Jessi Boseman talks about how to become a model
How did you get into modeling?
• My interest in modeling started while I was growing up as a little girl. I never missed an episode of Americas Next Top Model. My first photoshoot was from an event I heard on the radio. They were calling all models and actors. It was one of those events that probably most aspiring model has gone to, that never had the luxury of being casually scouted at an airport in NYC. From that event, I learned what to do and not what to do because I paid them. After that, I just started shooting with local photographers to build my portfolio. My senior year of high school I signed with an agency in Greensboro, NC. I have been with them ever since. They have landed most of my jobs. I have friends in the fashion industry that have helped me get outside, smaller jobs. It’s always good to continue to network, and use your connections. You never know what opportunities could arise from them!
What made you decide to be a model?
• I guess I kind of got ahead of myself and sort of answered this in the first question. I was fascinated by the TV Show ANTM and wanted to become one ever since. The girls made it look so fun and interesting. They could get as creative as they wanted in front of the camera. I love the whole aspect that the sky is the limit and there is an endless amount of things you can do between the photographer and the model. When I have a photoshoot and get to see the results, it’s very inspiring to keep going and working at it and to keep getting better and better.
What do you think people’s biggest misconception about modeling is?
• I hate to say that I feel like there is a lot of misconceptions about modeling. The biggest thing I think people don’t realize is that, not everyone can do it. There is a lot more to modeling than you think. It frustrates me when people say, “all you have to do is stand there and look pretty” and I’m like “No.” You have to know angles, you have to know how the camera views things and how your own body looks to the camera. You may not be able to pull off something you saw Candice Swanepoel do in a magazine. You have to understand lighting, different facial expression, what style modeling the photographer shoots, if you have a different style than they do then the whole shoot could be a waste of time because the two just don’t jive. You have to constantly come up with new and creative expressions and poses so your book (portfolio) isn’t the same. Every now and then you might have to get into leather jackets and tight black skinny jeans in the 100 degree weather and not sweat. You might even have to do a plank on rough concrete and cut up your elbows for a fitness shoot. (I have done both) However, I enjoy it. It’s all part of the job so it doesn’t bother me because I am passionate about it. I’m not complaining or saying it’s the hardest job, but it’s not as simple as “just standing there and looking pretty.”
What advice would you give someone who is interested in modeling?
• GO FOR IT. If your as passionate about it as I am, you will make it happen. Get pictures taken, get used to being in front of the camera, get a friend to just take pictures on your phone or a digital camera. Review them and study them and be as critical as possible. Figure out what made the pictures bad and what made the pictures good. Start working on a portfolio and send in photos to some agencies. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t hear back or they don’t sign you. You might just not be what they’re looking for at the moment and try other agencies. If you hear back from them, make sure you continue to follow up. There is always so much going on in this industry, it’s easy to get caught up in other things and get sidetracked. Just don’t stop. Nothing worth having comes easy.
How did you get signed with an agency? What happens after you are signed and how does being signed to an agency help you get work?
• My senior year of high school, I sent in a model submission to the agencies online website. A few days later I got a response saying they wanted to meet me in person. I WAS SO EXCITED. I had been applying and applying to agencies for years and finally got one! So of course I went as soon as I could fit it in my schedule. I signed with them that day I went and walked away with my contract happy as ever. I got my first job with them a few weeks later for a local department store. With a agency it’s a lot easier because they find the jobs for you and you submit if your available and want to do it. It’s really as simple as that. They will send you an email for a casting and you submit, and the agency will submit you to the client for the client to choose from the submissions. It’s a good way to go if you don’t have time to find jobs yourself and don’t have connections. Also, a lot of big companies only work with models with agencies so they know that there is a guaranteed model. A lot of girls that freelance don’t book as many jobs because clients are concerned about the “flake factor” which is just when model bails out at the last minute. Which actually happens quite often, unfortunately. So in my opinion, it’s best to go with an agency.
What should models looks for when finding a photographer to work with?
• The easiest way is to look at the work that they produce. If it looks agency standard, professional, and the quality and composition is good, typically you don’t have anything to worry about. You have to be careful in this industry because there are so many people that claim they are professional and say they have shot with a lot of companies. Also look to see if they are agency approved, which means that an agency has approved them to shoot for their models. So you know they are legitimate and the quality is good. Also, make sure you like their style. If your style is more preppy and fresh and fun, don’t find a photographer that shoots dark, edgy and drastic concepts. It goes back to my comment about wasted shoots because the two won’t jive. I’m all about shooting different concepts, but go into the shoot with the expectation you’re shooting different than what you’re used to.
What are your goals and where do you see yourself going with modeling?
• I have only recently began to take myself seriously as a model and have wanted to focus on it more. I have always been passionate about it, but I never saw it as a career for me. I felt like it was a joke because of all of the people who always say it’s not work, and it’s easy, and all you do is smile and look pretty. I’ve realized it hasn’t stopped me from doing it and if I enjoy it so much, why do I care what people say about it. It’s my life and it’s too short to not do something you love! So currently I’m in the process of signing with a few agencies in Florida and moving down for the busy season. I still have a few photographers that are on my list to shoot with and I have a few fun concepts I want to add to my book. As of now, that’s really all I have on my goal list. I’m kind of open to anything right now and I’m just seeing where God takes me with modeling. I would like to get to the point where I’m living over seas modeling for months at a time but that would probably be a while down the road. But I’m hoping, you never know!
You can see more of Jessi on Instagram @jessiboseman