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I applied to IMG models and never heard back: here’s what I learned

I consider myself an unpredictable, bold person, but when I woke up one morning in the middle of the January lockdown and wanted to apply to International Management Group models, I was convinced that this was by far the wildest thing I’d ever attempted. I had zero modeling experience and did not even consider becoming a model until that very day. However, when I put my mind to something, I won’t back down. I devoted hours of research to YouTube videos with talented models who explained their IMG journey, watching just about every Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show I could find, and suddenly, I felt like I knew every secret of modeling.

 The application process was not a walk in the park. To be exact, you had to record yourself walking back and forth like a true runway model. I’m ashamed to say I can barely walk in a straight line, so this took almost an hour of practice. Along with that, you had to send in body/headshots, which was by far the most time-consuming and intimidating part of the IMG application. This is also where I realized maybe I’m not cut out to be a model considering I couldn’t even stand still in front of a camera for 5 minutes without fidgeting. 

This toxic, secretive industry, to an average person, seems like an easy job that doesn’t take much work, but I quickly learned modeling is so much more than what meets the eye and is anything but easy. The pictures looked quite professional, and after putting in a lot of effort, I was proud of the product. 

Finally, there was the personality video: a chance for IMG to see the “real” you. If there’s one thing I could do, it was talking about myself, so, following my inner impulsive side, I applied with one click of a button. I did everything I learned: I wore heels in the walking video, I took photos on a clean white background, and I wore little to no makeup. There was a tiny spark in me that believed I could become a model. I would sign with IMG. However after a week or two of waiting and occasionally obsessively refreshing my emails, my little dream that I created died off as I waited to no avail for a response. I realized this alternate reality I planned out in my head was just that, an alternate reality, however, it allowed me to reflect and learn a few things about myself and this process.

This experience taught me several things about the twisted modeling industry. Models are forced to only show specific sides of themselves to the world, and that just isn’t me. I’m an open book. If I can’t show off my true self,  then I could never make it as a model, not to mention the diagonal walking, but that’s a whole other challenge. If there was any way to broaden the personality a model must uphold, then sign me up, but at the moment, the modeling industry isn’t at the level of diversity to make this switch. Models have to fit this intimidating, unapproachable mold, and the industry hasn’t evolved enough to change that. However, I wouldn’t take back my wacky, unusual idea to wake up and apply to be an IMG model because now, I get to say that I’ve tried. 

Models work much harder than one may think, it is not an effortless occupation, and even in my short-lived week, I would stress and perfect photos, poses and struts. I also have no hard feelings towards IMG for not accepting the weirdly proportioned girl who looked stiffer than a tree trunk in her photos. The moral of my writing is to inform my readers to never be afraid to try new things or go after what you want. You’ll never know what the outcome might be unless you go for it, so why not just go for it while you have the chance.   

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