How and Why Models Must Build a Great Reputation

Build Modeling Reputation
Edward James/Getty Images

No matter how successful a model has been in the past, they risk losing out on significant job opportunities and modeling contracts when their reputation is damaged. No one is immune to the effects of having a bad reputation which is why it is so important for up-and-coming models to make sure they are on the right path to building positive relationships in the modeling industry. Being part of a great agency is one way to begin building your reputation, and your agent can recommend other things for you to do to ensure you are held in high esteem by industry professionals as well.

A professional reputation affects the type of jobs you get as well as how likely people are to want to work with you in the future. It is important to understand how to build an excellent reputation in the modeling industry, but it is also critical that you know why a good reputation is essential for a successful modeling career.

Why It's Important

Your Name is Your Brand: As a model, you are a walking, talking personal brand, and if your personal brand name is damaged by a bad reputation in the industry, your hopes of having a successful modeling career will fly right out the window, and no one will want to work with you. If industry professionals have negative associations with your name, it is very hard to earn their trust and be hired by them. Think of a brand you have heard bad things about: Are you likely to buy something from them or hire them? Probably not. The same goes for scouts, photographers, and agents who have heard bad things about you – they won’t want anything to do with you!


12 Tips to Succeed at Modeling Go-Sees and Auditions

It Doesn’t Just Affect You: When a model signed with an agency earns themselves a bad reputation this often reflects poorly on the agency as well, even if the agency saw no signs of this to begin with. If you made an excellent first impression, and were signed with an agency but you start to establish a negative reputation once you are out there working, your agency may take some blame through no fault of their own.

Not only will people in the industry have negative associations with your name, but the agency also stands to suffer from your reputation as well, and you risk being dropped by them very quickly, with little chance of being picked up by another.

Are You Driving Your Modeling Agent Crazy?

You Will Get Better Jobs: Imagine you were in the process of casting models for a nationwide campaign. You have narrowed it down to two models who both have the right look for your vision. One model has a high reputation in the modeling industry: they are known for always being on time, being polite and enjoyable to work with, and for being professional. The other model has a history of being late to shoots and people don’t enjoy working with them for one reason or another. Who are you more likely to choose? The model with the better reputation, of course! If you were ever to find yourself in a situation where the choice was between you and another model, being the model who is thought highly of will benefit you greatly.

How to Do It

In the past, we have covered things like the importance of a good first impression, as well as email and social media etiquette for models. These are some essential building blocks for creating a good reputation in the modeling industry, but there are other things you can do along the way to make sure when people think of your name, they think "I want to work with them!" rather than, "No way would I hire them!"

Respect Other People’s Time: It’s easy to get caught up in your own schedule and forget that other people have important deadlines as well. Always treat other people’s time the way you would want them to treat yours and remember that time is money and their time is just as valuable to them as yours is to you. Be on time for everything you do and never abuse any aspects of the job that result in taking up more of people’s time than what is necessary. 

The Importance of Email Etiquette for Models

The Art of a Handwritten Note: Imagine you have just finished a week-long modeling job, and you are feeling completely exhausted. Now think of the crew (including the photographer) who worked on the shoot as well. Although they get less glory for their job, they often work longer hours than the model and are likely also exhausted from the work.

Sending a handwritten thank-you note to the staff and crew that you worked with will show how much you respect their work and value their time. And, don't forget your agent who booked the job for you in the first place. This gesture is a great way to make sure you are unforgettable for all the right reasons! If it isn’t feasible to send everyone an individualized thank-you note, perhaps a gift basket with a card addressed to the whole staff is a better option for you. These days, gestures like this really stand out and go along way to establishing your professionalism.

Learn People’s Names: No matter how brief your interaction with someone is, remembering their name will really impress them. Take time to introduce yourself to everyone you are working with and get on friendly terms with them. You don’t have to be buddy-buddy with everyone you work with, but a first name basis is very helpful when you are building a reputation in the industry. Remembering a person’s name and perhaps some other details about them shows that you were engaged in your interaction with them and that you value their presence. Remember, if the people you are working with on a modeling job think highly of you, that job will likely be fun and more enjoyable for you as well.

Be a Better Model by Improving Your Public Speaking Skills

These tips don't just apply to the modeling industry - building healthy relationships and a stellar reputation in any industry will aid your career advancement significantly. In the world of modeling, where people work very closely together, word of mouth is a powerful tool that can make or break a model's career, so never underestimate the power of a good reputation.