How to Book Work as a Model in Mumbai
As an international model, you need to adapt to new markets constantly. Whether this means updating your portfolio, your hair colour or your casting makeup routine, you need to make sure that you are as marketable as possible in order to book work in the market where you are based. As a model, you are your business, and so it’s important to research a market to see what works and what doesn’t before arriving. For all our first time travellers to Mumbai, some of our Pietra Dura Creative Management models and our bookers have written what in their experience helps models to book work in this competitive market.
Phoebe G (Model)
Boy scouts rule! Always be prepared. Have your portfolio, dress to impress, and always bring a pair of heels to work and castings.
1. Models should always dress to the brief, or at least well, for auditions.
2. You should learn how to pose properly for each type of job, especially in Indian wear, as it's very different from Western posing. We usually train our new models how to do this.
3. Be nice at the shoot. Don’t throw tantrums, as often a client will land up booking the same model if they get on well with them.
This is my first trip to India, and I've started to work well. I'm more used to the work in a fashion market in Europe, in particular in my country, Italy. When I arrived in Mumbai I discovered a vast market, with work opportunities not only in the field of fashion, but also commercials and films. In fact, there are daily castings for shoots (catalogs, advertorials, web catalogue), but also many castings for TV commercials, music videos and Bollywood films.
It is in Mumbai that for the first time I began to study my body more for how to move in front of a video camera. Working on video is a new thing for me, and I think that it can be helpful to improve our stills posing, as well as help us to learn about the appearance of our bodies in motion. Because I can attend a variety of types of castings in any one day, I generally prefer to present myself with simple makeup, nails with pearly or cream nail polish (not flashy, but at the same time manicured), and casual western clothes. Usually I like to wear jeans and a plain top, and to make the outfit a little more personal I like to add some simple accessories with a blazer or cardigan. It’s important to look plain, as casting directors want to see you as a blank canvas.
I always have a medium size bag with me, to hold all the things that I need in it. In my bag I have my portfolio, a hair band and, of course, high heels! These things are vital, because in most castings, particularly for stills shoots, the casting director can ask to you to try different clothes with high heels to take some polaroids, and they often ask you to tie your hair to show your full face in the photos. Lastly, something that is often overlooked by models, that I think is essential to gaining respect as a model in this market, is to wear basic underwear. Nude or black underwear with no decorations or other colors are a staple for models. I always say "black for castings and nude for jobs", however, you should always have both options with you. Taking these basic things into account as a model will gain you more respect from clients in any market, including Mumbai.
In terms of what look works best here, usually the international models that work the most are those who have Indian features, especially for women. However, models with softer looks also book a lot of work.
Of course, working as a model, one needs to have the right look for the specific assignment; but sometimes in India being a nice and friendly person can be more important than just looking the part. Models who are friendly, professional, obliging, and easy-going often book regular work based on their personalities. At the end of the day, clients like to work with nice people.