How Does a Modelling Agency Work?

As an aspiring model, finding a modelling agency that will sign you can be a very advantageous step to take. A modelling agency will not only give you some security but they will also find you modelling opportunities that you can audition for. 

Here, we’ll talk you through the process of finding a modelling agency, how they work, what they do for a model and – most importantly – how to get signed to one. 

What is a Modelling Agency?

modelling agency is a bit like a talent agency, but specifically for models. They sign models to their books and help to manage the model’s career. 

All top models find fame and fortune by working with a renowned modelling agency. Top agencies have links with the biggest brands and companies, so the difficult step of getting your foot in the door is essentially bypassed if you get signed to an agency. 

It’s not easy to get signed to an agency. They receive applications from aspiring hopefuls every day, and it’s very competitive. They can’t afford to sign every applicant, so they must be selective. They will choose models who they believe will ultimately bring in the most cash. The type of model that makes the most money will differ depending on what is in fashion. A model may be dropped by an agency if they fail to get enough work or meet their contract’s stipulations. 

How Do You Find a Modelling Agency?

Some of the biggest supermodels in the world didn’t go out searching for their modelling agency – the modelling agency found them. This is often due to pure luck. The model was usually in the right place at the right time, and a modelling agency scout will have seen them and approached them for work. This happens very rarely, so it’s not a good idea to rely on this if you want to be a model. 

For most models, you will have to apply the old-fashioned way – completing a form and hoping for the best. Most modelling agencies now have their own websites, and they will have their unique application process on there. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully as they may differ from agency to agency. 

You will be asked to answer some generic questions about yourself (name, location, age, height etc.) as well as details about your measurements and clothing sizes. You will then need to attach a few of your best modelling photos. These need to be high-quality and show off your potential and range, so pay extra attention to these – a quick glance at these photos needs to tell the agency why you are a good choice. 

Applying to a Modelling Agency

The application process won’t take long. Make sure your measurements and other details are as up-to-date as possible. If you haven’t measured yourself recently, do so – if you send a company the wrong information, you will waste their valuable time. Don’t feel tempted to lie about your measurements. If you’re successful, they’ll invite you to an in-person meeting – and they’ll soon discover if you were telling fibs. 

You can apply to as many agencies as you want, as many times as you want. Try to apply to agencies that fit your agenda. It’s important too that you fit their agenda – there’s no point applying to an agency that works predominantly with plus-size models, for example, if you are not plus-size. Save yourself time by doing your research first. 

Remember that your photos are the most crucial element to your application. An agency may spend a mere second glancing at an applicants photo before deciding whether they would be a good fit. Make sure yours stand out from the crowd and truly show off your potential. 

How to Get the Best Photos for Your Application

Technically, you could use a phone selfie as part of your application. But will this help you stand out from a crowd of other potential applicants? Probably not. 

A phone selfie doesn’t scream “professional”, nor does it show you are serious about pursuing a career in modelling. And remember, your application photos are the single most important element of your application. Not only do you need to look amazing, but the photos themselves also need to be high-quality and clear. 

Many fashion models use pre-existing modelling photos of themselves as part of their application. But if you’re new to the game, you might not yet have any modelling experience or photos to use. In this case, it’s a great idea to think about hiring a professional photographer for a photo shoot. Whilst this isn’t free, it’s a great way to invest in your future career. Once purchased, your photos can also be used in your modelling portfolio – another vital tool for all models. 

They’re Interested – Now What?

If a modelling agency isn’t interested, it’s likely you won’t hear back at all. This is very common and it’s important not to feel too despondent if this happens. All models face rejection – it’s the nature of the business. Hold your head high and persevere until you find a modelling agency that is interested. There are several reasons why you might be rejected:

– The agency does not feel you have the right look for their agency

– The agency feels you won’t get enough work

– They have no room for signing new models

– They have had too many applications and haven’t yet seen yours

If a modelling agency is interested, they will invite you to an in-person casting call (aka an audition). This is your time to make the best first impression you can. 

What Happens at a Modelling Agency Audition?

You’ll be invited to meet the agency at their headquarters (which are usually located in a major city like London or Manchester). You will be given a time and date, and you’ll be told beforehand if they want you to bring anything. 

A good rule-of-thumb is to bring a pair of heels you can walk in, and a pair of nude underwear. It’s good to be prepared, and the agency might want you to try on certain clothing or show off your walk if you’re looking to become a catwalk/runway model. If you bring a pair of heels you know are comfy and that you can walk well in, you will avoid having to wear agency heels that may be uncomfortable, ill-fitting and/or a size too small/big. 

Make sure you arrive in plenty of time – it does not look good to be late. Keep your phone handy in case you need maps. 

Dress with thoughts. For inspiration on what to wear to a modelling auditiontake a look at our blog. It’s a good idea to wear flats to the audition, but bring heels in your bag. Bring some snacks, water and something to keep you occupied too in case you need to wait to be seen. 

If the agency is interested, they’ll likely tell you there and then, or they may get back to you usually within a week. 

Scam Agencies

There are a lot of scam modelling agencies out there. Make sure you do your research and avoid these sorts of companies. Check reviews from people who have worked with them previously, check that their website is legitimate, and if you’re ever unsure, avoid them. A legitimate agency should not charge you a membership fee; agencies make their money by taking a cut from any modelling work the model does.

Always read contracts front to back before signing. 

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