[box type="note"]Today’s post is for all the women out there who want to be a fitness model. We’ve been lucky enough to convince Christine Schmieden to give us the real-life strategies that will allow you to carve your niche in the fitness modelling world. [/box]
Here we go…
Be True to Yourself
Don’t change for anyone. Draw a line in the sand and decide for yourself what you are willing to do to achieve your goal of becoming a fitness model. Only you can decide what is best for you in the making of a good, positive and sustainable career.
Be mindful of what image you portray at all times; what you “put out there” and how people perceive you. What I’m trying to say is – keep it PG. You don’t work as hard as you do for someone to compare you to a lady of the night.
WNSO Pro Ava Cowan can attest to this. In a recent interview on bodybuilding.com, Cowan describes the scrutiny she felt for publishing more “racy” bikini images from one of her first shoots. In no time she discovered, “…if you want to be on the cover of Oxygen, or Muscle and Fitness Hers…you need to get some pictures that give you validity as an athlete…”
Don’t take every opportunity that comes along – be cautious and always do your research. Ask for client information, backgrounds and websites, as well as portfolios, of photographers and agencies. A legitimate photographer or agency should have all these items at your request and should be more than willing to share their work and references. If not, it may be for the best to pass up an opportunity – when just starting out; your safety should be top of mind.
Have a friend who is a photographer, or an acquaintance? Don’t be afraid to reach out to them and ask to swap time for talent – they shoot and get to build their portfolio at the same time you do.
When you’re a fitness model, all eyes and ears are on you at all times. You aren’t just a pretty face or 6-pack abs; you’re a role model – the image of health and fitness – don’t take that lightly. Men and women alike will look to you for a positive image of health. What you do on and off the stage/shoot matters. Stand for something aside from yourself – be selfless – and have the drive to want to help people and make a difference in their lives by being a public figure for health and fitness.
Answer the question of why? Why would someone want to sign you, feature you, photograph you, sponsor you – that answer will help secure your success. With that, begin marketing yourself – what can you offer folks that will make them want to work with you and book you over another model? Secure a fan base; consider developing a website, utilize social media and post profiles on reputable websites like modelmayhem.com and bodybuilding.com. Submit your bio and images online and in-person; and submit often. Don’t let rejection get you down – submit again. Be proactive, and not reactive.
Do you compete? It isn’t necessary; though some athletes make the transition from competing on-stage to fitness modeling. Competing can also give you an edge over others as you create a name, reputation and awareness for yourself as an athlete.
Also, attend fitness expos, events and workshops – all potential places for media exposure and connecting with other athletes, photographers and folks in the industry (Mova, 2012).
Do your homework and practice posing – find which positions work best to show off your features. Essentially; BRING IT! “You don’t have to have the best body in the world; it’s not about that. It’s about showing off YOUR physique in YOUR best angles, together with the facial expressions that meet the needs of that particular shoot and client” (Ythjall, 2011).
The last shoot I was on, everyone on set was silent – it was odd. So, I asked, “everything alright”? To which the designer replied, “everything’s great…you know you’re doing incredible when we don’t say a word”. I did my homework – identified with what the client was looking for before I stepped foot on shoot, and delivered.
So, come prepared to a shoot with a sense of what works best for you. And, if provided direction, take it – every photo shoot is essentially an opportunity to learn; the folks on location are professionals and are there to be sure you look your best. They’ll help you hit your posing, but do your part first and bring something to the table.
Also, do your research and be familiar with the “big name” photographers, agencies and magazines in the industry. These are the folks you want to work with some day. You wouldn’t go into a job interview unprepared, would you?
Eat clean and continue to train in order to maintain a physique that could accommodate a shoot within two weeks – it’s a great piece of motivation to help keep you in tip-top shape for a shoot. Sometimes, you won’t have more notice than two weeks for an upcoming shoot.
Professional photos aren’t necessary for success, neither is a professional portfolio – at first. You can get a decent start if you have a good digital camera that can produce quality images. You’ll want a headshot, full body front, back and side shot, as well as a chest up image handy for submitting online or in person. You can be concerned about a portfolio as you continue to develop your career and get booked for work.
Be kind – be gracious – be professional; no one likes a diva and that sort of attitude will not get you work. Thank EVERYONE you encounter on a shoot – from the photographer to the person that brings you coffee. They are there to ensure your success; you should do the same for each individual you work with each day. And finally, be yourself. Have faith, confidence and stay strong. The road ahead is not easy; otherwise everyone would be on it. “It starts with a vision, it’s fueled by desire, & it’s executed by will. You gotta know what it will take & be willing to do it” (@NotBranden, 2012).