The process of becoming a model in a major market is usually an evolving one. Every single story is different. Every single person's experience is different, so I can speak of what generally happens. Those markets are constantly scouting, constantly looking, constantly every season they like to have new people they introduce to designers and casting directors for the fashion season. That's usually the best time for fashion models to get started.
However, the book of pictures that you did in your hometown, or the experience that you had with photographers of learning how to take a great picture, of understanding your angles, knowing what is right to do, learning to get comfortable with yourself in front of the camera, those pictures, and that experience is super important. Even though those agencies in a big market are probably never going to use your pictures that you did, and you are going to evolve. You are going to grow. Your book is constantly going to change because you're constantly changing and you're going to get better.
You need to get in touch with those people, so two things will happen. They will see pictures of you either through a scout or an agent in the country, or somebody will introduce you. They'll see pictures. They'll be interested. They'll want to see digitals. They want to make sure that you actually look the way that you look. They will probably want to see you in person. They want to have an opportunity to get to meet you, and see if you're actually ready.
Those are the kind of terms that are a bit confusing, because nobody really knows what ready is until you actually know what ready is. It's a little bit confusing at times, but once you have an agent in those markets, they invite you. They help you with the investment. You're starting your own business. You're not an employee of a modeling agency. You are a freelance person. They are your agent. They represent you, but you are your own little business.
I always think it's great to have your own little bit of pocket money. I think it's important for teenagers to learn about how they make money and what they spend their money on. Anybody can send pictures to anybody, and 99.9% of those people get turned down.
There's a percentage of those people that get turned down because they didn't send the right pictures, or the right material, and that's where somebody who actually has the experience can tell you, "Well, if you would have sent that picture to me, I would have said no too, I wouldn't have seen the potential. But now that I'm seeing you in person, I see all the possibilities of what you could be." That's where you can make mistakes because it's very difficult to see yourself objectively, I guess.
There's a lot of money at stake. For an agent in New York to have you come, there's only so many models that they can actually develop in a given season, and there's only so many models that the business can absorb in a given season. It's kind of a numbers game in a sense. You invite a few, and one will make it, and that's because they will respond in the environment well.
New York is a fantastic city, but it is a lot different than Enid, Oklahoma. You're experience is going to be different. Where you come from gives you all the grounding that you need in order to establish yourself, and feel comfortable in a city like New York. You kind of hit the ground running. Agents in New York are expecting a lot of you. There's a lot at stake.
Don't focus on just getting an agent. That's the wrong focus. The focus is to get an agent who's going to help you actually get a job, where you're going to get paid, and you're going to make money. That's the beginning of being on your way in this business, and getting a legitimate agent who's good, who has a good track record, and who believes in you, and who's going to help you. That's the first step.