Tracy had all eyes on her, and what did she do with her fantastic, money-making opportunity? Nothing.
Sure, she sells a few prints & gets a likes… but it’s not the model’s salary she dreamed of. She still has to work a job and squeeze modeling in on the side. It was supposed to be glamorous, but Tracy’s tired, and has to hide her dark circles.
Thing is, she has a big fanbase. People are watching her.
But what does she give these hungry eyes? A few pretty pics? Her social media is mostly her views on politics, cash, and creepers. And if people aren’t interested in that, they bounce.
She doesn’t have a website, or a way to subscribe, and rarely works with anyone noteworthy. Tracy squanders the attention her modeling gets her, and it breaks my heart.
Attention fuels things. Attention leads to cash. Attention’s is a valuable currency by itself, and models get tons of it. Tracy got tons of it, ’cause her confident, natural beauty is valuable.
Beauty’s not some shallow thing, either, it’s a primal force of nature.
Sunsets. Flowers. Models. Things blessed with beauty are compel our attention. And for someone like me, selective with attention, it feels great to collab with an attention-getting model. And there was a time when I’d jumped at the chance to work with Tracy, but she didn’t have the ambition to truly ryze.
So when she recently asked “How come J-Ryze isn’t my social media manager?”
I just smiled and added her to the list of models I’ve almost worked with. I’m picky. I have high standards. I need to be around people who’re aware of their potential and realize their value.
It may sound crazy but, gimme models who wanna change the world.
If only they’d express themselves better. You know what I mean– If you’re here, you know you can be better. Being better is how a model realizes their potential.
For example, most models post on instagram or snapchat. They build a portfolio. They practice make-up. And that’s great and all, but it’s the bare minimum. It’s common. It’s what average models do. They’re just tip of the iceberg ways to express beauty.
Beyonce isn’t average though. She uses her beauty to make a huge impact in the world. She turned it up. She practiced and became a better dancer, singer, actress. She developed a clear style, collab’d with fashion designers and straight-up aimed higher.
There’s lots of gorgeous people around, but what do they do with their looks? And why would I avoid ‘Tracy the Model’ when she approached me?
‘Cause beauty needs to be backed up by generosity, open-mindedness, and purpose.
And Tracy disqualified herself from that a long time ago by not showing love to fans. Specifically one fan… me. Lol.
Over the years I’d posted a number of kind things on Tracy’s facebook, far beyond the standard “uhh, you’re hot.” — No response. I’d purchased one of her Etsy sets and left glowing praise in the purchase notes — No response. I’d created beautiful artwork inspired by one of her photos. She said “I’d love to see it!” I said “What’s your email?” and then — No response.
I guess Tracy didn’t see my real value as a fan… but she sure does now.
See, months later, Tracy found an advice-piece for models I’d written on over SuicideGirls, and suddenly she was tagging my name in her ‘hiring social media manager’ posts.
Yep, after ignoring all my contributions to her platform, now she was hungry to hire me, which I’d actually be open to, except my value’s so much higher than being a ‘social manager.’
And Tracy would know that if she’d looked into me more. I was a loyal fan who engaged with her for years, happy to volunteer my services if she’d just thrown me a bit of love. But I eventually gave up discouraged, and now she’s too late.
But it’s okay, it’s all love. Tracy’s awesome, and she’ll connect with the right peeps for her. Maybe we’re not a fit, or maybe it’s a timing thing and we’ll collab later when moods change.
Orrrrr… maybe immature facebook models aren’t where I should be looking to help out in the first place.
I have responsibility too.
Where were the models with ambition? Where were the models who aimed higher, helped more, loved deeper and … made money?
I went back to ModelMayhem, swung by SuicideGirls, and explored Zivity, and most of their community’s focus was so, well, low-impact.
Few models were truly changing the world. Few gave society something special. Most were focused on questions like:
‘Am I model material?’
‘How much is too much skin?’
‘How do I find good photographers?’
Which is important, sure, but I want peeps who are digging deeper and making a bigger splash, especially in fields like modeling that are so ready for change. Downplayed industries like eSports, law, and modeling have tons of room to ryze.
I believe models can make fuckloads of money, and I hoped Tracy would be a model who ‘got it.’ Well, maybe someday. At the time I was unable to fully reach her, but I’m writing this to reach others.
So this post goes out to models who really wanna ryze.
Models can grow empires. And I know it sounds cliche, but more models need to get this… it’s done through love.
A CEO serving customers, a band hyping audiences, a model regaling viewers— it’s all love. It’s all passionate peeps giving a great experience to their fans. It’s people serving people.
Models serve up beauty, attract attention, and spread messages. They can arouse or soothe, or anything in between. The more love a model puts into her art & her community, the better she’ll do.
And there’s more powerful ways to do that than fiddling with details like ‘should I have an escort?’
So, with that in mind, here’s my tips for modeling that matters, means something, and makes money.
Picture this: Tracy pours her heart into the wardrobe, concept, and poses for her latest shoot. Her photog goes the extra-mile with lighting, make-up, and editing. They invest so much into the shoot, hoping to share Tracy’s beauty with the world.
She posts the set and it gets almost zero traction. Ouch. I feel her pain. Why? ‘Cause making the photos are just the beginning. They’ve gotta be presented right. The real trick is in serving up the main course.
The entire viewer-experience is important, NOT just the photo.
You’ve gotta make things easy & fun for your fans.
Serve up gorgeous photos, yes, but if I can’t find them in my feed easily, get updates on your events, or interact with you, it’s a lame experience. And lame experiences won’t keep me loyal, and won’t make me feel that you deserve my cash.
Here’s some ways you can serve up your art well:
This stuff matters, it effects the fan experience, and it’s all beyond the photos. So go beyond those, and then… go beyond yourself.
Your looks are magnetic, so you should probably be teaming up with others. But make sure you’re extra-attractive to talent, first. The second you lend your modeling to a company, person, or cause, you’re increasing your value and gaining reach from others’ networks.
They’ll brag about your involvement and their people are gonna have eyes on you. The bigger player you collaborate with, the biggr results you’ll likely have.
Thinking about partnering up with:
The trick to attracting talent is to offer clear value. It’s like, a universal law — bring value to your relationships & they grow.
A beautiful model can easily get volunteers on her team if she approaches it properly.
In Tracy’s story, I was approached basically like this: “Work with me? #giggle”
Eesh. I appreciate the thought, but that’s a throwaway line with no effort put into it. It’s the same as a guy hitting your instagram and writing “Will you marry me?”
Compare it to this:
“Hi J-Ryze! I found you through your tattoo article, which I loved! I’ve an opportunity I feel would help us both. It’s part of my upcoming #BeautysNotASize campaign. I have 9,000 followers to expose your work to and though proceeds are going to charity, I’ve set aside a budget, if we can work something out. Please let me know, and here’s a high-res photo from my portfolio to use for whatever you want. Looking forward to talking with you.”
You get people on board by writing from the heart. Put love into it. Aim to help the person you’re writing to. Look how this paragraph is jam-packed with value, it shows that the writer:
A. Stands for something. (“#BeautysNotASize”)
B. Offers something. (“I have 9,000 followers to expose your work to.”)
C. Shows respect. (“I have a small budget for you.”)
D. Includes a gift. (“Here’s a high-res photo from my portfolio to use.”)
Learn how to setup collabs. Practice reaching out to people. Grow your modeling empire.
But knowing how to approach and reach out isn’t enough…
Be a light for influencers. Let’s say you wanna work with a big name photographer, get into a prominent magazine, or collab with another successful model. It’s way easier to connect with them, once their aware of you. So how to make them aware?
Simple, make a difference. Put in the sweat. It’s not about how you can get them to notice you, it’s about how you can be a noticeable benefit to their lives. People notice beneficial things, especially if they happen more than once.
So you go to their channels, you help their community, you make an impact. It’s not an instant-fix, it takes actual energy and love. You have to care.
Let’s take working with Mike Prado as an example, huge glamour photog, he gets tons of comments.
So… he likely won’t notice you if you contribute a single, solitary comment.
But he will notice if your name and avatar keeps coming up. He will notice if other Prado-community-members he respects are thanking you for your contributions. He will notice if you answer a question he asks his audience.
Don’t be a timid or lazy model who says “Hey Mike, let’s work together” and that’s it. Get involved and make an impact. Challenge yourself to leave X number of truly helpful comments for your targeted influencer. Light up their channels.
And to do this, you really gotta bring your A-game, which means…
Note: Most models need #realtalk on entrepreneurship, so I’ll link vids from Evan here & there through the article.
Being unique is easy, but can seem scary. Discovering ourselves is a lifelong journey, but showing off your uniqueness —even a bit— brings clear results.
In a noisy world filled with so many models, a clear difference is powerful. Not fitting in is powerful. It’s how you emerge from the crowd and create your own audience.
Polarize people, shock ’em a bit, wake ’em up, stand for something.
Think about the bands, movies, and clothes you enjoy— chances are they have some very unique traits. They don’t blend in with the boring noise. They are clear and focused in their content, their offerings, their style.
It just makes sense. People like unique stuff. They connect with brands bold enough to own their shit. When we embrace our uniqueness and turn up the volume on it, we become more magnetic, easier to love.
Here’s 8 models who made their uniqueness work for them.
What hook suits you? What can you ‘own’, what can you love, that raises you up above the ‘average’ model? What makes you a bit more unique?
To the right is one more bonus I was sparked to include. Mariah, is the first hijab model to be featured in an H&M ad, and got ‘discovered’ in part through her active, high-quality instagram account. (Thanks Jen!)
Turn ‘flaws’ into fame.
Ashley, Kanya, Maddy and the others above all owned their unique ‘flaws’ and turned ’em into features which propelled them to fame.
Now, you don’t have to be as extreme as all that, but you’re unique. You are. Maybe you’re a model who loves dolls, so… show it off. Maybe you love salsa music, use that. Maybe you’re well-traveled, leverage it. Maybe you love all three, so be…
SalsaDoll, The International Supermodel.
It’ll get attention and attract an audience who appreciates those things as well. And once the buzz starts, it’ll spread outside that core group of loyal fans.
Don’t blend in as yet another fashionably-dressed (or undressed) body in a sea of beauty. Stand out. Yes, it’s scary, but it’s easy. It’s easy to share what you love and who you are. You just have to own it. Show off your quirks, flaws, and loves. Embrace the life you’ve been given, no matter how weird.
And hey, if you’re already doing it, there’s still ways to turn up the volume. So go for it.
Models can make mad cash. Really. Honest. There’s many ways to do it, but they all come down to one thing… consistently, passionately, providing value.
Let’s look at one of my fave models, Boston-native, Ashley Alexiss. I don’t know her actual earnings (but she recently bought her Mom a car), and it’s easy to spot her revenue streams. Ashley:
And the best part? She’s indie, her own boss, an entrepreneur. She’s not even signed to an agency, but she still makes a mark and helps people enjoy life more.
As far as I know, here’s some revenue options Ash doesn’t do:
As time goes on she may expand into music videos, live performance, or merch, like figurines.
Surprisingly, Ms. Alexiss doesn’t have a website, newsletter, or fan club, which runs against my earlier suggestions… but she does have her own Alexiss Swimwear Line, reps her #BeautyIsNotASize message, focuses her audience onto her Facebook/Instagram, and got a lot of traffic for #CleavageForTheCure.
Most of her stuff speaks clearly to a certain group, has a message, or helps a cause. Compare that to models who sporadically pop onto facebook and share an empty, meaningless “pls buy my prints” post. You can use lines like that mainly after you’ve put in work, and earned love and loyalty from fans.
For example, Ashley wanted to hit her goal of 1.5M Likes, so she reached out to her audience to spread the word. And she did it with a “pls like my FB xoxo” line, and honestly, and it worked, but only cuz she’d given tons of value over the years and her fans are already feeling it, loving what she stands for, and are honored to be involved with her.
The timing and phrasing of your ask matters. Even subtle things like clear, repeated links, in your calls to action can make all the difference. Helps people see and notice and respond easily. Anyway, Ashley’s already kicked up enough noise to get successful Toronto-Playmate, Khloe Terae‘s attention.
Ash is on Khloe’s radar, and she suggested they share audiences and reach goals together!
Point is, Ash offers tons of value, and not surprisingly, cash and attention are flowing.
You can do this too.
Grow revenue streams that work for you.
Crazy overflowing value on tap. I mean, c’mon, the section above shows how models can offer so much… and make so much money. It kills me to see models who won’t use them.
Experiment! Try some and find ones that feel right to you…
The next step is to make those better and better. Build campaigns and teams around them. Turn them into opportunities to show off your best work. Please build systems around anything that’s working for you. I want more models doing well and ryzing up.
If you clearly stand out in the modelling world, you team up with quality people, and deliver impactful value to a specific fanbase, all while standing for something you believe is right, it’s hard not to grow your cashflow.
Affirm for yourself, “I now show mad love through my modeling and I’m rewarded well for it.” Make whatever you put out count.
They didn’t teach this stuff when I was in school. They taught ‘balance sheets.’ I had to learn it through hard knocks, studying legends, and mentors like my friend, Evan Carmichael.
He made me realize that all great empires passionately provide huge value. Non-stop, all day, ‘erry day. And they go way beyond “I sell my photos.” Entertaining people is value. Compelling attention is value. Strong personal branding is value. ‘Distraction’ can be value.
Hell, being something worth gossiping about is value.
Once you have cashflow that’s working, make it bigger and better. Make it easier to buy. Experiment with different captions to sell. Partner up with someone who’s audience appreciates your offering. Build something you’re proud of. Offer value to fans.
Grow your ‘model empire.’
Many successful models took off by helping a charity or standing up for a cause. It’s an awesome thing to do. Tyra Banks, Audrey Hepburn, Linda Taylor and more have all gone this route.
The magic is simple: Support something you believe in, and watch people find you and shower you with appreciation for it.
Though that is definitely not why you should be doing it. This tip, like most of the one’s above, only work when coming from a pure heart, looking to help society, not out of desperation, manipulation, or wealth-seeking.
You can’t just wake up and start helping a charity though (at least, I’ve never seen that work)… it has to be organic.
More Evan advice here: If there’s no causes you’re passionate about, it’s all good, don’t force it. But if you or your family has been involved in something that speaks to you, get involved.
We have so much, we really do. Society is blessed with more resources than ever. There’s an avalanche of freely offered modeling resources out there now, that generations before didn’t have access to. They had to do it with cold calling, knocking on doors, getting scouted.
But resources are there to benefit you. They’re just sitting there waiting for you to leverage ’em. But it’s not about how many resources you have available, it’s about how resource-full you are. It’s about your passion, creativity, and what you do with what you have.
But just in case you’re not aware of what resources exist, here’s a quick look.
What about agency hunting? Ah yes, there’s always the constant hunt for a modeling agency. I start typing ‘modeling agency’ into google and the autocomplete form was filled with ‘modeling agencies in new york’, ‘modeling agencies in los angeles’, etc. — even though I live in Toronto! It seems the hunger for an agency is real.
Sigh. Personally, I’d focus on kicking up noise, making an impact, and by doing that you’ll attract an agency to you. You will.
But if you really wanna search, these links may help:
I found some amazing resources shared by truly awesome models who want to give back in Model Mayhem Forums. I discovered Dekilah’s Model Advice site, and I found Mike Sunderland’s “A Big Brother For Your First 3 Months In The Modelling World” post. Both offer quite a bit of value, check ’em out. Or you know… hook up with an Empire Coach, like me.
Let’s say you enjoy being a little more daring, glam, or… well… naked than most models, in that case you have even more options.
Turning people on is extremely valuable, and you may do well for yourself showing off on sites that are less PG-13.
They’re not for everyone, but OnlyFans, Supe, and TopDolls are relatively tame. /r/GoneWild, Chaturbate, ManyVids are quite adult.
And if none of the above options are for you, then hey, get creative: explore new areas that may need some modeling. Maybe start your own agency like Emily Lyons did with Femme Fatale Media. Or try different resources out and see which excite you and where you can make an impact. Get out there and do what feels good.
And that brings to the final, but most important tip.
This final tip is legendary, but simple. Be thankful. Be grateful. Be appreciative. For a lot of my life, I didn’t really know what this meant. I had to learn appreciation the hard way. A tear-jerkingly hard way, which I won’t get into here, and I’d still love to be better at appreciating all I have.
Hopefully you can learn to appreciate modeling (& life!) through my words & wisdom, instead of through major pain and loneliness. So here goes:
Appreciate your gifts.
Realize that every inch of modeling life, that you may take for granted, are other people’s dreams.
Many people dream of being as thin & fit as you, as fashionable, as beautiful, as sexy, as riveting, as enchanting, as confident, as free. Chances are you’re an inspiration to them, and you may not even know it.
Maybe they’re lurking and watching you from the wings, maybe it’s not obvious how much you inspire people, but they’re out there. They look up to you.
Appreciate your fans.
Anyone who likes, shares, or comments is helping you. Straight up, they are. They’re helping you build the buzz and numbers that impress. They get you noticed, discovered, and hooked up.
You could argue that ‘anyone would feel blessed to have 1.5M fans’, but if you study Ash’s early years, you’ll see she felt blessed to have 100, 10, or even a single fan. Appreciation is an attitude you cultivate early, then life delivers more and more to you. Just try it.
Figure out ways to encourage, thank, and reward as many fans as you can. Figure out how to reply or like all their comments. Set aside a chunk of time in your day or week to sit down, focus, and interact with your fans. It’s an hour or two out of your life, and every smiley or like you give sends a huge message.
Appreciate your team.
If you work with a photog you enjoy, give ’em a shoutout on insta. Refer another model to them. If you have a web designer or media manager you love, give ’em some time in the spotlight. Take a selfie with ’em.
Anything to show love. Try making a post or a page dedicated to fam or friends who encourage you, share a personal story and tag them. Many people never get mentioned anywhere for anything, and when you do stuff like this, they brag about you, show you off, and it all comes back to you somehow.
Collect any positive comments or testimonials on their behalf, and share them with your team. Life’s an intense ride, and no one does it completely alone, so thank them for being there. It’s easy, start small, but take action. Actions speak louder than words. Karma wins. Always.
Too hard? Fine, go even smaller. Appreciate the blessings of air, water, sun, and ground, which give you a tools & resources & energy, and that you didn’t have to lift a finger to earn. It’s all beautiful nature, just given to us.
Same with gardens growing all over the place. Same with animals roaming our lives. Same with furniture and shelter from the elements. It’s a huge blessing to have ANY of these things, and there are many who don’t have ’em.
Please understand there’s a lot in life to appreciate, and it may not be exactly what we want, but it’s a start. Money doesn’t flow to people who can’t appreciate what they have. This may sound like hippie-bullshit, but I highly, highly recommend you TRY it. Commit to it for a while. Be consistent, and adjust yourself to an attitude of appreciation.
At the very least you’ll be a better person.
Models like you are blessed with much. Appreciate it!
Modeling keeps evolving. I’m not an expert on modeling, but I love #ryzing beauty, and I wrote this ’cause there were so many Tracys I knew that could be way better, and wherever I looked, no one was giving advice that matters.
Forums were filled with the same repetitive questions. My feeds were filled with the same beautiful-but-boring posts. It was all weak sauce. I wanted to help, and hopefully this post does, and remains applicable as time goes on. ‘Cause modeling, like everything, continues to evolve.
(and I don’t mean it ages, though it’s worth checking out Yasmina Rossi, 61-year old model for Marks & Spencer, Macy’s, and Hermes.)
Point is, the industry moves forward. Modeling on the #ryze. Apps like Instagram & Swipecast may change the game, but the truth is, if you focus on bigger things —like the ones I’ve covered here— most details sort themselves out. So, to wrap up…
Everyone knows posing, fashion, nudes, lighting, how to deal with creeps, model release forms, etc. are important. Of course creating great photos is important. But you can find tips on those everywhere.
The 7 tips I shared here will help you soar as a high-value model. They’ll help you ryze as a person, who happens to model. They’ll grow your value & fanbase. And when you get 10— 20— or 30,000 followers on social for all the lives you’ve touched, it almost doesn’t matter what you look like, people will be hungry to work with you.
Whew, Ok. It took me days to put this together, but I really want you to succeed. I appreciate every beautiful image that shows up in my feeds, and this post is one way I can pay it forward and give back.
Thanks so much for reading.
Note: Most of the images here are ‘found’, and they make this piece more readable and enjoyable. My whole intention is to help models, but if for some reason you want an image removed, contact me and I’ll take care of it. Much love!
How To Get Into Modeling
Mistakes Aspiring Models Make
Tips On Posing For Photos
How To Be A Model
Making A Living On Instagram
How to Start a Cosplay Costume
Beautiful Mind & Body
Models On Catwalk For Charity