HOW TO GET PAID AS A PETITE MODEL
A Guide on How to Find Modeling Jobs on Your Own
Finding jobs as a model is pretty hard, especially if you don’t even know where to find them. You could be one of those who are stuck getting messages from brands on Instagram who want to use you in exchange for exposure, free merchandise or offer you a very low rate. Although, there is nothing wrong with that when you’re first starting out, this blog is aimed at those who already have a strong portfolio and are looking for specific jobs.
After a few years of modeling, and signing with several agencies, I finally came to realize that there are such things as casting websites in which you can find real, high paying jobs with brands you have dreamed of working for: L’Oreal, Target, Nike, adidas, Michael Kors, Maybelline, JCPenney, Ulta Beauty, and so many more great brands.
These jobs depend on a few variables like the brand, amount of hours/days or usage fees but the rate ranges from as little as $150-200 for a couple of hours or a day usually for background work. Some even pay as much as $4,000 or more for one day’s worth of work!
So, how can you get these jobs? How can you make it inside of a big production and get to work with brands you never imagined you could work for?
First, at a bare minimum a strong headshot and a strong portfolio with a variety of looks are essential. Additionally, a reel and a resume are also key to present yourself to your dream brands. If you are not at this phase yet, read my blog How To Build Experience & A Portfolio Through Collaborations. Next, is to start an account on casting websites. The following three websites are ones that I have used in the past, but there are many many more:
Even though it says the name “actors”, don’t feel discouraged because plenty of modeling jobs are posted on here. Both for print and video. Modeling will require a level of acting even if you’re not an actual actress.
The secret to take advantage of this website is to upload a headshot, a SlateShot (an 8 second video saying “Hi, my name is…”), your resume, and your reel. I personally haven’t uploaded photos beside my headshot but if you have the budget, it doesn’t hurt have more for them to see.
Actors Access yearly fee for unlimited submissions is $68. I believe one or two headshots and SlateShot are free. Then adding your reel is $22/min. Adding more photos is done at an extra cost.
I personally have booked a job for Ulta Beauty, and gotten castings for L’Oreal and Lancôme, amongst auditions for other brands. As far as I am concerned, this website is only available for people within the US and Canada.
2. Casting Networks
Casting Networks is another great way to book jobs on your own. For this one you need a headshot, portfolio photos, resume, and a reel to make it worth your time and money. The website is available in the US, Canada, Australia and the UK. For the US, you pay a monthly fee of $20.95 (~ $250 for the year). That includes unlimited submissions, photo uploads (up to 50 at a time in your profile), and media hosting (being able to add your reel).
Through here, I have booked work with Ulta Beauty, T-Mobile with J Balvin, USDA, ESPN, and Comcast with Vaynermedia.
Last but not least, dragonukconnects was introduced to me by a model’s mom during a shoot in Ohio. Can’t thank her enough! As far as I am concerned, this site seems to be more for people local to VA, MD, DC and PA. Every now and then I see something in NY but I rarely see anything outside of these states. It doesn’t hurt signing up if you do not live near the MidAtlantic area though and see if you find something closer to you.
The majority of submissions are done through e-mail so you have all the liberty to add whatever you think is appropriate, unlike the other casting websites which have certain limitations. For example on Casting Networks, you cannot add a link to your website for a submission. Also on both AA and CN, there is a limited amount of characters you can type in on the note section for each submission, unlike an e-mail. On dragonukconnects, it is also free to see and submit for any job unless the casting asks you to use another casting website to complete their process.
Again, to make this website worth it at the bare minimum you need: a strong headshot and a resume. You could get away with not having a portfolio, just because for the majority of submissions you are asked only for a headshot, a digital or two and your resume.
Through this website I have been able to book work for Amtrak, MedStar, University of Denver, American University, and a PSA. I also got the chance to audition for Toyota and Guinness, amongst other brands.
At the end of the day, as you might have been able to tell you need some level of experience in modeling to be able to make these casting websites worth your money and time. Getting a nice headshot, a professional reel, a strong portfolio and a legit resume all take time, patience, and hard work. Take your time and build your best self. If you already have these materials under your belt, I invite you to make the investment on these websites since you will be able to book some great gigs! And as always, remember this is a numbers game. The more submissions you do, the higher your chances of booking something!