The #1 Reason Why You Never Did and Never Will Win a Modeling Contest

Because you don’t read the official rules …..

Winning contests, especially nationwide modeling contests require you to understand the brand, their target consumer and more importantly follow instruction like your life depended on it!!

Ok, I know I’m being a bit dramatic but here’s the deal. A company’s sole purpose in conducting modeling contests is to bring awareness to their company, product and/or service with your image being the added accessory, and your family and friends serving as the unpaid marketing team!

Let me get straight to the point with tips:

1.)    Do simple (mainly aesthetic) research on the brand.

What does that mean? Take a look at the already existing models on their website. How are they posing? What are they wearing? What message does their body image portray? Remember more than likely you won’t be told beforehand what you’ll be advertising so understanding as well as somewhat emulating their brand image is key (it shows you’ve done your HW)!

2.)    Only submit what they ask for!

  • Ok, we know they want your photo so if they ask for 3 pictures which includes a head shot, three quarter length shot and full body shot then submit just that DO NOT SUBMIT AN EXTRA PHOTO!
  • Usually they require you to submit a short essay or reason as to why they should choose you. Now here’s where you must pay special attention.

Here are two examples:

Example #1

“In 500 words tell us why you would be the perfect fit model for “My Guide to Modeling”

Example #2

“In 500 characters tell us why you would be the perfect fit model for ‘My Guide to Modeling”

Notice that in example #1 you are asked to write 500 words. Well that’s easy all you have to do is count the words! But in example #2 you’re asked to write 500 characters. Characters are different and include not only words but spaces and punctuation! Afraid you may royally screw up counting characters? No sweat my pet! Click for your character counter here

3.)    Scrutinize what you’ll be judged on.

For example, there may be a total of 100 points in which 50% goes to beauty so just make sure one of the photos you’re without makeup (preferably the headshot). If possible one of the shots should be professional.

Can’t afford a professional shoot at the moment? No problem! Fake it till you make it!  Do your best face (makeup)…well if you’re a female of course–males can too but stay away from colors! Surround yourself with great lighting (outdoors is usually the best when doing it yourself) and take photos on that expensive digital camera of yours. Don’t have a digital camera? Borrow a friends or neighbors. Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures (wink!)

Once you have the finished product, for about $40 bucks or so (individual prices may vary BUT it shouldn’t be over $50) have a professional photographer whose work you admire Photoshop your photo for you!

Now let’s say the other 50% goes toward your essay. Then you would want to play with words and try being poetic in your response if you can. Remember the judges are going through TONS (maybe thousands) of submissions. What will make you different?

Keep in mind that the person they choose as the winner may not be a professional model. With makeup amongst other things clients can make you look however it is they need to. What they can’t teach you is how to follow instruction. Well …  they can but no one has time for that! Show these industry professionals you’re a professional too.

If I can leave you with anything else of importance it would be this … Don’t be discouraged.

The attached photo is actually an advertorial featuring myself for Black Opal Cosmetics. I had the honor of gracing the cover of their packaging from winning their annual “True Beauty” contest. The “before” photo was not doctored at all. During the contest my face reacted to an ingredient in a product as well as flare up from a medical condition I didn’t even know I had.

I was beyond discouraged … I was crushed, BUT after informing the Senior Marketing Director of the current state my face was in as well as forward my current pictures, she informed me that it was okay and that I would be the perfect fit for the Total Coverage shoot in which there would be a before and after.

By not giving up I’m not only featured on an actual product, but I was also asked to participate in the “True Beauty” shoot the following year.

                           DON’T BE DISCOURAGED ….

                                      Oh and best wishes!



P.S. Have additional questions as it relates to winning modeling contests? Ask in the comments below (I’m listening….)


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