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

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Someone who took my words to heart....Literally!

I had a really interesting evening a few weeks ago. I wound up going to dinner with a Miss F.A.T. Contestant that I met in Los Angeles during the castings for F.A.T. Chance 2007. Now the reason I wound up having dinner with her is because she took something that I said to her to heart and decided to set the events in motion. But before I confuse you any further....let's go back to hmmmm....say April 2007.

We had several days of casting rounds and I met a lot of beautiful young women and as usual they had tons of questions about becoming plus sized models and I tried to answer as many questions as I could as honestly as possible. I remember this particular young woman because I found her quite beautiful...albeit a little to short at 5'5" to pursue a serious print career. She was very enthusiastic and passionate about her career goals and I suggested to her to try looking for fit work because I thought she had the curves for it. I also told her she would eventually need a composite card and portfolio if she was serious about it. Well she took my words to heart and approximately 3 months later she landed in NYC with 500 composite cards and her "book". She sent me several emails and I finally was able to get in contact with her and because she happened to be staying in Manhattan (which is where I reside) I agreed to meet with her for dinner.

Over sushi, we talked, bonded, got caught up and I asked to see her comp card & portfolio. She told me she had already been to several agencies and had been turned down flat. She passed me her book and composite card across the table and I saw immediately where she had gone wrong. While the card wasn't the worst I had ever seen....the book was disastrous. The photos were dark, some were out of focus, others were too sexually provocative and very posed. But the worst offense to me was that all the shots looked the same and it looked as if the same photographer shot the entire book. And because all of the photos looked the same, there was no real variety of looks on her composite card either.

I tell aspiring models this stuff everyday and it hurts me when I see someone as passionate as this young lady is/was waste so much money for pictures she can't really use. I tried to clean up her "book" as much as I could omitting all but maybe 5-6 photos from her book. "Newbies" ALWAYS make the mistake of thinking that the more photos they put in the book or on their card...the better it will look - NOT!!! This is where the "less is more" rule really's better to have 4-5 really strong shots in your book than to have 15 to 20 average or bad ones just to "fill it up". This spells out "Rank Amateur" to agencies....they know right away that you don't have a clue as to what you are doing.

When you are just starting out, the clients really need to see what YOU look like, so use caution when trying to duplicate ads you see in want to capture the "Spirit" of the shoot or the look but you don't want to duplicate it exactly or fill the photo with useless props that obscure the true subject.....YOU! You want to shoot a decent beauty shot, some commercial print shots and just pictures that show the strongest sides of you....not necessarily the side that you alone like.

Lastly, let me say that while I enjoyed this young woman's company and will definitely be keeping abreast of her career....I will definitely NOT make the mistake of putting the idea in someone's head that they should just jump on the next thing smoking and head to New York. Modeling is a very serious career pursuit that can be very costly at the start as well as time consuming. It is not to be entered into lightly and you MUST know that building a strong portfolio can take years and several thousands of dollars....testing with photographers is how you build your book and that alone will run you a great deal of money.

So before you start packing your bags and heading to the Fashion Capital Of the Do your homework, get some knowledge and experience under your belt, save your money up and PREPARE for your career with some good old common sense. And if that doesn't work....check out my advice column...THE RUNWAY DIVA my website, every thing you need on getting started is listed in my blogs.

Thanks for the dinner Chica and much success in all that you do!


"Surround yourself with positive people and positive things!"


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