At some point on your journey to becoming a professional model, you will be asked to meet and interview with an agency. It’s a huge moment of victory. Maybe you’ve heard countless ‘no’s from modelling agencies up until this point. Or maybe it follows your first time being randomly stopped and scouted on the street.
You want to make your best impression, but have no clue what to expect from a model agency interview. What do you wear? What will they ask you? You’ve gotten this far so how on earth do you persuade them to follow through and sign you?
Working for many years as a fashion photographer in London, I’ve shot with countless newly-signed models. Here are my tips on preparing to meet a modelling agency for the first time.
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How do You Prepare For a Model Agency Interview?
The most crucial step to impressing a modelling agency is showing up on time! Your first port of call on preparing for an agency meeting is planning your journey ahead of time. For modelling agencies in major UK cities, travel planning apps like Citymapper are lifesavers.
Plan to arrive a few minutes early, check the night before for any train cancellations, and save your route so it’s accessible offline. Use Google maps street view to imprint what the agency’s building looks like in your mind – a foolproof technique for never getting lost.
Next step, do your research. The agency may have already given you an idea of what to bring. If not, email politely and ask in advance for advice on preparing for the meeting. Most agencies will be more than happy to give you suggestions.
If you have one, put together a portfolio so that you can take it with you. Agencies don’t anticipate a new model having a portfolio of modelling images at hand. So if you’re a beginner model with no experience, don’t worry. But if you’ve had some experience modelling in the past, even for fun, bringing these photos printed out or digitally to give you an advantage.
Make sure the images you bring are tailored to the modelling agency. If they book a lot of commercial jobs, bring images that look campaign ready to leave the best impression.
Finally, take time to think about the questions you have about becoming a model. Then make a list so that even if your mind goes blank on the day, you don’t forget them!
What to Wear to a Model Agency Interview
If you’ve applied to the agency before, you’ll have gone through the process of submitting images of yourself online. These would have been plain clothed images of you from various angles. When planning what to wear to meet a modelling agency, wear what you wore, or something similar!
Try to keep your hair and makeup natural, and consistent, with how it looked then too. This is the look that best showcases your natural beauty. And it’s the look that impressed the agency enough to meet you. So have faith it’ll come off just as well in person.
If you didn’t apply online you’ll find images of models wearing plain, well-fitted clothes and natural hair and makeup on agency websites. It’s a look known as the ‘model uniform’. This look is the industry standard for meetings, castings, and polaroids because it makes a model’s features stand out.
Browsing the model polaroids of the agency you’re meeting will give you good ideas for outfit inspiration. Some agencies like their female models to wear heels, others don’t have a preference. You should be able to see what the agency’s preferences are by looking through their website and socials.
What to Expect at a Modelling Agency Interview?
You’ll probably meet with one or two people from the agency in a private room; these are model bookers. Sometimes the person you meet will specifically work for the New Faces division of the agency. They’ll ask you for basic information like your name, age, and measurements. Then take some quick photos and get you to fill out a form. Other questions they might ask include:
- Why you want to model with them
- What you do for work
- If you’re in school
- Where you live
- What your availability looks like
- If you’ve had experience before
- If you have any special talents
- What kind of shoots you’d be interested in or comfortable doing
Questions to Ask the Model Agency
Even after thinking in-depth about questions to ask them yourself. It can be hard to tell which questions will offer the most insight to you as an aspiring model. Some good questions to ask during a model agency interview are:
- How will they help you build your portfolio and career – do they offer the level of support and guidance you want?
- What kind of jobs do they book for their models – is the work they send their models for what you want to do?
- What’s their commission rate – agencies operate on a commission basis, a standard commission rate is 20%; is their rate sensible and are you happy with it?
- When will you get paid for jobs – this varies depending on the agency; is their payment time reasonable?
- What are the potential expenses – standard modelling expenses are travel, accommodation and the cost of test shoots to develop your portfolio; are their expenses in line with these and affordable to you?
- How do they handle expenses – some agencies will cover these expenses for new models and take them out of future paid work; are you happy with how they handle expenses?
- What do they expect from their models – do these expectations align with your own personal goals and values in modelling?
- Where do they see you fitting in at the agency – does their vision align with yours?
- Why they wanted to meet you – even if the meeting doesn’t end in you signing with them, this will give you a good idea of your strengths as a model going forwards
Making a Good Impression at Your Model Agency Interview
The best way to impress a modelling agency is by showing confidence in yourself. The tips for impressing a modelling agency are similar to tips for succeeding in any job interview. Be on time, come prepared, dress the part and have an active interest in the role!
If you’re under eighteen bring a parent or legal guardian to the meeting with you. In the UK you need parental consent to sign a modelling contract with an agency if you’re under eighteen. So having a parent with you will give an impression that you have their enthusiastic support in modelling, putting the agents’ minds at ease.
If you’re over eighteen and confident, going alone will give the impression that you’re independent and self-assured. Professional models are often expected to travel and attend jobs or castings alone, so these are qualities that agents admire in potential models.
How Long Does it Take a Modelling Agency to Get Back to You
By the end of your meeting with the agency, they might have made a decision on whether to sign you. You’ll be handed a contract to look over, sign, and return. Even though it’s exciting, it’s important to take your time to read over the contract and ask questions. You should feel just as comfortable taking it home with you as you would signing on the spot.
Sometimes at the end of your agency interview you don’t get any feedback. This is completely normal. Modelling agencies are busy companies and there are usually other agents to get a decision from before signing a new model. It shouldn’t take longer than two weeks for a decision to be made. So if you haven’t heard back after two weeks, follow up!
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