Modeling is more than just a hobby for me. It’s a passion and something that I continue to enjoy more and more with each passing year. However, the role that it plays in my life is probably a lot different from what many of you would think.

I often get asked if I model full-time. My answer is “yes and no.” Yes, because it is a career that I seriously pursue and run as a business (I file my own set of taxes each year that relate to my modeling and acting work and related expenses). No, because I also have other careers that I also seriously pursue (I’m also an artist and writer/journalist).

Modeling isn’t my only/main source of income because, realistically speaking, I can’t live off of what I make through that type of work. For younger models that still live at home with their parents and have no bills to pay, making money full time from modeling is more of a reality for you. But I’ve been out of my parents’ house for almost 4 years now–I’ve got rent, auto insurance, a car note and other living expenses that have to be paid every month and in such a situation, depending solely on modeling income just ain’t gonna cut it, lol. Plus, I’m a print model so that limits the amount of work I can get (no high paying runway shows or high fashion magazine spreads for me :-/).

What also makes relying on modeling income alone unrealistic for me is the fact that the work I book through my agent doesn’t pay right away. Many new models don’t realize that even the biggest paychecks for gigs won’t make it to your bank account for 30-90 days. That’s a long time to be without funds. But again, if you live at home and don’t have a bunch of financial obligations and responsibilities, this won’t be such a big concern for you.

I’m signed to one agency. I’ve toyed with the idea of having more than one but at this point, it would be stretching myself too thin, especially since most agencies don’t want you signing with the competition in the same market. Right now one agency is more than enough for me, especially since I also do my fair share of freelance modeling, where I find work on my own in addition to what my agent gets for me.

As far as how frequently I book work, it’s not a consistent thing. I would estimate that on average, I probably book a modeling gig once every other week or 2-3 times a month. Sometimes if the timing is right and the opportunities are there, I can book 2-3 gigs in a 1-2 week period but then it’ll dry up for like a month. That’s how it goes in the industry–and that’s regardless of what kind of modeling you specialize in. If anything, the number of castings I attend outnumbers the actual gigs booked. The more castings you attend, the higher your chances are of getting hired but no model gets every single casting or go-see (I’m referring to the average, working model, not those that are “it” models or supermodel status).

Modeling is a huge part of my life but I work realistically within my expectations as far as my height, physical look, market/location, etc. So far the results I’ve gotten work for me. My best piece of advice for models trying to gauge how successful they could be in the industry is to work within your comfort zone and set practical, realistic goals that work with your lifestyle and not against it.


Modeling 101 – A Model’s Diary
Dania Denise