The story of Tracy trying to make money modeling.
Tracy’s throwing attention away.
Sure, she sells a few prints & gets a few facebook likes… but it’s not the model’s salary she was hoping for. She’s still working a job and squeezing modeling in on the side.
Modeling was supposed to be glamorous, but she’s tired, and has to hide the dark circles under her eyes.
Thing is, she has quite a fanbase. People are watching her.
And what does she give these hungry eyes? A few pretty pics, yes, but her social is mostly her views on politics, cash, and creepers. And if people aren’t interested in that, they bounce.
She doesn’t have a website or a way to subscribe, and rarely works with anyone noteworthy.
Tracy squanders the attention her modeling gets her.
And it breaks my heart.
Attention fuels things. Attention leads to cash. Attention’s is a valuable currency itself, and models get tons of it. Tracy gets tons of it. Mostly ’cause she’s confidently beautiful.
Beauty’s not some shallow thing, either. Beauty’s a primal force of nature.
Sunsets. Flowers. Models. Things blessed with beauty are compelling to us.
Beauty gets attention.
And for someone who’s selective with attention, like me, it feels great to collab with an accomplished attention-getter.
There was a time when I’d jumped at the chance to work with Tracy, but she didn’t have the ambition to truly ryze.
So when she recently asked “How come J-Ryze isn’t my social media manager?”
I smiled, and added her to the list of models I’ve almost worked with.
I’m picky. I have crazy standards. It has to be the right fit for me to move forward. I need to be around people who’re aware of their potential and realize their value.
It may sound crazy but…
Gimme models who wanna change the world.
Models have so much potential.
And do it better. You know what I mean. You know you can be better.
Being better is how a model realizes their potential.
What do I mean?
Well, most models post on instagram or snapchat. They build a portfolio. They get an MUA. Which great and all, but it’s the bare minimum of most models do. They’re shallow ways to tap into your power.
That’s basic expression.
Beauty is power, but it’s rarely used well.
Beyonce uses hers to make a huge impact in the world.
She turned it up. She practiced and became a better dancer, singer, musician. She polished her image, collaborated with make-up artists and fashion designers and costume shops.
She aimed higher.
Beauty is a valuable blessing that moves people, and models have tons of it.
There’s lots of gorgeous people around, but what do they do with their looks? And why would I avoid ‘Tracy The Model’ when she approached me?
‘Cause I’m aware of something important.
Beauty needs to be backed up by generosity, open-mindedness, and purpose.
Tracy disqualified herself a long time ago.
By not showing love to fans.
Specifically one fan… me, lol.
Over the years I’d posted a number of intelligent things on Tracy’s facebook, far beyond the standard “uhh, you’re hot.” — No response. I’d purchased one of her Etsy sets and left glowing praise in the purchase notes — No response. I’d created beautiful artwork inspired by one of her photos. She said “I’d love to see it!” I said “What’s your email?” and then — No response.
I guess Tracy didn’t see my real value as a fan.
She does now.
See, months later, Tracy found an advice-piece for models I’d written on over SuicideGirls, and suddenly she was tagging my name in her “social media manager hiring” posts.
That’s right, she was hungry to hire me.
But my value’s so much higher than ‘social manager.’
And Tracy’d know that if she’d responded positively to what I’d offered earlier.
I was a loyal fan who engaged with her for years, happy to volunteer my services if she’d just thrown me a bit of love. But I eventually gave up discouraged, and now she’s too late.
But it’s all okay, it’s all love. Tracy’s awesome, and she’ll connect with the right peeps for her. Maybe we’re not a fit, or maybe it’s a timing thing and we’ll collab later when moods change. 🙂
Orrrrr… maybe immature facebook models aren’t where I should be looking to help out in the first place.
I have responsibility too.
I was looking in the wrong places.
Where were the models with ambition?
Where were the models who aimed higher, helped more, loved deeper and … made money?
I went back to ModelMayhem, swung by SuicideGirls, and explored Zivity, and most of their community’s focus was so… well… low-impact.
Few models were truly trying to change the world. Few aimed to give society something special. Most were focused on questions like:
- ‘Am I model material?’
- ‘How much is too much skin?’
- ‘How to find good photographers?’
That stuff’s important, sure, but I want peeps who are digging deeper and making a bigger splash.
Especially in fields like modeling, that are ready for change.
I believe models can make f***loads of money, and I hoped Tracy would be a model who “got it.”
Well, maybe someday. At the time I was unable to fully reach her, but I’m writing this to reach others.
So this post goes out to models who really wanna ryze.
Here comes the juicy stuff: Make Money Modeling!7 rare modeling tips starts below (warning, there are no 'instant' fixes.)
Models can grow empires.
And it’s done through love.
I know it sounds cliche, but more models need to get this:
A CEO serving customers, a dancer moving audiences, a band serving fans— it’s all the same.
It’s all passionate peeps generously giving a great experience to their fans. It’s people serving people.
Models serve up beauty. They attract attention. They spread messages.
The more love a model puts into her art & her community, the better she’ll do.
And there’s more powerful ways to do that than fiddling with details like ‘Should I have an escort?’
Here’s my tips for modeling that matters, means something, and makes money.
1. Serve up a beautiful experience.
It’s more than being pretty.
Picture this: Tracy pours her heart & soul into the wardrobe, concept, and poses for her latest shoot. Her photog goes the extra-mile with lighting, make-up, and editing. They’ve invested so much into the latest photoset, hoping to share Tracy’s beauty with the world.
She posts the set, and it gets almost zero traction. Ouch. I feel her pain.
Tracy needs to go beyond the fashion & photos.
Every model has fans who’re liking, commenting, sharing, <3’ing, etc. and there’s ways to encourage and appreciate ’em.
Make things easy and fun for your fans.
Take gorgeous photos, yes, but if it’s not easy for me to find them, get updates on your events, or interact with you, it’s a lame experience. It won’t keep me loyal, and it won’t make me feel that you deserve my cash.
Here’s some ways you can serve up your art in a better way:
What fan wouldn’t love a monthly email from a gorgeous gal? And wouldn’t that be an easy, effective reminder of any upcoming events, sales, or instagram posts? Why do so many models avoid having a web team?
If you’re gonna rely on social media, then be super-consistent with your posting so you show up in feeds often and your busy fanbase gets regular value.
Media does better when paired with brief, emotional stories— this can apply to photo captions, facebook posts, kickstarter campaigns, instagram tags, and any other media you can imagine.
The same way a magazine needs a great model to boost their visuals, models need great writers to boost their copy. At the very least, apply some easy headline writing basics when you post images.
This kind of interaction with a model can truly make a fan’s day, week, or even life!
Fans love to feel included, a simple “smiley face” in response to their posts can make them feel valued and cherished. They know busy models don’t have time to respond to everything but the smallest gestures can speak volumes.
I know I love being recognized by people whose walls I post on.
This stuff matters, it effects the fan experience, and it’s all beyond the photos.
So go beyond those, and then… go beyond yourself.
2. Team up more.
But make sure you’re attractive to talent, first.
The second you lend your valuable modeling skills to some company, person, party, or cause, you’re amping up your value and you’re getting attention from your partner or team’s network.
They’re gonna brag about your involvement and they’re people are gonna have their eyes on you, and the better quality person you can collaborate with, the better result you’ll have.
Models know how to attract eyes… but can you attract to high-quality talent?
You may want a:
- Web Designer
- Magazine Publisher
- Social Media Manager
- Video Director
- PR Agency, etc.
The trick to attracting talented peeps is to offer clearly helpful value. It’s like, a universal law — Bring value to your relationships.
A beautiful model can easily get volunteers on her team or collab with high-cost creatives if she approaches it properly.
In my Tracy-story, I was approached basically like this: “Work with me? *giggle.* “
Eesh. I appreciate the thought, but that’s a throwaway line with no effort put into it. It’s the same as a guy hitting your instagram and writing “Will you marry me?”
Compare it to this:
“Hi J-Ryze! I found you through your Feminine Traits article, which I loved! I’ve an opportunity I feel would help us both. It’s part of my upcoming #BeautysNotASize campaign. I have 9,000 followers to expose your work to and although proceeds are going to charity, I’ve set aside a budget for you if we can work something out. Please let me know if you’re interested, and here’s a high-res photo from my portfolio to use for whatever you want. Looking forward to talking with you.”
Write from the heart. Put love into it. Give value. (I’ll be repeating this a lot. :P)
Aim to help the person you’re writing to.
It’s hopefully obvious how much more awesome this paragraph is compared to a single off-hand remark, but we’ll break it’s 4 main benefits down anyway.
A. Stand for something. (Shown by “#BeautysNotASize”)
B. Bring something to the table. (“I have 9,000 followers to expose your work to.”)
C. Show love & respect. (“For this photoshoot, all proceeds will be going to charity, but I have a small budget for you.”)
D. Give bonus value. (“here’s a high-res photo from my portfolio to use.”)
Be attractive first, then…
Get On Their Radar
Be a light for an influencer.
Say you wanna work with a big name photographer, get into a prominent magazine, or collab with a successful model.
How do you get their attention?
You put in the sweat. You make a difference.
It’s not about how you can GET them to notice you, it’s about how you can BE a benefit to their lives.
People notice beneficial things, especially if they happen more than once.
So you go to other their channels, and you help their community. It’s not an instant-fix, it takes actual energy and love. You have to care.
Let’s say you wanna work with Mike Prado, dude’s a huge glamour photog and gets tons of comments.
He probably won’t notice you if you contribute a solitary lone comment.
But people notice patterns. He WILL notice if your name or photo keeps coming up. He will notice if OTHER Prado-community-members he respects are thanking you and celebrating your contributions.
Don’t be a timid, withdrawn model who says “Hey Mike, let’s work together” and that’s it, get involved and make an impact in influencer’s communities.
Challenge yourself to leave X number of truly helpful comments for your targeted influencer.
Light up their channels.
Then bring your A-game, which is…
3. Bring your unique self.
Being unique is easy, but scary.
Discovering ourselves is a lifelong journey, but showing off your uniqueness —even a little— brings clear results.
In a noisy world filled with so many models, a clear difference is powerful.
Not fitting in is powerful.
It’s how you emerge from the crowd and create your own audience.
Note: Most models need #realtalk on entrepreneurship, so I’ll be linking videos from the best entrepreneur champion I know throughout this article.
Polarize people, shock ’em a bit, stand for something.
Think about the bands, movies, and clothes you enjoy— chances are they have some very unique traits. They don’t blend in with the boring noise.
It just makes sense. People like variety, diversity, and others who are bold enough to own their shit.
People are unique, and when we embrace our uniqueness and turn up the volume on it, we become easier to love (or hate.)
Here’s 8 models who made their uniqueness work for them.
Bonus: Mariah Idrissi – Hijab Model
I was sparked to update this post to include Mariah, who’s pioneered her own look and is the first hijab model to be featured in an H&M ad, and got ‘discovered’ in part through her active, high-quality instagram account. (special thanks to Jen for this.)
Turn ‘flaws’ into fame.
Ashley, Viktoria, Maddy and the other models all owned their unique ‘flaws’ and turned ’em into features which propelled them to fame.
Now, you don’t have to be as extreme as all that, but you’re unique. You are. Maybe you’re a model who loves dolls, so… show it off. Maybe you love salsa music, use that. Maybe you’re well-traveled, leverage it.
Maybe you love all three, so be SalsaDoll, The International Supermodel.
It’ll get attention and attract an audience who appreciates those things as well. And once the buzz starts, it’ll spread outside that core group of loyal fans.
Don’t blend in as yet another fashionably-dressed —or undressed— beautiful body in a sea of beautiful bodies.
Yes, it’s scary, but it’s pretty easy to share what you love and who you are.
You just have to be aware. Show off your quirks, flaws, and loves. Embrace the life you’ve been given, no matter how weird 🙂
And hey, if you’re already doing this, there’s still ways to turn up the volume.
So go for it.
4. Get cash flowing.
Models can make mad cash.
There’s many ways to do it, but they all come down to one thing.
Consistently, passionately, providing value.
Let’s look at one of my favorite models, Boston-native, Ashley Alexiss.
I don’t know her actual earnings (but she recently bought her Mom a car), and it’s easy to spot her revenue streams.
- sells prints (try PinCandies.com or ThePrintful.com)
- does signings
- conventions & tradeshows
- posters & billboards
- gets royalties
- sells calendars
- brand spokesmodel (Daisy Corsets, Pink Lingerie)
And the best part? She’s indie, her own boss, an entrepreneur.
She’s not even signed to an agency, but she still makes a mark and helps people enjoy life more.
As far as I know, here’s some revenue options Ash doesn’t do:
- live camming
- phone calls
- ‘extra’ work
- stock photo sites
- rent-a-crowd events (Femme Fatale)
I know she’s had her eye on a collaboration with The Black Tape Project, and as time goes on she may expand into music videos, live performance, or merch like figurines.
Surprisingly, Ms. Alexiss doesn’t have a website, newsletter, or fan club, which runs against my earlier suggestons… but she does have her own Alexiss Swimwear Line, reps her #BeautyIsNotASize message, focuses her audience onto her Facebook/Instagram, and got a lot of traffic for #CleavageForTheCure.
Most of her stuff speaks clearly to a certain group, has a message, or gets much goodwill while helping a cause.
Compare that to models who sporadically pop onto facebook and share an empty, meaningless “pls buy my prints” post.
And speaking of growth, Ashley wanted to hit her goal of 1.5M Likes, so she reached out to her audience to spread the word. And it looks like she did it with a “pls like my FB xoxo” line, and honestly, that can work, but only if your fans are already feeling the value, loving what you stand for, and are honored to be involved with you.
Knowing when to ask like that helps. And even subtle things like clear links, or repeated links, in your calls to action can make all the difference. Helps people see and notice and respond easily.
Anyway, Ashley’s already kicked up enough noise to get successful Toronto-Playmate, Khloe Terae‘s attention.
Ash is on Khloe’s radar, and she suggested they share audiences and reach goals together!
Point is, Ash offers tons of value, and not surprisingly, cash and attention are flowing.
You can do this too.
Grow revenue streams that work for you.
Then Make 'Em Count.
Crazy value on tap.
The above list shows how models can offer crazy value… and make money.
Experiment with some of ’em, and find ones that feel right to you… then make those better and better. Build campaigns and teams around them. Turn them into opportunities to show off your best work.
I want more models doing well and ryzing up.
If you clearly stand out in the modelling world, and you team up with quality people, and deliver impactful value to a specific fanbase, while standing for something you believe is right, it’s hard not to generate cashflow.
Promise yourself, “I’m gonna show mad love through my modeling and be rewarded well for it.”
Make whatever you put out count.
They didn’t teach this stuff when I was in school. They taught ‘balance sheets.’ I had to learn it through hard knocks, studying legends, and mentors like my friend, Evan Carmichael.
Truth: All great empires passionately provide huge value.
Non-stop, all day, ‘erry day.
And they go way beyond “I sell my photos.”
Entertaining people is value. Drawing attention is value. Strong personal branding is value. Even ‘distraction’ can be value.
Hell, giving peeps something controversial to talk about is value.
Build something you’re proud of.
Offer value to fans & grow your ‘model empire.’
5. Connect With A Cause
Many model for a cause.
It’s an awesome thing to do.
Support something you believe in, and watch people find you and shower you with appreciation for it. (Though that’s certainly not why you should be doing it.)
Some examples are:
Backpacks For The Homeless
Models For “Wipe Your Tears”
You can’t just wake up and start helping a charity though (at least, I’ve never seen that work), it has to be organic.
Evan’s advice is solid here: If there’s no causes you’re passionate about, it’s all good, don’t force it. But if you or your family has been involved in something that speaks to you, get involved.
6. Leverage Modeling Resources
We have so much.
Society is blessed with more resources than ever. There’s an avalanche of freely offered modeling resources out there.
They’re just sitting there waiting for you to leverage ’em.
But it’s not about how many resources you have available, it’s about how resource-full you are.
It’s about your passion, creativity, and what you do with what you have.
But just in case you’re not aware of what resources exist, here’s a quick look.
Ah yes, there’s always the constant hunt for a modeling agency.
Check it out: I start typing “modeling agency” into google and the autocomplete form was filled with “modeling agencies in new york”, “modeling agencies in los angeles”, etc. — even though I live in Toronto!
Hmm. It seems the hunger for an agency is real.
Personally, I’d focus on kicking up noise, making an impact, and by doing that you’ll…
…attract an agency to you.
But if you really wanna search, these links may help:
And there’s more than member sites & agencies.
I discovered Dekilah’s Model Advice site, and I found Mike Sunderland’s “A Big Brother For Your First 3 Months In The Modelling World” post.
Both offer quite a bit of value.
And try reading The Frugal Model, by Ashley Stetts. Personally I’m not big on thrift and watching every financial detail, but she might be just what you’re looking for.
The Frugal Model
See what Models With Minds has to offer which is an organization that supports and develops models’ professional interests and passions outside the world of modeling.
Models With Minds
Check out Model Liberation, founded by Nikia Phoenix, part model, part freedom-fighter, all awesome.
Or if you’re looking for advice and mentoring, try The Modeling Mentor, founded by former model Jill Johnson.
Perhaps even set your sites on brand management and PR from a major Idea House like The Door Online, who helps models like Sara Sampaio, Ali Larter, and Gigi Hadid.
Or you know… hook up with an Empire Coach, like me 😉
And if not then hey, break the mold, get creative, and explore non-traditional places that may need some beauty in ’em.
Maybe start your own agency like Emily Lyons did with Femme Fatale Media.
Try different resources out and see which suit you. See which excite you and where you can make an impact.
Get out there and experiment.
Explore The BreastNexus.com forums, a community of women sharing all kinds of powerful, natural, body-shaping and breast-enhancing resources.
And that brings to the final, but most important tip.
7. Appreciate It All
This last tip is legendary.
Be thankful. Be grateful. Be appreciative.
For a lot of my life, I didn’t really know what this meant.
I had to learn appreciation the hard way. A tear-jerkingly hard way, which I won’t get into here. And I’d still love to be better at appreciating all I have.
Hopefully you can learn to appreciate modeling (& life!) through my words & wisdom, instead of through massive pain and loneliness.
Appreciate your gifts.
Realize that every inch of beauty & fashion you may take for granted are other people’s dreams.
Many people dream of being thinner, fitter, more fashionable, more beautiful, sexier, more riveting, enchanting, or confident.
And if you’re modeling, chances are you’re an inspiration to them.
Maybe they do it secretly, maybe they’re lurking and watching from the wings, maybe it’s not obvious how much you inspire people, but they’re out there. They look up to you.
Appreciate your fans.
Anyone who likes, shares, or comments is helping you. Straight up, they are.
They’re helping you build the buzz and social numbers that impress influencers and get you noticed, discovered, and hooked up.
Yes, some may say “anyone would feel blessed to have 1.5M fans”, but if you study the early years of succcessful models, you’ll see they felt blessed to have 100, 10, or even a single fan. Appreciation is an attitude you cultivate first, then life delivers more and more to you.
Just try it.
Figure out ways to encourage, thank, and reward as many fans as you can.
Figure out how to reply or like all their comments. Set aside a chunk of time in your day or week to sit down, focus, and interact with your fans. It’s an hour or two out of your life, and every smiley or like you give sends a huge message.
Appreciate your team.
If you work with a photographer you enjoy, give ’em a shoutout on your channels. Refer another model to them. If you have a web designer or media manager you love, give them some time in the spotlight. Take a selfie with ’em. Something, anything to show love. If you’ve none of those, try making a post or a page dedicated to a family member or friend who encourages you, share a personal story and tag them. Many people never get mentioned anywhere for anything, and when you do stuff like this, they brag about you, show you off, and it all comes back to you somehow.
Collect any praise you can, any positive comments or testimonials, and share them with people who contributed.
Life’s an intense ride, and no one does it completely alone, so thank them for being there.
Start small, but take action. Actions speak louder than words.
Karma wins. Always.
And if you’re not appreciating any of that stuff, go even smaller, and appreciate the blessings of air, water, sun, and ground, which you have to build and work off of, and that you didn’t have to lift a finger to earn, deserve, or work for.
It’s all beautiful nature, just given to us.
Same with herbs and gardens growing all over the place. Same with animals roaming our lives. Same with furniture and shelter from the elements.
It’s a huge blessing to have ANY of these things, and there are many who don’t have ’em.
Please understand there’s a lot in life to appreciate, and it may not be exactly what we want, but it’s a start.
Money doesn’t flow to people who can’t appreciate what they have.
This may sound like hippie-bullshit, but I highly, highly recommend you TRY it. Commit to it for a while. Be consistent, and adjust yourself to an attitude of appreciation.
At the very least you’ll be a better person.
Models like you have a lot to work with.
Appreciate it 🙂
Moving Forward With Modeling
Modeling keeps evolving.
I’m not an expert on modeling, but I love #ryzingbeauty, and I wrote this ’cause there were so many Tracys I knew that could be way better, and wherever I looked, no one was giving advice that matters.
Forums were filled with the same repetitive questions. My social feeds were filled with the same beautiful (but-boring) posts. The advice I kept seeing felt like pretty weak sauce.
I wanted to help, and hopefully what I’ve shared does that, and remains applicable as time goes on.
‘Cause modeling, like everything, continues to evolve.
(and I don’t mean it ages, though it’s worth checking out Yasmina Rossi, 61-year old model for Marks & Spencer, Macy’s, and Hermes.)
(Thanks to Lynx for the lead.)
Point is, the industry moves forward. Modeling on the #ryze.
So, to wrap up…
- Serving Society Well
- Teaming Up With Talent
- Showing Off Your Uniqueness
- Delivering Value/Building Cashflow
- Leveraging Resources
- Connecting With A Cause
- Appreciating It All
Yes, of course posing, fashion, nudes, lighting, how to deal with creeps, model release forms, etc. are important. Of course creating appealing photos is important. But you can find tips on those everywhere.
The 7 tips I shared here will help you soar as a high-value model. They’ll help you ryze as a person, who just so happens to model. They’ll grow your value & fanbase. And when you get 10— 20— or 30,000 followers on social for all the lives you’ve touched, it almost doesn’t matter what you look like, people will be hungry to work with you.
Whew, Ok. It took me days to put this together, but I want you to succeed.
I appreciate every beautiful image that shows up in my feeds, and this post is one way I can pay it forward and give back.
Thanks so much for reading.
Note: Most of the images here are ‘found’, and they make this piece more readable and enjoyable. My whole intention is to help models, but if for some reason you want an image removed, contact me and I’ll take care of it. Much love!
Bonus — Modeling Tutorial Videos:
How To Get Into Modeling
Mistakes Aspiring Models Make
Tips On Posing For Photos
So you want to be a Cam Model…
Making A Living On Instagram
How to Start a Cosplay Costume
Beautiful Mind & Body
Models On Catwalk For Charity
Coming from a model, thank you! Very well written and informative — I think this thread should totally be pinned in this group.Harmony Korine
Ryze! I am totally blown away by your incredible insight and passion. This is full of valuable information. Hats off to you my friend. I felt your honesty, passion, your heart… this moved me beyond words. I agree with everything you wrote.June Marie