Many models dream of getting scouted. It solidifies their confidence in their talent and holds the promise of a career in modeling. 15 to 20 years ago, an aspiring or upcoming model would be lucky to bump into a model scout on the streets or at an event. This, however, was not the only way to get scouted in Kenya. Beginning 2003 to 2011 a modeling agency in Kenya, SURAZURI, held the license for FORD MODEL SUPERMODEL OF THE WORLD COMPETITION. SuraZuri Modeling Agency, founded in 1987, remains one of the best modeling agencies Kenya has ever had.
The Ford Model Supermodel of The World Competition was held in different countries, and the winners from each region would battle it out on a global stage. To get a clearer understanding of the magnitude of this platform, check out ELITE MODEL LOOK. Many of the models who won the competition in Kenya built incredible careers both locally and internationally. Ajuma Nasanyana was the first-ever Kenyan to get a direct entry into the Ford Model SuperModel of the World Competition in 2003. The models who participated in this competition became top models in Kenya and Africa and they set the foundation for the modeling industry in Kenya.
A similar competition that put African Models on the global map was The Nokia Face of Africa, and yes Kenya participated every year. Many African models got their big break from this competition, Kaone Kario (2005), Oluchi Onweagba (2006) just to name a few. In 2013, Africa’s Next Top Model by Oluchi Onweagba was launched with the East Africa auditions being held in Kenya. Cycle 1 was intense and Ugandan Model, Aamito Lagum, now an international supermodel won.
19-year-old Kaone Kario won the Nokia Face of Africa 2005. She won a $125,000 modeling contract from Storm Model Management
Times have changed, and with the outbreak of the Covid 19 virus, many people are adopting the digital way of life. What does this mean for models looking to get scouted by international modeling agencies?
The internet has become the new “streets” and scouts are taking advantage of digital platforms to find fresh faces. If you are looking to get scouted, you need to be on the digital “streets” to increase your chances of bumping into a scout. Think of it this way, if you knew the exact place a model scout will be, would you sit at home and wait for them to come to your house?
The story of Anok Yai should inspire you to take advantage of social media. She was photographed at a homecoming party, her photos went viral on Instagram and it wasn’t long before agencies were looking for her. She later became the second black model to open a Prada show after Naomi Campbell. A more recent example is Wisdom Kaye. The 22-year-old was just having fun on TikTok, creating fashion content, then boom, he got signed to IMG Models this year and even walked his first show. These are only a few famous examples, many models get scouted and signed through social media.
Let’s look at a few things that these models are doing and how to get yourself noticed by scouts.
GET ON A SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM
Create an account on a social media platform that is convenient for you. There is a tonne of social media platforms and most model scouts visit 80% of them regularly. Every social media platform has a unique structure, for example, Instagram is mostly image-based (until recently) TikTok is video-based, Facebook accommodates text, images, and videos. LinkedIn is text, image, and video-based but a lot more professional. Whichever platform you choose, creating an account is the most basic and simplest step.
FILL IN YOUR BIO
Every social media platform allows you to upload a profile image and write a brief introduction (bio). This is an important section yet many aspiring models do not take time to create a simple and informative bio. Here are a few basic things to consider:
- Use your official name. Make it easier for model scouts to find and remember you
- Avoid labels. If you are an aspiring model, do not label yourself as a fashion model or commercial model, unless you already have some experience in modeling. Use that section to tell the world what you are about
- Include your statistics. Share your height and maybe which country you are in. You do not have to share all your measurements
- Contact Information. Have an email address or daytime phone number. Many scouts will send you an email, it’s a more professional approach, however, some will send a Direct Message or Inbox.
- Leave your account public
You have heard it said that content is king. Understand what works in the platform you are using. If you are using Instagram, for example, should you create more reels or images, what of Instagram stories? Who is engaging with your content? Here are a few tips to help you:
- Natural Light. Take pictures and videos in natural light as often as you can. Well lit posts often reach a broader range of people. It is easier to tell your skin tone and features in natural lighting as opposed to indoor granulated lighting.
- Personality. Allow your personality to show in your content. Many models create profiles that look rigid, forgetting that nowdays personality plays a major role in your career. Yes you can do the job, but are you exciting to work with?
- Drop the filters. Use filters sparingly. Create a balance so that your real features and skin tone is not lost amidst your filtered or edited posts.
- Be the center of attention. Your account or profile should have a good balance of individual and group images. When someone visits your profile they should be able to spot you even in a group photo.
- Have fun. this is a trial and error process, you could be waiting to get scouted online, but end up getting scouted on the streets. Have fun!
In cases where a modeling agency is casting using a social media platform, consider your brand image and how that marries the image of the agency. Check out their model’s social media pages. Many agencies monitor their model’s social pages. This should guide you as you apply to those agencies.
If you wish to learn more about modeling, purchase A Beginners Guide to Modeling by Velour Models, at Ksh. 500 soft copy.
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