Honestly it was like the snowball effect, after I did a few shoots, more opportunities were presenting themselves, I ended up meeting a lot of new photographers and I am truly grateful so far for my journey! I have always been captivated by the models in magazines ever since I was young. I’ve always been into fashion and expressing myself and dreamed that one day I would see myself in magazines. I have only been published in a few but I am definitely working on many more! The feeling is incredible!
I first started uploading pictures on Model Mayhem, which is what I would consider the Facebook of the fashion industry. On that website you can find and post casting calls, traveling notices, and you can post in forums and network with many individuals within the fashion career world. It really is an awesome site! The only thing with Model Mayhem is that not just anyone can create a profile – professional pictures are a must because the staff reviews your profile before it is live. I uploaded some senior pictures that my cousin did of me, and some other edgy pictures I had done with a friend around that time. After my profile was reviewed and accepted, I updated my profile and bio with a little bit of information about myself and what kind of work I want to add to my portfolio. I love edgy, creative, and high fashion stuff. I also went ahead and posted in the casting calls section for people in my area to collaborate with. The next day I logged back on, and I had over 10 messages! I was surprised, and very happy!
|Throwback Picture July 2011|
That summer was full of many photo shoots, I was doing at least 2-5 shoots a week. Some of the pictures were portfolio worthy, some weren’t. After all, I was a new model and was doing trade work. Not once have I EVER paid for any of my portfolio pictures and I urge you not to either when you first start out. I say this because it is common that a lot of us within the fashion industry first start off doing trade work. So don't hesitate when it comes to reaching out and asking someone to do a photo shoot! Remember to focus on building your portfolio with many different looks, it will help you book more jobs when you become more experienced.
ALSO ALWAYS BRING SOMEONE WITH YOU TO YOUR PHOTO SHOOTS! If the photographer says you can't bring anyone then don't even work with them! SAFETY IS KEY!!!
Another thing I must mention is to be VERY careful if you meet with an agency. Please know that REAL AGENCIES INVEST IN THEIR TALENT! THEY WILL NOT MAKE YOU PAY A DIME! I have met with 3 different agencies who all wanted me to invest in their photographer to help build my portfolio, or pay a monthly fee to be on their website. Real agencies make their money off commission after you get paid from a job they booked you for. I have known many models who have fallen for these fake agency scams and it is truly sad how they get your hopes up only to end up stealing your money. So if there is a company who is marketing themselves as an agency yet they are asking you for money, your best bet is to just walk away right then to prevent wasting anymore time.
Please don’t ever get discouraged in this industry, not saying it is a hard industry to be in but it isn’t the easiest either. Always work hard for what you want to achieve. Never feel shy about messaging photographers and saying “Hey! I love your work, want to shoot sometime?” & Never be afraid of rejection. Keep your head up, be persistent, stay determined and all of your dreams will come true! The Universe will make things happen for you that you will never expect, so keep your head held high, seize any opportunities that come your way, and stay grateful and humble <3
Courtnie Marie Ross
Model – Makeup Artist – Hair Stylist