Walker does modeling: part two
Who knew there would be a part two?
So part one of this “modeling adventure” ended rather uneventfully. I ended up going to an open call at NoTies Management, only to be dismissed after 10 seconds or so, along with the other 15 people I was standing with. To be honest, after the experience at NoTies, I didn’t have my hopes up very high, and I certainly did not think there would be a part two to my adventure this quickly.
Modeling is a cutthroat industry: it moves quickly, and the agencies and clients don’t spare any time on the models themselves. Essentially, you either have the look they want, or you don’t. It’s as simple as that. Agencies typically know within a few seconds upon meeting you if they intend to sign you or not. They see hundreds of new faces per week, and unless you stand out in the endless sea of model hopefuls, you’re out of luck. And sometimes, it really is just luck.
As I mentioned in my first modeling article, my girlfriend, Angela, is a model with Wilhelmina Models in Los Angeles and New York. While I was walking with her at a mall in Orange County, we happened to run into the man who initially scouted her for Wilhelmina when she was 17. We ended up talking to her scout, Keith, for a while, and he asked Angela if she had been getting enough castings and shoots from the agency and so on. The problem is, Wilhelmina’s castings are in LA, and it is difficult to drive up to the city from San Diego for every possible casting when she has class at UCSD all week. Keith recommended that Angela talk with a new boutique agency in San Diego, Frank Models, because they would be able to get her local castings and wouldn’t interfere with her contract with Wilhelmina LA and NY. But what he added caught me off guard—Keith said that I should go with her when she meets with Frank.
And so, just like that, I had an in. Or at least a small window of opportunity. Of course, I had my previous experience at NoTies in the back of my mind, and I still had a feeling I’d be let down if I got my hopes up too high. At the same time, I also came to the realization that I was starting to care about this whole thing. Initially, I thought, “Eh, why not, I’ll check it out.” But as I’ve gotten a taste for it, I feel like I’m starting to become determined to succeed in the industry. Gross.
Angela and I had our meeting with Frank Models scheduled for the week after, which gave me plenty of time to stress out about it. Angela thought it would be a good idea to get our hair done before the meeting, so a few days in advance, we went to a salon in Pacific Beach together and got pampered for an hour or so—although it didn’t really help me relax. The days leading up to our meeting were mostly filled with me practicing different faces and poses in front of the mirror and laying out different outfit combinations to test, which is ironic considering I had told myself before that I didn’t really care about any of this “modeling stuff” that much.
Then the fateful day finally arrived, and I was definitely anxious, probably more than I should have been. Angela was poking fun at me for caring so much, but after all this hype, how could I not? We headed over to Frank Models’ Carlsbad office, which turned out to be sleek and essentially brand-new, which I suppose makes sense for a two-month-old, hip modeling agency.
Upon arrival, still jittery from nerves and too much coffee, they handed me a form to fill out with my height, weight, clothing measurements, ethnicity, special talents, tattoos, and other miscellaneous questions about my background. It seemed kind of like a doctor’s office. We then met with the director of Frank Models, and she briefly discussed the agency’s philosophy, goals, and that she would like to work with us if our test goes well. I was just kind of nodding along, and then I heard “test.” What test?
After our little briefing, the director left to discuss some things with a few colleagues, one of whom I later learned was their photographer. In the meantime, I whispered to Angela that I was confused.
“What test?” I said.
Angela just rolled her eyes at me.
“It’s no big deal, they might just take some digitals of us,” Angela said. “Chill out, you’ll be fine.”
When the director came back in, she stated just what Angela had already assumed. They wanted to do some quick digital photos of us in their studio to test how we move. But then she even managed to surprise Angela.
“You guys are so cute together though, I want to see some of you two as a couple,” the director said. “It’s hard to find models with good chemistry when they need to pretend to be a couple for a brochure or something, so might as well use the real thing, right?”
The stunned look of surprise on Angela’s face was perfect after hearing that. I told her that she should make the same face for her digitals. Sadly, she didn’t exactly appreciate my joke.
I watched Angela take her photos, and she went effortlessly from pose to pose, like she’d done before hundreds of times. Every second was a different pose. Snap, snap, snap. I mean, she is a pro after all. Then, it was my turn.
I was definitely awkward, but it was my first shoot, and it could have definitely gone worse. All those faces I practiced in the mirror pretty much went out the window as soon as I got up in front of the camera. I do remember smiling, then not smiling, and then flailing about with my arms a bit. The whole thing probably lasted about two minutes, but it felt like it took ages. Then, Angela and I shot some together, in a sort of photo booth style, which actually ended up being pretty fun. Jitters gone, we laughed our way through the last of our digitals at Frank.
We chatted with the director a little more after our test shots, and I got the impression that they were very keen on signing Angela, but I was a little too new for them to know right away. She said that we’d be in touch later in the week, and that was it. I survived.
We actually did get a call from Frank a few days later, and we have a request casting as a couple—which means a client actually requested for us specifically—coming up this month, and another test photoshoot this coming Friday. I was fairly surprised that I featured in any of it. I was mostly assuming that they wanted to sign Angela, and I was sort of just going to be swept away. Yet, oddly enough, there might even be a part three to this adventure. Weird.
Written by Walker Chuppe, Arts & Culture Editor