Working in Asia
Castings & Self Marketing
Natalia Zurowski, Features Columnist
How models need to market themselves in order to stand out and book jobs.
Castings are a necessary part of the modelling industry. In most markets, this requires the model to go on his or her own to meet with various clients for jobs. The casting can last anywhere from less than 30 seconds to a few minutes, and usually involves the model showing the client their portfolio, having some snapshots taken, maybe trying on clothes and talking a bit to the client about themselves. What is said and done during this time can be the deciding factor as to whether or not the model books the job.
Properly marketing yourself is imperative for every model because at the end of the day this is a business: You will be meeting agencies and clients in various countries and cities. As such, it's your responsibly - if the opportunity permits - to present yourself the best you possibly can.
Generally speaking, one minute is not enough time to get to know someone, and in this industry you often have less than that to leave a lasting impression. An important piece of advice to keep in mind when meeting a client is to be relaxed and be yourself. A client wants to work with a confident and self-assured model who knows they will do the job. You are going up against the competition and the other models at the casting will do what they have to do to try to book a job over you. Nobody ever said that the fashion industry wasn't cut-throat. At the end of the day, you are an entrepreneur: you work for yourself. You need to be confident in your abilities and believe that you are the best!
Before you go to a casting, it's always a great idea to do some research on the client that you will be meeting. This way you have a better idea based on their previous catalogues, campaigns and lookbooks for the overall feel and look the client is generally looking for.
Once at the casting, state the usual: name, age, where you are from, etc. But aside from that, the client will likely ask you what experience you have, what markets you have worked in before and so on. Always tailor your response to what the job is for. For example, if the job is for a bridal campaign, tell the client about previous jobs you have done for other bridal companies and magazines, as well as the countries you booked those jobs in. Try to tailor your pitch to the clients needs in such a way that best promotes your abilities and strengths as model.
If the casting is for a type of job you have never done before, like lingerie or high fashion, try to promote yourself as best as you can and do so with conviction. For example, explain to the client how given your experience, credentials, and positive work ethic, you are more than capable of doing any job and doing it well.
When you've finished the casting, it's up to your booker to continue to push you for job (at least that's what they should be doing). A proper pitch can help sway the client and put the odds of booking the jobs in your favour. Once you start booking jobs, remember to spice up the pleasantries (e.g. ask the MUA how long they have been working, a favourite job they booked, etc.) remember the name of client (always important), and say things like "thank you" and "hope to see you again." Always remember to be polite, professional, and have fun. You want to develop a positive working relationship with the clients and a job well done can lead to additional bookings in the future.
A great example of a successful model is Lina Shekhovtsova, (Chantale Nadeau / Sutherland), who is a favourite amongst Toronto clients. Her positive attitude, confidence, charm and obvious beauty have helped her develop a large clientele. I caught up with Lina and asked her a few questions about castings tips, job etiquette, and the importance of letting your personality shine through:
Natalia: You have been in this industry for approximately five years now and have built a very successful career in modelling. What sort of advice would you give young models just starting out in the industry, specifically in regards to castings?
And a final feel good quote for models to live by: "Do your best. Be your best. Receive the best." - Natalia
Lina: I've been very lucky to be in the modelling industry for 5 years and really love what I do. Being prepared for castings and having a positive attitude I think are the two of the most important factors in becoming a successful model. You have very little amount of time to make an impression and there are a lot of beautiful girls competing for the same job. Being professional, pleasant, friendly and energetic will help you stand out!
Natalia: When you go to castings and pitch yourself for a job, how do you prepare yourself? Do you go in with any specific mind set?
Lina: Yes, absolutely! It's important to be focused from the moment you enter the building. That is when the casting really starts. I usually do a little research before going to the casting as well because it helps to know what kind of job you are auditioning for. If the casting is for a swimwear company, choose the kind of clothes that allow the clients to see your body type and make sure to bring a bikini with you. If it's for a beauty shoot you have to make sure that your skin looks great and you don't wear a lot of make up. Clients need to see the natural you. So the more prepared you are the more confident you will feel and that gives you a better chance to get the job.
Natalia: Have you found yourself becoming more comfortable with castings over the years or do you still get a little nervous?
Lina: You do become more comfortable with time. After a while you start to know what to expect most of the time. Of course, I still get a little nervous sometimes. For example, if the casting is for a job that I dreamed of doing or if I know that there's something unique or different I have to do (e.g. harnessing). You never know where your next casting or go-see can take you and that is what makes this job so interesting!
Natalia: Overall, how large of a factor would you say personality and confidence play when clients cast models for jobs?
Lina: Personality is very important. After all, clients are spending several hours or even several days with you. Looking fabulous and beautiful is important but it's not enough. People want to surround themselves with people that have a positive energy, especially while on the job. At the end of the day, the modelling industry is all about creativity and hard work; when clients cast models, they want to make sure that you are as excited as they are. You have to show them that you are ready to work! Confidence always leaves a more memorable impression on people. There are a lot of beautiful models that will go to the same castings but do not get intimidated! Your could be exactly what clients are looking for.
Natalia: Over your years as a model, what traits have you found to be most important for a model to possess while at a job in order to help foster a long-lasting relationship with a client?
Lina: Hard work and determination are key to being successful in this industry. You have to be professional and remember that it's team work. When everyone has a positive attitude and is working hard to get the best result, then you will most likely be seeing that team over and over again!
Best of luck to all the models and thank you Natalia for asking me! I am flattered.
Natalia Zurowski is a Chantale Nadeau model who just completed her B.A. from Western University.
She is currently in Hong Kong with Model Genesis