So you wanna be a model, kid?

The most obvious #1 tip is practice, practice, practice. But that isn't very good advice if you don't know what to practice.  So I'm going to move this tip the bottom of my list. The first thing I did was network.


If you don't already have photos, you'll have an empty portfolio. Which means you need to network with photographers first.

TFS Groups

So how to meet photographers in a world where photographers already have their clientele and their own networks? My answer: Facebook Groups. There is likely a TFS (Trade-For-Shoot) or TFP (Trade-For-Prints) group in your area that you can request to join. Use those TFS opportunities wisely; you're trading your likeness and time for some photos that the photographer most likely will retain rights to. These can be awesome collaborations as long as you are smart about it and do your research. Everyone is a stranger at this point, but perform background checks to the best of your abilities. I reached out to models via Facebook messages that had worked with any photographer I wanted to shoot with to ask about their experiences.

Once you've properly vetted, be a good collaboration partner. Show up early or at least on time. Plan ahead what type of shoot you're doing so you know what to wear, if you're responsible for your own hair and makeup or not, and how long you'll be able to shoot. Be respectful of each other's space and time.

When photographers agree to do a trade shoot, they are foregoing a paying project. Discuss reasonable turn-around time of edited photos, if they'll be a hard disc or available to download, and the stipulations for sharing on social media and in portfolios - crediting the photographer, not applying your own edits, not removing a watermark, etc. Keep in mind that your free TFS photos may not be the priority in a photographer's editing queue if they have a paying client that's waiting so be patient!

When we first moved to Kansas City, I joined a TFS Facebook group that led me to meet Steve Gibson of Steve Gibson Photography. We spent a spring Sunday afternoon shooting in downtown KCMO and captured some awesome urban shots for my portfolio and some double-exposure shots for his own.

Those photos led to more exposure & work with other local photographers, like Elizabeth Golden of eGolden Moments (check out our wedding style shoot and our sunflower shoot!), but not before my connection with Steve Gibson landed me a personal invitation to the meet and greet kick-off of Kansas City Fashion Council.


At the KC Fashion Council Kick-off I met designer Rachel Pollak, who showcased a collection at the S/S'18 show at Union Station, fashion photographer Danny Bourne, and organizers of Kansas City Fashion Week that I then connected with on LinkedIn or Facebook.

Meeting & following up with those KCFW organizers opened up an opportunity for me to volunteer at the F/W'17 show at the Grand Hall earlier this year.

And volunteering at a previous KCFW event meant that my resume stood out when I went to the casting call for the S/S'18 show.

All that to say that's how the doors opened that put me on the model roster for the S/S'18 show and I was selected to walk for Yolanda Newson of Yoro Creations and Natasha Shangari of Shangari at the Kansas City Fashion Week's S/S'18 Show at Union Station in October.


This is the BIGGEST thing for me.

When you model, it's not about you. It's about what you're wearing, how you're makeup is done. Your job is to be a canvas for an artist. Sometimes that means you don't like how you look! Sometimes you won't like what you're wearing, or how your makeup is done, or the product they used in your hair. Get over it! Do your job, do it well, and you might just become the go-to model for a designer.

Earn a reputation as a model who is punctual, respectful, helpful, and kind. Skills can be taught and practiced, but your attitude is what will get you jobs.


I told you this would be at the bottom of the list! It's basically a 'duh' bit of advice. You should practice your runway walk. You should work with photographers and friends with cameras and mirrors to learn your face and your angles. Just looking at my first shoot with a fashion photographer I can see a huge difference in my comfort level & posing from then to now (this is the shoot I'm referring to.)

If you like this kind of post, please let me know! And if you have any questions about modeling in general or Kansas City Fashion Week specifically drop those in the comments and I'll do my best to address them.

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