How Do Models Get Signed to a Model Agency?

  • Freya Hill
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This is a key question and one that we are asked all the time at UK Models. If you are not lucky enough to bump into a model scout whilst out shopping, the following information will be of great help to you. But first, let us explain what an agency is and what the term ‘signed’ actually means.

A model agency is a company that represents a group of models. They are in contact with brands and industry professionals (photographers, designers, stylists etc) and try to match a model to each industry professional’s needs. The model agency promotes models on their books and aims to find regular and suitable work for them. They run on a commission basis (taking a percentage of the model’s earnings) and will organise the model’s pay, contracts and any other extra information.

The term ‘signed’ refers to the process in which a model agency accepts a model onto their books. Unless a model decides to go freelance (and represents themselves), it will be in their best interest to get signed.

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How to Get Scouted by a Modelling Agency

Definitions out of the way, here are our tips for getting signed to a model agency.

Have a great portfolio and one that speaks volumes about your modelling skills. Why? Because your portfolio acts as a visual CV and allows an agency to instantly see your style and potential without having to conduct their own photo shoot. Your portfolio should contain a variety of pictures in different scenarios and outfits (this will show the agency that you’re not just a one trick pony) and it must show off your personality.

We always suggest putting professional pictures in and keeping them up to date but we must add, having a portfolio is not an industry requirement at this stage, just a recommendation. If this sounds like a lot to take in, pop us a line via our application form (that you can find on our website) and a member of our new faces team will talk you through, in person, all the ways in which we can help you make your own model portfolio.

How to Get Scouted for Modelling on Instagram

Make sure you upload your professional photographs to your social media profiles. Agents do an Instagram model search to find new talent. The collection of squares has become such an important part of a models career. The amount of followers is really important to your success as brands also analyse accounts to find models to showcase their designs. Instagram modelling how grown considerably in the last few years and is something to take seriously and spend time nurturing.

Post a variety of photos of your professional and personal life to create an interesting balance that followers crave to see in their news feed. Networking online is such an important part of growing followers. Liking, following and commenting will raise your profile and attract model scouts on Instagram. Make sure that you stay safe when working with people online. Spend time to find out if they are legit before continuing.

Take a look at top models such as Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid and how they manage their Instagram account.

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Approach Relevant Agencies

But first, decide what style of modelling you want to pursue. Are you looking to work as a catalogue model (working in high street fashion, finding yourself regular contracts, not becoming particularly well known but being admired for your natural features), commercial modelling (the same as catalogue but acting skills are required too), a fitness model (for muscular/toned men and women), glamour (you must be 18 years of age or over) high-fashion (catwalk and editorial modelling, although this is incredibly hard to break into) classic or child modelling?

UK Models are able to advise you on which your face, body and personality will suit best. They can guide you in the right direction of relevant agencies. By going to an agency that doesn’t specialise in your chosen area you will just be wasting their and your time.

Research Your Agency

If you turn up to an agency having done a little background research you will automatically be taken far more seriously than a model that hasn’t. Whilst researching, see what each specific agency wants from their models. Do they have height or weight requirements for example?

What Do Model Scouts Look For?

Apply Appropriately

Some agencies will only accept written letters in the post whilst others will only accept applications via their website. Research your agency’s preferred method and act accordingly.

Make a Good First Impression

Do not be late and do not be shy. Although models aren’t required to turn up in a shirt and tie, it’s important to wear clothes that flatter your figure, nothing too baggy and too distracting.

Be Incredibly Attentive and Passionate

When you meet the model agency’s representatives. Although many people think models are bitchy and boring, they’re not. Agencies want to sign girls and guys with personality, who like having a laugh, who are interesting or intelligent. After all, these attributes really reflect in a well-taken photo.

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How Long Does It Take to Hear Back from Modelling Agencies

When a modelling agency is interested they will contact you via phone or email. However, you do have to be patient as agents are extremely busy. Remember application forms will not be viewed immediately and therefore, may take a couple of weeks to get back to you. In some cases a reply maybe not land in your inbox at all if you are unsuccessful. However, if you attend an open call at both top model agencies and commercial ones you will receive feedback within seconds. The face-to-face interaction is quick and to the point. If you are rejected do not give up, keep trying!

Questions to Ask a Modelling Agency Before Signing

The excitement may take over when you are accepted by top male and female modelling agencies. However, it is important to not get too carried away and ask a few questions before saying yes!

  • Definitely ask for a contract and read every last detail. Even the small print! If you do not understand everything make sure you bring this up at the time as once you have signed on the dotted line it is too late.
  • Do modelling agencies pay for travel? It has been known for this expense to be taken out of your pay leaving models with very little.
  • When do models get paid and what percentage do they take? It is such an important question as you have bills to pay.
  • How does the system work i.e. offers of jobs.
  • Explain your terms. For example, if you do not want to model nude make sure that the jobs they offer are in the right industry for you.

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Posted by Freya Hill

Freya is been writing for many years on fashion and modelling. Her hands are a bit too wrinkly for a 23 year old and she has worked with MTV, New Look and Vauxhall Fashion Scout.