Actors spend so much of their time waiting for auditions, waiting to hear from their agents, and wondering when their next job is. It’s a reality of the industry. But if you’re anything like the vast majority out there now, you also know that it is very important that you can do more, not less. Gone are the days when you could just sit and wait for the phone to ring. Now we see actors who produce, actors who write their own work, and even actors who direct. And why not. They’re all viable income streams that help reduce the downtime, and offer alternatives to waiting for the phone and wondering if you can afford that extra latte this week.
One of the other actor combos that is also very popular is actors who model. It seems like an obvious solution, but it’s one that often isn’t considered, even when the actor is rather blue-steel good looking, and would look great commercially on paper or an advert.
If you’re an actor but don’t model, you could be missing out. As an actor, you have the skills Casting Directors and brands are looking for in the commercial modelling sector. As a result, commercial modelling can be highly lucrative for actors, and your income will tend to be more consistent than acting. Plus, it’s another way to elevate your profile and get discovered for more acting opportunities – helping you grow your acting career.
Ardi Mejzini & Scott Watson both We Are Models Members – Actors Turned Commercial Models.
You must be familiar with at least a dozen models off the top of your head who’ve turned from modeling to acting, and hugely enjoyed the mix. Right now I’m thinking of Cara Delevingne, Halle Berry, Charlize Theron, Cameron Diaz, Sharon Stone, and Brook Shields, and that’s just the girls (don’t even get me started on all the boys out there too).
At We Are Models, we’ve had dozens of models get scouted by an acting agent while working on commercial modelling jobs – many of which have had no acting background. You may already get sent to the odd commercial casting as it is, but if this is something you want to pursue seriously, we would recommend getting a commercial modelling agent. It could be the perfect supplement to your acting career…
But where do I start?
The ‘model/actor’ market is one every casting director wants to tap into, because a great model needs to be able to act. We had Mark Summers with us for our latest We Are Models workshop and he confirmed the same: there’s a huge amount of crossover between acting and modelling and casting directors love people who can do both. As a commercial model, you’re playing a part; bringing a brief to life. Obviously for actors, this comes naturally!
1. Agents: To start booking work as a commercial model, you’re going to need an agent and you’re going to need some images to serve as the start of your model portfolio. A model portfolio should do what your showreel does, but in photo-form. That is, it needs to show what you can do.
2. Your portfolio: Believability is key. You need to understand your look – which means understanding which sorts of briefs you’d realistically be considered for. Your model portfolio should demonstrate your suitability for these briefs, and show as much versatility as possible because every brief is different. It stands to reason that the more versatile you can be, the more opportunities you’re likely to get. It’s critical to demonstrate commercial awareness, because that’s how you’re going to get booked for commercial modelling work.
3. The right people: Once you’ve built your model portfolio, the next piece of the puzzle is getting it in front of the right people. We always recommend that you sign to a modelling agency as well as your acting agency, as you’ll be exposed to more opportunities and get booked for more work. There are hundreds of modelling agencies out there though, and it’s important to get your model portfolio in front of the right agencies for your look if you want to get signed and booked for work.
In a nutshell, that’s what We Are Models help with. We’ll define your look, develop your USPs and then work with you to build a portfolio that markets you in the right way. We’ll tell you which agencies are most suitable for you, and give you any guidance you need on the path to getting signed.
It’s a process that’s been proven to work, time and time again. For example, Ewa Golan first came to us after six years of unsuccessful applications, and within three months we’d helped her sign to 3 top modelling agencies, go to 10 castings and book 3 lucrative jobs (Read Ewa’s Story). Or Simon Bond, who in his 40’s went from part-time commercial model, to modelling full time, signing with an acting agent and appearing in four blockbusters in the last 6 months (Simon’s Story). Or the Ibrahim family, who’re now signed to 21 agencies between them and are booking high-profile commercial modelling work with huge international brands (The Ibrahim’s Story).
Simon Bond, Professional Model & Actor, starred in four blockbusters in the last 6 months.
We have no shortage of success stories, because becoming a successful commercial model isn’t about luck. It’s about getting in front of the right people with the right portfolio, and that’s where We Are Models come in. If you’re interested in getting booked for commercial modelling work, get in touch and our team will be happy to help.
Becoming a Commercial Model – FAQs
Should I sign to a commercial modelling agent as well as my acting agent?
Yes! You should have different agents for different things, in order to maximise your opportunities and get booked for more work. There are many different types of commercial modelling agencies too, so depending on the type of model you are and how versatile you are, you might sign to multiple modelling agencies.
But my acting agent sends me to commercials anyway…
Acting agencies might get some commercial castings, but they’re only going to get a small percentage of what’s out there. Casting directors will be looking for experienced model-actors not just actors, so they’re much more likely to send briefs to modelling agencies. There is no disadvantage to signing to multiple agencies – and doing so gives you exposure to much more work.
I’m signed to a commercial modelling agency but I’m not getting much work?
The work you get will depend on your model portfolio – you’re only as good as your images! More than a third of models get consistent, regular work. As an actor, you have a head start because you already have the skills casting directors want to see – so there’s no reason you shouldn’t be in that third if your images are right. If you’re not getting work, the problem is likely your model portfolio: what’s your look? Are you showing versatility? Are your images believable? Are you marketing yourself in the right way? Are you selling yourself to the best of your ability? Are you getting your portfolio in front of the right people? Your model portfolio is your passport to success – if it’s not on the money, you won’t be making money.
What can I make as a commercial model?
As a featured commercial model, you will get a basic studio fee which is your daily rate. This is normally between £250 – £400. If your face is shown in an advert, you will also get a buyout which will depend on usage. This can be thousands.
What else can I do to grow my modelling and acting career?
The big one is social media. Social is empowering for models and actors, because it allows you to build your profile and grow your influence. By increasing your brand value, you make it more likely you’ll be discovered and booked for work – because brands want to tap into the influence you command.
Why should I get in touch with We Are Models?
Hopefully this should be a no brainer! We have years’ of experience in the modelling industry and we know exactly how to help you grow your career. We give you the expertise, awareness and confidence you need to maximise your opportunities – why wouldn’t you get in touch?!