Tips to Starting Alternative Modeling

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We get a ton of emails asking how to get involved modeling for Gloomth! We’re honored so many people are interested in participating in what we do. At this time we are *only* seeking models local to the Toronto/GTA area and we do not do any remote modeling (thanks to some crappy eggs in our earlier days). So if you’re local and have read our modeling page please don’t hesitate to contact us, we’d love to hear from you! 🙂

For everyone else looking to start out their alternative modeling career here are some tips we’ve learned from our work and from our models over the years! 

-Don’t Fake It! If alternative modeling is your goal but you have no connection to subcultures or alternative fashions during your actual life you might way to reconsider. There are loads of other types of modeling at all career levels, so don’t feel you have to suddenly be a tattooed Disney princess just to get jobs.

-You Don’t Have to Get Naked! You don’t. 100% you don’t. Anyone who tells you your career will shut down if you don’t do nude photography is probably just trying to manipulate you. If you want to do nude photography that is entirely YOUR decision and you have the right to decide your limits and adhere to those, any professional you work with will respect that. You can walk out of shoots that make you uncomfortable, being strong in your convictions won’t hurt your career!

-There’s Not Always a Lot of Money! I think some people see altmodeling as a path to a glamorous career. Most of the models we have worked with do this as a hobby, for fun- and have day jobs for the rent (I’m sure there are exceptions, but it’s not the norm to live solely on alternative modeling).

-Start with a Portfolio! You don’t need a professional portfolio from day one but you do need clear and well composed images of yourself to approach companies, agencies, and photographers. If you don’t know an actual photographer you can use sites like Model Mayhem or facebook to track down ones in your area to ask about taking portfolio shots. Maybe you have a friend studying photography or know someone quite good with their camera? You just need some decent images (not “selfies”) to begin arranging shoots to build a proper and diverse portfolio.

-Reach Out! Don’t hesitate to contact companies, agencies, and photographers you’d like to work for. Go for it, the worst that can happen is they say no or not respond. Don’t pester, if you email someone every week they’re probably going to get freaked out even if you are the best model ever….

-Use Social Media! Having a blog, facebook page, etc is a great way to meet photographers and companies looking for models. You can also use these platforms to reach out to potential collaborators yourself as it’s a built in portfolio.

-You Don’t Need an Agency! Many alternative models dash out looking for an alternative agency to manage all of their bookings and get them paid. If you don’t mind using your calendar and putting your time into booking and arranging your shoots you won’t need an agency. Some models prefer to control their bookings themselves, and some don’t.

-Be Reliable! If you tend to flake the night before, show up 2 hours late, are generally hungover on weekend mornings this might not be your ideal gig. Behavior like that does get around and many professionals are hesitant to collaborate with unreliable artists as they are also donating their time and skill to the project.

-Be Careful! There are a lot of creeps out there looking to exploit new models or push them to do things they aren’t comfortable with (cough Terry Richardson cough). Not every shoot will allow you to bring a friend/escort (we largely don’t, for example, as it’s always a big distraction for everyone and other models don’t always like your bf watching them work) so make sure you have someone you can call when you arrive and when you leave a shoot, especially if you’re working with someone new to you. Ask new photographers for references or contact models they’ve worked with from their portfolio directly, do your homework. If someone makes you uncomfortable in their communication with you prior to in person collaborating- shut it down! Watch for red flags and use your intuition. Ask to shoot in a public place if you are concerned about going to someone’s studio. It’s always better to be comfortable and super safe than to take any risks you might regret!

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Other Resources:

Mookychick has a great article on becoming an altmodel, including stories/contributions from alternative models working in the industry.

Model Mayhem has tips/articles for new models and is a great starting point for finding collaborators. You can also post a portfolio here to find people to work with.

Gloomth Guide to Modeling for Us!


One thought on “Tips to Starting Alternative Modeling

  1. I have a friend who has wanted to try modeling for awhile, but she isn’t sure where to get started. I like your point about reaching out to photographers and companies through social media. I can see how this would make it easy to share a portfolio and stand out to potential collaborators.

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