How to become an alternative model

alternative model agency

Alternative modelling is a job that fits the bill for:

  • Part time jobs for 16 year olds and teens
  • Most exciting jobs in the world
  • Jobs that allow piercings
  • Student jobs
  • Unusual jobs

Interview with Neely K Vee of Rogue Maidens Alternative Modelling Agency

Rogue Maidens Agency were kind enough to approach Mookychick with an offer to show the other side of alternative modelling – the expectations and concerns of a professional agency, rather than the hopes and dreams of an aspiring alternative model. Inside information! Hurrah!

First off – what is an alternative model?

An alternative model is someone who is not what the norm would define as a model. This is an industry which is filled with models, male and female, who do not conform to the mainstream ideas of what beauty is.

They are not all 5″7′ and size 8-10; these are women and men who are visually stunning to look at. Not just for their obvious beauty but in very many cases their body work. Many alternative models have some of the most intricate body art, making them walking pieces of art. Adding to that the clothes, which many are known to alter or make themselves, make-up and hair… and they instantly become noticeable. Nearly all alternative models live their lives as you would see them. The way they dress and look is part of their daily lifestyle.

Are there any particular trends in alternative modelling today? Have they changed over the years? Are you, for instance, seeing more demand for dreads, and less for body modifications?

Recently we have had requests for models with vibrant hair colours and models with body art. Fortunately we can cater for both of those requests. We have had enquires where potential clients are looking for alternative models – but we have been too alternative. We have been surprised by the amount of people who were not aware that there was a market for alternative modelling.

With the popularity of Dita Von Teese there has been a surge of burlesque style images, bringing with that a resurgence of the 50’s look. This can also be seen within the mainstream market in clothing and by celebrities such as Christina Aguilera, Amy Winehouse, Fearne Cotton, and in Beyonce’s “Green Light” video, which shows her wearing a range of latex wear with alternative ballet shoes.

What sort of clients seem to be using alternative models nowadays?

We have provided models for record labels, fashion shows, body painters and the private sector. There doesn’t seem to be a specific type of client.

If an alternative model was looking to get signed to an agency, what would her best approach be? How could she best represent herself to make an agency keen to sign her?

We have many enquiries from budding models both male and female. We always advise that they start building their portfolios. These should be professionally taken images, highlighting them in as many different genres as possible. We usually suggest this as it shows your flexibility and changeability as a model.

There are many self-promotional sites available now; we do suggest that anyone wishing to be seen as a potential model should have one. There are some fantastic sites which will boost your profile, and where connections can be made with photographers and other models. Spotlight is a good one for budding actresses, it provides details on how to present yourself, CV writing, and is used by mainstream industry to scout for actresses. More or less everyone now has a website presence to promote themselves. Pure Storm and Model Mayhem are good networking sites. They have a castings section where you can put yourself forward for different model jobs. They also provide models with information and safety guidelines. From these sites you can build up quite a successful portfolio both with paid and TFP work. With any self-promotional site we advise that you should use it only for your modelling, so it should have information solely related to your modelling.

Some of the best portfolios we’ve seen are those which show a model at ease and looking completely relaxed. Some of these have been pictures taken by friends and family! It shows that you do not always need a professionally-taken image (but generally speaking it helps).

And what would do a prospective alternative model a disservice? What would make her come across as unprofessional or not presenting herself very well?

There are stereotypes out there about models being horrid to each other and generally being divas. Many of the models who we have worked with have been nothing but a joy to have, and work with.

The most important thing with being an alternative model is your image; it is your responsibility to keep yourself looking the best you can. This means taking care of yourself, having a good diet, drinking plenty of water, not drinking excessively, having a good skin care routine and getting plenty of sleep. You need to arrive to a shoot looking the best you can.

It is also very important that you look like your images, which you have been selected from. With such easy access to Photoshop, you can create the most amazing images; with manipulation and exaggeration you can change appearances very easily. If you do manipulate your images it is very important that this is noted somewhere, as is informing whoever has booked you of what you do actually look like. If you go to a shoot not having informed a photographer, this will make you look highly unprofessional and may do you a disservice, and could result in action being taken – as this is false representation.

All the models which are featured on our site are how they look in person. The most editing we ever do to an image is fading a spot!

Modelling is a people business. You are constantly interacting with people, so you do need to be able to work as a team, be able to take direction and be able to make any project a positive experience not only for yourself but for everyone working with you. Having the correct attitude for this type of work is a must; the alternative model market is becoming very competitive, so having a negative attitude will not go in your favour and could make people not want to work with you.

You must be able to handle rejection; there will be times where you won’t have the type of look a client is looking for. This is modelling, you cannot take this personally. If you feel that you have been treated unfairly then do complain through the correct channels – not when you are on set, as this may be misread as “diva” behaviour.

Is height an issue for an alternative model?

Not really, unless you work within high fashion modelling and alt modelling, as high fashion does apply height and size restrictions.

What can an alternative model expect from an average shoot? Is she expected to specify in advance what she will/won’t do (restriction, nudity or semi-nudity, etc.)

Any shoot should have been pre-agreed as to what the model will be required to do. It is unfair and hugely unprofessional to send a model to a shoot unprepared. With each model booking you should have a brief on what the client is hoping to achieve from the shoot.

As a model you should always know and have agreed in advance if there is going to nudity or semi-nudity in a shoot. If you have not pre-agreed to this then you should not be asked to do it, and you shouldn’t have to do it. With each model that is with Rogue we are aware which models are comfortable with nude and those who are only comfortable with implied nude or clothed shoots. With all of our models they have the option of first refusal on any shoot. If they are not 100% comfortable with the brief and what will be required they can say no. This is important for us to emphasis to all of our models; there is no point in sending a model to a shoot if she is not comfortable, as you will not capture the full essence of the model.

We would be informed of whether there will be a hair and make-up artist or whether the model is required to do her own. If there is anything specific which you should bring with you, such as shoes, clothing or accessories? This, again, is something which is all pre-agreed at time of booking. You should also be aware of how long your shoot will last. If you are going to be required to work past 10.30pm and you’re travelling on public transport, your taxi or overnight accommodation should have also been pre-agreed at the time of booking.

Who owns a picture – the photographer, the model, the agency or the client?

On every shoot you should sign a model release form. Each release form will have different specifications on how the image will be used, who has copyright, payments and details on any agreements between model and photographer.

Is there any demand for male alternative models?

We do get a lot of enquiries from male models. At present we only represent female models. We do say with each enquiry that we will keep all their details in case anything comes through which they would suit.

What safety precautions would you recommend an alternative model take – especially if she is not signed to any particular agency?

You should always know and have agreed in advance if there is going to nudity or semi-nudity in a shoot. If you have not pre-agreed to this then you should not be asked to do it or have to do it.

Always ask if you can take a chaperone, especially if it is someone whom you’ve never worked with before. Also ask for references of models who have previously worked with the photographer. You should be able to contact them if you wish.

We would always advise to let someone know where you are and how long you will be away for. This should apply with all your shoots: Give contact numbers and addresses of where you will be.

You are entitled to reasonable breaks on shoots, with access to refreshments.

If you are not happy with what is being asked of you at the shoot you have the right to stop.

Questions answered by Neely K Vee.

For further information please e-mail [email protected]

Quotes from alternative models

“For years I struggled to find commercial fashion modelling work, and always felt that there was something that didn’t feel quite right. My heart was just not in it. Since I discovered that there is a market out there in which I can be myself, with all my body modifications, my unusual dress sense, and my love of being different, I have never been happier, and having an agent who specialises in getting me work at amazing gigs and events full of like-minded people and who knows just how to showcase my style and my talents the way I’d like to be seen is just what I needed.” Miki

“Alternative modelling is freaking awesome, you get to be as crazy as you like and it looks fab. Also, I don’t need to worry if I’ve put on any weight over the holidays, because everyone is accepted for who they are. Working for Rogue is fantastic; we are always updated, and feel like an individual not just a number!!” Maeria

“Being with Rogue is like getting some extra family. Acceptance for the way you look is guaranteed, as is encouragement and total support in all aspects of modelling (and life). Neely is the friendly helpful face of Rogue, the most approachable, lovely lady you could wish to meet, who always has the girls’ best interests at heart and works so blooming hard to get us some fantastic work. I love being at Rogue and hope to continue to do so for some time yet’. Pili-Pala

“I have gained so much confidence since joining Rogue Maidens and I love the fact that the agency showcases girls who, like me, aren’t 6ft tall, tanned, size zeros! It’s time for a revolution. Beauty can be pale, pierced, tattooed skin. We have attitude and passion for who we are and what we do. We are not clothes hangers! Viva la Rogue!” Frost

“I feel proud to and honoured to be a part of Rogue. Not only have I made great friends in my fellow Rogue’s, I feel this is the best agency to represent me as an alternative model. I look forward to seeing what the next year brings.” Eva de Laurentiis

“In the alternative modelling industry it’s a constant battle to stand out. There are so many models doing similar things that you constantly have to work on making sure you are unique, present and innovative. With Rogue Maidens I feel I am able to explore different characters and elements which are key to staying competitive.” Rhapsodiz

“Being with Rogue has allowed me the freedom to try different ideas and be really creative with the shoots I do. I would recommend Rogue to any alt model; I have been provided with great exposure and promotion, but also a really supportive friendly group of colleagues.” Raven Meadows

“I feel privileged to be a part of Rogue. I am glad I have found an agency that can represent my individual style and market me accordingly.” Sapphira (new model)

“Alternative modelling gives me the chance to show that even a unique look is beautiful. I love to break the mould as each one of us girls has something gorgeous about them, and it’s sadly often overlooked by today’s ruling standards of the beauty/ fashion industry – in particular modelling. I love the spirit Neely has about her company as it’s heartfelt and passionate. I love the freedom of expression I find in alternative modelling and get a buzz from performing without having to bend my personality.” Pixie Stardust (new model)

“What I love about alternative modelling is meeting new, likeminded people and the chance to experiment stylewise. Rogue Maidens’ personal interaction with its models and encouragement has taken this to a more professional level for me.” Maria Disgrace (new model)

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working within alternative modelling, particularly because it gives you the opportunity to try out weird and wonderful ideas. There is no strict outlook on what you should look like, which is great for those who feel uncomfortable around the idea of the “you’ve been tangoed” orange glamour look. I have done location shoots, and studio work, and each type of work brings new experiences and ways of working. The only negative thing is that I cannot commit more to modelling, as am treating it purely as a part time, casual commitment, due to trying to pursue a difficult career. Being part of Rogue Maidens has been a great opportunity, as you are contacted with information about auditions and fashion shows, which would be difficult to come by otherwise. The main great thing about Rogue is the lovely lady who co-ordinates the whole show, Neely, who is very understanding and helpful in a variety of situations.” Ebony Fatale

“Seeing as I don’t have any experience to speak of yet! – id say that ‘I’m very excited to be joining Rogue Maidens , and thrilled that I’m going to be part of the website amongst such stunning models. I’m looking forward to gaining more experience with the agency, and hope to have some photos up as good as the beautiful pictures on the site!” Sarah (new model)

rogue maidens alternative modelling agency

Twisted Elegance

rogue maidens alternative modelling agency


rogue maidens alternative modelling agency


rogue maidens alternative modelling agency


rogue maidens alternative modelling agency

Malenka Envy

rogue maidens alternative modelling agency

Anime Girl

rogue maidens alternative modelling agency


rogue maidens alternative modelling agency


rogue maidens alternative modelling agency


rogue maidens alternative modelling agency


rogue maidens alternative modelling agency

Maria Disgrace

rogue maidens alternative modelling agency

Spirit, Fusewire and that’s Neely on the right!

Pictures and interview courtesy of Neely, the photographers and the models at Rogue Maidens Alternative Modelling Agency