69-year-old Ralph Lauren is an American success story. Starting out as a tie designer, the New Yorker worked day and night to become a fashion star, acquiring the Polo brand and making the polo shirt an iconic part of classic wardrobes. Lauren holds a tight reign over his fashion empire, setting standards that have lead him to find the same kind of success with his lines of furniture, linens, house paint, and fragrances. Consequently, if one becomes a Ralph Lauren model, he might just as easily find himself on the pages of a trendy fashion magazine as a publication devoted to tasteful living. Men and women of all ages appear in the company's print ads, TV ads and Website.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Assess your personality. You read that right. Good cheekbones are great, but Ralph Lauren models also need plenty of patience and stamina. It usually takes hours to get the type of shots the brand requires, whether a model is wearing a new outfit or simply sitting in a room decorated with Lauren products.
Ask a professional photographer to shoot head and full-body photos for your model's composite. Commercial photographers can be expensive, but you'll save a bundle if you book an appointment with a mall photographer. Bring with you Ralph Lauren ads and--if you own some--wardrobe items. If you have no branded clothing, match the style to the company's product as closely as possible. Have the images--in ",jpeg" format--put on a disk.
Make a model's composite. If you know your way around computer software, set up an 8.5" x 11" landscape (horizontal) document. Import or embed at least five photos from the disk to the composite layout. Ask friends to pick the most flattering shot in the bunch, and make it the largest image on the page. Add vital data to the composite by dragging or inserting a text box into the layout and typing this information into the box: name, height, weight, shoe, and clothing size. Add contact information such as a cell phone number. Ralph Lauren staffers also ask those inquiring into modelling opportunities to state their age.
Make a portfolio of enlarged prints. Any type of presentation portfolio with removable acetate sleeves will do. This repository is the tool that sells clients and agents once they get past the composite. Include head shots showing you under different types of lighting. As your career grows, update the portfolio with tear sheets from publications in which you appear.
Contact Ralph Lauren directly. According to the company's website, the brand is always searching for new talent. To apply directly to the company, send your model's composite or a resume with a full-face head shot and a full-length body shot to Casting Department, Polo Ralph Lauren, 650 Madison Avenue, New York, New York, 10022. You may also send your data to www.RLCasting@poloralphlauren.com if you have digital images. Make certain the measurements on your composite are up-to-date. Do not send nude photos.
Get an agent. As a rule of thumb, ignore agents making too many promises and those who ask for upfront money. Reputable modelling agencies don't charge pre-shoot fees to represent a model; they receive a 20 per cent commission (on average) on per-booking earnings. Before you sign, let agents know that your goal is modelling for the Lauren brand. If an agent admits that he can't promise to get your composite in front of the marketing and advertising folks at Ralph Lauren headquarters, you may want to look elsewhere.
Prepare yourself for rejection. The glitz and glamour of being a professional model is almost always balanced by a huge amount of rejection. Going on auditions, sitting in a room with 40 other beauties--each one a head-turner--getting no callbacks after repeated modelling calls, and other disappointments can't help but take a toll on one's self-esteem. Learning to live with rejection can be character building for some, but understand that this is most often the factor that pushes models into retirement.
Tips and warnings
- Understand that there are no guarantees. If anyone guarantees to get you a job the moment you sign a contract, head for the door!
- Avoid modelling schools. Many are expensive schemes established to exploit one's desire to be in the spotlight. If you are tempted to enrol in one, check them out with the Better Business Bureau and your favourite Internet search engine.
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