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!