Catfight on the Catwalk?

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Over the next eight years, the number of people entering the modeling industry will increase and so will the competition.

According to 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for models will grow up to 14 percent through 2020. As expected, the competition for models in the job market will increase too. The BLS cites, “Many applicants will be competing for very few job openings.”

In an industry that requires little to no education and sends the message of a glamorous lifestyle, it doesn’t surprise many that young people are drawn to this particular career. If a model is successful, he or she will be rewarded. Even with the prospect of more job openings, this doesn’t mean every aspiring model will reach that level of success and experience the coveted life of luxury.

The competition is strong and it will be even stronger for new models who have no clue how to navigate the business. Chicago Talent Coach John Conrad knows the industry well considering some of the top modeling agencies and schools utilize his own modeling experience by having him operate as head instructor for talent.

A lot of young models think they can enter the field alone, but Conrad disagrees. “They assume they can venture into the industry without guidance or direction, that’s not the case. It’s a business,” he said.

The Chicago Talent Coach offers fashion runway coaching and drills for men and women that will mode and prepare that aspiring model for the business. A lot of new models enter the field blindly, but there is a certain approach or steps that must be taken first Conrad stressed.

“My personal opinion is that everyone needs to know what their talent is. In modeling you need to know what makes you special,“ he said. “There is a special something that other people see, but you need to find it, embrace it and manage it.”

His coaching prepares each individual on not only discovering their unique talent, but how to highlight it during an audition or casting call.

“My whole niche is that I customize your talent–there’s an entirely different approach in each city.  I stress to my clients to know what their talent is and know how to market it,” said Conrad.

Modeling for two years, Erica Renee Webb has been offered jobs, but said it’s difficult sometimes because she isn’t signed to an agency. “The experience has it’s ups and downs. One moment you’ll have a lot of stuff going on in the industry and the next moment you’re barely doing anything,“ she said. “Since I’m not signed with an agency right now, work is very here and there.”

At 23 years old and 6 feet tall, Webb believes that her height makes her stand out. “I think my height pretty much stands out for the most part because when I do most runway shows, I’m the tallest girl there, me and probably one or two other girls,” she said.

Even with the height and her unique fashion sense it can still be difficult to get booked. She considers herself fortunate with the opportunities she has had so far.

“The experience overall has been good because I have had a lot of opportunities that most models don’t normally get within their first year or two from just doing local work around Chicago,” said Webb.

She has modeled for local designers such as Cleons by Chad and dreams of one day strutting down a runway in high fashion attire.

Webb said that she is a quick learner and with her natural talent she has been able to pick up the walks and poses from YouTube videos, runway shows and Tyra Bank’s television show “America’s Next Top Model.”

Working with a talent coach had never crossed her mind, but she has considered hiring an image consultant down the road. “I haven’t looked into those. I was thinking about having an image consultant, [but] I haven’t done that yet because I feel like with that you need an agent, she said.”

“Since I’m not signed, I don’t think I need one until I really get out there in the industry.”

Everyday Webb is learning more and more about the industry and admitted that she didn’t think it would be this difficult. “I didn’t think it would be this hard to get signed by an agency. I didn’t know so many girls were going into modeling,” she said.

Even with the fierce competition, Webb hasn’t let it get in her way. The passion has been there since she was a child and with people always telling her she should model, she finally tried it out and said she loved it.

Her message to aspiring models is simply, “Don’t take no for an answer. Keep going. One door will close, but the next one for sure will open. Keep pushing and keep going.”

Copyright 2012 Chicago Defender

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