Tracy’s body got her lots of attention. She could’ve monetized it, big-time. So what did she do? Nothing.
Sure, Tracy sells a few prints & gets a few likes… but it’s not the supermodel’s salary she dreamed of. She still has to work a job & squeeze modeling in on the side. In her dreams life was supposed to be glamorous, but Tracy spends more time hiding the dark circles under her eyes than she does basking in the Maldives.
But it shouldn’t be that way. I mean, she has a decent-sized fanbase. People are watching her.
But how much can these thirsty guys really engage with her besides clicking like? Tracy serves them up few pretty pics, but people don’t seem that interested in her views on politics, cash, and creepers. They like, then they bounce.
Tracy doesn’t have a website, or a way to capture leads. She doesn’t get them to subscribe, and she rarely works with anyone noteworthy. She 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 included.
And it makes sense. Attention flows toward beauty. Always has. And beauty’s not some shallow thing, either, it’s a primal force of nature.
Sunsets. Flowers. Models. Things blessed with beauty compel our attention. And for someone like me, who’s selective with my attention, I adore connecting with an attention-getting model. There was a time in my past when I’d have jumped at the chance to work with Tracy. But now I see her and know she doesn’t have the ambition to truly rise up.
So when she recently joked with me “How come J-Ryze isn’t my social media manager?”
I just smiled and added her to the list of models I’ve had to turn down. I need to be around people who’re aware of their potential and realize their value. Models who monetize, at a bare minimum.
It may sound crazy but, gimme models who wanna change the world.
Sigh, if only they’d express themselves better. You know what I mean– if you’re here, you know you can level up.
For example, most models post on instagram. They build a portfolio. They practice make-up. All great things to do, but it’s the bare minimum. It’s common. It’s what average models do.
There’s many average models. Many like Tracy. But why would I avoid her when she approached me?
Because beauty needs to be backed up by generosity, open-mindedness, and purpose.
And Tracy disqualified herself from that ages ago by not showing love to fans. Specifically one fan… me.
For years I’d posted many kind things on Tracy’s facebook. I’m talking real, deep, engaging insight. Stuff far beyond the standard “uhh, you’re hot.” — No response. I’d purchased one of her Etsy sets. I went on to leave 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.
Tracy didn’t value me properly, so I gave up on her.
About a year later, she found an advice-piece for models I’d written over on SuicideGirls. She was impressed, and suddenly she was asking to hire me.
Yep, after ignoring all my contributions for years, she was suddenly wanted me as her ‘social media manager.’
But even that was disrespect. Because I’m so much more valuable than that. And Tracy would’ve known that if she’d paid more attention. She would’ve had a loyal fan who engaged with her for years, volunteering his services for free, if she’d just thrown me a bit of common courtesy. But I eventually gave up discouraged, and now Tracy’s too late.
The point is this.
Tracy’s beauty attracted thirsty guys, sure, but it also attracted tons of valuable contributions basically thrown at her feet.
And if she was more focused on leveraging her beauty into something truly life-changing, she’d benefit from it.
Where are the models who aim higher, create smarter, and (gasp!) make plenty of money?
I went back to ModelMayhem, swung by SuicideGirls, and explored Instagram, and most of their community’s focus was so, well… low-impact.
So few models I found were truly changing the world. Few gave society something special. Few asked ‘What am I not doing well? What can I do to increase my customers?’ Most of them were more concerned with questions like:
Which are important questions, yes, but I want peeps who are digging deeper and making a bigger splash, especially in fields that are so ready for change, like modeling.
I believe models can make boatloads of money, and I’m writing this to reach the ones who are intentional about it.
This post is for models who really wanna #ryze their bank accounts.
So let’s get into the tips on how to do it.
Tracy pours her heart into a bangin’ wardrobe, creative concept, and fire poses for her latest shoot. Her photog goes the extra-mile with lighting, make-up, and editing. They invest so much into the shoot, eager 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. Her shots have to be presented right. The real trick isn’t in making great art. The real trick is in persuading people to give that art a chance.
Models are like a chef in the kitchen. You can spend all your time cooking up a gourmet meal, but that won’t magically bring diners over to pay for it.
The real trick is in persuasive invitations, compelling appetizers, and fantastic presentation of the main course.
You’ve got to be willing to pitch your art to people who otherwise wouldn’t see it. You’ve got to tweak your bio and IG handle to send a compelling message.
You’ve got to get out there in the market, connect with people who matter, be a guest on podcasts, etc.
On top of that, you’ll want a signature look, a style people can instantly recognize as ‘you’ when it pops into their feed. Maybe you’ve gotta amp up your caption game. Make things easy, fun, & memorable 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 an uninviting experience. And uninviting experiences get ignored and passed over.
Here’s three ideas to make your brand more inviting:
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 may attract fans, but are you attractive to talented collaborators? Collaborations are so valuable. They’re basically money on the table. As soon as you lend your modeling to a company, person, or cause, you’re increasing your value and gaining leads from their networks & audiences.
They’ll brag about your involvement and their people are gonna have eyes on you. The bigger player you collaborate with, the bigger results you’ll have.
Consider partnering up with:
And the trick to attracting talent is to offer persuasive value. It’s a universal law — bring value to your relationships & they blossom.
A beautiful model can easily get volunteers & helpers on her team if she approaches it properly.
In Tracy’s story, I was approached basically like this: (Tracy ignores me for years, then suddenly…) “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 How To Get An Hourglass Body article, which I loved! I’m offering 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 although proceeds are going to charity, I’ve set aside a small budget, in the hopes 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.”
That’s a very respectful, sincere, appealing offer. It has a lot of persuasive elements to it. You get people on board by writing from the heart and packing in the value. Put love into it. Aim to really help the potential collaborator you’re writing to. The above example 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.”)
Pitching is a skill worth practicing. 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…
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 they’re aware of you. So the question is… how to make them aware?
Simple, make a difference in their lives. Not just once, people don’t notice things that happen just once, they notice patterns. Things that happen over and over in their lives wake them up. So 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 that 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. You have to be bold and be willing to say and do things the average person won’t.
In a noisy world filled with so many models, a clear difference is powerful. Not fitting in is powerful. It’s how you stand out from the crowd & create your own audience. Polarize people, shock them, wake them up, stand for something.
Being unique is easy, but can seem scary. Yes, discovering ourselves is a ‘big’, life-long journey, but showing off your uniqueness —even a little bit— brings clear results.
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 can you ‘own’? What about you raises you up above the ‘average’ model? What makes you a bit more unique? (Hint: It’s usually something you usually downplay.)
To the right is one more bonus model 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. Most people would avoid modeling with a hijab, but Mariah owned it.
Ashley, Kanya, Maddy and the others above all owned their unique ‘flaws’ and turned them into features that propelled them to fame.
Now, you don’t have to be as extreme as all that, but you are unique. You are. Maybe you’re a model who loves mullets & ghillie suits. Fine… show it off. Maybe you love Aztec culture, ok then, use that. Maybe you’re well-traveled, leverage it. Maybe you love all three, so be…
TecMullet, The Jet-setting Supermodel.
It’ll get attention and attract an audience who appreciates those things as well. And once your buzz really 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 also 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, even if you’re already doing it, there’s still ways to turn up the volume. So go for it.
Really they can. There’s many ways to do it, but they all come down to one thing… consistently, passionately, providing value.
Let’s look at 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 does not 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, funnels 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 may argue that Ashley gets results even with a simple “pls like my FB xoxo” line, and it’s true now, but only because she’s already 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.
Such a fluff one-liner won’t help models who are just starting to build their brand.
The timing and phrasing of your ask matters. Even subtle things like clear links in your calls-to-action can impact results. 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!
Ash can connect with major players like Khloe because she has a long history of offering tons of value, and not surprisingly, cash, attention, and opportunities are flowing to match, and it all began with her focusing on creating one successful revenue stream at a time.
You can do this too.
Grow revenue streams that work for you.
The section above shows how models can offer so much and make so much money. You probably already have some of these streams started. The next step is to polish them, refine them.
Experiment with revenue streams, and improve the ones that feel right to you…
Make those better and better. Build campaigns and teams around them. Turn them into opportunities to show off your best work. 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 modeling world, you team up with quality people, and deliver clear 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 & I’m rewarded well for it.” Make whatever you put out really 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 learning from mentors like my friend, Evan Carmichael.
He helped me realize that all successful people provide huge value. Non-stop, all day, ‘erry day. And they go way beyond “I sell my photos.” Entertaining people is value. Compelling their attention is value. Strong personal branding is value. Even ‘distraction’ can be value if done intentionally.
Hell, being 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. Test & experiment. 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 models blew up by helping a charity. Or they stood up for a cause. It’s an awesome thing to do. Tyra Banks, Audrey Hepburn, Linda Taylor and more have all gone this route. And there’s magic in it.
The magic is simple: Support something you believe in, and watch people love you for it.
Though that’s definitely not why you should be doing it. This tip, like many above, only works when coming from a pure heart. It’s got to be done looking to truly help society, not out of desperation, manipulation, or wealth-seeking.
You can’t just wake up and start helping a charity. It has to be organic. And hey, 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, then by all means get involved.
Actually, people have so much. We really do. Our society blesses us 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, or getting scouted.
But today, so many resources are just sitting there waiting for you to leverage them. Plus, it’s not even about how many resources you have available, but how resource-full you are. It’s about your passion, creativity, and what you do with what you have.
Still, here’s a quick look at some resources that may get you started.
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! The hunger for an agency is real.
Anyway, personally, I’d focus on kicking up noise, making an impact, and in 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 models giving 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 brilliant teacher, 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.
Arousing people can be lucrative, and you may do well for yourself by showing off on sites that aren’t so PG-13.
They’re not for everyone, but Supe and TopDolls are relatively tame. /r/GoneWild, Chaturbate, ManyVids, & OnlyFans are quite adult.
If none of the above options are for you, you’ll have to get more 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.
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. The thirsty DMs. The flaky photographers. The image theft. All of these things have value in them, believe it or not.
Maybe you’re not appreciating your body enough, but many people dream of being as thin & fit as you, as fashionable, as beautiful, as sexy, as riveting, as enchanting, as confident, as free. You’re an inspiration to people out there, 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. Even if they’re doing it as haters, or in a way you don’t like. They’re still 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. Get an intern to handle your 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 them a shoutout on insta. Refer another model to them. If you have a web designer or media manager you love, give them some time in the spotlight. Take a selfie with them.
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 your team 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 them.
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.
Modeling keeps evolving. I wrote this because there were so many models like Tracy who 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. Hopefully this post remains relevant in our ever-changing world. And modeling, like everything, continues to evolve.
(And I don’t mean it ages. Though on that note, it’s worth checking out Yasmina Rossi, 61-year old model for Marks & Spencer, Macy’s, and Hermes.)
Anyway, the industry moves forward. Apps like Instagram & TikTok 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. And yes, of course creating great photos is important. But you can find tips on those everywhere.
The 7 tips I shared here will help you be a high-value, money-making model. They’ll help you grow as a person, who happens to model. They’ll gain you followers & fanbase. And when you get 10—, 20—, even 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 models deliver to 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
The Real Truth To Shrink Your Waist
How To Walk The Runway
P.S. I know it sounds cliche, but sustainable wealth is created through passion, self-honesty, and 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.
Being outside-the-box can leave you unsupported & unheard. Which is why I offer…
Learn more about my Exclusive Underground Community For Rebels & how to get personal access to me.