Modeling Do's & Don'ts
by Peter Glenn


  • Do...always watch your diet, avoid junk food.
  • Do... keep reasonable hours.
  • Do...keep a daily appointment book, noting all your business expenses, most of which will be tax-deductible when income tax time comes. Write down every appointment and every job, noting the hours, and the address. Consult your accountant on this.
  • Do...always be on time for appointments - even ten minutes early for bookings is a habit, and will be noticed.
  • Do...always be working on your portfolio, your book from the start, never missing an opportunity to add to the collection, requesting copies of tear sheets from ad agencies and magazines, or actual prints from the photographer. This is very important! If you have done TV commercials, get a video tape reel going.
  • Do...treat your clients as you would any individual to whom you are trying to sell something - in this case it's YOU! If your book has some fabulous new pictures, make an appointment to show them off.
  • sure all of your old clients, and prospective new ones, get a copy of your new composite, if you have one. If you have a commercial running that shows you off to your advantage, let your clients, or would-be clients know about it. This is where 3x5 or Zed cards come in handy.
  • Do...always be available by telephone WHEREVER you are. Get an answering service or a machine if necessary. Call in frequently. If you plan to leave town, even for a short time, let the agency and/or your answering service know AT ONCE when you're leaving, when you'll be back, and where you can be reached.
  • Do...always have your working wardrobe ready at a moment's notice. "Ready" means in good condition, with buttons on, spots off, and creases where they should be in and not where they shouldn't be; shoes always cleaned and shined.
  • Do...apply your make-up before going to the job, or allow time at the studio to do it on YOUR time - unless of course it is a cosmetics shot or that you have been advised that a make-up artist will be on the set.
  • Do...always find out the particulars about any wardrobe, make-up, or hair styling requirements, if any, and be sure you are properly equipped.
  • Do...always act in a professional and business-like manner, such as having your agency voucher filled out properly for the studio signature. Be sure to get the voucher signed before you leave.
  • Do...if you are unable to keep an appointment call both the client and the agency. But have a GOOD excuse. When an appointment is made,, be sure you get the RIGHT address AND the phone number, and that you understand how to get there, particularly if you're new to the area and have to rely on public transportation.
  • Do...always report any problem, difficulty, or unpleasantness that might occur on the job to your agency - better that they hear it first from you, rather than from the client. In this way they can be prepared for what's coming - however unpleasant. This is part of their job.
  • careful about bad breath and body odor. Mouth sprays, deodorants, anti-perspirants and dress shields should be a must in your carryall.
  • Do...try to keep abreast of what is happening in the fashion and advertising world by reading the fashion magazines. See what is going on with make-up and hair styling. Go to as many fashion shows as you can. Watch the commercials on TV and see how your "type" handles certain situations.
  • Do...get regular rest. If you can manage an afternoon nap, so much the better.
  • Do...try to get a job as an extra in a film - at least once, just for the experience. It is not that difficult; just keep reading the trades every week.
  • Do...make it a habit of being nice to your co-workers, and the staff on any set. That is like paying insurance on your future. This is particularly important as regards make-up artists, hair stylists, and assistant directors. You never know what they will be doing the next time you see them on a set. Remember, they have ambitions, too.
  • Do..remember that you have to pay your "do's" to make it!


  • Don't... miss an appointment without having cancelled it first.
  • Don't...discuss pay or rates with a client. That is what your agency is for.
  • Don't ...ever knock an agency, another model, studio, producer...anyone, to someone in the industry. Too often, what goes around comes around.
  • Don't ...ever tell a photographer you are frightened.
  • Don't...ever feel that you have to do anything for a photographer, or for any client, that you don't think morally or ethically right. If you think going to bed with someone is going to land you a job, think again; things simply do not work that way.
  • Don't...bring your mother to an interview if you're an adult. If you are a child, make sure that you do.
  • Don't...give your home phone number to any client or to anyone you meet who claims they can help you in your work UNLESS of course you want that person to call on a purely personal basis. Give them your agency or answereing service number.
  • Don', smoke, or drink in a studio, on the set or while wearing any garment that you are modeling, unless someone in authority gives the okay.
  • Don' pushy or overly agressive, not to be confused with ambitious, hungry or "greedy and needy".
  • Don' a prima donna or condescending to ANYONE - whether on the set, or in a studio, or to a receptionist, or to an assistant. In this business you never know when one of them might be calling the shots that could affect you. Assistants have an amazing habit of suddenly becoming studio bosses, or important photographers, or directors, or head make-up artists, or important hair stylists. Bookers in modeling agencies have opened their own agencies. Bad mouthing is dangerous: tomorrow you may have to eat your words.
  • Don't...believe everything you read. It has happened countless times: someone - often claiming NY or LA origin - will place an ad in a local newspaper advertising for models: "No expereience necessary...bring your bathing suit" it may read.
  • Don't...go to such interviews alone. Bring a chaperone or parent. If you have a question, contact a model agency or school, the Better Business Bureau, chamber of commerce, etc..
  • Don't a fee for evaluation. Legitimate agencies will tell you if you are the one they want...they are in the business of hiring models.
  • Don't...get involved with anything you'll be sorry for later. Specifically, involvement with pornographic "modeling" can follow you for the rest of your professional days. If you want to pose for sex magazines, or star in a "blue" film or live sex show, then just pick up one of the many pornographic magazines, find out who publishes it and write for an appointment. And lots of luck. However, if you want to work later as a legit model or actor - you'd better buy up all of the negatives of any jobs you do from porno employers, if such a thing is possible in this era of ultrafast duplication.
  • Don't...let REJECTION get to you. It's part of the business and everyone in the business deals with it at one time or another. You may be the wrong type or your hair is the wrong color at the wrong time. There could be a thousand reasons. Keep pushing IF you think you pass the physical and emotional requirements. Modeling is a career of rejection. If you can't take the inevitable rejection, don't get involved in modeling.

Re-printed with permission from
Models Mart, New York, NY

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