The Runway Diva Says. . . Is an online advice column for aspiring models. As a 20 year veteran of the fashion industry as a plus sized model, I have found in my travels that most aspiring models, no matter their size, don't have a clue of the tools needed to become a successful model. Hopefully, I can help make their journey a little easier. Please Email me your questions to

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I must be ugly because no one is giving me a chance...

Hello Sharon,

My name is Tanya I am a 33 year old plus size woman who seriously wants to model. I want so much to do this and I always thought of myself as pretty... But I MUST BE UGLY BECAUSE NO ONE IS GIVING ME A CHANCE... I WANT TO HAVE CONFIDENCE IN MYSELF AND FEEL BEAUTIFUL... I want to do this 100% and I am willing to work hard.. I wouldn't mind doing commercial print modeling if I had to. Please email me back I would love to hear from you. I have a picture but it is no good because it is blurry Please email me back

Thank You


Hello Tanya!

Thank you for taking the time to write me. Before you even head to an agency there are some things you need to check about yourself....This statement:


Never let these words leave your mouth ever again! In order to do this you must have confidence and feel beautiful.....EVEN WHEN NO ONE ELSE DOES. No one will give you a chance just because you "showed up". You must do the work first before you head out to an agency....and have your stuff as together as possible when you get there. If YOU don't think you are beautfiul....No one else will either and you must NEVER EVER allow someone to convince you that you are anything other than beautiful.

Secondly, you are quite right....the photo you sent me is not a very good one. In addition to being is a head shot and you didn't send me any "Stats" about your self (ie...height, weight...dress size...etc). Also there is no personality in your facial expression at's pretty much blank. You ARE a pretty woman, but it does not come across in your photos.

So my advice to you is this.....

1. Please refer to my advice column "The Runway Diva Says..." on my website ( please go through the archives of prior posts and read them thoroughly....there is tons of useful information on getting started there.

2. Slow your roll. You are very much a newbie and you should be going to an agency at all at this point. You are not ready and all that will happen is that the legit agencies will tell you "No Thank You" and the unscrupulous ones will take your money, promise you the world and then deliver absolutely nothing. You need to learn how to pose for the camera, smile, learn runway technique...etc. Before you can seriously toss your hat in the ring.

3. Try to get more learning experience by doing local shows in your city. Here you will learn some of the basics and more will learn what NOT to do when you reach a professional level. The local fashion circuit is where you will get your training for the "Big Time". I caution you WILL more than likely have to come out of your pocket at some point to be in these it through selling tickets or purchasing a service of some sort for a moderate fee (the key word here is MODERATE). You will probably not be paid for your services but what you will get in exchange for your time & trouble is experience, and a chance to network with other aspiring artists and get information on more auditions and other happenings in the fashion circle where you live.

4. You will not get the experience you need in 1, 2 even 3 months if you are not an exceptionally fast be prepared to "pay your dues" on the local level for a minute or so. Eventually when your skills are to the point where producers and designers are soliciting YOU for YOUR services, you will know that you have done your "Homework" well and it is time to move to another level where you can begin to ask for some sort of payment for your services (Payment doesn't always have to be cash, try and work with the designer if you can be as small as Taxi fare to and from the event, bartering your services for clothing...etc are some of the ways you can begin to get SOMETHING in exchange for what you do.

5. Don't be surprised if they (producers and designers) try and balk at paying you for your services...(Lol...they ALL do that on a local level). Know that they are generally working with small budgets...but they will try and work with you if you really have skills that they want!....Trust me! They KNOW true Divas when they see them! If they tell you no and you feel you have gone as far as you can go with that particular company, Don't be afraid to walk away from something if you feel you have reached the point where you can gain nothing further from the experience.

6. When you have acquired the necessary skills & materials needed to actually go to an agency for their open call. Be mindful that a reputable agency will NOT ask you for money up front at all, nor will they tel you that they will put your entire portfolio together. It takes years to build up a really good book/portfolio and listen to me as I say this for the MILLIONTH time!!!!


7. I have said this repeatedly yet, I still get questions like this every day. If one photographer shoots your whole portfolio the all of your photos will be the vision of that one photographer....and that's not only not's boring. A good portfolio should show you in many different lights, it should show your growth & strengths over the years as a model and more importantly, it will show different "visions" of you from different photographers through their very different eyes....and that will give your book the variety it needs.

This is a tough business you are trying to enter and the more information & knowledge that you have in hand before you meet the pros...the better.

I hope that you will heed my advice!

Best of luck to you!


"We grow in steps and levels in order to get to another level you must take another step. (Every step and level has a different understanding.)"


Post a Comment

<< Home