A few years a go I had the pleasure of working with the beautiful Leanne, which sadly was rained out. So we had to post-pone the shoot for another day. That one day came 2 years later when our paths crossed again! Since then we have worked on a few projects together and she continues to progress as a freelance model.
One thing that has stood out to me is her success as a freelance fashion, beauty and lifestyle model. I don't find many like her, who have created their own success as she has. So with that, I wanted to pick her brain a bit and share some of her knowledge and experience with you all. So I asked her a few questions and you'll find her response below:
What do you find to be the best part of being a model?
The best part of being a model is showing up to each set and not really knowing what to expect. Every single shoot is so different! Every time you shoot you have a different team, location and persona to embody. Models are given so many opportunities to travel – Hopefully that is something I will have more time for in this upcoming year.
Have you ever been signed with an agency and did they bring you the level of work you expected?
Yes- I was signed for a year in the DC/ VA area but over the course of that year I got very few jobs (2-3). I understand that this is not NYC but there are jobs in this area. The few jobs I got were really high end production wise but after factoring in their 20% agency cut, the jobs just didn’t pay well enough for the driving expenses and effort involved. Be careful! Agencies will try and take extra cuts on top of their 20% for “portfolio building” and “modeling classes” – Make sure you read the fine print.
What made you decided to go freelance?
I had a strong portfolio and the drive to promote myself. Especially in this area, when the budgets for shoots are not extremely high, going through an agency is expensive and a lot of extra work. From day one, I reached out to fashion photographers and started building connections. Once photographers, makeup artists, stylists…etc, started to approach me with work, I thought that with some self-promotion I could make it on my own freelancing, especially in a smaller fashion community.
Did you have a mentor along the way?
Very early on, I had the opportunity to work with top notch fashion photographers that have been in the business for a few years. My second shoot ever was with an amazing fashion photographer, who started out as a model- whenever I had a question about the industry I knew I could turn to her for guidance. It is really important to have someone who has a few more years of experience to give you a rundown on the industry.
Goals for the future?
I am currently in the process of moving to NYC to continue my career in fashion. I love the DC area and it has been so good to me but it is time to take a big step! Eventually, I would love to work for corporate Special Olympics. The goal is always to use my modeling opportunities to somehow always give back and better my community.
What advice would you offer a model looking to freelance?
Reach out! Do not wait for someone to discover you or make your career their priority. As a freelance model you are your own boss and you are the representative of your company. Every shoot turns into your first and maybe your last impression so make it memorable and positive. All my jobs have come from casual test shoots- I would have a great shoot with a photographer and then they would contact me with work later on. I once shot with a photographer for an hour in NYC and then he contacted for multiple shoots for Volkswagen in Maryland! Be polite, on-time and enthusiastic because you have one of the best jobs out there.