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My Modeling Experience

By on September 18, 2016

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Photography credit to Andrew Markowitz

I constantly get questions about what its like being a model and how I managed to do it. If you are one of those curious people, this is the post for you.

First I would like to have a little disclaimer, I do not claim to be a super model or anything of the sort. I am a professional model simply because I do get paid for my work most of the time. Other than that I am entirely aware that there is still a lot to learn on my end, however, there are a few things I have learned in my four years of modeling and here are some of them.

First thing people ask is how it happened. To be completely honest, how it all happened was such a blur and so confusing but basically I was recruited and my picture was sent out to an agency called Wilhelmina. I was given a time, date, and location for a go-see (a casting call for models). The purpose of the go-see was to audition essentially for a chance to be apart of this agency and have them represent you. I went with very little expectations that I would get it. Some how though, I did. From there it has been quite a ride. I went to go-sees, worked with freelance photographers, even met with and joined other agencies.

Now that you know how it happened here are a few tips on how to get your start. First things first, do research. No seriously, sit down and google everything under the sun that has to do with modeling. That means google go-sees near you, agencies near you, the contact information of those agencies, freelance photographers that will work with you, what to wear to go sees, how to start and build a portfolio. Literally everything. Once you have some people you can reach out to (like agencies or photographers) do it. Email them, call them, do whatever you have to do to get noticed. Remember, there a hundreds of girls out there wanting to do the same thing, if you shy away from taking a risk, someone who’s willing to take that risk might steal your chance.

Another disclaimer, just because you are with an agency does not by any means, mean that they will do all the work for you, (as in getting you jobs) especially when your just staring out. They will find things for you to do and go to, but most of the go-sees you get will be because YOU found them. I have still had to find my own open casting calls even though I am with two agencies. The best way I can put it is if you are on a sports team, is your coach going to do all the work for you?  No you still have to play the game and do your part. Your agency is your coach, they are there to help and direct, but most of your opportunities will be the ones you found on your own.

When you are ready to go to your first go see there are a couple guidelines you should follow. The number one problem I see with beginner models at go-sees is to much make-up and to little clothing. I know you want to look your best, especially when your competition is so stunning, but the truth is you are not supposed to look like you will during the photo shoot. You are suppose to look like a blank canvas. Designers and photographers are artists, they want to know what they have to work with. When you make yourself up so much, it makes it hard for them to visualize what is underneath all that make-up. Also excessive make up is a sure fire way to look like an amateur. Models who have been doing this for a while know the appropriate way to look at a go see. Wear black jeans or dark wash jeans, a nice take top (a tank top does not mean a thin cami you would wear as an undershirt) and HEELS. Do not ever ever ever, under any circumstance, show up to anything model related without heels. Wear a thing layer of BB cream, some sheer pink lipgloss, and of course mascara. Your hair should always be natural so they know what to prepare for when it comes to styling. From there bring your comp cards, portfolio, and your dazzling personality, and you will do just fine.

The next two things that many people do wrong can literally make or break you. Keep in mind this entire industry is based solely around the connections you have. Every go see, photoshoot, runway show, anything you do you are making connections. Even if you don’t get booked! Just because you may not have been what they were looking for, for that shoot, doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t work perfectly for something else they will be doing in the future. So make a GOOD and LASTING impression. You can do that by showing up ON TIME. By on time I mean early. No seriously. Get there very early. Leave with enough time to have half an hour before your suppose to be there. That way if there is traffic, make a wrong turn, or anything else you still allowed yourself some wiggle room. It is best to come in 5-10 minutes early. Anything before or after that is pushing it. Remember they have a job to do, you being to early or to late is an inconvenience to them and they will remember. Often times people have this weird perception of models where they believe none of them are very nice or have any personality. From my experience, that is entirely wrong. I have met and worked with many other models and the majority of the time they are extremely sweet. In fact more so than not, having a seriously awesome personality is who books the job. People want to work with nice people, so do not go in there all stand-offish because your nervous. They will notice and they will not forget.

I don’t want to go to much into detail about this and I am sure I will do another modeling post in the future (just because there is so much to cover) but, I wanted to end this on a very important note. This is something I have had to work on for YEARS. Modeling is very hard. You will be told no a million times before you are ever told yes. The important thing to remember is that being told no does not by any means mean you aren’t beautiful or aren’t a good model. All it means is you were not right for that particular shoot. I am 5″5 and as I am sure most of you know, I am 3 inches to short for High Fashion modeling. I have gone to so many go sees confident that I will get it and come out heart broken because I was too short. My message to you is don’t give up. The industry is constantly evolving and believe it or not size, weight, height, race, all those things are becoming much more accepted. I have modeled high fashion and been payed to do so DESPITE my height. So do not give up. You have the ability to defy the industry. We all do. It’s a matter of how hard your willing to work and how far your willing to go.

Good luck. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.



Ashton Karline Gardner
Arlington, VA

Hello everyone, my name is Ashton Karline Gardner. I am a sustainable fashion influencer. My goal is to use this platform to educate my fellow fashion enthusiasts on the dangers of fast fashion and help inspire ethical consumer decisions. Come along now.