The truth about modeling in NYC (and other major markets)

Everyone that wants to model, has started modeling, or even has been modeling for a while dreams of “making it big in New York” or LA or Chicago or {fill in the blank of any major modeling market}.

So often I hear from people who haven’t even started yet ask how they can get discovered by agencies like Ford, IMG, etc. Or they plan to move to NYC so they can start their modeling career.

While these are good goals they’re not always the most realistic – especially if you’re just starting out with no experience or portfolio. And don’t discount your local area. Just becuase you don’t live in NYC or LA doesn’t mean you can’t find work. There’s work all over the country. And honestly, you’ve got a much better chance and finding work (and potentially more work) outside of a saturated market.

The fact of the matter is this: In saturated markets like NYC, LA etc you’re competing for a spot with a MAJOR agency. You’re one of several thousand model hopefuls all gunning for the same spot. The ratio of work opportunities to models is WAY out of proporation.

And from the agency’s perspective, when you have that many models to choose from you can afford to be extremely picky. And based on that, going in – with no representation, no experience and no portfolio those already in posession of those things will be first pick. Not to say it’s impossible, people have been picked up by agencies off the sidewalk but bear in mind this is NOT common practice.

Instead of shooting straight for the top build a portfolio first and get some experience. Network, find local photographers (who will help you build a portfolio for free) and depending on your area even book some work. As with anything on the Internet, DO YOUR RESEARCH. Check references before working with anyone and always bring an escort with you to any shoot.

Once you have a portfolio and some experience under your belt then start looking at places like Ford and IMG – at least then when you’re standing along side these other models you’ll have an established portfolio and resume to help give you and edge.