15 Reasons Why Modeling Agencies Won't Sign You

15 Reasons Why Modeling Agencies Won’t Sign You

Frustrated about why modeling agencies aren’t signing you? Based on research and conversations I’ve had with my colleagues, I’ve created a list of 15 reasons why modeling agencies won’t sign you to help you better understand their thought process.

This is a 4-Part Series to help educate models in the business of Modeling and Becoming An Influencer (this is Part 1). I will cover in the future: ’10 Ways to Maximize Instagram’,’10 Ways to Become A Brand: Model Edition’, and ‘Portfolio Building: Top 12 Photographers For Portfolio Development’. Lastly, we start the ‘Creatives Only Tour’ to educate models, photographers, makeup & hair artist, etc. throughout the U.S. and London starting in August 2018. More details coming soon.


Modeling 101

This is #1. Just because you don’t get signed or hear back from an agency doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough. It’s not what happens to you, and it’s how you react to any given situation. Remain positive!

I’ve met some very ego-driven models. One of my biggest pet peeves are models who think they’re bigger than life and the shit. Did you know 100+ other models who are just as passionate, hungry, and as good looking as you are right behind you? Never go into a situation thinking someone owes you something. What’s meant for you, is for you and no one can change that. Humility will take you far.

Everything has a moment. Friends & family love your look; however, this doesn’t mean you will get signed. Agencies are in the business to make money, and the clients tell them exactly who they are looking for to represent their brand. It’s not personal. Think of it this way, sometimes you want pizza, and sometimes you want a salad. It’s all about your mood and what you want at that time.

Social Media Presence
Modeling ten years ago (while even five years ago) has changed. Welcome to the Digital Age. Yes, new faces are essential, however, if you have a substantial social media presence on Instagram, you’re more likely to be considered a contract or even be seen ‘by request’ privately instead of going to an open call. Fact is Influencers are taking your jobs. Within the next five years, you will see a surge of Influencer Agencies replacing modeling agencies. Remember when models dominated magazine covers? That’s a thing of the past. Actors, Actresses, and Influencers are taking over. You need to treat yourself as a brand immediately.

Lack of Patience
Why are you so impatient? Agencies receive thousands of inquiries every week. Did you read their requirements thoroughly? I’ve seen first hand how models submit just because and not read the Terms and Conditions. You will be ignored and not considered. Sending excessive Instagram Direct Messages and doing a lot of post tags could get you blocked.

Stop signing with model agencies just to be signed and to gain bragging rights amongst your friends and peers. Doing so will lock you into contracts that will prevent you from being signed to the agency of your choice who can help you grow your brand and book legitimate work. In the meantime, use Instagram.

Sense of Entitlement
No one owes you anything. Just because your friend is a working model, Influencer, or signed to an agency doesn’t mean they are required to put you on. Most people will show you the ropes if they feel you have what it takes. Visit Models.com, search Google, and watch YouTube videos to RESEARCH the industry. You can almost always find something online to let you know how the market is doing, new trends, and who’s hot at the moment.

Word of Mouth
One of the best ways to get into an agency is referrals. If your photographer friend, wardrobe stylist, makeup artist, casting director, magazine editor, etc. feels you have a look, they can email the modeling agency on your behalf. Doing so will get you a direct appointment, and you won’t have to deal with going to an open call. Don’t f*ck up the opportunity. On the flip side, if you are unkind, don’t show up on time, arrogant, etc. word does travel and no one will work with you.

Social Media Model (SMM)
A lot of you want to be famous on Instagram at all cost to the point you are messing up the opportunity to be signed and acquired earned income. Do not become so focused on LIKES and FOLLOWERS that you lose sight of your value. Using excessive filters, showing too many suggestive poses, i.e., dick prints, non-inspiring nudes, gossiping, sub-posts about how horrible your girlfriend or boyfriend is, etc. hurts you in the long run. Your posts should represent the type of clients you want to attract. Use your influence to promote positivity and the best you. It may be a slow process; however, it is so worth it in the long run. A lot of SMM with huge followers are broke and sleeping on someone’s sofa. Trust me!

Lack of Discipline
Agencies have a section called New Faces. These are models who are being tested to see if they have what it takes to make it to the Mainboard. You are going to be in situations where you don’t like the clothes or concepts. Your job is to do the job: sell the idea and the products. Sometimes, you may be in shoes that are two sizes too small, in unflattering poses, flamboyant attire, etc. Suck it up! It’s just a job. You don’t have to wear the looks in your private life. Get your money! Lastly, you are going to work with other models and teams that are no very friendly and condescending. Stay focused and remember you chose this career path. One day you will have the power to say what you will and will not do as your brand grows. Just endure the process and enjoy the journey.

Stop comparing yourself to other models and what they are doing. Do you! You are unique, and people will sign, book, and work with you based on what YOU bring to the table. The more jealous you become about someone’s modeling career, and accomplishments put that into the universe. If your career has the opportunity to shine one day, this type of negativity will come back to haunt you. You get back what you put out. Lastly, whatever you put on the Internet is there forever even after you’ve deleted it (people screenshot and reshare everything).

Skin Care
Your face is the first thing people notice when they see you. There’s no reason for having bad skin! “I don’t have the money to buy products!” Go to YouTube and search for DIY skin care remedies. I do understand that some models have major skin issues and have to consult with a Dermatologist. No one will sign you if you don’t have good skin; however, there are some exceptions to the rules. Having great skin should be your #1 focus.

All agencies have body size requirements. Don’t try to bully your way into getting them to signing you if you don’t meet their needs. There are exceptions especially with inclusion being the forefront of advertising. You should be with an agency that is going to build you and help you grow. Just because your friend signed with a said agency or the agency is well-known doesn’t mean that the agency is a good fit for you. A lot of models sleep on legit smaller boutique agencies. Go with your gut! You should always implement a fitness regimen no matter your body size.

Lack of Branding
What is your brand? What type of brands are you trying to attract? Can you describe your brand in three words? Agencies are looking for models who will supersede and align with brands and products that will, in turn, create consistent contractual relationships, and residuals (monies paid if your campaign continues to run beyond the original agreement). The goal is to become an Influencer who is also a model. Doing so can create several sources of income. When one market is slow, you will have one or more gigs still generating streams of income.

No Passport
Every model or model wannabe should have a passport. You may miss out on substantial foreign opportunities if you don’t have one. Don’t make things harder for the modeling agency. Come prepared. Show them you being represented by them is being taken seriously. Not having one will result in you paying hefty processing fees that you can avoid in advance. If you are signed, and the agency pays for the expenses, they have to recoup their investment, and the fees will come out of your earnings.

Not Being Able To Adapt
Change is everything. With social media and the model industry changing each month, you need to find ways to stay relevant while staying in alignment with your core brand. I’ve heard a lot of models say, “My agency isn’t doing anything for me!” Often, this comes from a model whose career has plateaued, or the marketplace has changed and their look isn’t as popular as it once was. If you are not the ‘money guy or girl,’ at the agency, you will be put on the back burner. They are running a business. It’s not personal.

Remember the agencies represent 50+ people and are responsible for a lot of overhead, trying to remain competitive, keeping clients happy, etc. Talk to your agency and ask your Booker how you can WORK together to attract more paying gigs for you and their suggestions such as speaking engagements, teaching classes, selling your own products (especially if you have a lot of social media followers).

Have any questions or feedback, email us at modelwatch[at]obviousmag.com.

Photo by Daniel Garcia on Unsplash

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