Do You Want To Be A Model? Read This!

About once or twice a month I get a phone call from a young lady needing new photos for their modeling portfolio. After asking a few questions it always comes back to what happened:

They fell for John Casablancas. If you have heard this name, they have been around since about 1987 and yes, they are still in business. This is a modeling school that you are asked to pay thousands of dollars for classes on makeup, hair, modeling, clothes, and other aspects of this industry. And you also have to use their photographer, and each time I hear how terrible the pictures came out.  Either they don’t like how they look, or the photographer was mean, the lighting was bad, and “the camera looked professional, but the photos don’t look like they are”.

A little history first, John Casablanca founded Elite Modeling Agency back in 1971, however by going to this school, doesn’t get you into Elite.

Sometimes they set up in the malls, on college campuses, or do cold calls for interviews. They show you photos, videos, testimonials and how successful some of their past students have been. Then they ask you to sign up with a credit card for classes. And if you don’t do it at the very moment, you’ll lose your chances of getting into the industry.

However, before you do anything, do your research, here these are just a few articles:

Consumer Affairs

Pissed Consumer


Work From Home Watchdog- John Casablancas, Scam Or Misinterpretation?

Time and time again I hear how these women paid for the classes, and then they were send to auditions or agencies. Only to be told that their portfolios were not what they were told it should be or that the auditions were never a sure thing. Too much makeup, the photographs were over done, or terrible, the list goes on and on.

I always tell these ladies this:

1. A real agency never asks you for money. Instead they invest in you because YOU will make money for them. If and when you get represented, come back to me with what your agency wants for your portfolio.

2. Acting and modeling is hard work. If an agency tells you about their success by testimonials, pictures and doing a hard sell, walk away…fast!

3. If anyone wants an answer right away, once again…walk away….FAST! Don’t sign anything!

If you think that I’m turning clients away, then perhaps you’re right. But I don’t see it that way at all either. Instead, I’m trying to help them out because, they have already been “taken in”. I don’t want to photograph their modeling portfolio for agencies unless they are signed and I know what they are looking for. They want to see how you look clean, natural, as you are, think of yourself as a canvas, ready to be painted on. Because that’s what will be happening if you’re signed on 🙂

Here is another thing these modeling schools may not tell you. Height requirements for certain types of work.

High Fashion: This is for the runways and fashion houses. Height starts at 5”8 to 5”11 with a dress size of 4-6, bust starting around 34. For guys, 5”11 to 6”2, in really good shape, chest size 37” to 42”.

Editorial Print: These are the magazines, think of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, etc. The size requirements are the same.

Commercial Print: A big market that can fit almost anyone, but the height starts around 5″8 usually, but I believe depending on what the client is looking for they will take on any range in height.

Cataloge: Same as above.

Plus Size: Height requirements start at 5”8 and between the sizes of 12-16.

Glamour/Lingerie: Some women who are very curvy and don’t fit the high fashion/editorial requirements. Think Victoria’s Secrets and swimwear.

Body Parts: To use your hair, eyes, lips, hands, legs and feet for print, tv, or film. This is to help advertise products like lipstick, shampoo, or shoes as examples.

TV Commercials: This area is dependant on what the producers and directors are looking for, so it’s wide open.

Real Life People Models for TV/Film Extras: This area is dependant on what the producers and directors are looking for, so it’s wide open.

Petite Models: There are some agencies that do take on women that are under 5″5(that’s what petite starts at).

Latitude Talent

MSA Models Petite Section (put the curser over each image to see the model’s measurements)

Deirdre Ryan Editorial & Commercial Photography - NJ, PA, NY

African American Woman4DeirdreRyanPhotography

Now, if you need a headshot for acting, this includes children, teens, and adults. That I can do, because you need those for when you go out on auditions along with a resume, and for your online site.

Please don’t fall for this same old song and dance, and this goes out to the parents of children as well.  If anyone is interested in modeling for me, contact me here, in between my clients I’m always looking for ways to further test my creativity.

I hope that these tips help you or someone you know. And don’t let any of this discourage you from your dreams! If you truly want something, work hard, make yourself unique, special and THE person that agencies and reps MUST have!

#fff Fashion Friday Flashback

Back when we lived in Los Angeles, CA, I had a friend who is gorgeous and I asked her to be my fashion model for me. So, I rented a studio downtown, I had another friend created custom jewelry who wanted to have great shots of her stuff. My friends, my husband and I had a fabulous day of creating great images.

We were all so young, in our 2o’s, no kids(except my friend who modeled at the top) and just having fun! It was still difficult because we all were working to pay the rent, the bills, student loans(still have that), eat, and basically survive. I saved up to rent that studio and it was the cheapest one that I could find and I loved that space. Got it for $400 for a full day rate, it was in a loft not too far from us when we lived in downtown L.A. in the Pico Union District. I organized everything for that day, snacks, schedule, and someone makeup. It was all for portfolios, everyone loved the images.

Blond model on white background wearing black bikini and silver chain belt

Blond Model on orange seamless with natural light coming into studio, bareback wearing gold chain necklace

Blond Model Wearing Camo Dress on Yellow Seamless





This one was shot in the Sequoia National Forest, we had arrived too late to get further inside to see the larger trees. She made this 12 foot long kimono, so I had her get on top of this large rock. Shot using a Yashica Mat Twin lens camera with Fuji film.

Graceful Beauty

I had a former ballerina model for me in Los Angeles and what you can’t see is the fun we had with a hair and makeup artist.  Laughing between takes, she was a natural, with a few directions from me. What transpired is what you see below, beautiful, black and white photographs.

African American Woman4African American Woman1 African American Woman3

I asked to let her hair down, shake it out, she looked like a diva, and reminds me of a singer from Motown Records in the 60’s.  African American Woman2

Grace and beauty.