How to become an alternative model – expert tips

Alternative fashion model Roswell Ivory

How to become an alternative model? Get expert alternative modelling tips from successful models who have been there, done the front cover of .Alt Fashion Magazine…

Mookychick helicoptered the fabulous Roswell Ivory, Anita De Bauch and Violet Magenta to a secret Swiss location for a summit meeting on how to become alternative models. We hope the time and effort these girls put into discussing the hows, do’s and dont’s of alternative modelling will help aspiring gals the world over…

How to become an alternative model? FAQs:

Your tips on first steps in building an alternative modelling portfolio?

alternative model tips - how to become an alternative model

Roswell Ivory in Alt Fashion Magazine!

Roswell Ivory: I was approached at a festival by a talent scout, who asked me if I had modeled before. The agency he represented had a stand at the event, so I was introduced to some photographers there and had my first photoshoot the next day! After putting my profile on the agency website, I started getting work.

alternative model tips - how to become an alternative model

Violet Magenta!

Violet Magenta: Strangely, I don’t have copies of the pictures from my first shoot. It was from a friend of a friend’s photography project and I did it more as a favour so that he could get his work done, rather than to build up a portfolio for myself! Then a friend with a clothing company, Peacock Fancy, asked me to model her Burlesque costumes for her end of degree show. She paid me, which I didn’t expect, and the photographer gave me a CD of all the pictures. I did that shoot and realised I loved it and had to do more! I think the most important thing has been to keep doing unpaid TFCD (Time in exchange for a CD of photographs) shoots so that my profile is constantly being updated even when paid work isn’t available.

alternative model tips - how to become an alternative model

Pyretta Blaze!

Pyretta Blaze: I started modelling at the age of 15, as I did not have anyone to model my jewellery designs. However I did not turn professional until the age of 18. I had quite a few lucky breaks as I already had a lot of contacts in the photography world, and shortly after progession to professional status I was published in Bizarre magazine. Since then I have toured parts of europe and America, and have gone on to have several large publications, and my first cover shot is to be launched in December 2008.

I started by seeking out photographers that could work with my own personal sense of style, I advertised on many many modelling websites out there as well as contacting local art colleges.

alternative model tips - how to become an alternative model

Anita De Bauch! Photo by John Burton

Anita De Bauch: I actually started modelling out of necessity more than anything else! I started an internet business called Cradle Falls when I was 18, selling custom made hairpieces made from multicoloured dreads, wool, plastic tubing and other crazy things. I couldn’t afford to employ a model, or even purchase a mannequin head to do the modelling at that stage, so I modelled them myself and got my boyfriend to photograph me with my rather poor quality point-and-shoot digicam. I quickly noticed that the hairpieces in photos where I was trying to put some real feeling and a sense of mood into the photo seemed to sell better, so I practised trying to really model the hair, rather than just standing there with a wig on my head doing nothing! I guess in this way I got a practical crash course in alternative fashion/ hair modelling! If I didn’t model well, I didn’t sell anything, it was as simple as that! I learned the importance of clothes, pose, expression and makeup in contributing to a captivating image.

Anyway, the whole process really fascinated me, and eventually I borrowed a decent camera and got my boyfriend to shoot me up the side of a small mountain at 4am!- not to try to promote my business, but because I had a picture in my head of some images I wanted to create. They had a kind of “little girl lost in the wilderness” theme, I guess.

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Who did you initially contact?

Anita De Bauch: I posted my photos online, then started contacting local photographers with my ideas to shoot on a TFP (Time For Photos) basis. After a while of doing this, and posting my photos online under the alias ‘Chic Freak’ (which I have since changed to Anita De Bauch), I started getting offers of paid work, so I just took it from there.

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Who gives you alternative modelling work?

Roswell Ivory: I mainly work for alternative and alternative clothing designers, and occasionally work on art and photography projects with a local art school.

Anita De Bauch: Almost all of my paid work comes from photographers wishing to expand their portfolios, but I have also worked for Heavenly Corsets, Slipland, and a alternative website called Evil Magician, and walked at a fashion show for Cyber Spirit, Doll Obnoxia, EmeraldAngel, Heavenly Corsets, Hot Trash and Nocturnal Clothing. I’ve also appeared in Bizarre, Scarlet and Nectoxic magazines.

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What kind of alternative modelling have you done?

Anita De Bauch: Other than the fashion show, all my work so far has been photographic, from fashion to alternative, vintage lingerie to art nude, and beauty to restriction!

Roswell Ivory: I model a lot of shoes and latex clothing- creating some very edgy pictures in the process! I have also done some catalogue work and fashion shows (catwalk).

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What is an alternative modelling shoot like?

Anita De Bauch: All shoots begin the same for me- four hours of getting ready before they start! A quick check list involves washing your hair, shaving off any hair you don’t want the camera to see (for me, this always includes my eyebrows!), exfoliating and moisturising your whole body, and giving yourself a manicure and a pedicure. I also bleach my teeth before a shoot, as I’m a bit of a tea and coffee addict!

I then pack up all the clothes, lingerie, shoes, accessories, props, makeup and styling products that I think I’ll need, usually along with directions to the shoot, a contact phone number in case I get held up, and a packed lunch!

Once at the shoot, I usually confirm what I’m doing with the photographer before doing my own hair and makeup, although sometimes I have someone to do this bit for me, which is always nice! The photographer and I then work together to try and create whatever images we are aiming for that day, which could be anything from high fashion to some cute cheesecake pin-ups. Modelling is a bit like acting in a silent movie, except you only have one frame to express yourself in instead of a piece of video footage! It requires constant, full concentration, which is why it can be so tiring, as well as the fact that you often need to hold awkward and uncomfortable poses for long periods of time without looking awkward and uncomfortable. It’s all worth it for a great picture!

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How much money do you get for being an alternative model?

Anita De Bauch: I usually earn between £10 and £30 per hour, depending on exactly what I’m doing and how long the shoot lasts (I give discounts for longer shoots). This doesn’t include preparation or travel time, though. I have also worked in exchange for clothes. I spend a LOT of money on modelling, probably more than I need to. As I so often do my own makeup, I like to have all professional quality makeup and brushes, and I need to keep myself in good quality toiletries and hair dye so I don’t look a complete mess at shoots! I can also never resist buying fully fashioned stockings, high heeled shoes or retro lingerie and accessories, either! When I have an idea for a TFP shoot, I usually like to buy a completely new outfit for it, which is often at least partly custom made. If I spot something that I think could add a special touch to a photo, I can’t say no to buying it!

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Alternative modelling tips?

Violet Magenta: I think the best tip anyone can give is to be reliable and work hard. Also, you must be willing to work for free because it helps to build up your portfolio and also shows photographers that you’re interested in creating something, not just making money. Finally, set your boundaries and stick to them. If you don’t want to do a nude shoot, don’t let anyone change your mind. You should work within your own comfort zone.

Pyretta Blaze: Alternative modelling is a very fast and furious line of work, as there are a lot of aspiring alternative models. However my best tip would be is to be “yourself”; don’t try to conform into the normal modelling “boxes”. That is not what alternative modelling is about, it is about being unique.

Roswell Ivory: I’ve always liked healthy food so my diet hasn’t really changed, and I do karate anyway, but since starting modelling I make an effort to get more sleep!

Anita De Bauch: I tend to eat lightly and healthily, drink lots of green tea and do sit-ups, press-ups and leg-lift things in the days before a shoot, but other than that I don’t really do anything special to look after myself!

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Any tips for staying safe while modelling?

Roswell Ivory: One photographer I worked with was also a hypnotist and put the make-up artist into a trance (she volunteered). That was probably the most surreal shoot I’ve ever been on! I have been lucky not to have had many dodgy experiences- if I have any doubts about the photographer, I don’t shoot with them.

Violet Magenta: I think I was fortunate enough to have few initial fears because despite it being something I always wanted to try, I originally drifted into it. There is always that little bit of nervousness, though, when you meet a new photographer for the first time!

Anita De Bauch: I’m lucky in that I don’t have any modelling-related horror stories to tell (yet!). The worst I have suffered at the hands of a photographer so far is rudeness. Most of the people I’ve worked with have been fabulous.

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Helpful people and companies you met along the way?

Pyretta Blaze: I work for some fantastic companies and agencies. At the moment I am represented by ROGUEMAIDENS and SATANIC SLUTS. One of my favourite companies to work for so far is Alienskin clothing.

Violet Magenta: First of all, Kat from Peacock Fancy deserves a big mention because it was modelling her clothes that gave me my first photographs for my portfolio. Alternativ Model Management is the agency that I’m with and being part of that agency just gave me such a huge confidence boost in my abilities. There are many photographers that have helped me, including Ken Jackson & Brian Johnson, who I did a lot of early shoots with, and Paul Wright, who I’ve done some really enjoyable work with and he took the picture I’ve included with this. Warren from Growling Clown Entertainment for allowing me to be part of his alternative fashion show, which was amazing! Also, I’d like to mention Tori from Deviant Hair, in particular, for all of her help. And of course, all of the people who take an interest, let me know what they think of my work, and post my banner up on their profiles or websites to help support me. All of you people are amazing!

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Favourite things about alternative modelling?

Violet Magenta: I do a job where I either get to wear my own clothes, or model someone else’s beautiful creations, and completely express myself! You can’t get away with the same things in any ‘normal’ job as you can with modelling, there’s a lot of freedom. I also get chance to meet a lot of interesting and amazing people.

Roswell Ivory: The fact that every working day is different, and knowing that you have helped to create a piece of art at the end of it. You also meet some fantastic people along the way.

Anita De Bauch: For me, the joys of modelling are in creating a beautiful, striking, fierce, unusual, artistic, challenging, cute, sexy and exciting images. I also love to travel and meet cool new people.

Pyretta Blaze: It’s fun and exciting, and it really helps you to push your artistic side into the world. Modelling is like give birth to a piece of art. Unique and You.

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Things you hate about alternative modelling?

Roswell Ivory: Having to be more careful about my appearance- i.e. not doing a karate class the day before a shoot so I don’t get covered in bruises! It can also be quite stressful as modelling is a very competitive industry.

Pyretta Blaze: Unfortunately you get a lot of strange people out there that want to take pictures of naked women for their own pleasure, we call them GWCs (guys with camera). These people are best avoided as it is not safe to work with them.

Violet Magenta: The only thing I can think of is that there can at times be a long wait between jobs.

Anita De Bauch: My life has been fairly pitfall-free so far, but from what I’ve heard from other people, I would suggest that the pitfalls for new models tend to be getting cheated out of money by scam “agencies”, hit on by pervy “photographers” or getting themselves stuck in some sort of contract that limits their work too much. It always pays to be careful and do your research- if something seems too good to be true, it probably is! You also need to understand the concept of copyright, and that the images belong to the photographer and not you!

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Your future plans?

Violet Magenta: My main plan is just to continue to do more shoots, paid and TFCD, and try to build up an interesting and diverse portfolio. This is as much a hobby for me as a job, and whilst I’d love to be very successful at it, I’m not looking for fame. I’m happy just to keep on living the dream, because in many ways, that is what this used to be.

Pyretta Blaze: I plan to do another tour of America, stopping again in New Your and Nevada.

The alternative models featured in this interview:

Roswell Ivory

alternative model

Hiya, I’m Roswell. I’ve been modelling for just over a year and mainly work in the alternative and alternative fields (though I occasionally take on fashion work.) In the past year, I have represented designers such as Libidex, Degenerotika, Valkyrie Corsets, Kaori’s Latex Dream, Hetty Rose and Spank. I have taken part in runway shows at Torture Garden, Festival of Sin, the Barbican Centre, London Alternative Fashion week and the London Xpo 2007. Recently, I have appeared on the cover of Alt Fashion magazine (winter issue).

Anita De Bauch

alternative model

I am an alternative fashion, alternative and pin-up model, whose work is often characterised by early twentieth century styles combined with my own twists, taking inspiration from influences as diverse as burlesque, punk, 1950s movies, cheesecake pin-ups, Goth, glam, alternative and high fashion.

Violet Magenta

alternative model

My working name is Violet Magenta and I’m an alternative model based in Teesside. I model a mixture of styles, including Goth, Cyber Goth, alternative, Pin-Up and Burlesque.

Pyretta Blaze

alternative model

I’ve been published in Bizarre magazine, have toured America as an alternative model, and my first cover shoot was in December 2008.