Nowadays, in the era of Photoshop and hyper-advertising, a lot of criticism is directed at the modeling world for imposing a unified and unrealistic ideal of beauty. Not doubt, this critique is based on solid ground. But the truth is that alternative niches and subcultures are offering more and more room for models to succeed outside the mainstream.
Models that have a distinct look or feel more at home when posing for specific purposes can still establish a successful career. But the challenges they face are slightly different than the ones that exist in the traditional modeling industry.
In this post, we put together the first and crucial steps for making it as a niche model. While there may be distinctions from niche to niche, these ground rules will be useful regardless of the specific group you’re aiming for.
As a niche model, not all modeling opportunities will be relevant to you. You need to be able to identify what kind of brands and products might fit your style best. With some research and creative thinking, you will discover plenty of options for you to work with.
For instance, an athletic model can obviously advertise all sports-related brands, but why limit yourself only to these? Wellness businesses, tourism companies and nutrition products are just a few examples of other fields that often use athletic models in their advertising.
Your portfolio should show that you are versatile, and that your distinct look and features can be representative of many industries. Don’t get stuck on one field only, or you’ll end up with limited job opportunities.
Niche models are expected to visually embody the essence of the community that they address. In order to do that well, you need to understand the values, trends and passions of that community.
Take example from megastar Dita Von Teese, who successfully branded herself as the ultimate burlesque and pin-up style model. Dita doesn’t simply show up for shooting day and awaits for hair and makeup to bring her into the role. She mastered the lingo, the gestures and the chic that are associated with her niche.
You don’t have to go to the extreme of creating a whole new public persona like Dita has, but you could learn from her how to position yourself not only as a pretty face, but as a real representative of your niche.
It goes without saying that you will need an online modeling portfolio and an active social media operation. However, you will need to put more thought into your online presence than mainstream models usually do.
You are trying to brand yourself as unique and outstanding – your online portfolio and your social channels should reinforce that. When you work on your website design, think what styling can best accentuate your qualities as a model. With Wix, you can use one of dozens of online portfolio templates and easily customize them to add your own touch. Learn how to create your own beautiful modeling portfolio with these tips.
Similarly, when you post on social media, you want to create a vibe that emphasizes your special features. Plus-size model Tess Munster can show you how to do it on Facebook, while rocker/model/youth-sensation Ash Stymest can guide you through Twitter.
In the modeling world, a good agency is a winning ticket. For a niche model, proper representation means first of all understanding who you are and where you come from. A good agent will not impose jobs that you feel uncomfortable with or that may harm the image that you are trying to create for yourself.
Your ideal agency will respect your individuality and will help you to make the best use of it in the modeling business. Keep that in mind when you’re shopping around for representation.
It’s important that you and your agent come up with a strategy together. Make your boundaries and expectations clear, so that you are both on the same page.
If you want to succeed as a model, you need to approach this with a positive attitude, determination and a lot of self-confidence. The modeling world does not make it easy for people who are not sure about their aspirations and capabilities.
Try to understand that on this path, like anywhere else in life, you will experience disappointments. Be prepared for this and work on your self-esteem, so that you don’t lose your motivation to keep up and work hard.
Poise is extremely important. When you are interacting with other professionals in the business, be graceful and charming. While you are working with your looks, your personality still matters!
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