Keep Smiling

Praise for »Keep Smiling«

This book is great! It's a very helpful guide for inspiring models finding

their way into the business.

I'd highly recommend reading it before applying to a professional agency.

- Diana Pistalu, Owner IMM Europe

I loved reading Tiana's honest and sincere assessment of the facts you need

to break into, find your way, and then thrive in this business.

An utterly inspiring book for young models.

- Joel Cartier, Film Director

Full of insights and a great guide for those who are not only interested in

following this career, but also for the parents, family and friends that want

to help and have a better view about it. In this world there is not only black

and white, but many different shades in between. Tiana expresses that very

well in this book, in a simple way. A must-have!

- Marjorieth Sanmartin, Executive Creative Director

I've known Tiana since the beginning of her career, and she was a highly

professional model. Always in a good mood and the atmosphere on set was

always enriched by her great style and professionalism! Her book gives

young girls a competent guide on how to get started in the model business.

The model business is very multifaceted! With “Keep Smiling” girls who

dream of a modeling career can learn from the best.

- Fiona Lang, Make-Up Artist

This book is generous, practical, and in the right hands will be

perfect guidance. Nothing is sugar-coated, nor is it cynical.

It's just reality, plain and simple.

- Sebastian Brüll, Fashion Photographer

For my son, Vin.

And for all those who encouraged

me to fly towards my dreams:

Let's soar.

INDEX

Introduction...............................................................................................9

1. Nice To Meet You - That’s Me..............................................................10

Biography............................................................................................13

2. Different Types – Different Vibes.........................................................17

Runway Models..................................................................................20

Photo Models......................................................................................22

People/Faces........................................................................................25

Body Part Models................................................................................27

Classics or Best Ager............................................................................28

Plus Size Models..................................................................................28

3. How To Get An Agency?......................................................................30

Good Photos.......................................................................................31

Free-Tests............................................................................................32

Application..........................................................................................33

The Interview......................................................................................35

4. Model Life............................................................................................37

First Time In The Photo Studio...........................................................38

Be A Professional.................................................................................40

Bad Atmosphere On Set......................................................................41

Healthy Boundaries.............................................................................42

Castings...............................................................................................43

Travel Bag............................................................................................44

Homesickness!!! - How To Deal With It..............................................45

5. Finances................................................................................................46

Payment And Commission..................................................................47

Image Rights And Buy-Outs...............................................................48

Financial Reserves...............................................................................52

6. Different Strokes For Different Folks....................................................54

Hamburg And Munich.......................................................................55

Dusseldorf...........................................................................................55

Berlin..................................................................................................55

Paris....................................................................................................56

Milan..................................................................................................57

New York............................................................................................57

Miami.................................................................................................57

Cape Town..........................................................................................58

London...............................................................................................58

Athens.................................................................................................59

Amsterdam..........................................................................................59

Tokyo..................................................................................................60

7. Beware Of Black Sheep.........................................................................61

8. Body And Soul.....................................................................................63

Positive Mindset..................................................................................63

Body In Shape.....................................................................................63

Skin Care............................................................................................66

Cosmetic Surgeries..............................................................................68

9. Casting Shows!.....................................................................................70

10. Male Models.......................................................................................74

A Chapter Dedicated To Male Models................................................74

11. Model Basics.......................................................................................78

Explanations Of Terms........................................................................78

12. Agencies..............................................................................................84

Which Agency Is The Right One For Me?...........................................84

Agency List..........................................................................................85

13. Retirement..........................................................................................96

Closing Words..........................................................................................98

About The Author....................................................................................99

INTRODUCTION

This book was created with the intention of passing on my 15 years of

experience in the modeling business to you. It is also dedicated to parents or family members who don't really know how to handle their

daughter's dream of becoming a professional model. Many girls have

the desire to become a model - some of them even have what it takes to

become one, but don't really know who to contact. The internet is like

a maze providing you with thousands of addresses and different contact

points, but unfortunately 90% of them are dubious. I would especially

like to warn you about online model databases; those have nothing to

do with the real model business. You won't find any professional photographers, let alone professional customers on there. A good agency is

the be-all and end-all. Therefore, my book offers you a step-by-step

guide that will help you gain a foothold in the modeling industry the

quickest and easiest way possible. I would also like to point out that I

wrote this book using the language that is commonly used in the model

business. So, if there are any words that may seem unfamiliar to you,

make sure to check out the explanations found in the chapter “Model

Basics” at the end of the book.

1. NICE TO MEET YOU - THAT’S ME

Don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you to death with the detailed story

of my life. I'm just going to write a few quick lines about myself instead. This is so that you know who you’re dealing with and also that I

used to struggle with the same things in the beginning - things that you

are probably struggling with right now.

I started working as a photo model when I was 15 years old. Although I did not see any need for it back in the day, I am very happy

that I finished school and completed my A-level exams. As a model, I

was represented by internationally renowned agencies in Europe and

worked for many well-known customers such as Wella, Schwarzkopf,

Mercedes, Otto, Heine, Milka, etc. This was my professional life for 15

years - working both internationally and full-time. Like many other

models, I had started out at a fashion fair, namely the CPD in Düsseldorf, Germany. It was then, when I was approached on the street by an

agency, which is now called Thomsen, and I was invited to take casting

pictures. My first job followed shortly, where I found myself stuck in a

very embarrassing cheerleader costume for Pizza Hut.

Since I was still a student back then, in most cases I was forced to do

jobs on the weekends only. After graduating, I eventually sent out applications to larger agencies in Munich. One called me back shortly and

after a long conversation they became my mother agency. That agency

was called Java Models at the time.

As I still felt uncertain whether or not I could make a living with

modeling in the long-term, I also decided to register at a university for

psychology and educational sciences. But thanks to my agency in Munich, my career proved to be successful very quickly.

What was supposed to be a three-day trip to Munich, then turned

out to be a two week stay. Three days of go-sees were planned in Munich originally, but instead resulted in me getting my first bookings and

other options. From Munich I then went straight to a major casting in

Paris and also to Athens to set up my photo portfolio. At the time, I was

accommodated in a private model apartment. This is where I quickly

got to experience the loneliness firsthand that one often feels when they

suddenly live and work far away from home. I often found myself in

completely strange cities, and moreover with people that often didn’t

even speak my language. I have traveled a lot in the past twenty years

and have gotten to know the different markets of the model world,

which I would like to introduce to you in greater detail.

My early pregnancy was definitely a major turning point in my private, as well as my professional life. Begging the question - what was I

willing to sacrifice for this job? If I'm being completely honest, my decision to keep my baby was therefore also kind of a protection for the

sake of my private life. I had to choose whether or not I was willing to

commit to this life to the fullest and accept a lot cutbacks regarding my

private life. I was not. I would have definitely lived a very different life,

if I had been willing to do so. With a baby boy, however, I always had a

valid excuse not to be “on stay” somewhere for weeks at a time. In retrospect, it was the right decision for me. I love my son, and for me, my

family life is the perfect balance to this fast-changing and impulsive,

sometimes very superficial model life.

Now I am 40 years old and have slowly and steadily withdrawn from

the modeling industry in recent years in order to focus more and more

on my acting career instead. This is a wish that I have had ever since I

was 9 years old, and which has crossed my path every now and then due

to my many years in the modeling industry. At the age of 20 I was offered a leading role in the famous German soap opera “Marienhof”

(ARD), which I had to turn down due to my pregnancy. My career definitely would have been completely different, if I had decided to accept

this offer.

In retrospect, I have to say that many things in my life initially

didn't seem to make much sense at first but eventually turned out to be

incredibly helpful to me. My psychology studies combined with 20

years of camera experience, for instance, are the best foundation for my

future acting career.

Steve Jobs once said in his famous Stanford speech: “You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking

backwards. So, you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in

your future.”

The journey is the reward and I would like to accompany you on the

first few steps of your journey. It is my goal to remove a few stumbling

blocks from the start and to give you an understandable, clear and honest insight into the world of modeling. It is a wonderful world, but this

shiny world also has its dark sides. Nevertheless, I’m more than grateful

for my life experience, my trips, and the many wonderful people I got

to know during that time.

BIOGRAPHY

“Nordkurve”

I was born on November 12th in the zodiac sign Scorpio.

Mönchengladbach most certainly is no Paris, New York or Milano

when it comes to fashion, but it does have a very prestigious soccer history. I was especially familiar with the so called “Nordkurve” of the soccer stadium, which I used to live right next to when I grew up. During

my teenage days, I would spend most of my weekends inside the soccer

stadium with my older cousins and I was definitely more interested in

reading the “Kicker” soccer magazine rather than Vogue. This was about

to change…

It was the summer of 1995, and 15-year-old me was offered a model

job for the first time. It was a friend of my parents who offered me work

at the Collection Premiere Düsseldorf (CPD). Until then, I was definitely not a fashion girl. I would easily have chosen sneakers and a comfortable pair of jeans over make-up and skirts. All of that was about to

change when I started working my first job for a Spanish label called

Cimarron. I put on my prettiest smile despite being in pain due to my

sore feet. At the end of the day, I could look forward to a nice amount

of extra pocket money.

Sedcard – what’s that?

“You should send me your sed card”, some over-styled, croc boots wearing dude said to me as I randomly ran into him on the street. Shortly

after he handed out his very own sed card. “Yeah, sure I will” I responded, pretending to be cool. Actually, at that point, I was just wondering what the heck a sed card is. Instead of wearing high heels I had

started focusing on selling them again.

High Heels after all

Almost a year later I was destined to be lucky once more. I was doing

my best, trying to sell the latest Buffalo shoes to a customer, and it

turned out she was actually a recruiter working for one of Düsseldorf’s

most renowned modeling agencies. All it took was a few minutes until I

had her direct phone number and events started unfolding. After a

photo-test-session, I finally got my first official job. I was chosen to

shoot the upcoming Carhartt campaign. Proud and scared at the same

time – this is exactly how I remember feeling when I was entering the

plane to Berlin. I did not realize the whole thing was real until I found

myself in a king size bedroom suite all by myself. Overwhelmed by

loneliness, I picked up the phone to call my boyfriend. I spent the

whole night on the phone (at the expense of the client, of course) because I was so excited, and skipped my compulsory beauty sleep. The

next morning, I knew what make-up artists are for.

Paris – here I come

While my classmates would rack their brains about possible places to

study after graduating, I was looking forward to traveling to Paris, London and Milano. In the meantime, I was aware of what a sed card was

for and even released my own book. The agency I was working for in

Munich sent me from one casting to another all across Europe. One

time, I was traveling to Paris to enter a huge casting for Wella. Actually,

it was a big dream of mine to get the job – if only I hadn’t been position

#178. “I can go back home”, I was thinking while observing those hundreds of other girls that made me think I did not stand a chance. But it

turned out to be different. I ended up getting the job, and until this

day, it is my face that can be found on all Wella “Pure Blonde” boxes

globally – the brightest blond of them all.

Pregnant – so what?

Things were going better than I could have imagined. I was an established face in the ad industry, working for brands such as Mercedes,

Canon, Schwarzkopf, VW, Heine, Otto or doing cover, video and campaign shootings and participating in fashion shows; all of this became

part of my everyday life. Colleagues like Nadja Auermann or Naomi

Campbell, which I had only known from TV shows and magazines before, were now sharing the catwalk with me in front of a 200,000 strong

audience at Düsseldorf’s Königsallee. At my peak I was contracted to

more than just one agency and by then the amount of money I earned

was already more than what I had considered my bonus pocket money

back when I had started. Everything was perfect. At least I thought so,

until I held a positive pregnancy test in my bare hands.

C-Cup and Babymania

“How could this happen?”, my booker asked. I, on the other hand, was

quite happy about my noticeably grown chest and therefore suggested

starring in the upcoming Wonderbra campaign. Well, that actually did

not happen. Anyway, nine exciting months were about to follow. Nine

months full of a diet mainly consisting of hardboiled eggs and ice water.

In July 2003, at the age of 23, I gave birth to my son. Every single day I

am thankful and filled with happiness, because I know I have made the

right decision.

Body back in shape

Eight weeks of strict discipline after delivery, my body was back in

shape and ready for action again. With the support of my family, I was

able to slowly start getting back to work. From that point on, things

were going even better than before.

Germany’s next commercial model

This or something similar could have been printed onto my badge. I

was not running the catwalk for Gucci or Prada in Paris, but my face

was featured on numerous magazines covers and international campaigns. And to be honest, that’s even better, because there’s simply more

money to earn in the commercial business.

2. DIFFERENT TYPES – DIFFERENT VIBES

There are only a few useful websites with the right addresses and names

on the internet. Unfortunately, you only get to know them and judge

whether they are professional or not, once you are already in the business. As a newcomer it is almost impossible to differentiate between

non-professional and professional clients and agencies.

Consequently, it is easy to come across the wrong people and dubious offers. Stay away from all agencies that request money from you in

advance in the first place! If an agency is really interested in you, they

will also invest in you and subsequently send you to the right photographer and organize some test shoots free of charge. Foreign agencies, particularly in the USA, that are really interested, also pay the money for a

work visa. Vice versa, European agencies representing girls from abroad

come up for housing costs, flight costs and test shooting costs. Always.

But here’s the first catch: Most agencies are simply full! Meaning they

already have 20 or more models representing each type of girl in their

files.

Most agencies claim a couple of simple polas (short for “Polaroids”,

which may seem like an antique relic nowadays in the age of digital

photography. However, the term is still used to refer to all kind of selfmade photos, such as portraits or vacation photos) would be sufficient,

but many times that’s how you receive your first rejection! A large, wellknown agency gets up to 200 new applications per day. I was initially

rejected by certain agencies because of such pictures, as well. Later,

much later, when I was able to provide the right material and good references, the same agencies that had rejected me before would even call

me and ask, if they could represent me. First of all, one has to differentiate between the so-called “top models” on the one hand, who run the

fashion shows in Paris and Milan (which are typically 16 year-olds with

size 34) and the photo models on the other hand. The latter ones are far

less known in the general public, but are featured on many Ways catalogs, advertising brochures and TV spots instead. The term “top model”

has long been outdated. The term originates from the 1980s, an era

when there were only a handful of top models, including Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Linda Evangelista, Karen Mulder, Kate Moss,

Cindy Crawford and so on. But times have changed and nowadays you

hardly know the names of the models running for the great designers.

Of course, this isn’t because today's women are less beautiful than the

“top models” from back in the day, but it has long since ceased to be as

popular as it was back then. The big hype for top models is simply over.

Nowadays, most Germans can probably only name Heidi Klum, and

maybe Eva Padberg, when they think of top models. This is mostly due

to both of them having exceptionally good PR agents. According to late

fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, Klum was not even a “top model”. He

used to refer to her as an “advertising girl” instead, since she never ran

any major designer shows. This is also why Heidi faces some criticism

here and there. Nevertheless, Heidi obviously “made it” as a model,

even though not in the typical way like the “top models” of the 1980s

did. But honestly, who cares? The business and its markets are constantly changing, and, in my opinion, everyone has a right to exist. Especially those who decide to choose the road less traveled and dare to

try and create new business ventures, like Heidi did. And opposed to

Karl Lagerfeld's statements, those “advertising girls” running for Victoria’s Secret are referred to as “top models” nowadays because of the increasing popularity. There is no show in the fashion industry that’s more

expensive and more commercial than the Victoria's Secret show. And

guess, who was one of the first ones to run on their catwalk? I think you

already know…

Before I explain the different model types, I would like to tell you a

few honest words about the modeling business. Each model is its own

business company in the long term. Therefore, it is essential to familiar-

ize yourself with topics such as accounting, tax returns and reserve accumulation. I am forced to spend hours on my desk at least once a month

to sort all the receipts and to deliver them to my accountant on time.

There is a lively exchange, not only between me and my tax office, but

also with lawyers specialized in media rights and financial advisors. The

fashion world is not only full of glamor, including invitations to great

events and a lot of money. On the contrary, it requires a high level of

tolerance for frustration - casting marathons, a lot of footslogging and

door-knocking and of course collecting rejections. You forego a structured life. You can never plan much in advance and there are no such

things as holidays and Sundays in the fashion world. You have to be

able to endure hard times as well, when you’re not able to get a job. The

economic crisis knows no pardon and it’s no different in the fashion industry, either. This is why you should always have a plan B up your

sleeve. Make sure your self-confidence is not solely dependent on fashion trends (and the jobs that come and go with them). A passion, such

as studying, family or an interesting hobby/sport is always an advantage.

I don't mean to discourage you, let alone scare you, but you should

be aware that this is a stressful job. It is said that a model must be at

least 1.74 m tall and ideally possess the standard size of 90-60-90 (size

EUR 34 - 36). There are exceptions to the rule, though. While this rule

strictly applies to catwalk models, “catalog models” may sometimes represent larger sizes, as well. The requirements also differ from country to

country. In France and Italy, for example, the runway models are required to have at least size zero (EUR 32), i.e. measurements smaller

than 86-60-88. In Spain, on the other hand, it was decided by law to

no longer let models with a BMI value of less than 18.5 run on the catwalk. There’s an easy work-around however, to bypass this rule and

adding fake boy drinking a lot of water, for instance, before the weighing-in. And in Germany, models under the age of 16 are no longer al-

lowed on the catwalk in general. Therefore, it is now up to you to undergo an honest self-assessment of your person!

I will now introduce you to the different model types:

And please always remember: a natural look, personality and discipline

are the be-all and end-all in the model business. You won’t succeed in

this business lacking ambition and diligence, no matter how pretty your

face is.

RUNWAY MODELS

The typical catwalk model is usually very tall, between 1.77 m and 1.81

m, very young, between 15-22 years, very thin, mostly even smaller

than the “classic” model dimensions 90-60-90. The markets for such

girls are in Paris, Milan, and also the New York Fashion Week.

These girls usually live inside model pensions “on stay” in the cities

mentioned above and do so-called “editorials” (photo series in glossy

magazines). Some of them make it and land on a cover of a well-known

fashion magazine, like Elle, Vogue or Cosmopolitan. One in a thousand

is then chosen by Lagerfeld and Co. and hailed as the “new face” for a

campaign.

And that’s how one girl in a thousand makes a lot of cash.

Paris and Milan may be the stronghold for couture runways; however,

one major problem is how many agencies located there rip off their

models by collecting between 50% in Milan and 70% in Paris from

their girl's loan. This way girls get paid 200 euros for an editorial, or

300 euros for a performance at a renowned fashion show only.

In the past few years, I have encountered numerous girls who work

as catwalk models in said fashion metropolises. Only few of them have

been lucky enough to have made any good experiences. Often enough,

these girls are plain broke and have to run to their agency at the beginning of the week begging for some extra bucks in order to be able to

buy something to eat. Unfortunately, these girls are typically very

young, stranded in a big, strange city, where all the clichés of the industry come together quickly: drugs and extensive party nights. Young and

inexperienced girls are far easier to influence. Claiming that this is

where they would run into their next big client, many girls are encouraged to go to certain type of parties ...

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, both for the models and

for the agencies. But in my experience, this is where most of the clichés

about the model business come from.

Tip:

If you belong to this kind of category, you are probably still very

young and that’s why it’s even more important for you to find

the right agency that is eager to push and build you up.

For this you need a first-class agency, which are commonly located

in Hamburg or Munich, Milan or Paris. Moreover, it should ideally

be an agency that has a strong focus on fashion

(see list “agency recommendations”).

You have to master your running skills on the catwalk perfectly. There is

a TV channel called “Fashion TV” which airs fashion shows from all

over the world all day long - this gives you an impression of how to

“walk”. To prepare for “Editorial Shootings”, buy the latest issues of

high-class magazines like “Elle” or “Vogue” and study the poses you’ll

find in there. It’s best if you practice it in front of the mirror. Look at

everything you can learn from other girls as soon as possible, before and

after your first job!