Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Life Of A Freelance Model

Before modeling I managed multi-million dollar projects for Fortune 500 companies so when it comes to my modeling career I applied my corporate ethics and business management skills to succeed.

My days consist in sending and replying to emails, seeking leads on potential new clients, creating or following up on invoices, running all my social media sites and the best part WORKING. Freelancing is not easy and it's not built for everyone but it works for me. I have invested a lot of years in this industry and met a lot of amazing people that believed in me and helped me along the way. Now this blog is meant to help you in your journey.

As a freelance model I also work with a few agencies that occasionally find me gigs and collect 20% off the rate for their services. Clearly agencies have more leads then me and partnering with a few good agents allows me the opportunity to work with folks that might be hesitant of using a freelance model.

I personally never met an agent that LOVED me or made me their "Favorite" and that is OK because I continue to swim against the current and book amazing and loyal clients independently. Again it is not an easy task but until you find an agent who believes in you I strongly suggest you to try this method because the only person responsible for seeing you shine is God and if this is in His plans He will equip you with all the tools, leads and strength needed to see your dream a reality. 

Read all the past post on this blog and you will be on the right track. Good luck and be great ladies!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

What is a cattle call?

Cattle calls is a mass audition in which a large number of models try out. These castings are filled with models of all sizes, ethnicity, background and experience. This is one of the hardest to book.

Wait times are long and space is limited inside the audition location. Here are some tips to survive a cattle call.

1. Travel lite. Bring ONLY the essentials. But don't forget to pack a small makeup bag to touchup as you approach the front of the line. No matter how long you've been waiting you should look fresh once you approach the front. See post What's in your model bag?

2. Be alert. Usually announcements are done and you might miss something if you too focus on chatting with your friends on line. Remember this is a job interview so leave the "hanging out" until after the audition.

3. Think of packing a pair of flats. It's never cool to stand in heels for a long time. Your feet should be relaxed before your audition.

4. Consider bringing a light snack and a bottle of water. Maybe some nuts or dry fruits. Wait time can exceed over an hours and if you are anything like me I have a hard time doing anything when I am hungry.

5. Get to know the person in front and behind you incase you need a bathroom break.

6. Don't feed into negative thoughts or conversations online or in the waiting room. If you hear it, ignore it or walk away if possible. Worst thing before an audition is a negative or defeated spirit. Sample of negative conversation that I have heard in the past are
  • They already have their favorites.
  • They want tall girls.
  • They want bigger/smaller girls.
Get an invisible ear plug and drain all that BS. Give it your best and God will do the rest. See post Shut the hell up!!!!

7. Once you are approaching the front of the line take out your portfolio book and comp card and put on your heels so you will have the essential ready to be seen by the casting team (unless otherwise noted).

8. Although many casting directors allow regular snap shots I assure you that a comp card is preferred and will set you apart from the amateurs. Be prepared and invest in your craft. See post Photoshoot Time!

9. Be patient and wait for their decision...never ever contact them. This can take sometime or be very quickly. Regardless of the outcome please note that modeling involves more NOs then YESs.

And on to the next one we go.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

"On The Grind” - Essie Golden

When I think of a model hustler I think of this young lady. She demonstrates many of my characteristic when I first started modeling. 

Our next "On The Grind” model is Ms. Essie Golden.

Christina: Have you always wanted to be a Plus Size Model? 

Essie Golden: Yes, I had seen a advertisement with Mia Amber; I wanted to be her. I had never seen a woman with a similar body type look so beautiful. She inspired me so much growing up.

Christina: Do you want to be signed? If so, have you contacted any agencies?

Essie Golden: Yes and no. Agencies have the connections with major brands that I don't have. They can also handle more of the business side and they make sure the models receive the money they're suppose to. On the down side, a lot of signed models don't get any work. They get over looked by their agency and have to find work just like me. In some cases the agency will take a percentage of that money for jobs that you got yourself. 

Christina: How did you feel when you received that first agency NO? 

Essie Golden: You know what, I've never heard no. I just never heard back. I keep pushing and I keep going. 

Christina: Has anyone ever made you feel less of a model because you didn't have an agent? 

Essie Golden: Yes, all the time. I try not to focus on that. I get paid work and that's a blessing. I work hard at trying to be the best model I can be. I'm grateful for the brands who've taken a chance on me. 

Christina: What are some of the brands you have worked with?

Essie Golden: Rue 107, Nakimuli, Essence Magazine,  Tikedi, Lucky 21, Ose Uh-seh, Out of the Corner online boutique and a few others.

Christina: How do you get most of your jobs?  

Essie Golden: I submit my photos to them and ask if they're looking for models or they contact me. 

Christina: Do you model full time? 
If no, what is your other hustle?

Essie Golden: I work a 9-5. I look forward to the day were I am making good money from my dreams.

Christina: If you could use 3 words to describe your “modeling hustle” what would it be?

Essie Golden: Creative, social media savvy (I know more than 3 words), ambitious 

Christina: Who are your model inspirations? 

Essie Golden: Mia Amber, Tara Lynn, Christina Mendez, Denise Bidot, Fluvia Lacerda, Jeanie Ferguson, Liris Crosse, Toccara, and Christina Mendez

Christina: In 5 years where would you like to be? 

Essie Golden: I would love to have a few major campaigns under my belt, commercials, graphic t-shirt line and a successful body positive movement of my own helping women of all shapes and sizes. 

Christina: Any final thoughts for our fellow aspiring and professional model on the grind? 

Essie Golden: Don't be afraid of the word no and don't get scared from those stagnant moments. The work will come stay focused, positive and pray as much as you can.

Learn more about Essie and follow her hustle:
Instagram: Goldenlady25
Twitter: Goldenlady_25
Tumblr: Goldenlady25

Monday, November 18, 2013

Shut the hell up!!!!


The title is harsh but in this industry you need to learn to keep your mouth shut and most of the time your opinions to yourself.

I been in the industry for over 8 years and I must say my mouth has cause me friendships, gigs and tarnish relationships. Like they say you learn from your mistakes and I hope you learn from mines too. Below are some examples;

  • This has happen to me a lot. When at a shoot or fashion show the designer or the stylist could be clueless on what looks good on your body type and insist on pairing you with a dress that makes you look like Sponge Bob Square Pants. As much as you want to tell him or her to please quit their job and seek another profession you need to politely smile and sell that muumuu to the world. IF they ask, I suggest you to steer lightly and either say "yes" or if you feel their like they can take it you can say "I usually wear something to show my waist...because it make me look skinner BUT if you like it I LOVE it." Remember designers are very very sensitive about their pieces so I rather just say YES to avoid a designer meltdown. A job is a job and we won't like them all. Simply give it your all and do the best you can.

  • In this industry you will find a handful of models that will act like your friends and truly genuine about that. Be very very careful what you say and who you say it too. I have fail in this department many times. Some folks will trash talk someone with you and then repeat the story to them minus their comments. As cool as you might think they are say less and smile more.  Keep industry friend conversation away from industry topics.

  • I am strong believer that what is meant for you is for you but I have notice that I have tweeted, Facebook or IG about a new potential client and other models are quick to jump on my job and at times sweep the gig right out of my hand. I know it's the nature of the business so from now on I only talk about it if I am on set or if I have a signed contract. I share potential gigs and clients with many models but taking a gig before I shoot it is cold blooded and happens more then you think so be careful ladies.

  • Acting biter or posting stuff on social media sites about not booking a gig or losing a client is very unprofessional. In this industry you will get 96% NO and 4% YES so acting like a 2yr old child will turn off potential clients. For every gig you don't get God has lined up many more. Change your attitude and keep it moving. 

Your journey is based on every accomplishment, every success, every mistake, and every lesson so have no worries, dust yourself off and keep on working.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

"On The Grind” - Jeannie Ferguson:

Amazing things come in small package and this 5'3 curvy diva is one of the best in the industry.
Ms. Jeannie Ferguson has knocked down many barriers and overcame tremendoous obstcles in a land of glamazons. Ladies, read her story and be inspired.

Christina: How long have you been a plus size model?

Jeannie Ferguson: I've been a plus model for 7 years professionally and 3 years aspiring.

Christina: Have you ever been signed exclusively to a modeling agency? Is so, which one?

Jeannie Ferguson: I've never been signed exclusively, however I was signed to MSA many, many moons ago. LOL! Nothing ever came out of me being signed, since there was no market for Petite Plus. Now I am signed to True Model Management for Fit.

Christina: Name some of the modeling assignments you have booked on your own?

Jeannie Ferguson: BET's Rip The Runway, The Slim & Toned Legging Infomercial, TLC Show Big Brooklyn Style, Glamour Magazine, FFFWK, NJFFFWK just to name a few. I've truly been blessed to work and not have an agent.

Christina: Other than the non-exclusive agencies you work with how do you get most of your jobs?

Jeannie Ferguson: I get most of my jobs thru word of mouth of clients, submitting to the companies directly and "The Sharing is Caring" created by the 1 and only Christina Mendez.

Christina: Do you model full time? If no, what is your other hustle?

Jeannie Ferguson:  At this time, I do not model fulltime. I am a Pre-Production manger.

Christina: You are a well known model with an amazing following. How did you achieve your name recognition and fan base?

Jeannie Ferguson: I achieved the recognition by treating others the way I want to be treated. I too was an aspiring model at a time and I know how it is to have some of the big names look down there nose at you...huh some of them still do. But, I remain as humble and as grateful as possible.

Christina: As a woman who is 5’3 have you ever felt discouraged to pursue a career in the industry?

Jeannie Ferguson: Yes! At a time I was constantly told no because I was too short or I am not a real model because of my look and height. It can be very, very depressing.

Christina: On a previous post I did titled “Dry Spell” I highlight the “Walk This Way” workshop you created. How did that come about?

Jeannie Ferguson:  I was always asked by some of the aspiring models, how can I walk like you or can you show me how to walk with confidence. I fought with myself and consulted with my dear friend Mia Amber and "The Walk This Way with Confidence Class" was created. PLEASE NOTE I LOOOOVE TEACHING MY CLASS.

Christina: If you could use 3 words to describe your “modeling hustle” what would it be?

Jeannie Ferguson: Confident, Strong and Neverending.

Christina: Any final thoughts for our fellow aspiring and professional model on the grind?

Jeannie Ferguson: Keep on keeping on. Don't give up because someone tells you no. Research and study the ways of the industry and don't feel like your the best. Humility is key!
Follow her on Facebook

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Photoshoot Time!

As a model one of the most important things to have are quality portfolio pictures. The quality of your pictures will determine the type of work you will book. We all heard the saying "You get what you paid for..." and this is true when it comes to your pictures. I still book jobs from some of my timeless quality pictures that were shot over 6 years ago.

I recommend that aspiring models test with a few photographers or with your friends just to practice and review how certain poses, makeup and clothing looks on camera before you spend the big bucks. When you feel ready to get serious about your craft you will need to save up to shoot with one of the top dogs in the industry.

When it comes to creating pictures that will get you booked and stand the test of time you will need to invest in the ultimate "Dream Team". What's a dream team? A killer makeup artist, hair stylist, fashion stylist, photographer and retoucher. Everyone in the team is equally as important. If you attempt to cut corners you will see the affects in the final product.

Most photographers will tell you "I can shoot plus size models." but the truth is that shooting us is a skill and not all photographers know how to properly capture our curves. I listed just a few of the extraordinary photographers in the plus size industry. The price ranges for their services are between $500-$900. Contact them directly for prices and inquire about any upcoming sales or promotions.


Lucas Pictures - (New York based) 


Stanley Desbas - (New York based)


Nikki Gomez - (New York based)


Inez Lewis - (Los Angeles based)


Captured by Chelzea - (Canada based)


Michael Anthony Hermogeno - (Los Angeles based)


Enrique Vega Photography - (New York based)


 (Ask about their travel plans, they all travel frequently.)

Professional Hair and Makeup are so important at a shoot and need to be selected wisely. I usually start by asking the photographer who he/she recommends. Sometimes the photographer has a rate that includes hair and makeup. But, remember this is YOUR shoot so make sure you review samples of the makeup/hair stylists work before you give the final OK to use them. Models, you can be selective this is a big financial investment and you are the boss of this shoot. Also be prepared to hire a person for hair and a person for makeup. Very few do both task flawlessly. The price range for a makeup artist and hairstylist is $200+ each. After working in the industry for so many years I have my go to glam squad.


Tara Taylor - Makeup Artist Only (NY Based)


Makeup By Johanna Javier - Makeup and Hair (NY Based) 


Brown Candy Design - Makeup and Hair (NY Based)


 (Ask about their travel plans, they all travel frequently.)

Fashion Stylist is one piece that I have tried to cut off my budget and I must say the stress of putting things together is so overwhelming that I regretted not having one. I consider myself a fashionista and I love to shop but when it comes to shopping for a shoot I feel so much pressure to look great that I become useless. Before selecting a stylist I would recommend asking the photographer. Based on your budget and theme he/she will be able to recommend someone who they've worked with before. Again check out their work before you agree to book them. The price range for a fashion stylist various so much but be prepared to pay over $300. The stylist on set will be responsible for making sure you look great throughout the shoot. Some will shop with you. Some will raid your closet and see what you have that might work for the shoot and others might bring amazing stuff from designers and department stores. Here are some great ones to consider.

Spry Lee Scott - (NY/LA Based)


Meaghan O'Connor - (NY Based)


Steffany Allen - (NY Based)


Reah Norman - (LA Based)

 (Ask about their travel plans, they all travel frequently.)


After the shoot is over the photographer will usually email you a link to all your pictures or mail you a disk...either way you need to get them cleaned up by a retoucher before they become your "money makers". No matter how pretty you think the picture is don't ever release without cleaning up any imperfections or correcting lighting. Most photographers include 1 retouched picture per look so make sure you inquire about that when you book your photographer. Another model recently introduce me to an awesome website; They are affordable, quick and willing to make changes until you are happy with the image.


Monday, October 7, 2013

"On The Grind” - Asia Mone’t

"On The Grind” spotlights non-exclusive agency models that continue to defy the odds and make their mark on the plus modeling industry. Being a working plus model I understand the value of having a modeling agency but I am here to let you know that if you currently do not have one you can still be successful and accomplish your dream. I am a prime example of that and every month I will bring you my fellow models who are on their grind.

Our first spotlight model is Ms. Asia Mone’t. She was one of the first models I saw with a professional website when I first came into the industry in 1996. Asia Mone’t has been seen in national campaigns for Plus Retailer Ashley Stewart and she has walked the runway for Full Figured Fashion Week in New York City. Asia was the first Plus Size Model to appear in a campaign for intimates brand Le Mystere. You have also seen her in the Style Network’s hit reality show, “Glam Fairy,” BET's "Rip the Runway Model Search ", Inside Edition, Extra TV, The Today Show, Essence, Glamour and the list goes on. I have always admired her drive and professionalism.

Meet the Fabulous Asia Monet....


Christina: Have you always wanted to be a Plus Size Model?

Asia Monet: Nope.. To even dream to be a model was so farfetched to me.

Christina: Are you currently signed exclusively to an agency?

Asia Monet: I am not signed exclusively to one agency, but I do freelance with a couple.

Christina: Do you want to be signed? If so, have you contacted any agencies?

Asia Monet: At this stage of my career I don’t desire to be exclusive. Opportunities come through different agencies and directly to me.

Christina: How did you feel when you received that first agency NO?

Asia Monet: For me the first no I received came with a heavy feeling of rejection. A feeling of not being good enough to be in this industry. But as time went on "No" to me became "Not at this time”.

Christina: Has anyone ever made you feel less of a model because you didn't have an agent?

Asia Monet: Yes I have encountered the term "Agency Standard Model" with gives off the implication that if you didn't have an agent, you didn't live up to a certain standard.

Christina: What are some of the brands you have worked with?

Asia Monet: I have worked with Ashley Stewart, LeMystere, and Wacoal to name a few.

Christina: How do you get most of your jobs?

Asia Monet: At this stage of my modeling career most of jobs are from referrals and the agencies. In the beginning I sourced clients I thought I would be a good fit for. I answered casting calls on the web like from Craig's list and model network sites.

Christina: Do you model full time? If no, what is your other hustle?

Asia Monet: Yes my regular clients consist mostly of fit work. But I also design web sites for other creative professionals.

Christina: If you could use 3 words to describe your “modeling hustle” what would it be?

Asia Monet: My Model Hustle is Strategic, Purposeful and Preparatory.

Christina: Who are your model inspirations?

Asia Monet: I am inspired by fellow model hustlers but the one who I admire both as a Model and Business Mogul is Tyra Banks. She has built an empire stemming from her modeling career.

Christina: In 5 years where would you like to be?

Asia Monet: In 5 years I hope that I will be reaping the benefits of my sacrifice and grind in this industry with my own TV Show, Intimates Line, and a Best Selling Book :)

Christina: Any final thoughts for our fellow aspiring and professional model on the grind?

Asia Monet: Always prepare yourself with knowledge of your craft and the industry. When you understand that your Grind is a Business and treat it as such, there will be no limits to where you can go.