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How to Become a Magazine Model

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Becoming a magazine model is no easy task. Many women try their hand at modeling, and very few see success on the same level of the world's top magazine models. However, there are steps you can take to get your name--and more importantly, your face--in front of the booking editors of today's top fashion magazines.

Start by putting together a look book. A large monetary investment may be necessary; however, a look book is an absolute necessity for a magazine model. You need a book of photos showing you in a range of moods and positions as well as different fashions. You also need close-up pictures of your face, some with makeup and others displaying your natural beauty. Your look book will help magazine editors see you in a range of styles and poses and help them to decide if you would be a good choice to grace the pages of their publication.

Take on as many TFP (trade for print or trade for photograph) assignments as possible in the beginning. The more pictures you can gather for your book, the better. Many photographers are in the same position, needing a variety of photos for their personal portfolios. Therefore, models and photographers often work together in what is known as a TFP (trade for pictures)agreement. As a magazine model, you can never have too many photographs, and with this arrangement, you do not have to continue to shell out money to get new, updated pics for your look book.

Start shopping your pictures around to local and regional magazines. Exposure is the key when trying to become a successful magazine model. The more exposure you have, the more likely it is that you will be picked up by increasingly larger publications. When starting out, take on as many local and regional assignments as possible. Doing so will give you some additional modeling experience and make it that much easier to market yourself as a professional magazine model.

Put together your own website, complete with an online portfolio. These days, everything is done online, so along with a look book, you will also need a website. The site should primarily consist of photographs as well as contact and booking information. Be sure to keep it updated often with your newest photos and latest magazine spreads.

Put together a contact list of the booking editors of every major magazine, and begin sending them pictures for consideration. You can either scour trade publications for open magazine model auditions or send unsolicited packages to booking editors. The combination of both methods is what can actually get you work; if your photos are striking enough, booking editors may just give you a shot, despite the fact that you sent unsolicited photos. On the other hand, it is important to stay on top of the latest auditions and model calls because you may just have the perfect look for a certain type of shoot.

Once you begin to get work, hire an agent or sign with an agency. At first, it is unnecessary to spend money you are not making on an agent. Most magazine models do not sign with an agency at the beginning of their careers. However, once you begin to see modest successes, then you should go ahead and start making inquiries to agencies. You might also consider going to an individual agent versus an agency for the opportunity to get more individualized attention.


Lynda Moultry Belcher is a writer, editor and public relations professional. She worked for a daily newspaper for 10 years and has been a freelance writer for more than 15 years. She has contributed to Divorce360 and Revolution Health Group, among other publications. She is also the author of "101 Plus-Size Women's Clothing Tips" and writes "Style At Any Size," a bi-weekly newspaper column.

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