This is an excerpt from my book “On Your Mark: An Insight Guide to Modeling”
THE PRODUCT “Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.”- Mary Kay Ash
Business First – Understanding You Are “The Product”
Throughout your career as a fashion model,aseifinnae llyoonf laifned, yseotuywnuillabpearftafcrendmwtihthe d many decisions. Your responses and choices will rest. That is why it is imperative to understand that the attention that comes with being a model is secondary. First of all, it is a business. It is essential to establish a strong foundation in your primary role as an independent contractor.
The basic duty of every independent contractor is to provide services to another company under a specified agreement. In your case, you provide your looks and talents — your business’ “product.” Simply put, your looks and talents are for hire. As an independent contractor, you control your own business, and with that control comes many responsibilities. Taking care of “the product” — your body and mind — is just one of many undertakings you will have to achieve in order for your business to succeed.
Recognizing this early on is crucial to your success, because a model’s irregular work schedule can make even seasoned professionals feel anxious from time to time. Between assignments, a model may even question his or her self-worth and wonder, “Am I good enough?” Do not do this. Doubts like these can be dangerous, not only to the success of your career, but they can also threaten your self-esteem. There is no question that the modeling industry is competitive.
The market place constantly demands new, interesting, and unique talent. The golden rule, however, is never to view what you are doing as a “competition.” I know this seems strange when you are essentially “competing” for jobs, and there is nothing wrong with a little bit of healthy competition. Nevertheless, you should work toward competing only with yourself, not against others. Focus instead on what you can achieve and channel that competitive energy into “your product.” Not only will you reach your goals sooner, but you will also simultaneously gain healthier self-esteem and edge above your “competition.” This is by far one of the most important steps in becoming successful.
Throughout my travels, I have met numerous models who look to this business as a means of gaining attention and approval of their own self-worth. I have sadly witnessed models who compromised their morals as a means of seeking validation from the industry in hopes of boosting their self-esteem. It is a sad mistake for anyone to fall victim to such self-defeating behavior. However, if recognized early, I believe people have the ability to change their self-perception and accomplish much in their lives. Your self-worth is very important, and so is your ability to understand that you are a product in a marketplace.
As a product, you must understand that not all clients will be interested in hiring you. You must not take this too personally. Every single model faces this type of rejection at one time or another. The key fact to remember is that these clients are not rejecting you as a person, they are merely doing their job — finding the right model who fits the image they have in mind for a particular job.
I still face this kind of rejection today. I am under no illusion that every client is going to like, need, or hire me. I understand that I am a product in an industry that is driven by looks, personality, and talent. As an artist, it is imperative that you define who you are, believe in who you are, and be committed enough to work on your craft every day.
Didiayer Snyder is the host of the television program “At Home With Didiayer.”