I have been getting questions about my whereabouts lately. When a Momager disappears for a few days people get worried or scared about what we may be up to! Momager’s tend to ALWAYS have their hands in lots of pots. I think it is just part of our nature. So, I thought I would update and recap everyone on what has taken place these past few days in preparation for my clients move to New York on November 1st.
1. The apartment has been located! The deposit has been made and Clinton Hill in Brooklyn is the spot.
2. The U-Haul boxes have been shipped.
3. The final night celebration has been scheduled and apparently a party bus will be driving through town on Halloween night with a group of youngsters who will bid farewell to my Client.
4. A Target gift registry has been made for family and friends who keep asking, “What can we get her?”
5. Final visits have been made or scheduled with family and friends. the leasing agent is booked for pickup of the keys.
6. The tentative schedule for the weekend of the arrival is done. A meeting with the leasing agent is booked for pickup of the keys.
7. Finances are in order and banking business has been completed.
8. New luggage has been purchased, even though new luggage was just purchased for the last NYC trip!
9. The shopping list for arrival in NYC is done. The local bodegas and discount stores have been investigated online.
10. Temp lodging in NYC with a friend has been confirmed.
11. Business appointments in NYC have been scheduled.
12. The first trip back home has been planned and the first family visit to NYC to visit has been planned.
13. Talks, talks, lectures, talks, warnings, advice and more talks have been conducted.
Did I mention that I went back to school? Yes, I figured I may as well add additional stress and chaos to my life. (Momager’s also thrive in chaos.) Back to the books!
One night last week, my client and I decided to go out for a Mother/Daughter date night. The date for her relocation is fast approaching so we have been trying to spend as much quality time as possible. The rest of the family already had plans so the stage was set for girl’s night out! After all, dating your young adult daughter is supposed to fun. It’s a time to let your hair down, share secrets, laughter and revile in the unique bond the two of you share. Times have long passed from the gloves, pearls and pocketbook carrying type of mom that my grandmother was. We have progressed much further than the “mom-jeans” wearing mother I had in the 80s. Now is the time of the new age mom who wears red bottoms, isn’t afraid to undergo the knife to look a few years younger and isn’t embarrassed to talk about her Brazilian wax with her teenage daughters.
I was not afraid to channel my inner Kris Jenner when my daughter and I agreed to go see a movie. We decided on the young sexy urban drama ‘Addicted’, starring Sharon Leal, Boris Kodjoe, William Levy and Tyson Beckford. I thought it was a good choice, we have watched several Lifetime movies together, enjoy an occasional Snapped marathon and generally have the same cinematic taste. So it seemed like a perfect film to take in together. After all, we are a tight knit mother daughter duo and this is 2014! I was excited about a perfect night out.
What started off perfectly, quickly took a turn. The first strange phenomenon occurred when my daughter purchased tickets for us, with her own money. I was still recovering from this as we entered the theatre and she went off to the concession stand and I searched for seats. I embarked on the theatre and found perfect seats dead center, and she joined me moments later with popcorn and extra-large Icee’s in hand. We nestled into our seats, watched the previews and I couldn’t help thinking how grateful I was to be sharing this time with my oldest daughter and how much I would miss these evenings two short weeks from now.
As the opening credits rolled so did my concern when I saw “Zane” was the writer and producer of the movie. I am very familiar with Zane and read a book or two that she authored in my younger years, but her literature is certainly nothing I would share with my daughter. Since this is a movie on the big screen with no explicit rating, I thought maybe, just maybe it will be toned down some. Surely there wouldn’t be a Zane-esk movie on the silver screen! Was I ever wrong. Moments into the film, a true Zane scene appeared on the screen. Suddenly my daughter didn’t seem like an adult at all, and with each graphic scene of the movie her age appeared to be reversing. As the movie progressed, I was watching the movie with my two year old toddler and the guilt of watching sexually explicit scenes with her by my side was overtaking me. I squirmed more and more with every scene, not from the delight of William Levy’s exposed physique, I was squirming because I knew my daughter was watching me. I attempted to give her a smirk but my expression probably looked more like I had caught a whiff of rotten eggs.
At a point in the movie I wanted to just suggest we leave. But if I did so, would I be a mommy prude? Is there such a thing as mommy peer pressure? Have I let the images of Modern Family cause me to be ashamed of standing up and saying, “I think this isn’t something we should watch together.” Yet I continued sitting there, watching and suffering and checking my cell phone to see how much how many more minutes of delight I would have to endure.
I am not in denial about what my child may do when she is out with her friends. She wasn’t raised on a farm in the Amish countryside. Who knows what movies they go to see and what happens on girl’s night out. She is over 18 and now she is free to choose her own entertainment without my approval. I couldn’t help wondering if perhaps this the norm for her. Then at a point more than midway through the movie, my daughter looked at me and I realized she was just as uncomfortable as I was. She didn’t want to be there with me just as much as I didn’t want to be there with her.
I realized on Mother/Daughter date night that I am not quite ready to be the metro mommy. I grew up in a different era and I won’t be walking the streets of New York City with my daughter wearing black sheer designer baby couture. I am a conservative mom and I like it like that. While I want my daughter to be open with me and able to share anything that may be on her mind and heart; I am okay if she doesn’t include me in girl’s night out and or invite me to see any future installments of Addicted. I think what we both realized that night is that we are good with our relationship just as it is. We will stick to Twilight marathons and Hunger Games sequels. I may be a Momager, but I am no Kris Jenner.
You have been working hard to find an agency for your client, yet they still have not been signed. You have submitted Polaroid’s to several agencies and have not heard back or you have received the dreaded rejection message. Your client is ready to get working in their profession of choice and may be feeling discouraged as they wait for their “moment”. You have heard all of the stories about top models who simply emailed a photo to a scout and within days they were sitting in an office in New York City signing a lucrative modeling contract. Isn’t that how it is supposed to work? Why hasn’t that happened for your client? And as the Model Momager, what do you do next?
If your client has not been signed exclusively by a modeling agency, it is not the end of the world. They can always work as a freelance model. There are freelance models in all areas of the business including runway, commercial, promotional, fit, print, etc. Freelance models are responsible for their own bookings, marketing, promotions, contract and rate negotiations and portfolios. Freelance models can also work with several agencies simultaneously on a non-exclusive basis. Basically, deciding to work as a freelance model means being responsible for your own career. This is where you come in as Momager. You will essentially be acting as the agency who represents your child.
Freelance models are afforded the same opportunities that agency signed models are. The great thing about working freelance is accepting jobs when you want, setting your own schedule, setting your own rates and being your own boss. My daughter/client has worked successfully for 2 years as a freelance model. We opted to only sign non-exclusive contracts, so that she can continue to work independently as a freelance model. Successful models frequently sign non-exclusively to several agencies because they can afford to have a manager and staff in place to assist them with scheduling, logistics, negotiations, etc.
Now is actually a good time for freelance models to start and stay working consistently. It is no secret that all industries have been impacted by the downturn in today’s economy. The modeling industry is no exception, with many agencies closing their doors and cutting back on the number of models they keep active on their boards. Modeling agencies may only be accepting a certain number of new models or they may only be interested in signing a specific type of look, thus increasing their use of freelancers. Rates can even be slightly higher for freelance models.
You can find freelance work online using casting websites, Modelmayhem.com, Instagram and Craigslist, to name just a few. There are also many agencies that work directly with freelance models. I will be posting a list of resources for locating freelance jobs in the near future.
Make no mistake, the modeling industry is always a challenging one. Freelancing is just as tough as signing with a modeling agency. It is not an easier way to get into modeling, it is just a different way to get into modeling. Some people prefer entrepreneurship and others like being an employee; similarly, you may prefer that your client freelance or you may want them to sign with an agency.
Freelance modeling is not without its challenges. One obstacle you may face is some agencies will only book signed models for the more lucrative jobs. Another hurdle is, freelancing does not provide the security of knowing someone else is looking out for your client’s career. (That is assuming your agency is actually looking out for your client.) That does not mean agency signed models are any less involved in their careers but they have the added luxury of letting someone else worry about the never-ending details. Lastly, your client must reside in the city where the agency is located. Agencies generally want to work with freelancers who are local. Therefore, if there are no agencies in your local area freelancing may be hard to do.
If your client is not signed by an agency, freelancing will give you another avenue in helping them pursue a career as a model. Whether your client is agency represented or freelance, you must be dedicated and committed to their career. Do not allow yourself to feel a false sense of security if you decide to sign your client with an agency. As a Momager you will continually have to look out for your client’s career to ensure it is forging ahead.
Now that my client has gone from 90210 and will be entering 10001, things are certain to change. We will see how Model Momager of a freelancer from a distance works out!
After working in the Los Angeles market for some time, one day my daughter/client came to the realization that she was not interested in acting or dancing any longer. Even though she studied both for many years, she knew that she wanted to focus on one thing and one thing only – Modeling. Part of me was a bit disappointed, but the other part of me was relieved. There is great comfort in knowing what you want and more importantly, what you don’t want. We made a decision at that point to focus all of our attentions on her true passion – Modeling.
The showbiz term “triple threat” is one that is very popular. It is a common term used in the entertainment industry to describe a performer who has equally outstanding talent in three areas, most commonly actor/singer/dancer. It is particularly attractive because versatility in show business makes a performer more marketable, therefore making them very appealing to agents, managers, producers and directors. You will frequently see “actor/singer/dancer” or and any combination thereof on a performers resume or headshot. Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake and Jennifer Lopez are a few showbiz leaders who proudly garner this title.
Model is also loosely used as part of the triple threat title. It is a generally believed that “model” is a noun that can always be thrown in as an additional resume title. Frequently, it is tacked on to the end of a performers titles, almost as an afterthought. Momager’s who know the value of a triple threat title may use “model” even if their client is not actively pursuing modeling as a career. Anyone who has taken headshots, been asked to be photographed, or modeled in a shopping mall fashion show qualifies to put model as part of their credentials. But does this really qualify you as a model? Triple threat means to excel in three different arenas. If your client does not excel as a model, you may want to rethink using this as part of their credentials.
Unless you truly want to pursue other interests, models should focus their skillset on industry specifics. If your client is passionate about pursuing a career as a model, their resume should reflect such. Instead of listing three areas to showcase an ability to multitask, list the modeling areas of strength. A model’s resume should state the specific types of modeling they are best at. This could be commercial, editorial, runway, print, etc. with the areas of the greatest strength listed first. Younger models do not have as many modeling categories but they can certainly use fashion, print and runway on their modeling resume.
Your client does not have to focus on other areas if modeling is what they are most passionate about. Expose your client to various areas of the business and focus their attention on their areas of strength. The modeling industry is so vast, there is no reason your client cannot be a Triple Threat Model.
Today as I was doing relocation prep work, my inner voice whispered, “She isn’t ready yet!” As a Model Momager I am hearing this voice more frequently because there is a part of me that just isn’t ready to let my favorite client go. Conversely, my voice has an evil twin that regularly follows with, “SHE IS READY ALREADY!” The Mom vs. Momager voices both have personal stock in this endeavor and neither seem willing to concede. So with all of the coaching over the years, how do you know when your model is ready to move-on-up?
The short answer is, you don’t know. However, there are several things you can do to make sure you have prepared your client for the next crucial step. Aside from height, measurements, walk and high fashion look there are other key qualities your model needs before making the big move. Here are five things to look for before sending your client off to see the NYC fashion wizards.
1. Your client has to want this WAY MORE than you do. While on this modeling journey, Momager’s often have to give a gentle nudge or word of encouragement because after all, that is what mom’s do. However, kind words are not enough when it comes to relocating to the fashion capital or any other significantly larger market, your model has to want it more than anything. Try offering your client an out by saying, “You know you DON’T have to do this if you don’t want to,” and watch to see if they fall for this old reverse psychology trick. But seriously, speak to your client’s heart, taking yourself out of the equation and make sure they really want to do this for all the right reasons. I have seen my client get out of her sick bed to walk in runway shows and no one would have guessed that moments before hitting the catwalk she was shivering with chills and burning up with fever. As much as I discouraged, there was no stopping her. Later, she told me something in her comes alive when she is modeling. Your client has to have a commitment to the business that surpasses yours. If you are pushing them to model, STOP.
2. The thought of spending a lot of time alone cannot be an issue for your client. There will be a lot of time spent waiting for public transit, waiting at go-sees, waiting backstage, waiting for hair and makeup and waiting at home alone for jobs to come in. An average day could be packed with appointments or it could be quiet with not very much working coming in. New York can be a lonely place for a young model, especially if this is their first time away from home and family. If your client struggles with meeting new people, eating out alone or traveling through town unaccompanied; then this may not be the best option.
3. A model must be educated on how to prepare ahead for appointments. The amount of time spent preparing ahead can vary depending on the assignment. Momager’s spend a considerable amount of time get everything done a day or two ahead of time. Your client should be doing this on their own before they relocate. Things like packing a model bag, makeup, comp cards and portfolio, mapping out directions, laundry and confirming last minute instructions all have to be done ahead of time. There is another very important thing that should be done at least the day before – RESEARCH! Always do some research about the designer, photographer, event, products, promoter or agency before showing up to an appointment. I cannot tell you how many times my client has gone to appointments and had to explain to other models who the designer is or what kind of event they will be walking in.
4. Taking good care of themselves is a must! Everything from diet, exercise, skin/hair/nail care and mental health are important factors in the daily regime of a model. Looking their best is part of their daily job so paying attention to all of the little things will matter even more after relocating. An agency may or may not say anything about these things but it is never good hear negative feedback from clientele. If you do not see good habits in these areas before the move, address it and wait for improvement before letting your client go into a larger and faster paced market.
5. A model must be able to handle their own finances. Being knowledgeable on how to keep finances in order is a life skill we must all possess. Models must learn early how to save and maintain separate accounts. They also need to know how to keep accurate financial records. Money can start coming in quickly so self-discipline must be taught. It is also important to keep track of incoming payments for jobs worked. It is a good idea to open joint accounts so you can assist if and when needed. The earlier these disciplines are established, the more successful your client will be when they are away from home.
While many agencies scout younger models, many of these skills are not in place until age 18 or older. Younger models may be ready, but less mature models can struggle in some or all of these areas. This can make handing over Momager duties even more difficult. The key is to start educating your model as early as possible. Make every effort set your client up for success by giving them the proper tools needed. You will feel more confident that your client has what it takes for the next big step and you can tell your inner voices, “Shhh.”
Lately, my client and I are spending a lot of time discussing and looking at ads that read: “Wanted – Female Roommate“. Our morning sessions have been largely focused on locating housing in New York City. Why did we wait so late to start this process you may be wondering? It’s no secret the demand for a NYC apartment is high and the demand for affordable NYC housing is through the roof! Leasing an apartment more than 30 days before the relocation was just too costly so we opted to wait until the month of the move. Now, locating an apartment and roommate with less than 30 days before relocation is nerve wracking. We really should have scheduled another scouting trip one month before the move. What were we thinking!
We have a couple of things working in our favor – we are searching targeted areas and we have local contacts that can checkout locations for us. Using app’s like StreetEasy, Naked Apartments, Spare Room and Observer to assist with the search has been helpful. There are also websites Apartmentlist.com, Roommates.com and Craigslist.com, that are helping to make the process more manageable without using an agent.
Many making this transition use model housing provided by their agency. Large New York agencies like Next, Ford, Wilhelmina, IMG and DNA, can provide model lodging. Agencies offer dorm style apartment living with as many as 2 – 4 models per room. The accommodations are not glamorous with minimal storage, shared bathrooms and twin size bunk beds. These are great for models traveling from out of state or out of the country for short stints like Fashion Week. However, there are arguments on both sides about the pros and cons of long term model housing.
Of course, the great thing about model housing is not having to worry about locating a place, especially from long distance. Models are assigned roommates and the comradery from others in the same business can be a great thing. They are exposed to models from around the globe with varied modeling experience and exposure to big city living. Some agencies will assign chaperones to live in each apartment for added security and guidance. Models can expect strict house rules and things like breaking curfew, drinking or drugs are not tolerated. For underage models whose parents who may be worried about security this can be comforting. Additionally, there is the added benefit of not having to break a lease or pay for an unoccupied apartment if your model is sent out of town for bookings.
With all of the positives, there are just as many not-so-positive things about model housing. The first matter is the privacy issue. If your client has never had to share space, they may find little to no privacy is a hard pill to swallow. Also, the strict rules may seem too stringent for models who are a bit older. Additionally, many of the agency provided apartments are temporary and not intended for long-term residents. This means your client may have to move into their own apartment within 60-90 days. Lastly, model housing can be costly. Rents can run from $1100 – 1600 per month for agency provided housing. Most models have their rents deducted from their earnings. New comers rarely start off generating much income in the beginning so your client can quickly end up in the red at the onset of their budding career.
There are some sources that provide housing for unsigned models like Modelingtherightway.com, Modelsapartments.com and Modelhousing.com. These furnished apartments generally offer amenities like workout rooms and housekeeping, therefore making them somewhat pricey. I cannot personally endorse any of these but as always, be cautious when paying deposits or signing leases sight unseen. Always be on the watch for scams. There are people who may contact you about “rent free” model apartments in NYC. Don’t fall for this trick. Even agencies charge for model housing. If it is too good to be true, well you know the saying…
The cons have outweighed the pros so we have decided not to go the model housing route. We are looking for permanent accommodations before touching down in NYC. You already know I will keep you posted on our progress!
I stopped by Tornado Ally aka her bedroom, to say hello to my client and the greatest thing happened. She invited me to a party! I was very excited to even be considered worthy of “turning-up” with her and the crew. The excitement was quickly lost when I asked her the date of the invitation. “Halloween!” was her reply, as if I should have known this date MUST BE CELEBRATED. As a matter of fact, I did anticipate celebrating on October 31. However, my plan was to host a FAMILY going away party for her. (I told you models love to add things to the calendar without warning.) The slugs just kept coming as she went on to tell me that she was promoting a Halloween event and at the same time celebrating her departure. HUGE SIGH. This was all news to me! She had accepted a promotional modeling gig without discussing it with me!
You may be wondering exactly what is promotional modeling and why did this upset me? Well, promotional modeling is big business in most large cities across the U.S. If you have ever gone to a car show, I am sure you have seen promotional models dressed in all black with a sleek ponytail like backup dancers in a Robert Palmer video. Any event that will see a large number of consumers may employ promotional models to help market their products. You may see promotional models at trade shows, sporting events, concerts, night clubs, grand openings or special events. Their job is to help to make products or events more appealing and interesting. Who remembers Spuds MacKenzie and his Spud promo girls? I guess I am dating myself.
Usually promotional models are age 18 – 30, attractive, fit, professional and outgoing. The real key to being successful as a promotional model is personality. If your model does not like talking to or interacting with lots of strangers, then promo modeling is not the gig for them.
The positive side to promo modeling is it can be a consistent moneymaker. In-store events can pay $8- $30 per hour for demonstrating products. Some promo models are paid flat rates per event, for example, trade shows or sporting events pay on average $150-500 per day. Alcohol demonstrators (must be over age 21) and are generally paid $20-50 per hour. Your client may be able to travel the country with a marketing company or promotional agency. Traveling promo models can make $150-$500 per day and are usually given per diem for food and expenses. Travel costs and lodging are normally paid by the booking agency. With salaries averaging upwards of $1000 per week, promotional models can make more than many runway and print models.
The bad side to promo modeling are the long hours. Your client will likely have to be on their feet for several hours per day. Some promo models are expected to be well versed on a product they are promoting, pass out products or gather customer information. The duties and expectations can vary depending on the assignment or campaign being worked.
Nightclubs tend to pay $200-$500 for promo model appearance fees. Perks can include preferred seating, VIP sections, reserved parking, free alcohol and free entrance for members of their entourage. Night clubs may also want to use their images for advertising on flyers or social media. This should also be negotiated in the agreement ahead of time. This is why Momager’s should be consulted BEFORE their daughters agree to accept a promo gig on OCTOBER 31!
You can find promotional modeling jobs by checking with local event promoters, party promoters, marketing agencies, casting websites, job boards and model websites like Model Mayhem.
Don’t get me wrong, promotional modeling can be profitable. However, just like accepting any other modeling job, the terms of the contract, conditions and rate all have to be negotiated. Always make sure to discuss with the promoter or agency about the length of time, expected wardrobe, hair and makeup, pay rate, parking and travel reimbursement for any appearance before signing an agreement. (We will discuss model contracts and agreements in more detail in the near future.) Whatever you do, make sure your client does not sign or make a verbal agreement to work a job without your input.
You will probably find me at home passing out candy on October 31 this year…
Source references: Wikipedia and eHow