In large cities such as LA and NYC most modeling agencies conduct something called an Open Call which is a specific time where people looking to get signed can show up without an appointment or invitation. Whether it happens once a week or once a month, it varies from agency to agency, but the most important thing (besides showing up) is being prepared.
First things first, call each agency you are interested in and ask the following three things:
- When do you hold open calls?
- Are there any requirements?
- Are you still located at (agencies address)?
Once you have compiled this information, go a step further by researching each agency online to see which agencies would be best for you. Here are some things you will want to look for:
- How many models do they represent? Are they a big agency with many divisions or a small agency?
- What types of models do they represent? Are they more high fashion or more commercial? Older models or younger models?
- How long have they been around? Are they fairly new on the scene or have they been in the business for 10+ years?
There are no good or bad answers to these questions, because depending on the type of model you are, an agency might be a perfect fit for you or it might be completely wrong for you. For example, if you are a plus-size model you need to research or ask if the agency represents plus-size girls, because some agencies don’t at all while others have a whole plus-size division. The biggest thing you need to remember is to NEVER show up to an Open Call when you DON’T meet the requirements. This is the fastest way to annoy an agency and get sent home.
At our agency we have two very specific requirements for our open calls: 5’9 or taller and between the ages of 16-23. But even with these requirements, many girls who show up to our open calls disregard our requirements and show up anyways. Or they will lie about their height, and lying to an agent is the biggest mistake you can make, because we can size up a person immediately (even if they are wearing 6-inch heels!).
Here are some other tips when walking into an open call:
- Dress fashionable, but not too trendy. Keep it clean clean, confident, and form fitting. Don’t wear anything distracting (no halter tops or gaudy accessories!).
- Don’t bring your friends, boyfriends or girlfriends (parents or guardians are fine).
- Don’t chew gum.
- Make sure to have some good photos with you. Polaroid’s or pictures taken at home are fine.
- Turn off your cell phone.
- Be patient. Modeling agencies can be very busy places, so don’t be offended if they can’t get to you right away.
- Don’t have an attitude or get angry if they turn you away. In this business you never want to burn bridges, so always be polite because you never know when you may encounter someone again.