on a modeling job who owns a branding company and he wanted to send me some Evologie creams. Continue reading “How I’ve Dealt With Acne & Products that Work”

Agency Qualities to Look For

When you are seeking representation and meeting with modeling agencies, you should get to know the people at the agency and get a feel for the place. I won’t get into too many specifics on how to become a model, as it has been previously discussed, but I will say that choosing an agency that will best fit your needs, if you do choose not to freelance, is very important. You do not want to get signed, and then get buried in the agency’s “New Faces” department. This could easily happen with any big agency.

You want to look for a very “quality over quantity” vibe. However, even if they are really excited about your look, there are no guarantees of a successful relationship. An agency that pays attention, with an open line of communication, are generally good signs. Continue reading “Agency Qualities to Look For”