The industry is based on first impressions... in that impression you must show your ability to portray the experience and versatility of a professional. A striking portfolio is essential for both models and performers. Your ability to leave them with nothing but a great image is only as great as your photographer.

My advice to those who are looking to break into the industry is this: There's no sure way, but to try. And remember, anything worth having is worth working for (and believe me- models do work their butts off). There are a few ways to pursue a career in modeling, so I thought I'd break them down for you.

  1. Know someone who knows someone.

  2. Be discovered while eating a cheeseburger.

  3. Get a gig in an ad or some other widespread media.

  4. Start a portfolio and begin your rounds at agencies and interviews.

Now, no matter what path works for you, there is one sure thing: To continue being booked, you will need headshots, a portfolio and/or Comp Card (also known as a ZED card).


Nice clean books in a variety of standard sizes. 8 1/2 x 11 and 9 x 12 sizes are common (allowing enough space for tear sheets). This is used to show a variety of looks or styles, expressions and your BEST work.


8x10 prints are most common and should have your name and phone number on it. It is key to be easily accessible for a job offer.


Typically a 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 double-sided post card. Showing a variety of looks, your contact info and stats (hair, eye, height, shoe size, dress size, bust, waist & hips for women, and occasionally special skills and specific markings). These are your business cards, keep them on you. You never know when you'll end up networking with a great contact.


My favorite combination when hiring talent for a photo shoot is to see a larger portfolio with a comp card to leave behind. The portfolio should be a perfect representation of how you work in front of the camera, and show as much versatility as possible. The comp card should be a mini reminder of your portfolio, meant to be left behind. (I love the Comp Cards- they stay in my talent file and I can always present some options to my commercial and editorial clients right off the bat.)


A professional in any field needs to read, watch, and learn about the latest industry standards. This includes models and actors. You should be up to date on the industry of your choice whether it be fashion, commercial, editorial or runway. And I cannot stress enough on the importance of doing your mirror work. What is this you ask... spending time in front of the mirror, posing and testing your expressions. For ideas, look at magazines. Try some different poses to see what works. Pay close attention to your legs, feet , arms and hands... what looks good, what looks awkward (and a word to the wise, if it feels uncomfortable, it probably looks good!).

Try to do this 5-10 minutes at least once a day. Take note of how your face feels when making a certain expression. When in front of the camera, it'll be up to you to know and your photographer to help direct. There typically aren't mirrors in front of you while shooting.

More tips coming soon....