Modelling Tips from Real Male Models: Q&A | London and New York Talent │ Article
October 2, 2023 • • Cristian, Jonathan Graham, Emmanuel Boateng, Benny London
Modelling Tips from Real Male Models: Q&A
What is a lesson that you wish you knew sooner?
Relax! The camera can see stress, casting directors can see it, and your skin responds to it. It’s way more fun to work with laid-back people than it is with someone who’s tightly wound. Show up ready to work, but don’t take yourself too seriously.
You were picked for a reason; you belong! Embrace confidence, enjoy the moment, and let your mind flow naturally. Your best work comes when you're not overthinking. Leave room for feedback from the crew and photographer/stylist.
Savour every shoot, whether test or campaign—it's your moment to shine!
Can you share some practical tips for posing in front of the camera?
Clear your mind. In the past, I’ve been told I have an “actor face”- which I quickly realised meant I was trying to convey something too specific. When you model, you’re a vessel for the work you’re doing. You have to be careful to not let your face comment too much. When you clear your mind, the work can flow through you more clearly.
Getting a large mirror in your room/space is essential. Practice basic poses that you can see online from other models - the mirror is your best friend! Having controlled movement is essential for creating diverse looks and poses. Make sure your eyes are centred, keep your neck down, and slowly start with the basics. Interject some smiles or laughs, where appropriate.
How have you handled rejection, and what kept you determined to pursue your dreams?
This is one of the greatest jobs in the world. You get to show up to a set, take photos, and then go home; but part of the job is also facing rejection. Don’t view the time in front of the camera as “work”, and the dead-end casting call as “rejection”, they are both a part of your job. If you’re shooting a huge campaign; congrats, you’re working! If you showed up to an audition and didn’t get the gig; congrats, you’re working.
I’ve done hundreds of self-tapes over the years, most of them not directly leading to jobs. You can’t let that alter your trajectory. So many things out of our control go into the casting of these jobs. So please don’t be discouraged, if you are getting a lot of rejection, focus on your growth. And just know, everyone gets rejected in the modelling industry, keep at it.
How do you balance fitness and nutrition while embracing body positivity and self-acceptance?
The gym is a huge part of my life, and I mostly exercise so I can eat food without impunity. Nutrition is crucial, but it’s also important to not let it run your life. I set goals and exercise 5 times a week. You must find the balance of health and enjoyment because what’s the point in being healthy if you can’t live a normal life?
Healthy lifestyles are paramount for making sure you are ready for whatever job comes through. Make choices surrounding your internal and mental health. This is the best way to embrace body positivity and self-acceptance. As a big and tall model, I want to be able to offer clients and photographers a wide range of motion. I’m more concerned about being able to be flexible and multi-faceted than being held up by my inner self-conscious voice.
What goes into the behind-the-scenes preparation for a photo shoot or runway show?
I always focus on drinking a ton of water in the days leading up to the shoot and get plenty of sleep. It seems simple, but those are the most important. I also moisturise, and clean up my brows, nails, beard, etc.
Then I show up to set neutral, knowing that it may be a long day. Usually, you’ll try on all the outfits to be sure they will fit, then go into hair and makeup. Then, you sit patiently, ready to jump up at a moment's notice and get to work!
It's normal to be nervous or excited about shoots. But it is possible to greatly reduce nervous energy by working on taking deep breaths before, during, and after the camera clicks. This helps me clear my mind, allowing for me to have a razor-sharp focus for whatever direction is asked or needed. Look at pictures that are being shot, whenever possible.
Finally, make sure you bring your modelling kit as well. This includes moisturisers, nail clippers, brushes, makeup, hair spray bottles (a blessing), and deodorant. I also like to bring mints and floss as well!