Modeling Auditions – Modeling 101 with Jamila Jay

Written by | B-Roll

In this installment of Modeling 101, Jamila answers your questions about modeling auditions and acting headshots vs. modeling headshots!

What does a modeling audition consist of? – Karen J., Portland, OR

Hello Karen,

Regardless of the wait time, you must be prepared by having a book, cell phone, and charger, bring water, and a few snacks. Always think positive and be grateful for the opportunity to network with other models, meet casting directors, and meet the client, during a model call.

Typically, the model wears black leggings, or tights, and a white form-fitting top with at least a three-inch heel shoes.  Models have to have a signature walk.During a runway audition, the client/agency will ask you exhibit your “signature walk.” Turn and pose.  Your signature runway “walk” is critical to book the casting.

In addition, the client would like to see your walk and how your body will enhance his or her clothing line, their commercial, etc.  In some auditions, you may have to introduce yourself to a video camera. It really depends on the client and what you’re casting for, but generally, your agent or the casting director will let you know. In some instances, your measurements may be taken (especially for a fit model), you have to try on garments, and Polaroid photos may be taken.

You should have a headshot or composite sheet (three photos with your name, measurements, contact) to leave with the client. The casting official may not exhibit any emotion at all. You can not take that as a negative answer, but just go in confidently and stay positive, you’ll get the job.

In any audition, remember the three C’s:  Confident, Courteous, and Cute, because you never know who is watching you!



I’m an actor who wants to start modeling. Can I use the same headshot I use for film/tv auditions when I audition for modeling gigs? Alex T., Sacramento, California

Hello Alex T.

Your headshot is your calling card. It will, and should, be the cornerstone of your marketing materials: your face will literally be the face of your website, casting profiles, postcards, resume. Your business cards and postcards should always have your headshot printed on them.

Acting headshots are natural images of the talent with very little makeup and jewelry.  While on the other hand, Modeling agents and designers want to see your entire body and how your clothes fit oppose to the typical headshot for acting.

Modeling Headshots

Modeling headshots tend to be more artistic and flatter the subject. They say less about who a person is and more about how they are capable of appearing. There is a greater emphasis on the mood, lighting, and artistic merit of the photograph.

Makeup, lighting, composition, and retouching are important to flatter the model and remove the flaws.  The images are similar to “glamour shots” or “beauty shots” used for marketing purposes in modeling portfolios.

An amazing model is going to be skilled at communicating through their eyes, knowing how movement and light shapes their face. Editorial and fashion modeling is about selling a lifestyle, clothing, or a product. The goal of fashion or beauty ads tends to be about creating fantasy around a product versus having the audience relate to the person in the advertisement.

Ironically, with acting photos, you must look like your photos, but when modeling it is a great idea to have several looks.

Thank you for your questions! See you on the runway!

– Jamila Jay

Esteemed African-American Plus Size Entrepreneur, Jamila Jay is the owner of Choyce International Plus Size Model Management, which is the first licensed and bonded agency geared toward Plus Size Talent in California.  In 2010, after being laid off as an elementary school teacher, she embarked upon the world of acting and eventually plus size modeling.  As a journalist, she has published over 300 articles from plus size fashions, domestic violence, to celebrity interviews worldwide including Canada, Africa, and the Caribbean.  In 2017, Choyce has been appointed as Editor-In-Chief, as Courbee’ Revolucion’ Magazine (means curvy revolution in Italian) which showcases and celebrates women with curvy bodies from all over the world.  Jamila also runs, a casting website geared towards plus size talent.


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Last modified: April 27, 2018

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