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Model Behavior With Sharon Quinn: Part 8 - Making it Work on the Local Level, 9/01/2008
sharon quinn
Meet Sharon Quinn

Part 8: Making it Work on the Local Level

The majority of my columns to date have been devoted to talking about what the business is about in the "upper echelon" of the plus modeling industry (i.e. the "signed" model) but few people ever talk about how to make your career work from a local/regional standpoint or "The Underground" as I like to call it.  Let's face it, the vast majority of aspiring models won't make it beyond the local level and that can be because of a number of factors.  The reality of the business is that maybe 25% of aspiring models will reach that brass ring that's known as "the signed model".  The other 75% will either quit or remain working at a local level.

I signed a contract with Wilhelmina Models in 1995 but before that I had been honing my skills on the local level since the 80's.  I worked in church fashion shows, nightclub fashion shows, model competitions; I joined modeling groups and entered beauty pageants as well.  These experiences definitely helped prepare me for "life in the big leagues" (lol) as well as making it possible for me to travel all over the US, the Caribbean and even Europe!  I took the years of working locally as an opportunity to "fill up my bag of tricks" until the right time came along for me to use them.

Many of you are not aware of the differences between working as a signed agency model and an unsigned model working locally.  The signed model has the resources and backing of her agency behind her while the unsigned model is a sole proprietor.  Trust me when I tell you this; you CAN thrive as a model working locally but the rules of the game are different and that's what I want to talk about this month.

Basic Requirements – Ahhh...now THIS is the beauty of working locally!  Most if not all of the strict standards (height, weight, etc) imposed on agency models do NOT apply here.  This is where the petite plus gal, the size 20 or larger model, the 6 foot 3 model and the sister with that big bold blonde Afro or those beautiful red locks can thrive.  When doing local shows the emphasis is generally on putting bodies in the seats (i.e. filling up the room) rather than having everyone looking the same or be a certain size.  Because of the emphasis on getting the venue sold out, a new producer will more than likely get as many models as he or she can because they have to find a way to pay for the show they are trying to produce.  The upside of this is that an aspiring model with little or no experience can use this as an opportunity to learn some new skills but unfortunately, you will probably have to sell some tickets.
 
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