Much of modelling work is about managing appearances when you're off duty. On social media, the lines between personal and professional, and private and public are blurry and complicated. Part of a model's professional life is to cultivate an 'authentic' brand through social media - true authenticity not necessary. This means posting candids that may not be so candid. It means strategically sharing the runway shots where you look good and the client is impressive. It means evoking a sense of intimacy in a not-so-intimate way.
Personally, you should relax, have fun, and share things that make you happy. Professionally, you should impress the people who could one day make or break your career.
Aspiring but not-yet-signed models often already know this, and while not able to do actual modelling work yet, may take to social media to prematurely cultivate a brand. As such, we frequently come across well-meaning young ladies and men who are woefully unaware of the mistakes they are making. Everything you post can and will be scrutinized by potential clients, agents, and co-workers.
A+ for the initiative, but let's see if we can't help you out a bit.
1. "I am a model"
If you're not signed with an agency, don't call yourself a model on public social media. Agencies, clients, and other models will find it unappealing. This also includes 'aspiring model' and 'published model' - we still don't know what these terms are supposed to mean, but we see them in many an Instagram bio.
2. Indiscriminate sharing
Do not publicly share photos that are unprofessional. Go ahead and get practice in front of the camera and help your friends out with their art projects, but a bad photo (regardless of how great your abs look) could strongly turn off a potential agent or client who Googles you. For reference, take a look at top agency boards to get a feel of what kind of photos they look for and their style.
Keep your social media handles and email address simple and professional. Your name or a nickname are both great options. Things with "doll" "hottie" and "supermodel" are probably not. Like point #1, skip the inclusion of the word "model" altogether until you're signed, and even then you should avoid it.
4. The hashtags runneth over
Hashtags. We have a lot of feelings about hashtags. Using a dozen hashtags and tagging modelling agencies in your selfies are not good ways to get noticed; in fact, it does the opposite and can be seen as desperation. Hashtag use should seem natural: "Had a great day at the beach with my best friends! #girlsquad #summer" sounds a lot better than "Had a great day at the beach with my best friends! #girlsquad #summer #girl #model #vogue #IMGmodelspleasefindme #leg #arms #face #water #smize"
5. Classes and scams
Skip the modelling "classes". Save your time and money. Learning how to pose comes with experience and every model develops their own style over the years. A runway class may be useful for models doing shows, especially with a reputable coach. But these classes should be arranged through your agency, as they'll have specific objectives in mind and will want you to work only with a reputable coach.
6. Sketchy representation
If you have to choose between a sub-par agency, and no agency at all, go with the latter. If you have the potential to be successful, a great agency will eventually snap you up. Keep contacting good agencies in different cities over months, maybe years. Agencies sign models they see as marketable and your look may not be right at the time but could be years later, especially if you're planning on doing commercial work.
7. Persistence without perspective
Usually the things that limit us in modelling are aspects of our physical selves that we can and need not change. Accept that modelling may not be in the cards for you, and that's okay! You know what may be in the cards for you? Literally any other job in the world, including those with greater financial security, longevity, and personal fulfillment. You can't study your way into a modelling career. Modelling for a certain amount of time doesn't guarantee a career either. If the industry doesn't want you, find another one that does.
For more advice and tips for aspiring models and new faces, check out TBM's The Guide for New Faces.