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How to Become a Model: My Experience

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

Scoliosis, lipoma, scars, too skinny, too short, big nose, big head, uneven eyes, voice, accent, my stand, my walk, my smile, age and this daunting list just doesn't end!


Despite these insecurities, how did I become a professional model? Persistent, having a bit of thick skin, and just being a wee bit vain.



I will not write much about the given, learning to pose and practice having a resting bitch face. Nor pretend to be really successful, simply because I'm not! Instead, I will focus more on my journey to becoming one.



I am writing this based on my experience, which is potentially unique only to me. If you have gone through similar experiences, PLEASE REACH OUT TO ME! Don't take all my words; Everyone's journey is different.


 

Seek What Ye Shall Find


My first introductory blog post mentioned that opportunities don't just come to you. Seek what ye shall find. You must lay the groundwork for yourself, which will always be ongoing. In fact, I apply this mindset to most things that I do.


My first modelling experience was in art college when I was about 19 in Singapore. I was randomly called to my campus showroom and modelled for my lecturer's collection. Since then, I took a little more notice when I was occasionally told to try modelling. Most times, I just brushed it away. That's because I thought of it as a passing remark. After all, I don't meet the model "sizing" criteria.


First Modelling Experience - Age 19
First Modelling Experience - Age 19

Instead, I tried to be a fashion & lifestyle influencer by mimicking others. I honestly didn't feel like myself, I wasn't authentic, but it got me started. Through that, I've built a portfolio and learnt to be comfortable in front of the camera to stand apart, which has given me a few freelance jobs. So, that's my very initial groundwork, my Instagram profile.


When I left Phnom Penh and moved to Belfast, I was spotted and signed by a modelling agency locally. It boosted my confidence, but it was a slow start. After 2 years of being stuck in the whole covid situation, I decided to pluck up my courage and look for other agencies in London to represent me.


HURRAY! Guess what? I did it! I managed to get into a reputable global agency, Zebedee! However, it is only the beginning. I have now entered a highly competitive world of modelling, fashion & commercial.


Occasionally, I will contact or be contacted by photographers, stylists or other models to collaborate. These collaborations are highly beneficial in building your portfolio and working relationships. Since then, I've garnered firm groundwork through these projects and appeared in 3 magazines, including a cover issue.



Despite all these, there is a constant reminder that there's still much more to be done!


 

Insecurities


Insecurities stick no matter what. However, you can change your perspective and narratives.


Physically, I am an average 5"9 male with a lanky frame, far from being a 6"2 catwalk model with a sculpted body. On top of that, my biggest insecurities are scoliosis, lipoma and scars.


Psychologically, I am too conscious of my flaws, worrying that I'm not proportionally right with bad skin. Strangely, I was told during shoots that I've got good proportions and skin.


Because of my insecurities, I tend to pick on my lipoma lumps, causing scars on my body. In fact, if I don't squeeze them, the bumps are so small that it's insignificant to most people.



Recently, I have constantly been telling myself that times are changing in the modelling industry, and brands want more diversity. However, the unfortunate fact is that most fashion models still need to be in the industry standard size.


Embracing insecurities is a journey; they make us unique. It is daunting to publicly acknowledge your flaws, especially during a shoot. Oh yeah, you'll occasionally be asked! Sometimes, it's up to you to normalise it. Unless, of course, the party you're with needs more education.


The good news is consumers are savvier these days. Brands are also slowly catching up by working with "real", authentic people representing them with different shapes, sizes, colours and disabilities. Embrace & love!


There is an array of categories of modelling work for everyone. Even the most perfect person will have some insecurities, big or small. Once you try to see beyond that, it'll be more manageable mentally.


 

Work Harmoniously


Despite being an introvert, I have always enjoyed working with people and giving suggestions. However, there is a fine line between being annoyingly pushy and making helpful recommendations.


Photographers, stylists, creative directors or anyone you're working with have a vision. Beauty is subjective; it is in the eye of its beholder. Of course, some essential posing skills will help, but I would be more relaxed about my best angle or how I would look. They will come as 2nd nature when you're comfortable in front of the camera. Instead, I focus on studying the brief, understanding it, observing the set and taking directions well.


Working harmoniously with everyone on set to bring ideas to life is IMPORTANT! Well, at least for me.


Do your best and be professional for each job.


 

Be Hungry


Every job, big or small, is an opportunity, especially for a struggling part-time model like myself. Why not just have fun!?



A job, test or collaboration is a good networking session. One thing might lead to another. If the same photographer or team is commissioned for a job in the future, they might consider you to be their model.


Of course, please use your judgement and avoid dodgy people to work with.


 

Find Your Most Authentic Self


It is exhausting after years of trying to mimic other people's content. You are your own brand. Establish that.


How I was 3, 4, 5 or 10 years ago is SO different from now. We cannot always stay the same, and my outlook on life is constantly shifting. Have an open mind, have fun and be creative. Your personality, style, and narrative will mature and develop over time.


Through castings, I realised that brands also look at your personality and how you present yourself. In short, an interview. It's contradictory to say, take it seriously, but not too much? Just be yourself!


 

Keeping it up


Practice, practice, practice & upskill, upskill, upskill.


I had a conversation recently on a job with another model, saying that I feel like I have 3 jobs. In actual fact, I do have 3 jobs or more!


  • X1 Full-time job

  • X1 Modelling job (0 calls some months or multiple in a month)

  • X1 Main Social Profile (Excluding TikTok, Facebook & more)

  • X1 Blog

(I wonder how I find time to keep my house uber-clean and even enjoy full-fat meals multiple times a week)


Now, this almost sounds irrelevant to this post, but why?


Having a solid set of complementary skills set is vital!


I am a full-time Marketing Executive. I yearn to be multi-faceted by keeping up with new trends and learning new skills such as lighting, photography, videography, social media marketing, personal branding, writing, and many other minor aspects that work well together!


I cherry-picked these skills to learn and develop because these are also important for me when I'm modelling. I don't rest! Keep trying out new things to find out what might be complementary and beneficial for you.



Being a model is not only about taking directions or being comfortable in front of the camera and posing. That's just the bigger picture that you see on the surface.



Be prepared to receive numerous rejections, but stay positive. To this day, I get rejections more than anything else. However, I am grateful every day for my achievements. I appreciate my experience and the opportunities to get to know and work with different people and sets.


Keep trying and keep working towards your goal. That way, something great will come in time.


 

Self Care


Body, mind and soul. The secret recipe to a healthier, better self. I love keeping my daily routine simple, affordable and effective. These include my daily physical activities, skincare & beauty regime.


There is nothing wrong with being a vain man. It takes courage to feel good inside and out to help build confidence when I can present myself better. In fact, I think it creates a more positive effect around you.


Despite me often joking about enjoying my full-fat meals and sugary snack, which I really do, by the way. I'm also conscious of my well-being by keeping active with a balanced diet. You gotta treat yourself a little, don't you?



Keeping active

My daily/ weekly activities are so simple that I've stopped going to the gym for a while. I do them when I need to throughout the day, as long as I've done them.


  • Cycle to work daily.

  • 100 push-ups and 50 burpees daily

  • Regular walks

  • Crazy house chores routine


Sound simple? Yeah, I'd like to think so, and they are SO effective!



Skin & Beauty Regime

Skincare and beauty routines have been relatively new to me for the last 4-5 years. For skincare, I follow only Cassandra Bankson & James Welsh & for beauty Wayne Goss. These content creators offer you great educational advice!


During the day, my main skincare product is my 50SPF from Gruum, and I keep myself hydrated by drinking lots of water. In the evening, I clean my face and follow the skincare guide from Inkey List. No major secrets.




With good skincare comes a good beauty regime. I used to be quite embarrassed about putting on makeup. But we live in a modern world now, and I like to present myself with a more put-together appearance; it doesn't need to be overly dramatic. Instead, I go for the no makeup, makeup look. It helps by putting on a light layer of RCMA foundation to even skin tone with some mascara and eyeliner for a touch of oomph.



Recently, a photographer I worked with explained it perfectly, saying she likes the "I don't care, but I also care" look. Yes, she described me well, and I FEEL THAT because once I'm done preparing for the day, I'm done, no touch-ups whatsoever. I don't care.



So yes, if you add all these up, you need to be persistent, have a thick skin, and just be a wee bit vain to become a model. 🤣


 

If you've found my story and gotten this far, THANK YOU! 🙏🏽 🙏🏽 🙏🏽


I wish you all the best in your journey to becoming a great model!


This is my story on how to become a model. What's yours?




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6 Comments


Tuna Demirciefe
Tuna Demirciefe
Nov 20, 2022

Thank you ! 🥰

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Eli Yeung
Eli Yeung
Nov 21, 2022
Replying to

I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it!

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Eli Yeung
Eli Yeung
Nov 21, 2022
Replying to

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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Love it 😍

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Eli Yeung
Eli Yeung
Nov 21, 2022
Replying to

Thank you 😊

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