This morning I started with a frantic call from my client. “I called you three times on the house phone and your cell. Why didn’t you answer?!?!” This is the line of questioning I receive anytime I do not answer her call. Heaven forbid I take a shower, walk to the mailbox or step outside with the dog; that is no excuse for not being available to my client 24 x 7. A Model Momager is expected to available to answer any and all calls at any time of the day or night. That is just one of the undisclosed rules that was created and imposed on me by MY CLIENT. When I initially called her back, she did not answer.
There are several unspoken rules that were created by my client. Ironically, none of these “rules” apply to her. When asked who I am talking to on the phone, my client expects me to provide full disclosure. On the other hand, she will not reveal who she is speaking to when she is on the phone. Besides not answering the phone, leaving the house without permission is inexcusable. My client must know my whereabouts at all times. This is yet another rule that does not apply to my client. She can respond with vague answers like, “I was running errands!” when she returns after being M.I.A.
The borrowing and sharing rule is one that has perplexed me for quite some time. My toiletries, hair products and anything in my closet, are community property. Items needed for photo shoots, runway shows or modeling events are borrowed and never returned. Additionally, my food is always communal. Yet, these rules do not apply to anything in my client’s closet and it definitely does not apply to her food. In fact, borrowing from her closet or eating her food could result in my untimely demise!
What I am humorously referring to as client “rules” are really nothing more than client expectations. Often the expectations of Momager differ from the client’s expectations. While the above scenarios are comical, you have to manage the expectations of your client. There is no Momager contract between parent and child, so how do you balance expectations placed upon you be your child? When you live and work with someone, even if it is your child, it can create a strange and taxing dynamic. You must manage the relationship dynamics through ongoing communication. Even if your client is very young, start off letting them know your boundaries and define what is to be expected. What you are basically doing is creating an informal verbal agreement with your client.
I have communicated the non-negotiables and my client understand the things that are important to me. For example, I really do not mind sharing my shampoo and leftovers, what is important to me is my quiet time. My client understands this and knows that my meditation time is off limits.
When establishing your informal agreement, be sure you make it clear that you will be taking time out for yourself. Your client knows that you have made yourself available, make a conscious effort to schedule a regular time when you are unavailable. You may have to blackout some time on the calendar to let your client and others know you are off the clock. These boundaries are important to avoid burning out. Never feel guilty about doing this. There will be days that you just want to give up and there will be times that you ask yourself why you agreed to do this. Don’t despair and don’t give up. It does get better.
My urgent missed call this morning was to ask me if I would like to go shopping with on October 30th and 31st. Maybe it is time to update our verbal agreement!
Last night or in the wee hours of the morning I had a wonderfully crazy dream about India. I don’t know if I was thinking about current news headlines before I fell asleep, but I woke up feeling inspired by a vision from my dream. I immediately reached for my cell phone and launched my favorite app – Pinterest to see if I could find similar images. In less than 10 minutes I had a new board with 20 images that resembled my vision. Anytime, a photo concept comes to my head, the first thing I do is go to Pinterest and create a gallery, referred to by Pinterest as a board. [Big sigh of relief.]
Before Pinterest came along, I kept photos stored on my hard drive in a multi layered folder structure. I had folders for hairstyles, eye make colors, fashion designers and photo shoot concepts. The bad thing was, I could never find exactly what I was looking for when I needed it. Some of the images were on my cell phone, others were on hard drives of multiple computers. Along came Pinterest and it was just the answer I was looking for but I had no idea it would change the way I work. It expanded my creativity, because now I was able to follow like-minded pinners! Pinterest is so much more than just a place to look at pretty pictures. It is a valuable tool to help you get organized and stay prepared.
Models are visual artists, they bring to life images that are in the minds of others. Since their job is visual interpretation, your job as a Model Momager is to be on the hunt for images to make your client’s job easier. Sometimes your client will be booked for a shoot with a specific theme and Pinterest can help to give them a visual point of reference. On other occasions, you may be the person taking a concept to a photographer and with the help of Pinterest, you can present concepts to help them visualize the look you have in mind. Once the photographer is on board, you can present the same images to your stylist, hair stylist and makeup artist. You can easily direct each member of the glam team to the board by sending them a link. Your Pinterest profile is a great place to organize to your ideas and be prepared ahead of the game. It is online so you can access your profile from any device. No more having to text or email images to everyone, with a click everyone can catch onto the vision.
Not to mention, there is a ton of Momager information on Pinterest that is worth your time checking out. I rarely find information that is specific to Model Momager’s but there is certainly a wealth of information that can apply to all Momager’s. You can certainly find tips and suggestions for organizing your busy life.
The key to good use of Pinterest is organizing your boards into usable story boards. One of the biggest mistake many pinners make is keeping their categories too broad. It is free to create more boards, make as many as need! I like to use general topics followed by “ – “ and a more specific subtitle. For example, “Photoshoots – Desert Glam”, “Photoshoots – Graffiti Glam”, “Photoshoots – Androgyny”. I also use it for models and photographers that my client admires, for example, “It Girl – Alewya Demmisse”, “It Girl – Ariel Meredith” and “It Girl – Candice Swanepoel”. If you realize your categories are too broad, reorganizing is very easy and you can pin the same image on multiple boards if it fits more than one category. You can also create up to three private boards if you do not want other followers to see a board that is still in the works.
Did I mention that Pinterest is my favorite app? If you are not using Pinterest to storyboard your clients projects give it a try. Share your Pinterest name and I will gladly follow.
Model Momager’s wear many hats that you may have never thought about. When considering this career, you may not be aware of all the skills you will need, and the many new skills you will have to learn. Here is a list of 25 additional titles every Model Momager can put on their resume. And this is just the short list!
1. Makeup Artist
2. Personal Shopper
4. Hair Stylist
8. Runway Coach
9. Posing Expert
12. Personal Trainer
13. Administrative Assistant
15. Marketing Specialist
16. Social Media Expert
17. Interview Coach
19. Travel Agent
20. Project Manager
22. Internet Researcher
23. Website Developer
24. Appointment Setter
25. Legal Counsel
Here are three additional tips.
1) Think long and hard before deciding to be a Momager because it must be the best decision for the entire family. Take into the consideration the time you will spend away from your spouse and/or other children. Make sure you can juggle it all and that you have their support.
2) If you are not the go to person for projects at work, amongst family or friends; the Momager job may not be the one for you. Model Momager’s have to possess superb organization skills. Not only do you have to be good at project management, you have to ENJOY project management. Working outside of your areas of strength will only frustrate you. If the list above doesn’t excite you – hire a manager.
3) Review your finances before hanging up your Model Momager sign. If you can afford to be a fulltime Momager, that is awesome. Before you turn in your resignation, make sure your household budget can afford all of the new expenses associated with modeling. Think of this as starting a new business. It takes time for most new businesses to start generating income and profits. There will be expenses associated with modeling until your client starts generating a profit and there is no guarantee how long that may take. Additionally, those expenses may be even MORE than you estimated.
My blog is one week old today so I am celebrating with a glass of my favorite wine. Thanks everyone for supporting RMoM during this first 7 days. There are 23 more days until my models New York City departure. Stay along for the ride!
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
At the age of 8, plopped in front of a television alone, my future model watched a documentary about Naomi Campbell. I don’t know how she stumbled onto the film or what drew her to the story but something about the supermodel resonated with her. Perhaps it was because Ms. Campbell was tall and my daughter’s height had always been at the top of the growth chart for her age. It may have been because she was African American and my child had not become aware of the unique challenges women of color faced as supermodels. Maybe it was because Naomi embodies the beauty and grace that so many young models find absolutely spellbinding. Whatever it was, the images she saw impassioned her to the modeling industry. “I know what I want to be when I grow up,” were the first words she spoke at the conclusion of the film. At that moment I became astutely aware of the power documentaries can have on children and on their dreams.
Since that time, we have watched countless documentaries together. (I will be posting a list of documentaries and films that I recommend in the near future.) I am always looking for films with the modeling topic. I use them as teaching tools and points of reference frequently because after all, the wisdom of parents quickly diminishes as preteens become young adults. Now that I share her passion for the industry, it gives us time to hangout that is more about “us” sharing something we both love. I am going to miss these mini dates more than anything. [insert mommy tears]
If you haven’t seen it already, About Face is one of our favorites. This documentary delves into the lives of some of the most legendary supermodels in the business. It explores the definition of our sense of beauty over the past fifty years. The modeling careers of timeless beauties Isabella Rossellini, Christie Brinkley, Marisa Berenson, China Machado, Beverly Johnson, Carmen Dell’Orefice, Paulina Porizkova, Jerry Hall, and Christy Turlington are examined. Timothy Greenfield Sanders’ 2012 HBO film gives you lots to ponder as your examine your own preconceived notions about aging and beauty. The film does not glamourize the life of a supermodel but allows the industry greats to tell their stories in a truth-telling confessional style. In a time that is so focused on looks, you learn that each one of these women endured the ups and downs of the profession because of something much greater than their outward appearance. I only wish there could have been a Part II because each participant is noteworthy on their own, so 75 minutes was just not enough time to get it all in. Who knows, maybe Mr. Greenfield will do a follow-up.
Every young model and Momager should see this film. Of course, I recommend watching it together. It is available on Netflix and HBO Online.