Hey Guys!
I wanted to come all quick and share a question I was asked a few months ago. From here on out, I will take the time to reply to as many questions, comments and message I receive. I encourage you guys to send me mail! See my response below..

Hey Afiya,

I have been inspired by how you have worked hard to pursue your modeling career, since before The Face up until now. I am an aspiring model that has been trying to break into the industry for sometime now. It’s very difficult as you may already know, but not impossible to achieve. I thought I should reach out to someone who’s already in the industry for some advice. You seem like an open person, so I figured you would be perfect.

First of all, how do you keep your skin so glowing and blemish free?! I’ve never seen you with a single spot on your face! Lol
I’ve been trying to reach out to photographers to shoot with in order to improve my book, some are really expensive and to be quite honest, I can’t afford it. And others, well, I don’t even get a response. Before you were signed to Marilyn or even became a contestant on the Face, how did you find photographers that were willing to work with you?

I have visited quite a few agencies open calls here in NYC but haven’t gotten that one YES yet. A lot of them seem to like my look but they say I need to be at least 5’9″ (i’m 5’8″) I know there are a lot of successful models out there that are my height, so I was a little puzzled right there. Some suggested I go to a few other agencies but they don’t hold open calls, so how do you get to meet with them?
So here’s my next question. How were you able to meet with agencies that didn’t hold open calls such as Wilhelmina and of course Marilynn?

I look forward to hearing from you.


Ps: congrats on everything you have accomplished so far. You are truly an inspiration. Keep working hard!

Hi Shanique!
Wow! I definitely remember being in your shoes and I would be lying if I told you it were easy. When I was younger, I heard a lot of “no” as well. I was critiqued on everything from my shoulders, my assets, my hair, my bone structure, everything in the book! Many people will tell you no, but look a me, I’m signed with Marilyn Models. I had a great support system throughout the years from my family, friends and people I’ve met.

So first thing, photographers. I did something called T/F which means “time for”. Time for is when a model shoots for a photographer and the photographer gets to keep or use the photos for their portfolio. This is a good way for both parties to get their work up. Models get the opportunity to build a stronger portfolio to show agencies and so do photographers. Find those photographers who are good at their work, but not yet discovered. Utilize social media! Instagram is your best friend because you will be able to see a photographers work, their potential and also the team that they work with.  But with all things be very careful because you do not have the agency protecting you and many people are opportunist.  As for the agencies, it truly all depends. Some agencies will  take you with some great polaroids. However others require a portfolio just to show them how you photograph in order for them to create a vision, and essentially, market you to make money.  Sometimes it is very hard for agents to figure out what market works best for you whether that may be making you a runway girl/editorial girl, a “money girl”, a catalog/e-commerce, beauty campaigns, swim; there are so many different markets and avenues of making money. However in this industry even the high fashion girls book commercial jobs so it is very important to be versatile. You have to prove that you can work your height and stretch those legs.  Its always best to give yourself time.  My advice is try the polaroid route  first, if that doesn’t work, then proceed to test with the right photographers, believe it or not photographers also have connections to agencies so be very keen about who you shoot with.

Signing with Marilyn… Most agencies do not have open calls as most of you know, however I actually did submit some of my images from my portfolio online to the  email address that was provided and did get several responses…..but that was also after receiving several no’s at a point in time as well, its all about timing. The greatest advice that was given to me and I will pass down to you is “study your craft”  and know what type of model you are. Are high fashion?, are you commercial?, look at the agencies websites and see the type of images in their girls portfolios, pay attention to the styling, the lighting, the hair, the expressions, the scenery….. practice your expressions in front of the mirror, keep your skin clear, and always make sure your body is on point.  You can look at models.com for all of the agencies around the world and see which ones have girls that look like you and which don’t, you always want to sign with an agency that is the most excited about you. . Just keep making connections and basically don’t give up because I promise you and I am telling you from personal experience….”if you keep on knocking…eventually the right door will open”.. Do you research, see what they like in models and how their rosters are changing over time, your time may be approaching so don’t give up!

My skin care.….For the most part, I’ve tried everything under the sun for my skin! I will do another post about skin care

I Hope This was a Big Help, Talk to you soon and best wishes!

One thought on “#ASKAFIYA

  1. Hey Afiya,

    I am a HairStylist that wants to work with Agency models & thought to inquire about that with you.

    When wanting to build a book of test shots, do the models need to all be from the same Agency or they can be from different agencies?

    How would I get in contact with the Agency to set up a meeting to show my portfolio?

    Will the Agency ask for hair licensing?

    Kahh Spence


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