Peabo Powell's Advice to New Models


This very direct and no-nonsense posting first appeared on Model Mayhem's General Mayhem forum on August 23 2007, and it certainly drew a lot of responses - you can read the reaction here. I was so impressed with its clarity of message that I asked the author, model Peabo Powell if I could reprint it on my web site to provide advice to aspiring models and he enthusiastically agreed .....

"Danny - I would love for you to use my "rant". Feel free to do so. I really appreciate your kind words. I HATE for people to lie to beginners just to make a buck........ Again, thank you and I look forward to working with you in the future. PEABO


I rarely ever rant or even get aggravated, but lately I have read lots of posts about what folks will or won't do for their chosen profession (modeling specifically). I made a list of things that models (and photographers/actors/ etc) face everyday. You have to learn to suck it up and go on for crying out loud, if you ever hope to "make it" in this business. Forgive me if I sound bee-yotch-y. I am in doing EVERYTHING in my power to make it and get tired of hearing people whine while expecting others to do it for them. Feel free to add to the list or debate a point.

  • 1. You do NOT need a manager!
  • 2. You do NOT need a portfolio to begin.
  • 3. Agencies LOVE snapshots of you against a PLAIN background.
  • 4. You WILL eventually have to cut, color, braid, whatever your hair. Get used to it.
  • 5. You WILL be asked to lose/gain/tone your body weight. Get used to that.
  • 6. You WILL be stressed to the max.
  • 7. You WILL get hit on…lots…by men and women! You will be groped, felt up, made to feel uncomfortable…I KNOW THIS. Be Prepared.
  • 8. You WILL eat lots of ramen noodles. Develop a taste for it.
  • 9. Chances are you WILL NOT be an overnight sensation. Get used to sleeping on the floor of your buddies/bff’s/moms best friends uncles girlfriends floor. Suck it up.
  • 10. You WILL wait tables, mop floors, say “would you like fries with that” for a while...maybe a long while.
  • 11. If you are 5’3” and 145 lbs, you WILL NOT do runway/fashion for a major market. Doesn't matter whether you are a guy or a girl. That is just the way it is.
  • 12. Most likely you WILL NOT get discovered at the Starbucks. Get off your duff and get out to open calls.
  • 13. You WILL PAY for a shoot at some point. Agencies will most likely require you to shoot with one of their preferred photographers. And you WILL.
  • 14. Please DO NOT expect to get paid for your 1st, 2nd, or 15th shoot unless you are A) exceptional B) willing to show boobies (ladies) or C) LUCKY.
  • 15. Know that the LITTLE THINGS will follow you. Be polite. Answer emails. Be professional. Don’t gossip.
  • 16. You are NOT a professional just because you have done 3 TFP’s. Don’t put it on your port that you are. Other professionals will expect things from you that you may not know how to do yet. There is no shame in being NEW.
  • 17. Saying NO politely is always an option. Flaming is NOT.
  • 18. Being an editorial/fashion model is NOT the be all/end all. There is lots of money to be made and lots of fame to be gleaned from doing commercial/print/alt/fetish/etc modeling. Pick what suits your body type and desires.
  • 19. You WILL be asked to “sex up” your portfolio, do nudes, implied nudes, or other things that may offend your sensibilities. Get used to it and refer to # 17.
  • 20. You DO NOT tell an agency what you will or will not do. They WILL tell you what they want & you can make a decision that is right for you. The agency MAY or MAY NOT decide to represent you at that point.
  • 21. You WILL hear “NO” many, many times. Toughen up for it.
  • 22. This is NOT a glamorous life. It is hard. Long hours, walking miles, subways, little sleep, loneliness, rude comments, and lots of “No thank you’s”, will be the norm.
  • 23. People WILL think it is their constitutional right to judge you, tell you that you are fat/skinny/ugly/don’t look like a model. Expect it and try to develop a tough skin.
  • 24. Things WILL bother you. You WILL want to cry/quit/jump off a bridge. Just cry, it is ok and doesn’t make you weak, just human. DO NOT, however, jump off a bridge. It won't help.
  • 25. You WILL have to work with people that you loathe, are not attracted to, or who you think smells awful. Suck it up. You are a professional, this IS your job!
  • 26. You WILL have to work out/eat right/take care of your body. Just do it already.
  • 27. Water IS your friend.
  • 28. Drugs are NOT. However, they are easy to come by. Refer to # 17.
  • 29. Remember, if you DO “make it”, you were once new. Act accordingly.
  • 30. There is more than enough hate in the world. . LOVE yourself, your family, your friends. They WILL be there for you when the world stops cheering!
  • 31. If you ask for critiques from anyone, expect the truth and LISTEN. Take what others tell you, apply what is needed & discard the rest. This will help you grow in your profession and in life.
  • 32. Have FUN for this too shall pass.
  • 33. Just because you “want this more than anything in the world” DOES NOT mean that it will happen for you. Give it your best but have a back-up just in case.
  • 34. Just because you get signed by the biggest/best/prettiest agencies in the world, you CAN NOT expect to sit back and get rich and/or famous! You MUST still work/network/bust your butt to get ahead. Agencies sign lots of people. Not all of them “make it”. TRUTH.
  • 35. You WILL be lied to/led on. It is the nature of the business. SMILE.

Sorry if I offend anyone. This is just the way that I see it in the world I am living in right now...and I miss my mommy (sorry, just my whine for the day, we all get one, right?)


I wish you best of luck in your pursuits - both in the modeling industry and life itself. Don't hesitate to drop me an email at if you found this article helpful or inspiring.