I'm a Model, Why Is My Agent Submitting Me to Acting Work?
Updated: Jan 16
by Dania Denise
Just when you thought you had agencies figured out, right? :-)
I've often received emails from confused models freshly signed to an agency, with questions as to why they are being sent to auditions for commercials and other acting projects.
Models are just supposed to model, right? Well, not really. At least, not these days.
There are a LOT of models out there. Actors for sure, too, but when it comes to modeling in particular, it goes without saying that there are way more female and male models than there are gigs. This creates an imbalance and for agencies to maximize their ability to make money and give their talent a fighting chance, that means requiring some cross over action.
In the industry today, it is now standard for talent agencies to send models on their roster to auditions for acting jobs. If you have an interest in acting and have expressed that to your agent, then this won't be a surprise but there are many instances where a model who just wants to model and has never even uttered the word "acting" to their agent, will find themselves going to an audition.
So what should you do if you are a model who simply wants to model and has no interest being in front of a camera saying lines?
Talk To Your Agent
Remember, your agent is working to reflect not only their best interest but also yours. Sending you to acting gigs/auditions isn't just a way for them to maximize you as a talent on their roster, it's an opportunity to expand your professional experience in the entertainment field. The more gigs you book, the more networking there is and potential for future projects of various kinds. Not to mention, it's also more money for the agency and yourself.
However, if you know in your heart that acting isn't a good fit and not something you want to pursue, it's okay to talk to your agent about it. Communication is the key factor in making the agent/model relationship work so don't feel as if you need to be silent and suffer through audition after audition.
At the very least, hear what your agent has to say and try to see things from their perspective. Compromise if at all possible (maybe only get sent to a handful of auditions for acting throughout the year instead). What you want to avoid is being difficult and demanding.
Give It a Shot
No one is saying you have to be forced into acting and turn to that field instead of modeling. As a model/actor myself, I know of the benefits that come with having experience on-camera in the acting-sense. Public speaking, knowing how to memorize and deliver lines and the other factors that come with this territory all play into being a stronger professional.
Although modeling and acting are two separate fields, there are things that overlap and having familiarity with both sides will put you ahead of the competition out there.
If your agent contacts you about attending an audition for the first time, don't outright say no. Go to the audition and do your best. It isn't about making you look silly or setting you up for failure. Agencies know what they're doing and they want you to get exposed to what it's like to audition for an acting job, whether you book it or not. They may even be testing you to see how good you are (or aren't) at doing something outside of your comfort zone.
Don't knock it till you've tried it and in this case, transitioning to actor mode for an audition or booked acting gig isn't going to kill you. How many cosmetics and clothing commercials have you seen with top models in them? If you get chosen as the face for a major campaign, you'll be required to do projects that involve acting of some kind so follow in the footsteps of your favorite models and embrace the challenge of trying something new.
Stay With the Times
Understand that everything changes and evolves over time. That includes the modeling industry and the entertainment industry as a whole. Agencies know this and in order for them to stay on top and in business, they're looking for men and women who are good at what they do but also know how to add to their arsenal of experience and skill sets.
A lot of people want the same thing you do when it comes to breaking into the industry and getting agency representation. Who do you think an agent is going to be more attracted to: a model who just wants to model and will not even consider tackling something acting related or a model who loves modeling but is also okay with getting submitting to an acting job every now and then?
The choice for the agency will be easy. Be flexible, be professional and show them that you're the right--and best--choice every time.