So You Want to Be a Model?
The modeling industry is often looked upon with a degree of scorn, with those who model being labeled narcissistic and conceited, and the industry itself being seen as a breeding ground for drug use and starvation diets. Modeling, after all, concerns the direct expression, and perfecting, of the human form, whether the form in question be used to market clothing or fitness equipment. That the perception models are vain exists, despite the fact it is a job like any other, confirms the ignorance surrounding the industry as a whole. Firstly, there are categories of models, with specific requirements relevant to each. Catwalk modeling, for example, demands that one place a greater emphasis on specific physical dimensions so they can model certain items of clothing. Fitness modeling, on the other hand, generally allows for a greater degree of scope as far as body shape is concerned. While certain publications, or manufacturers, expect rock-hard definition and stunning good looks, others prefer a more realistic appearance.
One fitness model who certainly fits the former requirement almost exactly is Anthony Catanzaro. Anthony, as shown in previous articles, adheres to the bodybuilding lifestyle, and considers himself a bodybuilder first, model second. He does, however, take his modeling seriously as exemplified by appearances on the cover of Fitness Plus, Men's Exercise, and Exercise and Fitness magazine, as well as the extensive work he has done, both in the print media and on Television. To contradict the belief that models are vain, mentally unstable and glib, Anthony leads a natural, healthy lifestyle, is committed to his wife, and gives mention to God wherever possible. He also believes in helping others to achieve their goals. In this article, Anthony gives an insight into the world of a model and explains what it takes to get started in this industry. For anyone interested in becoming a model, or, out of interest, are wanting to know more about the industry read on.
Q: How long have you been modeling, and what led to your decision to enter this industry?
I actually started modeling at the age of 18. I was a carpenter, and I was working in a home improvement store, when I photographer came in one day and told me that I had a face and a smile that he never seen before, and that he was shooting an evening wear catalog with some women. He thought I was perfect for the male model they needed. I did the photo shoot for it and they put a photo of me and the female model on the cover. So I quit my job as a carpenter and set my goals to become a star.
Q: What type of modeling do you do? Explain why this type of modeling is suited to you and what does it involve exactly?
I do mostly fitness and physique modeling. I used to model suits and designer clothes, but as I put on muscle, I was getting too big to model clothing.
I never really got anything out of modeling clothes besides a check. I kind of just felt like a mannequin with no personality. I wanted to change peoples lives and found that out by talking about what I love to do more than anything, and that is about exercise and well being. I began to inspire people with my body and how I achieved this without drugs or any other kind of enhancement what so ever. So becoming a fitness model was much more suitable for me.
Q: What is it about modeling you enjoy most?
The greatest thing I love about modeling, is that I can inspire people to get into shape. Everyone needs some type of goal in terms of what they would want their body to look like. I cannot believe the amount of fan mail I get everyday about how I inspired someone to get into shape, and that it becomes contagious to their whole family. Being a model, I have the opportunity for more people to see me in an ad or photo, and want to find out more about me. "The image is one thing, but the human being is another" (a quote from Elvis Presley).
Q: If I wanted to become a male model, what would be my first objective?
Well first off, you are going to need some help. A good agent is something that you need. I'm actually in the process of looking for a new agent. I've always said nobody will promote you more than yourself, but there is only so much you can get on your own. A good agent gets calls on a daily basis for all types of looks, so if you think you have what it takes, have some photos taken and try to find a agent to represent you.
Q: How do you choose a good agent? What should one avoid?
Choosing an agent can be overwhelming because there are so many agents out there, and a lot of them are scam artists! They would look for young men and women who are green in the business, and tell them they need to take pictures with their photographers. Mind you, they would have to pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars to do this. Then after they spend all this money, they soon find out the agent has no contacts at all. I know some fashion agents who, if they think you have what it takes, they will finance your whole portfolio and get your comp cards made and everything. This is how it works: an agent is there only to book talent. If the agent thinks you have talent, and there is money for them to be made with you if they book you on something, they get paid, then you will get paid from them. That's how it works. You see, if you are told to spend money with an agent, other than having comp cards made (these are like 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 glossy cards that have your headshot on one side and a few other shots with your stats on the other) it should pay off for you. The comp cards don't cost much at all. They are used as a main tool for you to get booked. A good agent will have a resume of the work that they have gotten for their models. You should examine them, to make sure it’s genuine. The bottom line is: take your time when looking for an agent. They need you to make money so don't ever think they're doing you a favor.
Q: What should one look for in a good photographer? What kind of photos are generally taken?
A good photographer will usually work for a magazine, or have his or her own website which will show the type of photography he or she does. I have worked with a lot of photographers, both men and women. I found that every one of them would capture you in a different light. A true photographer is an artist, and they can truly bring out the best in you. They see things that you and I don't. I am actually starting to dabble a bit in it myself. I actually take amazing photos. I always say your best photo of yourself is when you are being yourself. Too many models today have the same look on their face. Your eyes should tell a story in the photograph. That is why the Mona Lisa is so widely loved. She has a little smirk on her face and her eyes kind of go through you, and that is what makes a good photograph. My father, when I was a boy, used to just look at me a certain way and I would know if I was making him mad or happy. My dad had very intense eyes. They would penetrate your soul. I guess I inherited that from him.
Q: What markets could a male model target for work?
There are so many but the best market should be one that you enjoy.
Q: What kind of markets are there for a male model to choose from though?
There are many markets for models. There is fashion modeling, physique modeling, hand modeling, hair modeling and body part modeling - the list goes on and on, but I would have to say the highest paying would be endorsement modeling as in modeling for Nike, for instance.
Q: What is the male modeling industry really like? Is the competition fierce?
I never worry about competition. I'm only in competition with myself. Too many people today are way too competitive. I train with some guys at the gym and when they train with me they get very excited if they can lift a little more weight than me in a particular exercise, and then they get very frustrated when they can't keep up with me in another exercise. You see, they are not focusing on themselves, just on the fact that they are trying to beat me, which in return, will make them lose. I truly feel that there isn't anyone with my look out there. I feel as though I hold my own in this business, and I have to thank GOD for what he has instilled in me.
Q: Is the industry as glamorous as it is often perceived to be?
I would have to say that the glamour is more so in fashion modeling, but we all know that there are couple of screws loose in that department! I have known a couple of big fashion male models and I have to say that its a good thing that they don't talk. Because a lot of them are just a shell. You will find them at their after parties eating their raw fish, drinking herbal teas, and GOD only knows what's going in their veins after the party's over. What I'm trying to say is that sometimes the grass looks greener on the other side. People may look at a model or actress and say, "wow they have the life". But in reality, some of them have many problems. A person should never take a healthy job, a happy marriage, and a good family for granted because, in the end, that's all that really matters. I would rather have a fulfilling conversation with my wife than a night out with limos and caviar.
Q: Why is recreational drug use common in modeling?
Money. It is the root of all evil, and people will do anything for it. So if that means a model needs to be ripped for a show or shoot, they would have no problem taking enhancements to help that happen. Just ask pro bodybuilders today why they are on drugs. Remember my natural bodybuilding article when I said that they need it in order to win, but they are not really winning.
Q: How would you prepare for a photo shoot, and show? What different tactics would you use for each of these?
This is good question because every one is looking for size, size, size. A beautiful body is not made from size, it comes from balance and proportion. When I'm doing a modeling shoot, I will focus on being as low in body fat while still looking as healthy as I can in my face. Unfortunately, being on stage means that you cannot hold water, and water is what muscle is made out of. So my approach to the stage would be lose all the fat that I have, and carb up a week before the show,and only drop my water intake the morning of the show. It only takes around 12 hours or so to lose any water the body is holding. That's why we are always three-to-five pounds lighter when we wake up. All of our water is down the drain.
Q: Who are some of the worlds top male models (other then yourself, of course), and what qualities do they have in common?
In the fitness world I would have to say Frank Sepe and Michael O'Hearn. In the fashion world, I would have to say that these two are at the top right now: Brad Kroenig and Ryan Snyder. The common characteristics are that they all started with a goal. I truly feel that destiny is in the hands of GOD. I know we are all born for something and its not to be unhappy or go through life struggling and depressed. One of my clients told me just last week, he saw that I was a little depressed and spoke to me with words of encouragement. YES, even somebody like me who has inspired the world can be down sometimes. Remember in one of my past articles when I spoke about learning something from anyone and that even the student can become the teacher. We are all here to learn. Well my client (his name is George by the way), told me to stop fighting the current and to let GOD decide where I will float to. You see, too many people are depressed today because they are not asking GOD to come in to their lives and guide them along the way. Your destiny is set already. But if you get in the way of it, and try so hard at something that just doesn't seem to be working for you then maybe its not in the cards. I have a saying for you: you may be fishing for small fish in a small pond, while never catching anything, because GOD has whales for you to catch in the ocean. I hope you understand that.
Q: What kind of personality does a good male model need to reach the top?
Unfortunately, modeling is all about looks and it really doesn't matter what personality you have as long as you are on time for a shoot. Some models in the fashion world don't even speak English. In the type of modeling I do, people admire you for your body, your look, and your determination, and that's why I feel it's very important to do this with good intentions. A lot of models are also looking for the easy road by taking enhancement drugs and having plastic surgery and dental work. This, to me, means nothing. I model because its one way I can show my fans and my new fans a reason to get in shape. And once you know of me, or read one of my articles, you will come to know the person I am. I love to help people and to see the looks on peoples faces when I can give them something to help them in their goals, God put me on earth for a reason, and I think that's what sets me ahead of the others. I have come to know that reason. Like I said before, its not how much money you can make, or how many magazine covers you can get on, but its what's behind all of that.
Q: Do you have any funny modeling stories to share?
Ok get ready to laugh. When I was around 20-years-old I'll never forget this. I was doing a photo shoot on Fire Island, New York. This is off the cost of Long Island where I grew up. The name of the place was called "CHERRY GROVE" and I have to tell you that the whole town is homosexual, but I didn't find this out until I got off the ferry. When I got off it was like going to Jurassic park and I was a filet mignon. When I met the photographer there, he took me to the house where I was doing the shoot. He then introduces me to the homeowner who was playing the piano when I walked in. So when I went up to him to shake his hand he gets up, and he's wearing a shirt and that's it!! I didn't realize this because he was sitting down but when he got up.... no pants, no underwear, nothing. Just a short shirt. When I went home I told my father what happened and he laughed so hard I thought he was going to pass out. Well lets just say male modeling is filled with NUTS, literally.
Q: This story was very funny. Any more of these stories to share?
Here is another one. I was booked on the Maury Povich show many times, but this time I was to escort women out to the stage. Well, when I met the woman back in the dressing room, I saw some of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. Tall, long legs, unbelievable bodies and facial features. When they met me, they started going crazy - running up to me hugging and kissing me on the cheek. I was like WOW these girls love me. Only to find out two minutes later that these girls were guys. I couldn't believe it. Thank God I'm married because I wouldn't want to be fooled in a bar, which I hear happens all the time.
Q: As the readers of this site know, you are also a top natural bodybuilder. How does being a bodybuilder benefit your modeling career?
Well, competing is the greatest way to get your body in the best shape possible. I truly feel that having that set date to be in shape is a great way to get the fire started. It definitely helps me get as lean as possible. I eat very clean all year round, but come competition time, I can forget about that pizza on the weekends. So right before the show I would do some magazine shoots, catalogs whatever I could since I am already ripped for my upcoming show. I think the biggest waste that bodybuilders do is get into great shape for the show, take a couple of photos that day on stage, and that's it. I don't ever want to be the type of bodybuilder that only looks good when he's at show time. To me, that is not what the sport is all about.
Q: Are fitness models expected to stay in shape year round? Is there a certain standard to be maintained?
I think if you are a fitness model who takes it seriously, you would always want to be in top shape, because you never know when something is going to come up. That's the unfortunate part in this business. I'll get a call to do something next Friday, and if I'm not in shape for it I can just forget it. So it's kind of hard to always have to be pretty ripped year round. Like I always say: "NO ABS, NO MONEY".
For more information on getting into your best possible shape, check out my customized diets: http://www.anthonycatanzaro.com/eating.html
Q: If you could only choose to do either modeling or bodybuilding, what would you choose, and why?
I would definitely choose bodybuilding and this is why. Modeling has given me opportunity to gain fans and friends all over the world. But if it wasn't for my passion for natural bodybuilding, I would just be another model and not ANTHONY CATANZARO. I like to say that I'm not loved because of my looks, I'm loved because of the person I am. And that my friends is beautiful.
Q: What are some of your modeling career highlights?
I'll never forget my first Fitness Plus magazine cover. It was, and still is, very important to me. I have it in my gym downstairs, and I look at it sometimes and say, "here is a kid from Bay Shore, with nothing but a dream to show the world who he was, and now that was going to start happening".
Q: Who in the modeling world has inspired you and why?
Actually, I don't have anyone in the modeling world that has inspired me. Like I said before, I'm really not a fan of modeling even though I model. I do it for the inspiration not for the fame. I'm famous because of my heart and character, not my looks, and that I hope will put me in the record books. I guess I'm kind of like a real life ROCKY BALBOA.
Q: What do you have planned on the modeling front?
I continue to model for fitness clothing, calendars, and ads, but my real dream is to motivate and inspire people. GOD created me for that specific reason, and I would be a fool not to listen to him. I know somewhere there is a star waiting for me. I just don't know how its going to happen, but I know it will happen. I've known this since I was a kid and I know GOD will guide me to my destiny. I want to be remembered in peoples hearts and in the spirit that says, GET UP AND GO FOR IT.
Q: Thanks for all this great information Tony. To finish, could you give five tips for modeling success?
1. Confidence. Without that you are not going anywhere.
2. Believability. Can you sell the product that you’re modeling for?
3. Determination. You would need to handle rejection in this business because it is like feast or famine. You are either on top getting gig after gig, or you can find yourself trying so hard and getting nowhere. Don't give up, there is something beautiful around the corner.
4. Be Unique. Try to be unique, just look at Elvis. He became a success because, at that time, he was so different and did what he felt in his heart. He didn't shake his hips on purpose. It just felt natural to him.
5. Environment: You become your environment, so lets say you want to become a model but you live in small town where the only thing you modeled for is your driver’s license. Its not going to happen. You need to live in a place where you can find agent's and work.
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