Being a model isn’t easy.
There are many dangers and unpleasant experiences one can encounter - regardless of gender. After talking to a couple of Amparo House models and searching high and low on the web for tips, here are a few things to keep in mind as you embark on your modeling journey.
“Do your research on the photographer,” emphasized Alimatu, a black Amparo House Model, as she recounted her modeling experiences so far.
You will most likely want to collaborate with a variety of photographers, especially when you are building your portfolio. A lot of those collaborations offers will be tempting, especially for TFPs (Time-for-Print sessions). The excitement might cloud your logic. But it’s imperative you do your research on the people you are working with.
“You don’t have to jump to every opportunity [that rises].” ~ Taytana
Search who your photographer is. Look at their Instagram page, their personal website, and any other platform they may have. Here are some red flags…
> If you see a website with only one model = NOPE
> If the photographer tells you not to bring anyone with you = UH, NO THANK YOU!
> If they don’t reply with professionalism and respect = GOODBYE
Another Amparo House model, N’Dea Walker, makes a point to outsource your research on the photographer. And not only that, but to always bring another person to the shoot. She also highlights that you should know your boundaries as a model. Know what it is you are comfortable doing and where your red lines are.
Look out for one another. Bring a buddy. Share your experiences.
There might be some situations where a photographer, casting director, or anyone in the modeling industry makes you feel uncomfortable - whether it be urging you to wear something you don’t want to, or telling you to pose a certain manner that you don’t feel safe doing.
If that were to happen - first, know that it is not your fault or that you did anything wrong. Second, many models advise you to speak out! Share your negative experiences with other models through various platforms like Facebook groups, or on the photographer’s page itself.
Both Suzett and Alimatu recall using Facebook and Instagram to voice their experience and warn others from going through similar situations as them.
“As an African American model, sometimes we aren’t what they are looking for and they may want you to show more skin or show your ‘black curves’... [and that may cause a level of discomfort or unsafetyness…]” ~Alimatu
Lastly, Don’t get scammed - You should never pay money for any agency or brand.
If you are paying for a photoshoot for any agency, brand, or company - ALERT! STOP! If you are looking to build your portfolio and hire photographers, then that makes a lot of sense. You are investing in your career. And it makes even more sense if those photographers are incredible artists, respectful, and professional!
However, if an agency, company, or brand is emailing you for a gig and is asking for money… It's most certainly a huge scam! Be alert and ignore those situations. Although it may be seductive, stay vigilant and be smart about reaching your goals.
“If you are paying money to an agency… RED FLAG!” ~ Taytana
Remember Taytana’s wise words: You don’t have to jump to every opportunity [that rises]. And I have to agree with her. Like in life, some opportunities might seem like a dream and more-than-beyond perfect. However, it might just not be the right opportunity - or the safest.
WRITEN BY MEILIN CHONG