By Raphael Kiefer | @raphakiefer on Instagram
Models who have been in the industry long enough, know how quickly fortunes can change. The transition from being called “HOT” to “who are you again?” happens faster than anyone can imagine. Models come and models go—every day. This is the brutal nature of what may seem like a dream career to outsiders.
Social media and its short attention span is a big reason for this and it doesn’t help that the Philippines has been experiencing a large influx of fly-in models over the last few years. They are those who are here just long enough to book jobs but not long enough for anyone to remember their names. Clients now have “fresh faces” to choose from every few weeks and while this fact makes it harder for the local models to compete, it also presents a great opportunity to be world-class. It is only in the face of adversity that we reveal our true inner competitive spirit.
In my 12-year modeling career, I have found that there are two kinds of models in the Philippine setting: Those who have it, and those who don’t. The usual reaction I get when I say this, is that I may have over simplified the whole scenario but allow me to explain.
Getting “discovered” is the easy part. A model may just have been scouted by an agent, or perhaps a friend or a family member pointed the way. Some models joined a competition, others just got lucky. Whatever it was that may have brought the individual through the door, it is what happens after that separates the ‘haves’ from the ‘have-nots’. And contrary to popular belief, our physical attributes do not guarantee a model's success or doom.
Rather, it is the same familiar traits that define a successful career in any industry:
2. Hard work
What aspiring models need to understand is that you don’t get to the top overnight. And even if you do, it is very easy to fall back down to the bottom. One has to carefully build the foundations for a long career such as: A good reputation, a reliable network, connections, a portfolio, etc. And yet for even the most successful, constant evolution is a requirement or the next fresh face will take his/her place faster than you can say, “What am I doing wrong?”.
It is in these details that an organization such as PMAP is valuable, especially for young models. PMAP has multiple generations of top models going back to 1987 who continue to mentor the new generation. Discipline, professionalism, and connections are just a few things that the association instills in its members. Trust me, it helps to have such a powerful family-like structure that will not only encourage and cheer you on, but also call you out on your mistakes.
This way, models are not only given a grand opportunity, but are also taught how to make this a long and successful career that goes way beyond the prime years.
Longevity is never guaranteed in any industry, especially one as fleeting as this. At the end of the day, this is an individual effort. But it certainly gets easier with a little help from your friends.
PMAP Talks is the official Lifestyle column of the Professional Models Association of the Philippines. Visit their website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
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Banner Photograph from Raphael Kiefer