Whenever you hear that someone does freelance modelling during their free time, you probably think “Oh, what an easy and fun way to earn money. Lucky you!” right?
Nothing can be further from the truth.
Life as a freelance model is not as glamorous as it seems lah. Actually, for many freelance models, it’s hard (and frustrating) work. Sure, you get to meet cool people and pose in the trendiest clothes (and occasionally keep them), but at the end of the day, you’re booking your own gigs, building your own portfolio, setting your rates and most importantly, making sure you get paid.
In fact, we contacted several local freelance models and they all said that while they do enjoy their job, there are some things they wish they knew before delving into their freelance modelling careers in Malaysia. Here are eight instances.
1. You won’t get paid as much as you expected
Unless you’re a celebrity or a prominent figure in Malaysia, you probably won’t get paid that much. As a freelance model, you are expected to work based on the client’s budget. Sure, you don’t have to hand over a percentage of your pay to an agent, but you have to negotiate your own fees, which is harder, especially if you’re just starting out.
2. You will be asked to model for free often
As a freelancer, you will be offered to do a shoot or show for free a lot. Most clients would even market them as “great exposure”. Well, “exposure” sure doesn’t pay the bills!
Sure, you can reason with yourself and say that for someone green, those unpaid modelling jobs might be a good place to start. But the truth is, those free gigs do give you exposure… to more similar unpaid gigs.
So unless it is for charity, don’t offer to model for free all the time. It will only hurt your career in the long run.
3. People will try to scam you
Like any other industry, the modelling world also has scammers. What’s worse, they tend to target freelance models the most, as freelancers tend to represent themselves, and are likely unaware of popular modelling scams.
Here’s an example: a so-called photographer or talent agency will book you to take some profile shots and CHARGE you for them. Hence, they scam models by selling their pricey photography. Lesson? Be smart and do your homework before accepting any work.
4. You have to be your own support network
The good thing about being a freelance model is that you’re the boss. Unfortunately, it also means you have absolute control over your career.
Not being represented by an agency means that you have to represent yourself. If you’re signed to an agency, they will find and book you gigs, but for freelancers, they have to research, network and fight for the gigs themselves.
5. Social media presence is everything
The thing is, there are a lot of freelance models in Malaysia. Just open Instagram and you’ll see dozens of beautiful and handsome freelance models with high follower counts.
Value your privacy online? Then reconsider being a model because today, social media may just be the source of most of the work you’ll get. After all, a model’s social influence is powerful leverage. When clients are deciding between two freelance models, the job will most likely go to the one with a bigger social media presence.
So putting effort in your social media account is top priority. It’s basically your periuk nasi.
6. You don’t get to clock off at 5pm like everyone else
Okay, everyone knows that freelancing means irregular working hours, but few actually know that it also means working EXTRA hours. So, imagine coming back from an exhausting 10-hour shoot, and still having to handle your social media upkeep and admin emails as well as book gigs in your free time.
Also, the term ‘TGIF’ does not exist if you’re a freelance model, that’s for sure!
7. Don’t just network, make real friends too
When you model, you will meet new people every day, some of whom you’ll even work with more than once. Put more effort into actually getting to know these people. The more friends you have, the more opportunities will swing your way. Plus, having genuine friends that have your back will benefit you greatly in the cut-throat industry.
8. Your reputation with other freelance models is vital
Here’s the thing, models talk to other models for private references, so reputation is really important. Thus, don’t even try to bring a diva attitude to a shoot or the runway. Well, unless you’re Datuk Seri Vida.
Seriously though, don’t ruin your future prospects by gossiping or making enemies with fellow models. Even if some of them annoy you, it’s not worth risking your career.
We hope the above points were helpful to anyone who’s interested to be a freelance model. Got any other tips? Share with us in the comment section!
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