A Model’s Perspective on Media Theft

March 28, 2019 | 3 Comments

This blog post is not meant to be a rant of sorts, rather a look into what happens every day in the industry.  My hope is to open the eyes of models starting out and give a perspective to the people on the other side of the camera.  I hope to promote a business model where teams look out for and promote each other.  That being said…

I found out yesterday that one of my videos was stolen for a music video. I had not signed a model release and the videographer consented to have “parts of it” used for a lyric video without asking/telling me…

The entire video was used.

A year later a friend sends it to me saying how famous I am, that I’m in a music video. First, I am shocked. I never consented for this to be used. Second, I’m surprised to find the videographer credited in the description. He was a family friend and surely would have told me if somebody wanted to buy our video. Third, I’m extremely hurt because there is no mention of who the actress is…and I am the sole subject of the video…included throughout.

How did everyone think this was okay?

Model: Ashley BeLoat
Photographer: William P Cook

This happens a striking amount for independent models. We are often cheated out of our rates, manipulated into paying or losing money to work for someone, or found in a situation where an agreed upon TFP is redistributed or sold behind our backs.

This is unnerving enough in itself. The startling thing? The average model nowadays starts in their early to mid-teens. What will a child — yes, child — of that age know to do about this sort of thing? How would they know the gravity of what happened or even how to fight it? They likely will not know if or how to sue for pirated/stolen use of their image.

Models, actresses, musicians, photographers alike — we are all victims of stolen work. The one difference is that models are often the youngest of these populations and hence often the most seemingly defenseless. The likelihood of people getting away with the theft of our image is greater than that of a well known photographer’s work. We are less likely to pursue rightful legal ramifications.

In this case, many people were at fault. The maker of the lyric video asked my videographer for consent to use “parts of” our video and used the entire thing. My videographer gave consent on my behalf for a project of which he had no right to give full release (no model release was signed, I owned the video every bit as much as did he). The music artist never asked if consent was provided by the talent, or even asked for my name to credit me…

And once again, I was never notified anything about this project. I found out from a friend a year down the road.  What could I have done better?  I should have created a contract prohibiting further distribution of my work without my consent or compensation.  This is something I still need to create for my protection in the future. 

Nothing about this process was rightful or honest. Everyone was lied to or left in the dark, but I the most. This is the reality of the creative field. This is why we need to fight more than ever for rightful use of our work, and ensure the proper credits of our teams. This is why we need to remain professional, like we would expect anyone else to be towards ourselves.

Model: Ashley BeLoat
Photographer: William P Cook

              Has your work ever been stolen or pirated by another artist/brand?  What did you do about it?  What is your opinion on how business was conducted in this instance?  Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,

Ashley BeLoat
Print | Runway | Television
Instagram: @ashleybeloat

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The TFP Epidemic

February 21, 2019 | 4 Comments

You may have noticed a trend in the world of modeling.  Some people have spoken out about it, others stay silent.  I think there is something crucial here that needs to be said.  Something that needs to not only spark a conversation, but a change. It’s time to speak out about the epidemic of TFP modeling.

               If you’ve been in the industry long you’ve likely learned the concept of TFP or “time for print.”  In a nutshell, this phrase means “free work for free images.”  The concept has its proper time and place, but I’ve noted a shameful misuse and over-exhaustion of this principle in my time as an independent model.                

Naturally I must start this article off with a disclaimer of sorts.  If a model has no experience and is just starting out, it can be perfectly acceptable to request time for print.  If a photographer is highly notable and puts out consistently incredible work, there are occasions where time for print may be acceptable based on the model’s portfolio and what the shoot is for. And lastly, if the model and photographer are mutually looking for portfolio updates, this can be an acceptable practice as well – provided that both parties mutually benefit.

Model: Ashley BeLoat
Photographer: Yuliya Panchenko Photography
Hairstyling: Gretchen Gramlich
Makeup Artistry: Nicki Marie Makeup Artistry

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get into my qualms with TFP.  I will begin stating that independent models get the worst of this issue.  Since they don’t have an agent consistently fighting for the highest pay and demanding appropriate compensation from photographers/clients, they are the most susceptible to being preyed upon for free work.  Keep in mind that most models are teenaged or young adult women…and the vast majority of photographers will be older than their talent. This places the independent model on average at an automatic negotiating disadvantage. 

These models will be asked to give up or re-arrange work at their other jobs, commute hours on their own gas money, work shoots as long as 12 hours (not counting commute), do their own hair and makeup, provide their own wardrobe, and sometimes even fly out of state out of their own pocket.  Why do they do this?  “Oh, it’s TFP.  Everybody does it, so it’s what I have to do to make it.” 

This is such a lie.

Yes, dues need to be paid in order to build talent, character, and credibility.  But once a point is reached where you feel your experience, talent, and name are worth something you should begin expecting as much. Acceptable compensation will change on a case by case basis depending on who is pointing the camera at you.

Another issue with this business model I must speak about – withholding photos from models that have been booked “time for print.”  Certain photographers out there are more guilty of this than others.  It can be unintentional or downright calculated.  I cannot stand when a model is never supplied with photos from a time for print shoot. The photos may be provided years down the road, completely unedited and poorly lit, or even worse…never. This has happened to myself and countless other models out there. If you are a photographer and have done this to your talent, know that it’s completely unacceptable. If this was a conscious choice because the photos were not up to your standards, know that compensation must still be supplied to the model. An easy solution is to provide the edited photos and ask the model not to tag you, or simply PAY the model for her time/money/gas/makeup and any other expenses she paid to pose for you. If leaving your talent without images was due to having too much other work, then you should never have booked talent for a TFP project in the first place. Again, I would highly advice financial compensation to your talent in this case.

There comes a point in time after experience and a certain level of quality in a model’s portfolio when he/she should severely restrict the amount of TFP he/she accepts. Once a model gets to the point they are consistently booking work, it means they have proven themselves to be desirable for the job.  Just like a reputable mechanic would never be expected to fix a car for free, a reputable model should not be expected to work for free.  As stated before, there are times that TFP is worth it to the model if it’s a project or shoot beyond what existing portfolio merits.  Or, simply, the model feels they would benefit from the images as well.

I must also include this word to the models…Be very wary of the type of TFP you accept.  Ask yourself; is the purpose of the photoshoot or event solely to promote another individual?  Is it solely to promote a brand? What will you have to show for the experience once you walk away?  If “not much” is your answer, this is surely not a job you should take TFP.  Furthermore, if the brand you’re posing for will receive advertising, press, etc. remember you are damaging the modeling industry you know and love by providing them with free advertising.

Model: Ashley BeLoat
Photographer: Luyi Zhao Photography
Editor: Xiaolin Photo
Designer: Xiaolin Fashion Designer
Makeup Artistry: Zhang Yiwen
Produced for Stars Exchange

               My advice to photographers and brands?  If you want a model to spend her time, energy, and efforts promoting your image or product you should compensate her at the level her current work justifies. Remember that modeling takes time and money even when not in front of the camera.  There are health and beauty expenses, gym time, time for adequate sleep, and often time away from another job/source of income. Remember the time you are asking your model to relinquish by working for you.  Respect that modeling is a profession and craft that takes work, dedication, and talent. It is far beyond simply looking pretty.  If you’d like to learn this quickly, ask a pretty girl with zero camera experience to shoot and compare the difference at how smoothly and successfully the shoot runs.

               I will share with you the things I’ve been asked to do “time for print” with no compensation aside from images or “exposure.”  Sometimes the images were sharable and at my portfolio.  Other times, they were not and I walked away with nothing to show from the experience…

               I have been asked to shoot for brands to promote their products or garments. Sometimes castings were held, other times they reached out to me of their own accord. But every time in question there was one common tune they sang; “This will be great exposure for you.”  My thoughts?  If you found me, like my work, and want me, I have been properly “exposed” already and deserve compensation for my services.

               I’ve been asked to walk in numerous fashion shows where the only real images received – if any – are poorly lit, blurry behind-the-scenes of getting ready or possibly 2 shareable images on the runway. If you don’t know the routine of a fashion show, it is often a 5-8 hour day for the talent once preparations and rehearsals are counted in. There is usually little to no food supplied as well.  Can these opportunities be worth it?  Sometimes.  When gone about correctly, models can make lasting connections with the designers. But again, if you start off a working relationship with somebody where you provide services for free it will be expected of you in the future.

               Flying out of state?  Yes, I’ve been asked to do this for free many times.  I’ve even been asked to fly internationally to walk a London runway. But compensation?  Sometimes employers don’t feel it is necessary. I’m not quite sure how this mindset is justified and it still baffles me. If you want me to represent your brand so badly that you choose me versus models in your general vicinity, I must be bringing something valuable to the table for you. I find it rather insulting to expect me to do so for free.

               Exploit my connections with designers to provide you with free multi thousand dollar gowns to shoot?  Ask my bridal designer friend to give a dress to shoot outside in the dirt?  Not even bother to offer compensation to me or my designer?  It happens.  Sometimes this is a mutually beneficial situation if the images are of the highest quality and the designer consents as well. However, I am extremely cautious of who I will request to pull dresses for.  Not only am I being asked to work for free, but my designers may suffer damages to a dress. It’s my responsibility to ensure every collaboration with me is worth it for them – with minimal expenses for them after the fact.

Model: Ashley BeLoat
Photographer: Ina Pandora Photography
Makeup Artistry: Ina Pandora

                Please don’t take the impression this blog was written out of animosity.  This is truly an honest depiction of what is happening in many communities I’ve traveled to and lived in. In my experience working in New York, Los Angeles, Florida, and many surrounding islands this is what I’ve found to be common practice. Remember that I speak from the perspective of an independent model with no agent going to bat for her – I’ve been my own agent from day one. I’ve had to deal with people trying to cheat, take advantage of, assault, and rape me on the job.  I only wish to share my experiences to benefit the modeling community and provide a different perspective for photographers as they cast their talent.

               Above all, please strive to treat your entire team with respect. A bit of kindness goes a long way in front of – and behind – the camera. Conduct your businesses and practice your crafts with integrity.  Do this and success will surely find you.  Continue striving for greatness, my friends!

Until next time,
Ashley BeLoat
Print | Runway | Film | Television
Find me on Instagram @ashleybeloat

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Fashion Predictions for 2019

January 24, 2019 | 0 Comments

With the new year just around the corner everyone is frantically making their resolutions, checking their horoscope, and…updating their closet?  If you’re in the fashion industry, it’s very likely you have or are looking to do so.  But what trends are around the corner in 2019? What are some things we can expect to remain strong, fade away, or burst into the picture? 

  1. Long Live the 70’s

Or anything vintage-inspired for that matter. But bell bottoms, overalls, corduroy skirts, and jumpers in particular all enjoyed their time in the spotlight this year.  I don’t see this ending anytime soon with the wearable, colorful fashion preferences in California were the photography and videography community is very strong.  The question is – what vintage trends will be next to take the spotlight?  Who thinks pearls are going to claim their place in the fashion realm again?

  • The Eyebrows Have It

While the reign of the unicorn and rainbow eyebrows came and went, the eyebrow will continue to go strong.  The artful interpretations of these arches will probably remain few and far between.  I predict we’ll continue to see bold, fierce, yet polished brows that command attention to piercing eyes in numerous fashion campaigns. Why?  A well-done brow holds the power to take any photo from “blah” to “ah” as it draws the focus to the most powerful human element in the overall image.  I mean after all, your eyes only have one – erm, two – frames.

  • The iPhone Photoshoot

               Technology advances, the rise of social influencers, and the never-ending rise in Instagram fashion pages equals only one thing. Higher quality iPhone photos!  This trend has been infamously embraced by the many Instagram models who rather than paying a photographer, have their boyfriend behind the (smartphone) camera.  Entrepreneurs have the power to advertise their own brands, models have the power to take their own submission photos, and every person has the means to become a “photographer.”   While this may pose a threat to the traditional photography community, I think it’s safe to say this is a trend that is here to stay.

  • The Rise of DIY

               “Oh, I have a personal stylist for that.” Something many of us wish we could say, but few people can. That’s not stopping millennials and fashion addicts from piecing together their own looks.  With the ever-changing trends and rapid-fire style releases I think 2019 will find fashionistas reaching into their beauty boxes to think outside of them.  This will be a year to become more resourceful and innovative.  Consumers will continue to not only consume – but produce for themselves.

 Isn’t creativity most of the fun when it comes to defining your personal style? 

  • Not-So-Unmentionable

               Who else is happily guilty of taking your lacey bralettes and bodysuits outside the bedroom? I, for one, am so excited for this new style “do.”  When executed well this trend can be daring, feminine, and edgy.  One of my personal favorites is to take a lacy camisole or bralette and top it off with a blazer or leather jacket.  Can you say instant style turn-on?  2019 will have more people revealing Victoria’s Secret in their everyday apparel. 

  • Full-On Faux

               It’s a fact – nothing makes a statement like a fur neckline or a glistening leather handbag.  But it’s no secret that veganism and the fight against animal cruelty is on the rise. Fashion is going to reflect this.  We’ll continue to mimic these style staples but the authentic animal products will become yet more far and few between.  Unless you’re willing to go digging through the aisles at the thrift store for some older pieces in good condition, you can kiss that rabbit-lined coat goodbye.

  • The Uprise of Upcycling

               Would you have guessed this piece by H&M has recycled silver and econyl woven into the textile?  This is a refreshing turn from the “fast fashion” industry our clothing market has become.  Our nation is producing/purchasing clothing at an alarming rate for the consumers, leading to excessive amounts of waste as trends change, styles fade, or poorly-constructed fabrics wear out.  The environmentally-conscious community is going to make some moves here.  I predict 2019 is going to continue in advances of recycling, upcycling, and re-using in its designs.  Big labels are already doing it, and I’m excited to see where it takes us.

               What do you think is in store for the fashion of 2019?  What trends would you like to see take the runway?  What pieces are beginning to fill your closet at the turn of the new year?  Let us know in the comments below!

Until next time,

Ashley BeLoat
Print | Runway | Television | Voiceover

Model: Ashley BeLoat
Photographer: Dan Mahar Photography
Hairstyling: Gretchen Gramlich
Makeup Artistry: Briana de Bengson
Wardrobe: Lin Exclusive by Yong Lin
Published in ELEGANT Magazine

Image Sources

Bell bottoms image. She Magazine, 25 May 2018, www.shemagazine.ca/fashion/that-70s-look/

DIY style. Fashion Trend Seeker, 9 January 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=icNlx0O77-s

Eyebrow beauty headshot. Luulla, 8 January 2018, www.luulla.com/article/89/Prom-Makeup-Looks-Based-on-Your-Dress-Styles

Faux fur and leather jacket. Asos, 2018, www.us.asos.com/missguided/missguided-black-faux-fur-detail-faux-leather-jacket/prd/8470811

iPhone photo image.  Chad Verzosa, 2018, www.expertphotography.com/12-tips-smartphone-fashion-photography/

Recycled fashion photo. Fashion United, 26 March 2018, www.fashionunited.uk/news/fashion/h-m-uses-recycled-silver-econyl-in-its-conscious-exclusive-collection-2018/2018032628827

Wearable lingerie studio image. Kat Rappaport, Spring 2018, www.katrappaport.com/vs-spring-2018-very-sexy-how-to-wear-it/

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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


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?


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.


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


Instagram: @ashleybeloat



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