So Now You’ve Been Signed:
An inside look to the world of a signed model
Written By: Jonna E. Capone
Behind the Scenes Grind “Getting signed is the only beginning and then the real work starts” Gabby explained, about her first experiences after being signed with State MGMT. “You have to work on your look and brand” Gabby shares. “Common upkeep to modeling is making sure your nails are manicured, making sure your hair is trimmed/layered in whatever style your look is. Upkeep is growing your social media numbers so that you have a better chance at booking clients because the competition is fierce and they are looking for that nowadays.” It doesn’t stop there as Florinda, signed with BiCoastal MGMT, continued. “Models shouldn't necessarily rely on their agency to do everything for them. It's important to hustle and work for yourself as well.” Florinda continued, “Be on the lookout for open casting calls, attend industry events, and know who your industry executives and professionals are as well. You never know who you may run into!”
“So it is common to think that once you are signed you’ve made it and you don’t have to work anymore. Wrong!!”-Gabby Fe. This is a great quote to kick off Part Two of my latest blog series. After reading my first piece you may have decided if you were ready to be seen by an agency. Now what happens next? I had the privilege of sitting down with two full figured models who are both signed with agencies: Gabby Fe and Florinda Estrada. I asked both ladies about their experience as signed models. They had a lot to say, but I found that there were three basic points straight from the models mouth, that anyone who has been recently signed with an agency should know.
Know your Stuff! Knowing the information about your contracts and what your agency expects of you is very important. It is key that you are communicating with them clearly and provide them with the best chances for you to gain work. Going to any classes they offer or researching clients they send you out for is essential. It is also important for you to know the benefits of your agency and the details of the contracts you are agreeing to. “One of the benefits of being signed is the protection of an agent who has been doing this for a while and knows how much I should be getting paid and negotiates on my behalf. My agent gives me advice before going into a situation so that I know what to expect. If a client tries to lowball me in paying me for the extra time they held me at work, my agent makes sure I am paid.” Gabby reiterated. Additionally Flo said “ Agencies usually have relationships with casting agencies, producers, companies, etc. -- that models don't necessarily have. Therefore, opportunities that would have been close to impossible to obtain as an unsigned model, are more abundant as a signed model.
Money! Money! Money! It is no secret that finances play a huge part as well in dealing with agencies and their expectations of you. After you are signed your agency will ask that you have material that they can send that reflects you and the agency best. You need to know what that financial expectation might be. This includes the cost of test shots and Gabby shared that they can range from “$600-$1000. So save your money ladies and gents!” You also want to know the financial expectation your agents have of you. Both Gabby and Flo could not be more clear
when they shared “Read through your contract. If you have any questions or concerns, ask! Know your contract! Gabby further expressed “Personally I don’t mind giving my agent 20% of every check to negotiate on my behalf so that I don’t have to worry about the hassle. I know some freelance models who are perfectly capable of negotiating price and they are content with that.”
Overall there are positives and negatives to being a signed model but being signed doesn’t mean you get a free pass! Following these three basic points may help you understand more of the world of being a signed model and guide you through your first few weeks. Be on the lookout for our next blog about the world of Freelance Modeling!