Within the past year, my profile on Teenbodybuilding.com has helped me to pursue an avenue that I had vaguely imagined and wondered about, but never thought about pursuing - that being the profession of a male model.
The pictures that I had posted of me on my writer's page caught the attention of a professional photographer who helped to get me started in the business. It is now my goal to make a successful career out of being a male fitness and fashion model.
I also would like to give some of the newfound information that I have gained to help educate others who would like to pursue this dream but do not know quite where to start.
Male Modeling: Where To Start
I would be lying if I said that I never wanted to be a male model, or appear in the pages of the major muscle magazines. When I was 15 years old, I was browsing the newsstand section of the grocery store when I happened upon an issue of Muscle Media with MLB baseball player Gabe Kapler on the cover.
Being an avid baseball fan (I later went on to play some college ball), I took an interest. I was a fan of Kapler and I too wanted to build up a physique like his and possibly appear on the cover of a muscle mag someday. It was an outside thought and dream, one of which I did not pursue but did occasionally think about whenever I thumbed through the pages of Flex, Men's Health, or Men's Fitness.
To make a long story short, I got into writing for Teenbodybuilding.com when I was 18, and my pictures went up on my writer's page along with my articles. They caught the eye of a photographer, who after viewing some additional pictures I had of myself both in the sport/fitness field (headshots and some shots in casual clothes), decided to help start my professional portfolio by offering me a time for a prints contract.
After my first professional photo shoot, I fell in love with modeling and decided to officially start and pursue my career. I have agreed to a non-exclusive deal with a booking agency and have booked a job with the Motive Clothing Company for their upcoming fashion lines.
I am however, looking to sign an exclusive deal with an agency, expand my portfolio, and land more work. My primary goal is to appear in the pages of a health and fitness magazine and to model health and fitness clothing, apparel, and equipment.
What To Do: The Essentials
The Entertainment Industry is confusing and also one that can make your head spin when trying to figure out where to start. If you, like me, are trying to get your start in the modeling/entertainment industry, here are a few of the essential things that you should do to get your career off on the right foot.
1. Establish Your Portfolio
A professional portfolio is the first step in landing both work and a spot with a booking agency. I will go into more details about booking agencies a bit later, but for now the focus is your portfolio. It is essential to shoot with professional photographers to gain experience and to show your versatility as a model.
You can search for photographers in your area and contact them to schedule a shoot. If the photographer thinks that you show promise, they will usually offer you a Time For Prints (TFP) or Time For CD (TFCD) deal. The TFP or TFCD deal is where you model/work for the photographer in exchange for the photos from the shoot.
Beginning photographers are almost always willing to do TFP contracts because the work will help advance the careers of both the photographer and the model. If the photographer that you want to work with does not offer this deal, you can pay for the shoot either by the hour, the type of print/photo, or by the photograph.
2. Find A Booking Agency To Sign With
Booking agents find models work and are always on the lookout for new models that will help make them money. Agencies work in two ways:
Exclusive Agencies require that you solely work for them. They are the only agency that can and will find you work.
Non-Exclusive Agencies do not require that you only sign with them. They usually are smaller than Exclusive Agencies and usually operate on a state, or regional, rather than national scale, but they can find you good work and if you hook-up with multiple Non-Exclusive Agencies in multiple regions, you can find a constant body of work.
Currently I am linked with a Non-Exclusive Agency, but am looking to move up to an Exclusive Agency in the near future.
Be careful when searching for an agency to sign with, as they will be responsible for finding you work and your career and reputation as a model is at stake.
Make sure to ask to look at their portfolios and check their references to see if they really can do what they promise and that they really do represent, have represented or work or have worked with who they say they have worked with.
That is the information that should be of most use for aspiring models in the short-term. I am also going to write future articles on my diet, training, and career experiences (when they occur) as well as start a Q&A section to further answer your questions.