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What to take with you EVERYWHERE- what a model bag should contain

travel bag

What’s a “model bag” you ask? The Model Bag is indispensable in the life of EVERY model. Your model bag contains all the “tools of your trade”. Depending on which city you are working in and what type of model you are may mean that your bag contents could change ever so slightly. Ie: If you are a swimsuit model you may also need to take flip flop type shoes.
Once you have more model experience you will learn what to carry with you at all times and eventually you will be able to anticipate what your clients will want.

Let’s start with the “bag” itself: I strongly suggest that you use a wheeled bag of some sort. Keep the size of your model bag to no larger than the size of a standard airplane carry-on bag (between 19” and 22”). Models who come on set with more than one suitcase or with a large bag can eat up space quickly and often times can wreak havoc with the heavy model traffic in the backstage area, people do not need to be tripping over your bag(s) trying to move back & forth between changes.

Inside your case carry a shoe bag they are often nylon and allow space for 6 or 8 pairs of shoes. More than 8 pairs is really excessive.

“Must have” items for your model bag:

“travel sized” products
· Band-aids/Mini first aid kit/mini sewing kit – Because accidents can and do happen!
· Clear nail polish – The polish is for the occasional run in your pantyhose and of course to add a shiny new top coat to your manicure if necessary.
· Nail file/Clipper
· Double Sided Tape – For plunging necklines and to make a quick invisible hem if needed.
· False Eyelashes & Glue – Because often times makeup artists don’t carry them Note: If you’re going to carry the, know how to put them on!
· Concealers/Foundation Makeup/Mascara & Eyeliner – For the times when the makeup artist is late, is a no-show and/or doesn’t have foundation in your color.
· Deodorant/Wash Cloth/Baby Wipes/Soap – For freshening up after long hours on the set.
· Toothbrush/Toothpaste/Mouthwash/Floss/Mints or Gum – Because fresh breath counts – Always!
· Lotion/Baby Oil Gel – To combat occasional dry or ashy skin and to keep your feet, hands and legs nice and soft. Note: Use the baby oil gel carefully and sparingly – you don’t want to risk getting oil stains on the clothing.
· Hairpins/Hairbrush/Comb/Scrunchies – for fixing fly away hair etc
· Pencil Sharpener – For sharpening your eyeliner and/or eyebrow pencils.
· Eye-drops- for sore eyes
· Makeup Net/Scarf – For keeping the designer’s garments make up free as you get fitted or change clothes during shows and shoots.
· Makeup Remover, Q-Tips & Cotton balls – For gently removing the makeup from your skin after a show or shoot. Makeup remover is better than soap and water because it has ingredients that help breakdown the makeup quickly for easy removal. Q-tips for cleaning the makeup residue from the corner of your eyes on set. Cotton balls are good for removing mascara and eye shadows from the delicate skin area around the eyes.
· Straws – Use these to drink beverages with on set to keep your lipstick on and to avoid staining your teeth.
· Safety pins – for last minute mishaps
· Bronzer - bronzer can help to give you a nice even overall tone and is usable all over including legs
· A compact Mirror – So you can apply your makeup touch-ups if required
· Individual mascara brushes and lip brushes – just in case you have to share- it prevents any cold sores being transferred or worse.
PLEASE NOTE: that you need to keep items TOPPED UP in your bag so always double check the day before a show.

Nude and Black Undergarments & A Strapless or Convertible Bra
Booster pads for more bustline

It wouldn't hurt to also pack
Bath robe
Snacks & Bottled Water
Comp cards
Little Black Dress
Curling & Flat Irons and Ponytails & Wigs

Remember This: Having a properly stocked model bag will make you much easier to work with and will convey to others that you are professional. So pack it carefully and remember to check it after a few shows/gigs and restock as necessary. Remember, your looks, your attitude and your professionalism will either make or break you in this industry. It’s always better to be well prepared than unprepared. Add or edit things as you feel you need to but always keep your bag packed and ready to go at a moment's notice!

Have you ever wondered what it's really like being a model? You have ? Well I can assure you it's not as glamorous as you probably envision. Below are my top 10 things I wish I knew before I started modelling.

1. Develop a thick skin. There have been times when I arrived at castings and was told "NEXT" before even being allowed to open my book.  I have also had images taken and barely recognised myself with alterations to my eye colour and hair. A lot more work goes into re-touching images than most people realise. Sometimes a model can be completely altered in pictures from the way they normally look. There are many tricks used to create that perfect image. I have attached an image of our models having worked over seas. The first image is one of our model Lisa after working in Hong Kong, the one on the left is a natural image. Can you tell what's been altered ?
10Lisa Fyffe


2. Models do in fact eat. Believe it or not, very few models live on sticks of celery and two grapes a day, the majority of models actually eat a normal healthy diet, and can even enjoy a Big Mac or KFC pack. But don't tell anyone...

3. Models don’t always get paid for shoots. I am a big advocate for models being paid even when in development and building up their experience however, there are many shoots that compensate in trade, either with photos or clothes.

4. Photo-shoots are not always as they seem. A lot of work goes on"behind the scenes" to perfect a photograph nowadays. There is a whole team of makeup, hair, stylists, creative directors etc  behind a photo shoot. Many models including myself have had to work on a really cold or hot day wearing completely the wrong type of clothes for the season. In fact I recall having to be up at 3am for hair and makeup with a snake draped over me, standing in a waterfall and covered in goose bumps. I have also had to frolic in waves in the middle of winter and ended up sick with the flu of course with tricks of photo shop I looked like i was having a blast in the middle of summer.

5. You have to be on your guard. With so many camera phones backstage at shoots and runway shows sometimes someone will try and capture models at times when they may not want to be photographed. Be careful - you do not want to be changing and snapped in the back ground topless or worse, naked in someones "selfie" and have in posted world wide.

6. Despite getting to wear the most beautiful, expensive, glamorous outfits, models unfortunately don’t actually get to keep the clothes. Sometimes you may get lucky and get to keep something, but this rarely happens.

7. Regular bookings are rare. Unless you are a well known brand (supermodel) many models  find it tricky getting regular bookings. There can often be periods of time with nothing but castings before work starts coming in. In these times, always touch base with your mother agent perhaps discuss why it is you're not being booked. Is a change of hair necessary ?

8. Models are often waiting for something; whether that’s waiting to get your hair or makeup done, waiting for the photographer to set up, waiting to get your photos back, waiting for runway shows to start or waiting to be seen at castings. I always suggest to models that this is an ideal time to expand your skill set, learn a language, read a novel, study your uni homework. It is also a great way to start conversations with the crew surrounding you- remember that crew is often working with another team, and seeing you read a book learning "French" may just start a conversation about working in Paris... we can only dream 🙂

9. Your expectations don't always match reality. There can be the rare occasions whereby a model can apply for, or turn up at a shoot, expecting one thing (e.g. a fashion shoot) and find that the photographer wants to try and change it to a topless or nude shoot. In this instance- NEVER stray from the story board agreed to by your agent for two reasons- 1/ changing from a fashion shoot to and implied nude maybe a bad choice for you and the direction of your trade, your agent and you can agree on this together. Secondly, if its a paid job- changes like going from fashion to topless is not the same rate. If your comfortable nude etc (and that's your choice) then you'll need your agent to re  negotiate payments prior to shooting. The model should never be the one to refuse a job it makes you look difficult, an agent knows how best to handle these situations and quite clearly that's why you have us.

10. Models can be any age. A common misconception is that you need to be young in order to model, however there are so many different types of modelling, if you have the right look, there are plenty of opportunities out there for the more mature lady. There is more work for younger models- but if you look healthy and are appealing to look at it's never too late.

Hope these tips have been helpful.

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Contrary to popular belief, posing in a swimsuit doesn't always mean you have to do overtly sexual poses. In fact- if you are trying to be a successful fashion model, I would probably avoid the whole pout and pushing boobs together posing entirely. There are ways to pose in a swimsuit that doesn't exude sexuality…
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