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A Models’ Least Favourite Job: Castings

Hello there, long time no talk! I’ve been feeling pretty down and unmotivated for the past couple months, so I took a bit of a break, but I’m back! Just to catch you up on what I’ve been doing for the past few months, I finished my contract in Taipei. I had an incredible time, I made some amazing friends, and got to experience a lot of the beautiful country that is Taiwan. After that, I got to visit my second home Bangkok for a few weeks. I was there for about 3 weeks, to get my visa for my next contract. Luckily, I had a lot of time to catch up with friends and just take a break. It was exactly what I needed before heading to my next contract, leaving me fresh and ready to go. Next I arrived in Shanghai, China! I stayed there for about a month before deciding to move to Guangzhou, which is in the south of China. I’ve been here for a couple weeks now, and in China for almost two months. It’s been an insane couple of months, and it’s all been a bit overwhelming, but I’m grateful. This is the reality of modelling life though, you can only expect the unexpected. 

Speaking of the unexpected, I want to dive into the casting process a little bit, and you can never know what to expect when you arrive at a casting. The first week or two of contracts are usually packed with castings, since you’re basically catching up on any castings other girls have already been to, as well as the new ones coming up. Most models don’t actually like castings, since it’s basically just a job interview over and over, with almost constant rejection, and they can take way too much time. It’s not exactly pleasant, but it is a necessary part of the modeling industry. I thought since you guys don’t know what that may look like, and I’m now in a country with a LOT of castings, I’d give a bit of a rundown on what castings are like. 

Not all modeling jobs are booked through castings, they can be booked through direct bookings, which basically means the client will book you directly through the agency without seeing you in person. Especially after Covid, direct bookings are more common. But depending on the market, it’s a mix of both, and castings are still very common. There are a lot of different kinds of castings, depending on the type of job it’s for. For fashion shows, the castings usually require you to do your catwalk, while catalog clients usually ask the models to just do their standard e-comm posing. When casting for a TVC, it can be a longer process, and they will often take some photos as well as ask you to act something out, either with lines or without. All around, it's good to know what kind of job the casting is for before arriving, so you can be prepared. Agencies often ask you to look at the brands website before so you know what style of posing they will expect. It’s all a bit of a mixed bag, so it’s good to be ready for anything. 

So far in my experience of China, castings are tough, more similar to Europe or The U.S than what I’ve experienced in the rest of Asia. There are dozens of models, and they just line you up and choose which models they would like to see try the clothes.  So basically, if they don’t choose you, you’re in and out in less than a minute. It’s kind of crazy and it is some of the most outward rejection I’ve experienced. Most other contracts I’ve been on, the castings are smaller so they spend time looking at everyone, and you have to pose in front of the clients and whatever other models are there. They will usually take photos of your profiles and some poses. Sometimes you change into their clothes but not always. While in China, they only ask you to change and pose if they’ve chosen you out of the group. It’s pretty tough to tell if a casting goes well, so often you leave completely unsure if you've booked the job or not. It’s all a bit intimidating, but you get used to it after a while. 

Every client is looking for something different, and they’re probably not going to tell you what that is, so getting upset when you’re not chosen every time is pointless. Yes, it sucks being rejected, but if you want to be a model you have to brush it off and walk into the next casting like nothing happened. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, modeling is not for the faint of heart. Especially in China. Standing in a lineup of models while people stand and discuss your looks and just point if they like you is extremely dehumanizing., but for us it’s normal. It actually makes me laugh to see people's reactions when I tell them what castings are like. They’re always shocked, and to models it’s the norm. Not that I enjoy it, because it sucks, but I don’t let it get to me, because I know it's not personal.

At the end of the day, castings are an integral part of the modelling industry, so you have to master the ability to pose under that pressure, and keep your head up. Fake it till you make it is absolutely a great motto for models because clients see dozens of girls just like you. Having a smile, and a confident, open energy will catch their attention much quicker. I remember I was terrified at my first few castings, but now I can just walk in, do my thing, and walk out without a second thought. The stress doesn’t follow me throughout the day because I know I did all I could do. Once you walk out of the casting, it is completely out of your control. 

My advice if you’re headed to your first castings, or just feel like you need a refreshed start is this; Wear something you feel confident in. Unless they ask for you to wear specific casting wear, you’re allowed to change it up and express yourself. It makes you more confident and also can help you stand out. Practice posing, even if you think you’ve perfected it, more practice never hurt anyone. Most people don’t realize how important posing is to the job, but it is way harder than it looks. You could be the perfect look for the client, but if you aren’t confident in your posing, it won’t matter. You can even just practice in the mirror before bed to stay prepared. And finally, keep your chin up, walk into every casting as prepared as possible, and do not let rejection get you down. You are amazing, and no one can book every job so just be ready for your next opportunity, because it will come. 

Until Next Time, 

Sammie Taylor 

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