The best place to start is to know your demographic, and know your measurements, as well as requirements for different modeling genres. Also see if that matches up to your aspirations of modeling or acting. It’s going to be different here in Nashville than in larger markets like Los Angeles or New York, or even Miami. Those are some of the major U.S. hubs for fashion…..what we have here is a lot of commercial modeling and acting with our agencies….fashion is breaking it’s way in here but in no way matches the larger markets. What I mean about doing research, there’s no need to show up at an agency casting if you’re 5’3″ and are interested in fashion modeling. Fashion models have a very specific look. They are “human clothes hangers” when modeling….the females are 5’9″ and slender, and generally have sharp features, great skin a must. Pretty is irrelevant, you meet the criteria or you don’t. Commercial modeling is specific as well about proportions and facial structure, may vary by market so I don’t want to speak too generally. Commercial models are often more animated, 5’7″ or taller, and have jawline, nose, and eyes are important as well.
The best way to sniff out an agency is to get recommendations from their existing talent. There are ways to network these days, laziness is no excuse. Also contact the agency and ask when their open calls are, and attend. Listen. Learn how that agency works, percentage they take when they get you work, what is required for portfolio or headshots, what should be on your resume’ or bio, website maintenance fees (which are perfectly normal). Etc. Enrollment fees and expensive schools are a bunch of BS. If that’s what they’re about then I’d not consider that agency. Ask them how you fit in with their demographic. Go with your gut. A good agency stays busy, all the more need for them to be disorganized…..to me when they are flustered and disorganized, and non responsive that’s a bad sign.
And remember, pretty isn’t created equal. Pretty doesn’t earn you special entitlements. Don’t have an attitude or act like a diva……there are zillions of others who will quickly replace you. I’m urging you not to get taken by the above ploys……but do be prepared to invest in yourself, with wardrobe, hair and makeup stylists, photoshoots, website maintenance fees (to keep profile updated and listed, help pay for their website expenses), lithographs, etc. You fit their look or you don’t. Always consider acting even if you don’t fit in with their model requirements. Haste makes waste…..feel good about your choice and go in having done your research.