5 Ways to Know Your Model is Ready to Move Up

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.”


Promotional Modeling Can Be Profitable

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


What does a Model Momager do anyway?

The morning of Day 29 starts off with the mother/daughter duo wearing our usual t-shirts and undies that we call pajamas, lying in bed in the models tornado struck bedroom and chatting for more than an hour. We spend a lot of mornings doing this now. Somehow as the time draws near, these morning chats have become much more precious. We spend this time going over the agenda for the day and then discussing what else – THE MOVE. The chat comes to an end too soon for my tastes because her phone begins to buzz. It is one of her many suitors so that queues my exit.


My next order of business is to review my “lists”. A Momager always has a to-do-list for their number one client. What exactly is on a Model Momager’s list? Better yet, what does a Model Momager do every day?


The short answer is a Model Momager does WHATEVER IS NECESSARY FOR THEIR CLIENT. This can vary from day-to-day but there are seven things you can expect to do every day as a Momager.


1.  Review the calendar. The number one and probably most important thing I do each day is maintain my client’s daily schedule. We are not the Kardashian’s so there are no personal assistants on our payroll, so that means YOU ARE IT. The daily administrative task of maintaining and communicating the schedule for the day is paramount. The younger your model is the less time you have to spend communicating the days plan with your client, but there may be other people in your household who need to know plans for the day, week or month. (Nothing is better than telling your spouse that you have bookings with your client to attend and have to reschedule their birthday dinner. Oops – not good.) No matter the age of your client, get in the habit of checking email, voicemail and all social media communication to make sure nothing has come up or changed overnight. It all goes on the calendar – hair, nails, dermatologist, waxing, shopping, photo shoots, shows, go-sees, etc. The purpose of the morning discussion is to make sure you have left nothing out and that there have been no changes that you were unaware of. Models love to decide they are going to add additional items to the day without telling you, so beware and be flexible.


2.  Check the messages. Stay on top of all email, texts and manage social media. Make sure all media forums are kept current, i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. Mornings are usually the craziest and most fluctuating part of the day. A last minute booking can occur at any time, but for whatever reason industry folks love to email you at 7:00 a.m. and ask if you can be there 8:00 a.m. It happens all the time! The early bird gets the worm so the more frequently you check your messages, the more jobs you will book. It is also important to make sure your client stays current and visible on social media. Keep them on the minds of industry folk. A morning Instagram photo, a tweet or FB post reminds them that your client is available for work. Some sites show the last time you logged in, so even if you don’t post anything, at least login.


3.  Plan ahead. If you know your client has an upcoming booking that requires prep, make sure you are prepared. If you know there is an upcoming swimsuit shoot next week, schedule the waxing appointment for the day before. If you have a younger client you probably want to schedule haircuts a least a week ahead of time. If they have a runway show that will not be providing shoes, start shopping as soon as you find this out. This way you have to time order online and have things shipped or mall shop without panic. Again, this requires that you are on top of the calendar at all times.


4.  Maintain the books. I cannot tell you how important this is! Daily record any and all payments, expenses and/or transactions. Yes, even if you spent .50 at the toll booth get a receipt and record the transaction somewhere! You can plug all toll booth expenses into a spreadsheet with the column heading – Toll Booth Charges, as long as you are consistent. There are lots of software programs out there that will help you do this in a more usable manner, but you have to start somewhere. Whatever you do, make sure your client gives you all receipts so you can keep the books update. Additionally, as your client starts booking more paid jobs, you can lose track of incoming payments. I maintain a separate log with the dates of bookings, the rate and when the payment was received. This way I can easily keep track of missing payments.


5.  Stay current. Review fashion blogs and industry trades to stay current on trends. Pinterest is a great way to do this. You can also use sites like Vogue, Women’s Wear Daily, Net-A-Porter, Vanity Fair, and InStyle, to name a few. Since your client is a model, you have to think like a model. (Hey that could be a movie title – or maybe that has already been done.) I cannot emphasize how important it is to be in the industry know. Even if it is just a quick review of an article or two per day, know what is hot and know what other models are doing in the business.


6.  Daily coaching. As much as your model loves what they do, they still need encouragement. There is a lot of pressure and rejection that come with this business. You will have always spend time, even if it is just to let them know when they are not selected that something greater lies in the horizon or that the campaign they just landed is a match made in heaven. The difficulty with coaching is balance. Constructive criticism can be taken as a negativism and a critique can be viewed as attacking. This is where your mom hat reigns supreme because you know your child better than anyone. Your tone, body language and timing make all the difference on how your coaching will be received. For example, my client never takes a critique well if she is hungry. Whatever you are going to say, make sure you feed the lion before you say it! It makes a huge difference.


7. Visualize. Always spend some time thinking about or planning the next project you want your client to undertake. This is where your creativity gets to shine through. It can be something as simple as spending time on Pinterest for photo shoot concepts. It could be watching a music video or television commercial that lends itself to a new look you want your client recreate. In your daily meditation a crystal clear idea may come to you about what they can do next. Your mission is to capture that idea. You have to intentionally place yourself in a mode of creativity so that ideas can flow through you. You can use any number of tools to accomplish this, cell phone, computer, a handy-dandy notebook or even a Post-It note. The important part is CAPTURING IT. I am a visual person so I use Microsoft PowerPoint a lot for this task. I have a concepts document and I make a slide per concept. On each slide I incorporate images and notes about my idea and I date it. These are like mini story boards and this is my go to source when I am explaining an idea to my client. So when I approach a photographer for a shoot, we have concepts already waiting. If my client wants a fresh new look, I am ready. If there is something that I think will expand my client’s brand, I am already ahead of the game. I will be writing more about this topic in future blogs.


Don’t get discouraged! I know this sounds like A LOT TO DO. Organization is the key. Spending time daily will help you stay ahead of the proverbial curve ball. Most things can be done right from your cell phone. Happy Momager-ing!