The Deterioration of Modeling

November 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

If you judge my articles by their title you have probably already formed some strong opinions about this one. Models are becoming more diverse in size, shape, age, and everything in between. The plus-size market is stronger than ever and models with Downs Syndrome are walking runways in New York Fashion Week.  There are models with prosthetic limbs, scars, tattoos… Girls are often sought after for the things that make them unique and unlike anyone else. Modeling, you may argue, is stronger than ever.  This is true in some ways, but quite the opposite in others. Allow me to make my case on why modeling may be on the way out.

Model: Ashley BeLoat
Photographer: Andres Casallas Photography
Production Assistant: Michael Fried
MUA and Jewelry Designer: Tabitha Hayden
Hairstyling: Gretchen Gramlich

 

The “model” type used to be quite the stereotype.  Anyone with this job description was usually tall, young, slim, blonde, tan, and sporting a perfect smile of straight, white teeth.  A model rarely deviated from this set of characteristics as this was the image that saturated television and magazines. As stated before we are proud to see modeling evolving into a vast variety of looks. This communicates the truly marvelous reality that there is more than one type of beauty.  Every skin color, body type, eye color, age, etc. can all be appreciated for its uniqueness. Again, this is marvelous as more women and men are able to model… However, this means there is less steady work for models as there are less requirements to fit the job. Companies will continue to present diversity in their ads, and therefor rely less on an individual model’s specific look for their brand.  This is not to say it’s impossible to make your living as a model, but it certainly can make it more difficult to find jobs for your own look.

Whenever a model is blessed enough to be cast, there is often reluctance to pay him/her or a hefty portion of their compensation is directed toward their booker/agency.  When a model is unrepresented, they are often cheated out of rightful – or any – wages.  Not to mention much finances are usually invested in a credible, high-quality portfolio.  If a model does not do bikini, lingerie, nude, or implied nude work they will frequently encounter teams that are unwilling to pay for their time and talent.          I frequently tell models that while it’s possible to make decent money modeling, it is highly unlikely unless one of three things… Either you must be at least 5’8” and signed with a prestigious agency who regularly books you with the best of clients, you must already have an established name that people will seek to have representing their brand, or you must regularly do bikini/nude/lingerie work (as this work usually pays well).  The models that pursue high fashion, bridal, portraiture, and lifestyle work are often left underpaid – if paid at all. This can be discouraging for the not famous, 5’7”, modest model like myself. Again, it isn’t impossible…but I always tell younger girls with big dreams to at least plan another source of income.  The financial success can be few and far between.

Ashley BeLoat
Manhattan, NY
18 October 2018

Model: Ashley BeLoat
Photographer: Jeff Kravitz
Designer: Yong Lin

My final point is the overwhelming trend becoming adopted by more and more clothing brands… Have you noticed the rising trend on Instagram?  A brand will proudly state; “Tag #____ to be featured on our page!”  Consumers go to buy their clothing, have a friend snap a picture, and their photo can end up on the brand’s Instagram wall and website. It’s brilliant – it raises sales and provides free advertising.  It shows the wearability of the brand as real people are plastered all over their media in their clothing/accessories/makeup and promotes diversity in beauty.  However, there is one minute flaw in this marketing plan…  Businesses are relying on actual models less and less. There are fewer opportunities for the women and men who make this their career, and more opportunity for the average person.

What do you think this says about the future of modeling?  Do you feel this is changing modeling from a profession to a passion and hobby?  Let us know in the comments below what you think!

Until next time,
Ashley BeLoat
Print | Runway | Short Film | Live TV | Voiceover

Model: Ashley BeLoat
Photographer: Dan Mahar
Hairstyling: Gretchen Gramlich
MUA: Briana de Bengson
Designer: Yong Lin

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When You Don’t Book the Job

October 18, 2018 | 2 Comments

Throughout my time creating this blog, I’ve spent a lot of time writing about all the things models do. Today I’ll write about the things models want to do…but don’t. The runways they wish to walk, the garments they want to wear, and the brands they want to represent. Today I’m going to write about the callback that never comes.  Today is about the times a model doesn’t get the job.

Model: Ashley BeLoat – @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Dan Mahar – www.danmaharphotography.com@dan_mahar

The inspiration for this topic comes from a recent personal experience. I was contacted by a designer in London who had come across my work. She asked for my size and availability the date of her show, asking me to be the showcase model for her collection.

For a US citizen wanting to expand my work into the European market this was already a dream come true, but it didn’t stop there… The designer asked me to walk a live wolf down the runway. A wolf that had been published in Vogue.

I was in shock.

After an hour-long video meeting to make sure she was for real – and she was – I quickly applied for my passport, fronted the rush processing fee, and cleared my work schedule for the entire weekend of the fashion show.  I allowed for one or two extra days of shooting should the designer need me. A few days later the designer informed me her accountant did not agree to pay for my flight as promised. I was told she would try again and get back with me “by the end of the week.” The week left…another came…and my email remained unanswered.

I had lost a job I had never even applied for. The biggest, most monumental job of my life. What I had previously thought was impossible, became just within my reach…then taken away.  I was crushed.


Model: Ashley BeLoat – @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Dan Mahar – www.danmaharphotography.com@dan_mahar

Rejection is a major part of the modeling industry. There are countless jobs available, and only so many potential candidates for each one. Of those candidates, only one will receive each job.  That is one model who lands the position among all the others who don’t. Statistically speaking, models will receive more rejections than callbacks.

To be successful, models must realize that “no” is a word they are going to hear. It’s a word that will close some doors and reduce their possibilities. It’s a word that might hurt…but has to be heard. However, it’s also a word that should elicit excitement. Why? Each and every rejection is one “no” closer to the next “yes.”

You won’t always land the job. But if you continue to work hard, you’ll be the perfect muse for someone else.  Continue to model in a way only you can. Stay true to yourself and be irreplaceably authentic instead of a replaceable imitation.  Develop your own unique style and continue to share it with the world until you earn your next callback…  Then begin the cycle all over again.

Ashley BeLoat
Print | Runway | Short Film | Live TV
Instagram: @ashleybeloat
Business Page: www.facebook.com/Ashley.BeLoat.images/

Model: Ashley BeLoat – @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Dan Mahar – www.danmaharphotography.com – @dan_mahar
Peacock Party Dress: Xiaolin Fashion Designer – @xiaolindesign
Hairstylist: Gretchen Gramlich – @gdoeshair
Makeup Artist: Briana de Bengsen – @beautybybriana

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Modeling – A Full-Time Career?

September 13, 2018 | 5 Comments

How many hours per week would you guess I work as a model? Twenty-five? Thirty? Maybe forty-five? I’ve mentioned this before, but many of you still may not know that I’m also a full-time registered nurse. How does that affect your estimate? Would you guess I spend more along the lines of ten or fifteen hours per week on my modeling career? Well the answer… *drumroll* … I unfortunately can’t tell you. It isn’t a secret (if it is, well it’s a secret even to me), it’s simply that the answer is far too complicated to measure in hours. Why is this? A model’s job is to simply show up, pose/walk, get a good picture, and leave…right? Very wrong. Today we’ll discuss why a model never truly goes off the clock.

 

  • Appearance Are Everything –

This applies in the literal and theoretical sense. Yes, our appearance is our job to a certain extent. This means every bite we eat, every workout (or lack thereof), every skin care ritual, and more is part of “our work.” This isn’t to say we don’t or shouldn’t enjoy a no makeup day or a cheat meal now and then, but we are accountable for keeping ourselves up at all times so we are ready when the camera starts clicking.

But appearance matters in more ways than one… What we are and how we look matters, but also who we are.  More importantly, who other people perceive we are. The message we transmit to everyone around us is every bit – if not more so – crucial to our work. Brands, agencies, and photographers are all watching to see who we are, what we stand for, and how we carry ourselves. In our line of work, the interviews never end. The judging never stops. Every model needs to be mindful of how they live. There will come a time when the camera clicks and we aren’t looking.  We have to ensure that if it does, it captures something the CEO of GUESS, or Givenchy would want representing their brand.

Model: Ashley BeLoat
Photographer: Ben Zheng
HMUA: Lauren DeCosimo
Earrings by Happily Ever Borrowed
Black Raven Gown by Xiaolin Fashion Designer
Red Stingray Leather Purse by Giovanna Barrios
Photoshoot hosted by Expressions Glamour Club

  • Travel –

In a world where the goal is to never take the same picture twice, it shouldn’t be surprising to know that models travel very frequently. During my career I have shot in New York City, Philadelphia, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the Cayman Islands, on the decks of cruise ships, private islands, and around the state of Florida. Drive time alone adds up very quickly!  It still baffles me how little time I spend at home and how much time is spent living out of suitcases.

Not only do the trips in themselves take our time but preparing for them as well. We all have lives outside of work we must see to before leaving.  Travel arrangements must be meticulously made. Wardrobes must be planned.  Extra bookings must be secured. Budgets must be carefully laid out to ensure we return with a profit and all expenses are expected. Is your head spinning yet? Mine is.

 

  • Planning Resources –

As models, we often supply our own wardrobe. Designer garments often require very specific undergarments. Schedules need to be thoroughly thought out to ensure punctuality at call time. Ensuring all of these details are in order adds even more to the plate.  Sometimes it takes entire days to fully prepare these things.  When I travel to New York, I often bring designer garments from my collaborators in Florida. But it isn’t that simple! They are located all about the state.  I will often spend entire days driving across the state picking up/dropping off garments and accessories. Am I happy to do it? Yes.  Is it time-consuming? Absolutely.

Model: Ashley BeLoat
Photographer: Christian Mathe – Picky Pix Photo
HMUA: Lauren DeCosimo
Wedding Gown by Yong Lin Bridal
Photoshoot hosted by Expressions Glamour Club

 

  • Keeping Your Presence Present –

Lastly – and certainly far from least – the never-ending messages, emails, and phone calls!  I will never forget my current record of 96 messages/notifications in one day.  This is Facebook alone!  Not including texts, phone calls, or emails!  The wise model looks into every opportunity before making a decision, and is often expected to stay in close contact for upcoming jobs during the planning phase.  Prompt, professional responses are crucial to booking work. You never want to give the impression that you don’t care about or appreciate an opportunity.

The second part to this section of work is social media.  A model needs to keep his/her name in the photography community.  We need to prove that we are constantly out there booking work and representing brands. We need to work with new people, in new places, for new markets… The goal is to show that we are desirable and capable of being in high demand. Just like any other line of work, modeling is a profession.  A model needs to prove they are active and working.


Model: Ashley BeLoat
Photographer: Ben Zheng
HMUA: Lauren DeCosimo
Butterfly Gown by Xiaolin Fashion Designer
White Ostrich Clutch by Giovanna Barrios
Photoshoot hosted by Expressions Glamour Club

What do you think of this breakdown?  Do you agree that modeling is a job you can never clock out from?  Do you feel this is an accurate representation of how we spend our time?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

 

Until next time,

~Ashley BeLoat

Print | Runway | Short Film | Live TV

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Building A Strong Portfolio

July 12, 2018 | 1 Comment

Over the past few weeks I’ve received many messages asking me how to start out in the fashion industry.  This question has been asked of me by models, makeup artists, photographers, and designers.  Though the answer varies slightly based on the beginning professional’s area of expertise, one piece of the puzzle remains the same – portfolio.  A portfolio is an artist’s resume.  An oversized comp or business card.  The job application you want potential clients to be unable to turn down.

I will be addressing this topic from the perspective of a model, but the concept remains the same for professionals of other crafts. The point of building a strong portfolio is building experience and producing proof of this experience – all while striving to be more competitive than your existing competition. Just as you cannot expect to secure a job without a competitive resume, a model will not advance without an ever-improving portfolio.  So where to begin?  How do you build your portfolio so you can represent more brands and walk more runways?  Well, I will be happy to share with you how I built mine.

Model: Ashley BeLoat
Photographer & Makeup Artist: Ina Pandora – www.inapandora.com

 

When you are setting out to make your mark in the modeling industry, remember that you are in essence applying for a job.  There is one little catch though – the interviews never end.  You will constantly be attending casting calls and consistently having to prove yourself the best one for the job.  If you haven’t discovered already, you will soon learn that the competition in the fashion world is quite fierce thanks to major influencers like Tyra Banks and Coco Rocha.  The standards are climbing while applicants continue to diversify.  Now models have a wider population of individuals more talented than ever they must consistently beat out to secure the next booking.  Our resumes have to be strong, our applications attention-grabbing, and our impressions lasting.

As the saying goes, opportunity does knock… But often we must knock on many doors searching for it.  This is precisely what I did in my quest to build a portfolio.  The idea of waiting for shoots to fall into my lap was unappealing and quite honestly unrealistic.  I realized it was my responsibility to create my own go-sees and casting calls.  I began messaging photographers in my area offering my services “TFP” (time for print).  This term became very well known to me as it meant I was offering my services as a model in exchange for the pictures produced from the shoot.  Many photographers declined my offer due to my lack of experience.  Others tried to take advantage of me and gave me an ultimatum of posing nude or in overtly sexual ways.  Naturally I declined this oh-so-generous offer for work, realizing this was not the type of work I would want to show to my future children or brands such as GUESS, Covergirl, or Forever 21.  Thankfully, every once in a blue moon I would connect with a photographer that was happy to have an inexperienced girl in front of her camera pretending to be a high school senior doing a portrait session.

Model: Ashley BeLoat

Photographer: Dan Mahar – www.danmaharphotography.com

Designer: Yong Lin Bridal – www.yonglilnbridal.com  

Makeup Artist: Val Mancini – www.valmancini.com

Published in Gilded Magazine – www.gildedmagazine.com

 

As an unrepresented model I was my own manager, agent, makeup artist, stylist, and everything in-between.  I took the responsibility upon myself to make my shoots happen.  Every day I asked myself how I was going to take another picture that was better than the few I already had.  I worked to make my inexperienced self more competitive by watching posing videos, practicing makeup techniques, and supplying all wardrobe/props for the bookings I was lucky enough to obtain.  The more experience I got, the higher the quality became of the people willing to work with me.

I continued to consistently display my work on social medias like Facebook and Instagram.  Keeping your name and face present in the highly-saturated fashion community is the only way to have a chance at continuing this adventure alone.  One important key about posting photos is to give credits to everyone involved.  Tag your photographers, makeup artists, and designers (if you have them).  Sing the praises of your collaborators.  This will make you even more attractive to future prospective collaborators.  Think about it…nobody wants to work with someone who will share the work without giving credits to all the hard labor everyone behind the scenes has poured into it.  Remain thankful, humble, professional, and with an attitude that makes people talk about you in a good way.

      

Model: Ashley BeLoat

Photographer: Carlie Chew Stephens – www.carliechewphotography.com

Makeup Artist: Nicki Marie Makeup Artistry

 

Another thing to note with self-marketing is that consistency is key.  I still strive to post at least one thing every day from a shoot or show.  Sometimes this means getting up at 4 a.m., other times it means sitting down after a long drive ignoring my dinner…even if I last ate at 6 a.m. and it is 8 p.m. at night.  Eventually I no longer had to reach out to obtain bookings — photographers and brands began coming to me.  As my services became the ones being requested, I gradually became the one getting paid for my work.  I still do TFP when the resulting work is worth it, however I end up in a position where I must often decline requests to work for free.

The images you have seen throughout this article may look familiar.  I have included many of them before and decided to include them once again for the fact they are some of the first I submit in casting calls.  My submission photos are tailored to the part being cast, and these are some of the favorites I often gravitate to.  A strong submission requires a variety of headshots, full-body, and diverse posing complete with clear visibility of the face. A portfolio that checks these boxes will surely help you stand out amongst the ever-thickening crowd.

Did this clear some of the mystery behind getting started?  What other questions do you have from a beginner’s perspective in the industry?  Let us know all your thoughts in the comments below!

 

Until next time,

Ashley BeLoat

Print | Runway | Live TV | Short Film | Voiceover

Instagram: @ashleybeloat

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Ashley.BeLoat.images/notifications/

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When to Take A Step Back

April 13, 2018 | 2 Comments

If you follow my bi-weekly posts on a regular basis, you have probably noticed this post has been late.  For this I apologize, but hope the internet will understand as I have needed to do something I have not done in quite some time… Take a step back.

 

A time out.  A breather.  A good week to recollect my thoughts and energy.  A few days to tend to other things that required my attention.

 

It isn’t just artists who are faced with this occasional dilemma.  Our society is one that praises workaholic tendencies.  Relationships die, health suffers, and families fall apart because of the one thing we simultaneously love and hate – work.  Work is our security.  For some of us, it’s our value and self-worth. For the lucky ones, work and life passions are one and the same.

 

Hard work is a wonderful way to live.  Where hard work exists, success, achievement, and new adventures often follow. But when does dedication and motivation cross the line?  When is it time to slow down?   We are often the last ones to see when work has begun to take a toll on our lives.  Today I challenge everyone to carefully evaluate for these warning signs that you may need to take some time to reinvest in yourself.

Photographer: Bjoern Hoppen – www.bjoernhoppen.com – IG: @bjoern_hoppen

Model: Ashley BeLoat- IG: @ashleybeloat

Makeup Artistry: Briana de Bengson – www.beautybybriana.com – IG: @beautybybrianamua

 

  • Your relationships are not the same –

Familial, romantic, platonic – any and all relationships count. Maybe you have not been spending the time with your family that you once did.  Maybe you haven’t had room in your busy calendar for date nights.  Maybe you don’t meet your best friend for Saturday brunch like you used to.   You may be left feeling distant from these once significant people in your life.  It may suddenly hit you that the people who once stood by your side are back where you left them as you journeyed on to something more.

 

  • What was once exciting is now disinteresting –

 

Have you buried yourself in projects, pursuits, and goals that you were very determined to reach?  Did these things once promise you fulfillment and success?  Maybe to a degree they have delivered, but over time they’ve left you feeling empty and alone.  The tasks that once gave you a thrill now require immense focus to complete.  The everyday is no longer stimulating enough for you, and you feel as if you’re sleepwalking throughout the day.

 

  • Your health begins to suffer –

 

You discover new aches and pains you did not notice before.  Your body changes in ways you never would have thought. You can’t sleep through the night no matter how many sheep you count.  Your doctor delivers news you didn’t see coming.   As commonsense as these warning signs are, they are often the last we notice – or give validity to.

We often handle physical symptoms with the “bite the bullet and work harder” mentality.  No one wants to slow down and become less productive.  Our society is based upon mass-production – yielding maximum effort to achieve maximum results.  We will often attribute these physical changes to the fact that we have just been “working hard,” and find such a thing to be of little worry.  That is…until we are faced with a change or test result that is too startling to ignore. But at that point, it is often too late.

Photographer: Bjoern Hoppen – www.bjoernhoppen.com – IG: @bjoern_hoppen

Model: Ashley BeLoat- IG: @ashleybeloat

Makeup Artistry: Briana de Bengson – www.beautybybriana.com – IG: @beautybybrianamua

 

  • You rarely wake up feeling fully rested –

Back to sleep… Maybe you are sleeping non-stop on your days off.  Maybe you are lucky to get four hours each night.  Maybe you sleep a usual amount, but have only nightmares.  Does sleep still leave you with dark circles beneath your eyes?  Do you daydream of the last time you woke feeling restored and ready for your day?  This may be something you need to think about if you are wishing you could repeatedly hit the snooze button.

 

  • Your schedule gets out of control –

You find yourself always asking for a raincheck.  “Something” always comes up.  You can’t say where you are supposed to be tomorrow until you look at your heavily-marked planner.  You find yourself pushing this here and that there to make room for one thing more.  You’ve seriously thought about how you could be two places at once…but haven’t found the solution. In the meantime, you continue to pile more and more to your ever-growing list of commitments.

 

  • Your stress level goes through the ceiling –

 

You may not even know why, but you always seem to be on-edge.  Everywhere you walk, you find yourself looking over your shoulder.  You find yourself in a state of absent-mindedness too often as you worry about other things that you couldn’t leave at work.  You may find yourself in overwhelming panic for no explainable reason.  Or you may be crumbling under the pressure of your six rapidly-approaching deadlines.  For whatever known or unknown reason, you are not yourself.

Photographer: Bjoern Hoppen – www.bjoernhoppen.com – IG: @bjoern_hoppen

Model: Ashley BeLoat- IG: @ashleybeloat

Makeup Artistry: Briana de Bengson – www.beautybybriana.com – IG: @beautybybrianamua

 

These are some of the few yet crucial warning signs that you may need to re-evaluate where you should be spending your time and energy.  I write this from my father’s hospital room.  I myself have been referred to a specialist for treatment of an unexpected test result. My two careers have continued to demand much of my time, and I often feel very overwhelmed balancing my jobs and continuing education.  After much introspective examination and intervention from loved ones, I have decided to reinvest in my family, health, relationships, and overall well-being.  After reading this list you may find yourself in a similar state of realization.

Life is a never-ending quest for happiness, peace, achievement, and overall balance.   There are times for sprinting but there are also times for regaining your strength so you can finish the race.  I encourage every artist, model, photographer, and working professional to see to your own needs so that we can not only reach our destinations, but be well enough to enjoy the view when we get there.

 

Until next time,

Ashley BeLoat – Model, RN, & Actress

Print | Runway | Live TV | Short Film

 

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Dropping the Human Prop Mentality

March 9, 2018 | 0 Comments

What is the purpose of a model?  What exact role do we have in the scheme of a photoshoot?  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a model as “one who is employed to display clothes or other merchandise,” or “a person or thing that serves as a pattern for an artist.” These are the definitions of commercial and portraiture modeling.  Is that all we are – a “pattern” or “display?”

I rather dislike this more literal perception of my career and passion.  Our job is to showcase the talents, products, and services of others.  We employ the art of showmanship daily.

Some may argue that the model is nothing more than a human prop.  The living mannequin selling the clothing.  The silent subject for the portrait photographer.  In some cases this type of modeling is appropriate, but have you ever considered what a photoshoot can become when the model takes a more active role?

One of my passions is closing the distance between the spotlight and the place behind the camera.  I firmly believe that successful photos are achieved when everyone works together – models included. Every strong team requires not only a leader, but participation from all members.  Group participation can affect the outcome of a photo just as much as a team’s outcome in a tournament.  The more personal involvement, the better…particularly when it comes to art.


Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Dan Mahar – www.danielvmahar.com – IG: @dan_mahar
Co-Producer: Chanel Fernandez – IG: @chanel_fernandez_art
Hair & Makeup Artistry: Val Mancini – IG: @val.mancini
Custom Gown by Krustallos Couture  – www.krustalloscouture.com – IG: @krustalloscouture       

 

In what ways does it serve the photoshoot when the model takes a more active role?  The answer may vary depending on the type of shoot. However, the most universal result of greater talent involvement will often be a more genuine photo.  Guidance is important to lead the model in the direction of the desired vision but commanding too much runs the risk of making the model lose him/herself.  The result of this overdirection is frequently a lifeless photo.

From a photographer’s perspective, involving your model from the very beginning can set the shoot up for success from the start.  Immediately you can ensure that the creative vision is meaningful to them and that a genuine emotion will be exuded on-set.  The fastest route to a lacking photo is by leaving your talent uninformed.  To achieve the desired look, your subject must understand the concept of the shoot.  To take this one step further you can ensure your talent is also passionate about it, greatly increasing your likelihood of exceptional shots.

Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Kim Jefcoat – www.gracewithfire.com – IG: @gracewithfirephoto
Creative Director, Hair Styling, & Makeup Artistry by Anna Marie Christmas – www.sidtenterprises.com – IG: @anna_marie_christmas
Brown Python Handbag: Giovanna Barrios – www.giovannabarrios.com – IG: @giovanna.barrios
Lipstick: Inari Liquid Matte in “Deep Coral” by Viospa and Kha Kim Ross

 

A skillful model will be familiar with their own strengths and weaknesses.  This is crucial when bringing a portrait or ad campaign to life!  If they understand the desired effect of the photo, they can help take the final scene there. Work with them to decide how they can best present the product. Help them use their own voice as they tell the image’s silent story.  Encourage your talent to let their strengths shine and be there to capture it on camera.

Allowing your talent to put their own personal twist on a pose can add immense unphotoshopped magic to the frame.  Any organic movement produces a genuine flair to the capture that is unmatched by any instructed laugh or smile.  Guide your model to a pose for one frame, then encourage them to move/shift as it feels natural to them.  You may be surprised at what you catch with your lens.

Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Eric Kinney – www.erickinneyphotography.com – IG: @ekinneymedia
Wedding Gowns: “Blysse” & “Brielle” by Yong Lin Bridal – www.yonglinbridal.com – IG: @yonlinbridal
Hair & Makeup Artistry: Adela Hittell – IG: @adelahjax
Custom Flower Wall by Iris Ruz – IG: @iris_secret_garden

 

For all of my fellow colleagues that work in the spotlight, I want to encourage you not to adopt the “stand and smile” mentality.  Our job is to be what every unique client wants, but not to the point we are no longer ourselves. I challenge you to make every role, shot, and pose personal to you. The part you play in image production is far more complex than simply looking nice.  Understand that for the moments the cameras are clicking you are selling a fantasy.  Whether the shoot is for portrait or commercial purposes, you must make your viewers believe the scene they see.  The best way to do this is to believe it yourself – or better yet, make it somewhat real. Never be afraid to try what comes naturally.  Never hesitate to ask questions if you feel your vision of the project is unclear.  Most importantly, understand the power of working with your photographer.

Until next time,

Ashley BeLoat

Print | Runway | Short Film

www.facebook.com/Ashley.BeLoat.images

Instagram: @ashleybeloat      

 

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Being Your Own Agent

February 17, 2018 | 4 Comments

Many believe the life of a model to be an effortless, never-ending game of real life dress up. This could not be further from the case.  Models invest time, money, and effort in their appearance, casting call attendance, and bookings.  This alone is enough to be a full-time job!  But what happens when they don’t have an agency on their side pulling the strings?  What if they don’t have somebody securing the next booking, or giving information for the next casting call?  What if they are their own marketer and manager?

What is it like when a model is their own agent?

This is a question I can answer from my own personal experience.  Every shoot, runway show, commercial, and short film booking I have ever received has been secured on my own.  I am my own manager, marketer, branding strategist, etc. What exactly must a model do to get work on their own?  I can tell you what I did to get started, and what I do to continue growing.

Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Ina Pandora – www.inapandora.com – IG: @inapandoraphotography
Swarovski Gown by Inna Rudenko – www.innasdesigns.com – IG: @innasdesigns
Makeup Artistry and Headpiece: Val Mancini – @val.mancini
The initial goal of any model should be constructing a strong portfolio.  This can be accomplished by either paying photographers for the sessions you want, or by booking shoots “time for print” (offering your services as a model in exchange for pictures).  This may be tricky, as the model just starting out has no experience.  There are often few photographers willing to do a time for print session with an inexperienced model, thus it requires persistence and patience to find the ones that will.

For me, building a portfolio was an extensive process.  It meant waking up early in the morning and reaching out to photographers with styles I admired.  I sent out many messages introducing myself, confessing what I liked about their work, and offering my services as a model.  I made sure to present the opportunity as much for their own portfolio expansion as it was for mine.  I remember receiving many rejections – if I was lucky to receive a response at all.  I was also asked many times if I would consider doing nude, bikini, or lingerie work. Many a person masquerading as a photographer will prey upon young girls trying to make it in the industry, promising them that this sort of work is the way to get started.  I can assure you…it isn’t.  It’s important to know this from the early stage in the game, and steer clear of such “opportunities.”

The true key to building a portfolio is patience and wisdom.  Never sacrifice who you are or what you want to be associated with for the sake of a few photos. Not only can this sell yourself short, but it can also be very dangerous for your personal – and professional – future.  Which brings us to my next point…

Branding; as a model you must have something that sets you apart from the others.  There must be something about your look that is unique.  There should be something about the type of work you do that catches the eye.  You must stand out, but most importantly…you must be you.  Authenticity is extremely captivating, and it cannot be photoshopped.  The most successful models are mindful to make every photo exude something that only they can bring to the table.

Every booking a model accepts will affect their future opportunities.  Every job will lead further in another direction.  Beginning models should act as if every photographer, company, and brand is watching.  Models should always be asking themselves; would these clients want them representing a product or brand based on the work they are currently producing?  Talent is selected fo bookings based on what their current work exudes. Therefor it’s imperative that the up and coming model is mindful of they want their brand to say about them.  It’s a strong mindset to treat every job as only a step in the overall journey. Work that leads to the desired final destination is the work that should be accepted. Deviation from this path can be confusing to an audience and harmful for a model’s existing brand, so booking should be chosen wisely.


Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Jacqueline Roche – www.jacquelineroche.co

Let’s say a model builds his/her portfolio and defines their brand… If an agency isn’t where they desire to go with their work, what next?  How do they continue to find work and keep an active presence in the industry?

-Self-Promotion:

On average, I spend at least 1-2 hours every morning with marketing, self-promotion, and responding to messages. This is the first step to keeping any name present in a circle of talent. When you are your own manager, nobody will promote your work for you. Models in this position need to take an active role in showcasing their work to the best of their ability.

One of my strategies is striving to post a daily picture on my pages.  Not a selfie of any kind, but a real, professionally-taken photo.  I take great care in captioning each one and do my best to share it in as many circles as possible. This alone has yielded me quite a few shoot opportunities.

-Job Hunting:

Typically, shoot inquiries are sent for styles of work a model already exhibits in their portfolio.  If an unrepresented model is looking to expand their horizons and try new things, very rarely will the job simply fall into their lap.  This means that to continue growing and pushing their boundaries, they must be vigilant to make new connections and seek out different casting calls.

I respond to any casting calls I locate that spark my excitement.  I send many messages to new professionals and brands I wish to work for.  Searching for new opportunities is an active process.  I am always seeking out new ways to push myself in front of the camera.  This approach has kept me from remaining stagnant in the work I produce.

-Planning

Being your own manager puts you in the driver’s seat – and modeling is no exception.  Not only must the independent model seek out new opportunities, they will also have a bigger say in how these opportunities are executed. Photographers may give more artistic freedom when planning a shoot. I am often given the choice of shoot location, concept, wardrobe, posing style, and/or hair and makeup styling.  In many of my photoshoots, my role has extended beyond being the prop in front of the camera.

Taking such an active role has given me knowledge of photography, lighting setups, garment construction, fabric choices, color coordination, storytelling, and more.  I’m often blessed with the chance to select what story is told in the final frames and am familiar with the creative journey it takes to do so.  I will spend much time on messages discussing these details and embarking on many prop-hunting errands. This sort of role is not for everyone but is a key part of working as an unrepresented model.


Model: Ashley BeLoat- IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Dan Mahar – www.danielvmahar.com – IG: @dan_mahar
Wardrobe Stylist: Brittany Jones
Makeup Artistry: Nicki Marie – IG: @nickimariemua

This concludes my brief summary of what it’s like to be your own agent in the modeling world.  This is my modeling life (thus far) in a nutshell. Is there more you would like to know?  Let me know in the comments below if I should write a part two about this lifestyle.

Until next time,

Ashley BeLoat

Print | Runway | Short Film

www.facebook.com/Ashley.BeLoat.images

Instagram: @ashleybeloat

 

 

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Eating Like A Model

February 3, 2018 | 0 Comments

“How do models stay so skinny?!”  Thankfully we now live in a society were the modeling world is becoming more diverse.  We now have a multitude of body types walking the runways and various physiques gracing magazine covers.  However, the question is still often asked; “How exactly does a model eat?” The answer is different for everyone, but today I am going to give you mine.  This week on Model Focus is all about what I eat as a model.

Model: Ashley BeLoat – www.facebook.com/Ashley.BeLoat.images – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Angelica Bosch Photography – www.facebook.com/angelicaboschphoto – IG: angelicabosch_

 

Many of you may not know that I am a full-time registered nurse. While I’m certainly not a nutrition expert, my medical knowledge and studies have influenced the way I eat. I view food as an indulgence, but also a way to strategically fuel your body for the unique needs you have as an individual.

The first thing you must realize, is that everyone expends energy at different rates.  Everyone participates in different activities and leads a unique lifestyle.  Our workout habits, daily exercise, and sleep schedules are all different – and therefore our caloric needs will always be unique to ourselves.

A good starting point to decipher your ideal amount of calorie consumption is by calculating your basal metabolic rate – the amount of calories you burn in a typical day just by being alive. This would be the number of calories you would burn if you were to do nothing but sit on the couch and breathe for a full 24 hours.  Your calorie requirements would increase if you were to work a shift in an active job, go for a run, hit the gym, clean your house, or simply spend the day running lots of errands.

Ready for some math?  Here you go…

 

For Women

 

Basal Metabolic Rate = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)

 

 

For Men

 

Basal Metabolic Rate = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)

 

 

This is my guide when deciding how much I should eat. Consuming less than this total will result in weight loss (as well as hormone fluctuations, but let’s keep it simple), while consuming more will require me to be more physically active in order to refrain from weight gain.  A good model will need to be conscious of these numbers to stay on top of maintaining his/her physique.

Just as crucial as caloric consumption is the type of calories you are consuming. Your body actually has a preference for the way your foods are metabolized, did you know that? Carbohydrates are the first to be processed. Your body can break them down and store away the extra very efficiently.  That is why you can eat a large helping of pasta, rice, or bread and feel hungry a shockingly short period later.

Proteins are the next to be broken down.  If you aren’t fueling your body with food and there are no carbohydrates available to metabolize, guess where these proteins come from?  Your existing muscle.  Proteins are the building blocks that compose muscle, and consuming extra/too little will affect how much is given/pulled from your existing muscle.  So just be mindful that by fasting, you may be actively losing muscle tone as your body pulls from your protein reserves. It is also crucial to provide ample protein for rebuilding if you are trying to gain muscle and achieve a certain physique.

The body’s least efficient energy source is – you guessed it – fats.  Calories from fats are typically stored away in your body’s reserves for use as a last resort (after your carbohydrates and proteins are used up).  This is why that slice of cake and that serving of your favorite fried food may go straight to your hips – your body doesn’t break the fat down as efficiently and stores it away.

But why does all of this matter to a model?  Knowing the science of how food is broken down will help you understand how to strategically fuel your body and give if precisely what it needs with minimal weight fluctuations.  Models need to remain a consistent dress size, maintain specific measurements, and maintain a consistent muscle tone.  Fluctuations are expected to be minimal and too slight to notice. This is especially true if you want to work with designers.  Fittings are kept to a minimum and often nonexistent, many times I have simply shown up to a shoot or a fashion show and tried on my garment for the first time right before walking the runway or stepping in front of the camera.

Model: Ashley BeLoat – www.facebook.com/Ashley.BeLoat.images – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Josie Brooks – www.josiebrooksphotography.com – IG: @josiebrooksphotography
Venue: Haus 820 – www.haus820.com – IG: @haus820
Lipstick: Inari Liquid Matte Lipstick in Scarlet Red by Khanh Vio Spa & Kha Kim Ross – www.facebook.com/viospakhanh
So what do I eat?  The answer is different for different days. I have different requirements for the days I work a 12-14 hour shift at the hospital versus a day at a fashion show or shoot.

For my days that I work as a nurse, I am expected to be on my feet and taking care of patients for at least 12 hours. My energy needs fluctuate based on my patient load, what unit of the hospital I am sent to, and the specific needs of my patients.  I will almost always start the day off with a breakfast of fruit (navel oranges or apples are my favorite) paired with a whole grain carbohydrate or protein.  My carbohydrate of choice is usually multigrain toast without butter or cheerios without milk.  My proteins are typically salmon, tilapia, or chicken.  I make the choice between carbs and protein based on how quickly I need to get moving. Since carbohydrates are broken down faster than proteins, I know this will give me the quicker boost of energy if I am running late, whereas if I wake up extra early I know to opt for protein that will keep me fuller longer.

At lunchtime for my nursing days I will usually have a large salad with baby spinach, iceberg lettuce mix, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, grilled chicken, and my one weakness…feta cheese. I always omit the dressing as I would rather have those calories in the form of cheese.  This meal provides me with fiber and vitamins of the greens to keep me full.  The chicken gives me protein to replenish my muscles after pushing hospital beds, lifting patients, and the miles of walking I do in a typical shift.  The fats from the cheese keep my stomach satisfied and are my main indulgence for the day. If I am still full from my breakfast of protein and feel in the mood for something lighter, I will usually choose fat-free Greek yogurt instead.  This provides a good combination of carbohydrates for fast energy and protein for muscle replenishing.


Model: Ashley BeLoat – www.facebook.com/Ashley.BeLoat.images – IG: @ashleybeloat

Photographer & Makeup Artist: Ina Pandora – www.inapandora.com – IG: @inapandoraphotography & @ina_pandora – Visit her YouTube channel “Ina Pandora” for all of her makeup tutorials and tips.

 

If my day is going to consist of a shoot or a fashion show, my eating habits are a little different… I – like many models – have difficulty posing or walking the runway with food on my stomach.  Having a meal or heavy snack affects posture, balance, focus, and if you are worried about keeping the appearance of a slim waist…confidence.  If you have the luxury of shooting in a studio, you have the ability to shoot at any time of day or night.  However, if your set happens to be outdoors, the typical pattern is to shoot near the time of sunset.

This being said, my modeling mornings always begin with a breakfast that will sustain me for a long time – sometimes up to 14 hours!  I reach for a lean protein (chicken or tilapia), vegetables (mushrooms and/or zucchini), and fruit (apples or oranges).  If I already expect the shoot to run particularly long, I sometimes replace the fruit with fat-free Greek yogurt to give myself some extra protein to last throughout the day and prevent breakdown of my muscles.

Lunch typically does not happen if I am working a shoot or show. My stomach is already too full of butterflies and I often need the flexibility for contorted poses and ease of movement. Because I have eaten a strategic breakfast, this is rarely a problem for me and I often don’t even think about food because I still feel satisfied from my morning meal.

Lastly, dinner… Dinner is the one meal I try to keep constant no matter what day it is.  My final meal of the day I strive to keep consisting of vegetables and fruits only. There is nothing more comforting to me than a large bowl of steamed brussels sprouts or a delicious, spicy broccoli stir fry. I avoid using butter, oils, or fats as these can easily hike up calorie consumption.  Fruit is also the perfect cure for any sweet cravings and serves the double purpose of helping me rehydrate.

Model: Ashley BeLoat – www.facebook.com/Ashley.BeLoat.images – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Angelica Bosch Photography – www.facebook.com/angelicaboschphoto – IG: angelicabosch_

 

So what do you think?  Is this how you would expect for a model to eat?  Let me know in the comments below and be sure to share your nutrition tips and secrets as well!

-Ashley BeLoat

 

 

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The Fiercest Competitor

January 22, 2018 | 1 Comment

Competition; “an activity done by a number of people or organizations, each of which is trying to do better than all of the others” (Cambridge Online Dictionary).  If you are working in any artistic capacity – and also share this perception of the term “competition” – you have likely come to the chilling realization that the competition is fierce.  In the photography circle everyone is often trying to book the most weddings, work for the most reputable brands, or have their work gracing the most magazine pages in the area.  Models, we frequently check to see who is signed with the most reputable agency, who has participated in the most ads, or who has had the honor of walking the most prestigious runways.  Musicians, do you find yourself competing with other artists to see who sells out their concerts the fastest? Who has the widest fan base? Or how about who gets to perform at the most desirable locations?  Today I want to challenge everyone to adopt an entirely new perception of what competition should be.

The very meaning of “competition” is one organism striving to be better in some way, shape, or form than another.  One being attempting to secure more resources, achieve more things, or become better at something than another.  This is an inalterable meaning of the word, but what if we were to reframe our thinking in this manner…

What if we were to consider our greatest competitor, our fiercest rival, our most threatening opponent…to be our own self?

Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Dan Mahar – IG: @dan_mahar_imagery
Dress Design: Aziza by Yong Lin – www.yonglinbridal.com – IG: @yonglinbridal
Hair & Makeup Artistry: Fidel Gomez Jr. – IG: @officialfidel
Studio: Melrose Center – IG: @melroseorlando
What would be the benefits of molding our perspectives this way?  Some may argue it would cease to motivate us to strive for more, as the field of opponents would dwindle from hundreds – or thousands – to one.  Others may think it would be less satisfying to measure each success.  But I, on the other hand, argue it is the most effective, motivating, and strangely satisfying methods of thinking. If you believe yourself to be the only thing you must continue to exceed, you will never outrun or entirely defeat your competitor. Every day will bring a new weakness you must strengthen, goal to achieve, and unfamiliar realm to explore.

The reason I feel this perspective is crucial in an art-based field, is for the inescapable fact that art is entirely subjective. The goal of art is to be unique and different. Our never-ending task is to create something that has never been created before.  When we begin to chase success by chasing the tails of others, we allow our work to be influenced by the achievements and creative pathways of our rivals.  It’s a maddening game to keep up with — or remain a step ahead of — someone else when you should both be maturing more and more into your own unique selves.  It isn’t impossible to artistically mature in this way, but it is frequently more frustrating and less efficient.

Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Dan Mahar – IG: @dan_mahar_imagery
Dress Design: Aziza by Yong Lin – www.yonglinbridal.com – IG: @yonglinbridal
Hair & Makeup Artistry: Fidel Gomez Jr. – IG: @officialfidel
Studio: Melrose Center – IG: @melroseorlando

When the only focus is your own work there will always be new limits to push.  There will never be a time you can relax because of surpassing the standard you want to reach. Even if you succeed in exceeding yourself today, you will be given the challenge of doing so again tomorrow.

I want to encourage everyone to never stop wanting to achieve. No matter where you are, strive for more. No matter how many hurdles you’ve jumped, continue raising the bar higher.  And above all else, measure your progress today against where you were yesterday.  Do these things and you will find yourself on the focused road towards personal and professional growth.

 

— Ashley BeLoat

Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Dan Mahar – IG: @dan_mahar_imagery
Dress Design: Aziza by Yong Lin – www.yonglinbridal.com – IG: @yonglinbridal
Hair & Makeup Artistry: Fidel Gomez Jr. – IG: @officialfidel
Studio: Melrose Center – IG: @melroseorlando

 

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How to Photograph & Pose in Designer Clothing

January 6, 2018 | 3 Comments

Let’s face it, a major part of portraiture photography is the clothing the subject wears.  Are you looking to expand your portfolio and audience by featuring custom designers?  I certainly always am.  Working with a designer can breathe a whole new life into the photoshoot and help embrace whatever style you are seeking to produce.  But how do you capture the garments in the best way possible?  How do you produce photos that benefit not only your photoshoot, but the designer as well?  This week I’ll tell you how as I share everything that I’ve learned from my experiences posing for designers.

Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Dan Mahar – www.danielvmahar.com – IG: @dan_mahar
Designer: Yong Lin – www.yonglinbridal.com – IG: @yonglinbridal
Hair & Makeup Artistry: Fidel Gomez Jr. – IG: @officialfidel
Studio: Melrose Center – IG: @melroseorlando

Let the Clothing be the Star

Whenever working with a designer, my utmost goal is to give the garments the spotlight. While I still want my hair and makeup to be done well, my posing precise, and my expressions captivating, I don’t want them to distract from the dress.  Instead, I want them to embrace and visually harmonize with what I am wearing.  What do I mean by this?  Don’t overpower an elegant white dress with over-the-top colorful makeup.  Don’t attempt an overtly complicated pose that will distract from the beauty of the wardrobe.  It’s okay to have one or two statement pieces join the photo as well – jewelry, flowers, a tasteful pop of color in the makeup — but ideally they should compliment the garments rather than fight for the focus of the photo.

All of this, of course, is provided the designer hasn’t specified how they desire their work to be captured.  Some designers do prefer to have a highly visually stimulating photo to present their work.  I like to err on the side of caution, however, and give the clothing the spotlight however I can.

 

Study the Brand You’re Representing

This is a crucial step when planning your photoshoot.  Take a close look at what the designer seeks to communicate with their brand.  What audience are they seeking to appeal to?  What is their market?  What feeling do they try to embody with their work?  If they have past advertisement photos, study these closely.  I also advise asking the designers these questions personally.  Ask them what they like and dislike about their current advertisements.  Ask if they are trying to rebrand themselves through your photoshoot.  All of these questions will help guide lighting, posing, venue selection, and more.  It will also help ensure that your designer is pleased with the final photos, and hopefully desire to work with you again.


Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Dan Mahar – www.danielvmahar.com – IG: @dan_mahar
Designer: Yong Lin – www.yonglinbridal.com – IG: @yonglinbridal
Hair & Makeup Artistry: Fidel Gomez Jr. – IG: @officialfidel
Studio: Melrose Center – IG: @melroseorlando 

Showcase the Features of the Fashion


                  Look closely to see the unique features of every dress, jacket, blouse, etc.  Does the piece have intricate beading that would glisten beautifully in the light?  Is the neckline high to the neck and begging for an elegant updo?  Are there pockets that would appear absolutely editorial with hands placed nonchalantly inside while creating interesting curvature and triangles through posture? Personally, I’m always a fan of a classic skirt throw when the garment allows (as seen in the first image above).  Look at the things that make every piece unique, and brainstorm ways you can emphasize them with the magic of lighting, angles, posing, styling, and editing.

Don’t Obstruct the View

 

As common knowledge as this may seem, it is easy to forget when in front of the camera.  From a posing perspective I always have to remind myself to provide plenty of frames where my arms remain to the side, providing a clear view of the dress.  I do my best to refrain from holding props in front of myself, crossing my arms in any way, or blocking the view of key features in my ensemble.

From a photographer’s perspective, you should be mindful to capture the entire piece of clothing. It’s okay to capture closeups here and there, but take the time to ensure at least a few photos where the whole article of clothing is in frame.  So many times I have featured clothing or jewelry from a designer or boutique, only to receive images that only show bits and pieces of the items I featured.  This always breaks my heart as it truly isn’t fair to the designers and doesn’t showcase their work in the best way possible.

Choose Your Lighting Wisely

 

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve mentioned lighting on Model Focus.  Why?  It is honestly one of the most important factors in producing a quality photo.  Shooting for a designer is no different, if not more so.

Take a look at the fabrics you will be using.  Will you be provided with satin or silk?  Those reflect light beautifully and you can get away with a dimmer, more dramatic setup.  Are you going to use pieces with tulle?  Tulle can have a gorgeous cloud-like appearance when backlit.  Are the pieces constructed of matte fabrics that won’t provide any reflection?  Those will absorb the light, so be mindful to keep everything adequately lit from flattering angles.   If there are beaded or crystal accents, it can also be fun to angle the light – or position the model – so that they sparkle elegantly for a dazzling effect.

Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Dan Mahar – www.danielvmahar.com – IG: @dan_mahar
Designer: Yong Lin – www.yonglinbridal.com – IG: @yonglinbridal
Hair & Makeup Artistry: Fidel Gomez Jr. – IG: @officialfidel
Studio: Melrose Center – IG: @melroseorlando

 

Does this help in your quest for the perfect photo?  Have you ever collaborated with a designer for a photoshoot?  What are your strategies for designer work?  Let us know in the comments below!

 

–Ashley BeLoat

 

 

 

 

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