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How to get started in modeling

As the market for fashion grows within the Treasure Valley, there's an exciting new potential career opening up for many aspiring models.

Photography by Curtis B Creative. Photo at our interest meeting for talented individuals who would eventually join the team for Boise Fashion Week.

My name is Martyn, but many people just call me Marty the Party (really). I've been working with models for about 3 years now and started as a photographer before I eventually started my own model development program here in Boise called Party. Models. My vision for the program was to create opportunities for those aspiring to express themselves through modeling and to give confidence to those who might lack it. I found myself working closely with event management and in November of 2022, I directed my first fashion show at the Content Creators Society, which at the time was a trending weekly meetup for creatives happening at Maestre Studios in Garden City. After that, I couldn't stop producing and became more and more involved with our local growing model industry. Before I knew it, I had manifested a dream. I connected with Erica Becker CEO of VOXN (and now, executive director of Boise Fashion Week) and we passionately started working on our life's project: Boise Fashion Week.

Photography by Curtis B Creative. Photo of my Party. Magazine Launch Party in January 2023.

Photography by Curtis B Creative. Photo of our first interest meeting for those interested in joining the Boise Fashion Week team in April 2023.

In the process of creating my brand, I met a lot of people interested in modeling. One of the things I frequently got asked about is "how do I get started in the modeling industry"? So, I started compiling a list for what I believe is the best way that you can get involved in the modeling industry in Boise, or any small city, really. Here they are:

  • Get an online presence

I will always be the first to talk about how much I hate social media and the algorithms, but at the end of the day, our culture relies heavily on online exposure. A self employed artist often relies on how many people view their page (or who views their page). When you decide you want to start modeling, you have to create an online presence (my suggestion is Instagram). This will allow you to follow photographers in your area by looking up things like #boisephotographer or #idahofashionphotography. If you have a well-put together page, photographers will then notice you. Personally speaking, I always check who follows me and sometimes I'll find someone I want to follow back so I can watch their journey in modeling. One common mistake that some models make when they first get serious about their online presence is spam-following a ton of people in hopes they will follow them back. You want to attract the right people, so only follow people you feel you will learn something from (and friends and family, of course). You can establish your presence with something as simple as posting an introduction video, or cleaning up your page so only the photos you're proud of are showing. Once people start noticing, they will follow you and your online presence is established.

  • Get plugged in

A year ago, when I started the Content Creators Society (CCS), my goal was to establish a creative community and give people an opportunity to be a part of a growing culture in Boise. I've met some amazing people along the way, including some of the Party. Models of 2023. If you don't have an online presence and you're struggling to find the right people, joining clubs and weekly meetups, like the CCS, will give you an opportunity to connect with more artists both in person and online. Today, when I want to collaborate and create art with someone, I'm always reaching out to the people I've met at these events. Getting plugged in allows you to collaborate with more artists, giving you a fresh perspective each time you work with someone new. Over the last year, I've recognized that each collaboration I do and each project that I do tells me more about my own style and helps me develop my creativity. As you become a member of the creative community, we will run into opportunities like casting calls and other important events that are essential to your development as a model.

Photography by Martyn Kazak. Party. Models David Flaco and Joylyn Dingeldein pose at a Content Creator's Society collaborative campaign for 360 Photo Pop (1 month before getting casted for the Party. Model program).

  • Get creative

In an incredibly competitive market for modeling, it's important that you have a "wow" factor to you. It's hard to be a model who stands out if you are following trends or don't have a bit of spice on your Instagram page. If you want to get noticed, you need to be a trend setter, not a trend follower. I like to refer to creativity as a muscle, because truthfully, the more you practice being creative and original, the more it will come to you naturally. As you try new poses, wear new silhouettes, and travel to new locations, your creative "muscle" develops more and more. Soon enough, the world will begin to look a bit different and street walls will suddenly become backdrops for you and you start to notice things like how that the back alley 2 blocks down from you could look like a "totally dope photoshoot".

  • Get picky with who you shoot with

When you are first starting out as a model, it's hard not to take every opportunity that comes your way. However, some models dig themselves a deep hole when they model for bad photoshoots. Not everyone who claims to be a photographer will help build your portfolio (no offense to your 'photographer' cousin). I always like to say that "bad quality media is bad PR". This means that if you're being advertised a way that does not match your brand or who you are as a person, people will get the wrong idea about you. When approaching (or being approached by) a photographer in your area, it's important to look at their body of work and determine whether it would benefit you as a model to shoot with them. Some models get stuck in the wrong niche because they take all the opportunities that come their way, even the bad ones. This can happen if you work with a photographer that makes all of their models look sexual. Posting sexual pictures will result in attracting an audience for those wanting to view sexy pictures. If that is not what you're going for, it's important to find a photographer who represents who you are as a person and who you aspire to be. Sometimes, I'll get approached for a photoshoot by someone who wants the basic and simple looks for their photos. I can usually determine whether someone reaching out is wanting photos in my style by looking at their page and seeing the vibes are similar to what I capture. If you can't relate to the style that I present with the models I photograph, then you probably won't benefit from a shoot with me. Basically, don't shoot with an X type of photographer if you're not wanting to look like X.

Last, but certainly not least:

  • Don't pay that agency

If you know me personally, you know exactly who I'm talking about. If an agency is charging high fees for just joining, then it means one of two options:
  1. They are, in fact, a model development company. In which case, means they are bait advertising. If you're looking to pay a development company to help teach you skills, then great. But, if an agency is requiring you to pay for classes, then it is, in fact, not an agency.

  2. They don't book enough jobs for their models so they need to charge their models to continue running as a business.

That second one is usually what I see. When an agency needs to charge it's models, that means that their operating expenses are exceeding the revenue that they are receiving from booking models with actual jobs. If they don't have jobs, then there's no need to join that agency for the sake of being an "agency model". There are real agencies in Boise that will help you get jobs, but it's a matter of doing your research to determine if any model has benefitted from that agency. It's fine if you've fallen for this kind of scam before, but my goal is to warn as many people ahead of time to help them save their money. I know many great models who have fallen for these scams and did not give up on modeling after an agency disappointed them.

To sum it all up, know your worth as a model. Everyone is incredibly special and has a unique story to them. If you're confident about who you are and what you have the potential to create, you are in the right place.

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