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Biggest Mistakes Aspiring Models Make

Learn about the biggest mistakes aspiring models make from model scout Trudi Tapscott in this Howcast video.


Hi, I'm Trudi Tapscott and I'd love to explain to you some of the biggest mistakes models make in the beginning, when you're first learning your job. I think it's probably good things for parents to know too, because when you're 14, 15 years-old, the person that's looking out for you, your protector, is your parent, so anything you want to do or pursue, they're going to be there with you.

I really think that when you're in your hometown, the biggest mistake you make is that someone is going to come and discover you, and rescue you, and you're going to be a top model, and you're going to make a million dollars tomorrow, that is never going to happen. It is a job, it's a career, it's a business. You're selling something, you're using what you've been given to sell something to someone else. In order to do that, you have to be good in front of the camera, you have to be good with people. You have to be fearless when you're taking pictures, you have to be willing to do anything. If a photographer asks you to jump off of a rock into the sand, you have to do it and make it look good.

You have to be aware of your surroundings. Your job is to create a great picture, you're part of a team, you are not the team. So I think that models have kind of a misconception of what the job is, and how hard the job is. I think that most of the time they think that it's really, you're pretty, and you show up and they put some makeup on you, and you take pretty pictures of yourself. It's a really hard job, depending upon who the client is, and what you're shooting, and who the photographer is. There's a lot of personalities on a set. You're walking in, you're working with different people almost everyday, and until you have established yourself, they're all going to be strangers.

So it's not like you go to the same, comfortable environment everyday, it's not a regular job. You are sometimes living out of a suitcase, you might have just flown there. It's a lot of uncomfortable feelings. It's a lonely job. I don't think that people realize how lonely it could be.

But if you are, let's say you're the only girl on a set, there's a white wall behind you, there is nothing else. There's you and what you're wearing, and what you're trying to convey in a picture, and they say, "Okay, do something." They're not going to tell you always how to do every specific thing. Photographers are going to give you direction, but at some point you have to prove yourself. No one is going to pay you to do something if you don't do it well.

I think that learning that there is something to do, and that you have to go beyond your looks, and that your personality matters. Nowadays, we're in a time where you have to be able to actually speak. It's not a mystery, you can't hide behind what you do anymore. You have to be able to communicate with people. Brands want models to talk, so I think that a lot goes into it.

"I want to be a model. I want to work for Vogue Magazine. I want to work for Harper's Bazaar. I want to walk for Dior in Paris. I want to do the whole thing." If you want to do all of those things, then you have to be competitive in order to do it. There is nothing that special about you until you are in demand and you know how to model for everybody.

You're the one between your agents and yourself of actually doing the work. You're the one who creates that demand. That's what makes Amber Valletta, Amber Valletta, Linda Evangelista, Linda Evangelista, Stella Tennant, Stella Tennant, Carolyn Murphy, all those girls, they worked for it. It wasn't easy, and they became established because they figured out what their niche was, what they were good at, and they worked with people who wanted to work with them again. So it's not just I worked for Steven Meisel one time, it's that I work with Steven Meisel all the time. That's what makes a superstar, that's what makes a great model, and that's the part that takes just a lot of really hard work.

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