Most of these women who
now earn thousands of dollars per month on YouTube
have been at it since ’09, so this doesn’t happen
overnight. But what’s cool about this is the degree
of autonomy you have over your work schedule and the
fact that you are making money doing what you like to
do. Often times these women have a website as well
that is quite successful, in addition to Twitter and
Tumblr sites. These are all synergistically tied
together so each is bringing in money while helping
to promote the other sites.
If you think you might want to do this, catering specifically to the concerns of curvier models and urban modeling, you should watch a few of the experts in action first. Good luck!
Haulers to check out
-- Juicystar07: www.youtube.com/user/juicystar07
-- Macbarbie07: www.youtube.com/user/Macbarbie07
First, it’s important to
realize that the Golden Age of Urban Modeling is
over. It happened about five years ago and a number
of factors coincided to end it. In 2005, a top urban
model might make $5,000 to host a party, $5,000 a
month on her website, and $1,500 to be the lead in a
music video. Nowadays a model is lucky if she gets
$1,000 to host a party, brings in $1,000 a month on
her membership-based website, or makes $500 to be a
lead in a music video. Even at its peak, urban
modeling was never really intended to be the
sole source of a woman’s income, but
more so to supplement it. That’s because the work is
too sporadic to count on for consistent income.
So on paper, urban modeling looks like a pretty bad proposition from a financial perspective. But there are a number of “fringe benefits” that can’t be monetarily quantified and make it more palatable. (That’s the subject for a different blog post.) Also, once you become well known, sometimes you’ll get a little bonus. A job that comes along and seemingly makes it all worthwhile. In 2008, Bria was in an Xbox game entitled “Don King Presents: Prizefighter.” Bria played herself as a reward to players that boxed their way to a certain level. I personally attended the recording session at Smashbox Studios here in Los Angeles when Bria taped this. She made $1,700 and earned enough credit to join SAG for four hours of work, which consisted of her reading a few lines of dialogue and taking some photos so that a CGI version of her could be created. (There are actresses out there struggling who don’t have enough credits to enter SAG.) That was one of those “cherry on top” jobs that happens every so often for urban models who are consistent performers.
Listed below are some general ranges of what a fairly successful urban model like Bria Myles can make from certain endeavors:
$0 - $1000
(A lot of models host parties for free to get exposure. Few make more than a $1,000 for an appearance)
Lead ($300 - $500); Featured ($150 - $300)
$100 - $200 (the BlackMen SSX issues are rumored to pay up to $4,000, but those are far and few between these days)
Membership Based Website:
$500 - $1,000 per month
These are standard terms in any model release worthy of being signed. To see a standard model release Click Here
“With the oversaturation of the market I don’t see many people getting discovered these days. So how does a determined lady go about taking her career from the amateur level to actually working without pulling a Cubana Lust if you know what I mean.”
Another way to set
yourself apart from the crowd is through your photos.
If everybody else is shooting glam in the studio,
take natural light shots at the beach. If everybody
else is oiled down in a thong, wear a one piece. Your
styling also plays a part in this. Amber
Rose stood out because she had a blonde buzz
cut. Now she’s Kanye’s girlfriend.
Finally, you’ve got to buck up and get ready for the long haul. It simply isn’t going to happen overnight for most girls these days, and especially the ones who want to maintain their integrity. But if you understand that going in, you won’t be discouraged. Just remember, before there was urban modeling, women of color who wanted to model simply got an agent and went out on castings for things like TJ Maxx catalogs and McDonalds commercials and continued to improve themselves through strict diet, exercise, speech and acting classes, etc. -- none of which are degrading -- until something hit. That's the traditional way to break into the market, and it still works.
A Note Regarding Escorts: Personally, I’m not a fan of escorts – especially boyfriends – on photo shoots. Still, I understand the occasional necessity for them. Again, meeting with/speaking to the photographer beforehand will go a long way toward telling you whether an escort will be necessary. You should also check the photographer's references. If you meet with the fotog and still determine you need an escort, you probably shouldn’t be shooting with them. Also, keep in mind that if you’re partaking in a professional photo session, there will also be a hair person, a make-up artist, and possibly even a stylist present on the shoot with you. With that said, model comfort and safety are paramount on a photo shoot. If having a friend with you will help, the photographer shouldn’t have a problem with it as long as it does not interfere with the model-photographer dynamic.
The other thing I see a
lot is models who will only shoot with a photographer
another hot model has shot with. There's nothing
wrong with working through the referral system, but
don't turn away a good photographer that wants to
shoot with you just because he hasn't just shot with
Melyssa Ford. Use common sense about this. If the
unknown photographer is talented and dying to shoot
with you, chances are he will go the extra mile to
make things work out because he's looking to attract
interest in his work through shooting with you. The
flavor-of-the-month photographer, on the other hand,
is more likely to put you on hold and take forever.
Remember, long lulls between photo shoots will cause
people to lose interest in you, and often it never
returns to the level it was before you disappeared
from the scene.
Model Summer Walker is a good example of both the negative and positive examples I'm referring to. When Summer first hit the market in 2004, about 5-6 sets of photos were produced of her. She also shot with XXL and Smooth. But for a long time after her initial heat wave, no new photos of Summer hit the net. Then she shot with Zigga Zagga Productions. Those are some the best independently produced photos of an urban model I've ever seen. But it may have been too little too late. I'm convinced the lack of a consistent stream of photos of Summer significantly reduced her popularity, because the interest was there.
I'm not saying it's easy
to produce your own shoots, but it can be done
because I've seen other models do it successfully.
The days of just being pretty and getting ahead in
this market are over. Today's urban model has to be
as equal parts business savvy and attractive.
The majority of assignments made for clients of an agency (a client is the party that requires the model) are negotiated with the agency's booker. Depending upon agency policy, an "advance" against the payment for services rendered is often issued to the model, contingent upon the model's successful performance of the assignment and tendering of necessary paper-work (the ubiquitous "voucher") to the agency.The voucher is a document executed by the client upon completion of the assignment that confirms the model's performance. The model is responsible for delivering the voucher to the agency, usually within 24 hours; the agency uses this to invoice the client. Advances against earnings, if any, paid to the model by the agency require strict compliance with voucher procedures and may be recouped before models are paid commissions. Significantly, the voucher may also serve to assign all of the model's interest in or rights to the photographic images to the client or, alternatively, may contain other restrictions on use.