As Director of Scouting for Ford Models, Aaron Newbill sees crops of aspiring models all the time. Here are his tips for girls who want to sign with an agency and make it in the fashion industry.

1. Research

"One should check to see who is reputable first, length in the buisness, and who an agency represents," Newbill advises. He say the biggest mistake he sees girls make is not doing their homework. Note which agency represents the models you like. Make sure you do some internet research on smaller agencies to make sure they have a good reputation in the industry.

2. Prepare

There are classes you can take to familiarize yourself with the business and boost your self-esteem, but they're definitely not a requirement. If you don't feel comfortable in front of cameras or feel that your lack of knowledge could hold you back, they might be helpful. Again, Newbill recommends reading up on agencies you interview.

3. Perfect your portfolio

In the modeling industry, your portfolio is your resume and therefore one of your most important assets - at least, before you meet with an agency in person.

Make sure that your book has enough variation that an agency can see your potential. Aaron says:
[cquote]The basis of a good book should show a model who is comfortable in front of the camera, one who has a range of expression and movement.[/cquote]

He says a few great pictures can look better than a thick book of "fluff." Flow is also important - "You want to get and keep the client's attention."

4. Be Yourself

Once you've booked a meeting with an agent, do your best to maintain the you they saw in your portfolio. Don't make any drastic changes to your hair or buy an over-the-top new outfit.

Of course, if you have a trademark quirk, be sure to flaunt it. Rather than trying to blend in with what you think the agency represents, play up your best attributes.

"When meeting prospective models we prefer to see them as they are: no makeup, natural hair, and their personality. Body-conscious clothing like skinny jeans and a tank are good so we can see the body."

5. Show your casual side

As serious as models seem on the runway and in some photo shoots, that's not necessarily the demeanor agencies want you to have when they meet you. Bring some snapshots or Polaroids. Newbill says a smile is good and recommends simple clothes that don't distract from your shape and face.

[cquote]Play around with different poses and facial expressions."[/cquote]

Just for fun: see some old booking Polaroids of today's supermodels here.

6. Show that you are genuine

Models that do well are confident, ambitious, and able to convey a sense of humbleness about their appearance. Business, respect, and professionalism is really important. Be sure to arrive for your audition or interview early and show an outgoing personality. Agencies want models who don't appear nervous or shy, are able to express themselves, and give off the impression that modeling is something they truly want to do.

7. Take caution when signing

This may seem like a no-brainer, but make sure you bring up any questions about your contract and have them clarified before you sign. And of course, never sign without reading.

See the full article at Marie Claire.

Best of luck in your modeling adventures!

Photo credit: Getty Images