Modeling in Asia is often one of the most important career moves for a new model. Modeling agencies in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, and Taipei, have long been a favorite choice for model agents, scouts and models. Modeling agencies in Asia are renowned for their professionalism, organization and ability to help new models develop and establish international modeling careers.
What Are Modeling Agencies in Asia Looking For?
As in other major modeling markets, modeling agencies in Asia look for a variety of types. Model agencies in Asia represent male models, female models and child models. One of the great things about the Asian market is that the agencies and clients will work with models that are shorter or smaller than models normally working in the US or European markets.
Female models can work in Asia that are 5′ 6″ and up and male models can start at 5′ 10″ and up. It is possible for models to be even shorter and still find work in Asia. Check out our petite model Evelyn below, who at just 5′ 4″ we signed to Elite Model Management in Bangkok and Thailand.
It is not important that the model necessarily be tall, but they must be a total package with excellent skin, hair, teeth and nice charming personality.
ModelScouts’ Petite Model Evelyn – 5′ 4″ Signed to Elite Models Bangkok, Thailand
Do Models Need Experience to Work in Asia?
Models don’t need a lot of modeling experience to work in Asia, but should have a bit. Their experience can be from simply doing a few test shoots or some local work in their hometown. The experience does not need to come from working in a big market like New York, London, or Paris. A new model travelling to Asia should have a basic understanding of how to work on set, and with photographers, makeup artists and stylists. It is also a bonus if the model has some basic understanding of posing techniques, how to use different expressions and how to model various types of fashions and products.
Who Pays For The Model to Travel to Asia?
The majority of modeling agencies in Asia will advance all the travel and accommodation expenses such as airline tickets, hotel or model’s apartment. The agency will also advance promotional materials such as composite cards and website fees. The agencies are willing to advance the money to cover these modeling expenses because they have a strong belief that the model will earn enough through bookings with the agency to pay the agency back. However, if the model does not make enough to cover their expenses they will not be required to pay the agency back. This is great because should the model not earn enough they will not be leaving Asia in debt.
Agencies can also offer a model a “Guarantee”. A Guarantee is a set amount of income that the model will be guaranteed to earn whether or not the model actually earns that amount. When a model becomes more popular with the agency’s clients or becomes a working model with good tear sheets and experience from big markets like New York, Paris and Milan, guarantees generally range from $20,000.00 to $30,000.00, with experienced models receiving guarantees of $150,000.00 plus. And that’s just for a two month stay!
How Long Do Models Stay in Asia?
Models are almost always receive a modeling contract for a two month stay. This can be shorter or longer depending on how many bookings the model is getting and how well the clients are responding to them. But, the general rule is two months.
ModelScouts Model Laura LaRue Signed to Zem Models, Osaka; Diva Models, Singapore
What Are The Agency Commission Rates in Asia?
The commission rates that models pay their agencies in Asia tend to be higher than agency commissions in the US market. American agencies usually deduct a 20% commission, while Asian agencies usually deduct up to 40%. The reason for the higher commissions is because the agencies have to provide more services for their models, such as, driving models to castings, securing work visa’s, providing translation services and providing safe, clean apartments. Models are usually paid on the last day of their contract before they leave.
Can Parents Travel With Younger Models?
Yes, modeling agencies in Asia have no problem with a parent or guardian travelling with new or younger models. However, the agency will not cover the expenses for the parent. So, parents will need to cover their own expenses. Some parents stay for the whole contract and others may choose to stay only for a couple of weeks. Whatever the parent decides is fine with the agency.
When Is The Best Time of Year to Go to Asia?
Modeling in Asia is generally good all year round, so a model can do well no matter what the season. The summer months are usually the most competitive because so many high school students go during that time. Homeschooling is a huge advantage because models can work whenever they like.
What is a Typical Work Day Like?
Before models go home for the night, they will be given the next day’s schedule. Each day is different—they might go to three or ten model castings and go sees, and sometimes they might work from 10 AM to 10 PM. Studio shoots usually take 4 to 8 hours, but if a shoot is at a location outside of main city it might take all day or even overnight.
ModelScouts Child Model Marta K. Signed to Diva Models, Singapore
Why is Asia Such an Important Market For New Models?
When a model has worked in Asia their book (portfolio) can become full of professional tearsheets which they can use anywhere in the world. After a successful two month contract the model officially becomes a “professional model,” so it’s much easier to get work visa’s in other countries. Models who have had successful stays in Asia also become more attractive to the big agencies because it shows the agencies that the model is committed to their career and that they can work away from home and in new environments.
After their stay in Asia, models often go to New York, Milan, Paris, London and other big markets, but many choose to go back to Asia two or three times a year. Some even travel back and forth for the entire length of their career.
Is There Ever a Language Barrier?
Models from all over the world travel to Asia to work. They come from North America, Brazil, Spain, France, Russia, Germany and many other countries. Mostly all of the agencies have English speaking bookers and often they have bookers who speak Russian, French, Spanish and other languages. It can be tricky the first week or so for a model who does not speak a bit of English but the bookers are used to working with many nationalities so language is never a big issue.
ModelScouts Model Nicole Linkletter, America’s Next Top Model Winner Signed to Agence Presse, Tokyo; Diva Models, Singapore; Dream Models, Hong Kong
How Do I Become a Model in Asia?
We don’t recommend that you tackle the modeling market in Asia on your own or before you have a good “mother agency” behind you. It is always best to have a “mother agency” promoting you to international markets. A good mother agent will know what the best agencies are for your particular look and how to plan and manage your career for the long term. Also, since there are legal documents, travel visa’s and other contracts that need to be reviewed, an experienced mother agent can be invaluable in helping you understand what everything means.