By: Ani Martirosyan
I once heard someone say “not all actors have to know how to sing, but all singers need to know how to act.”
I believe this is also true about modeling. The moment you are on a stage, walking the runway, OR in front of a camera, you are playing a role. You are creating a character – it might not be as deep as an actor on a prime time television show, but you still have a role that you have to fit and play it well.
What makes a good actor? When no one can tell that the person is…acting.
Now, I understand that you have spent years practicing your poses and your runway walk, but what makes all of the efforts noticeable is the fire behind your eyes! If you look up any famous model’s work you will notice that they bring 1000% of their personality every time. You can also see the passion and hard work that has gone into just one photo.
I myself had to work on my confidence when it came to work. I don’t seem shy at all, and I theoretically knew what I was supposed to be doing in an audition room (or at a casting call), but every time I would see the camera lens, something would switch and I would become a shell of a human.
Photographer: Nuru Dorsey
Now, who wants to work with a talent who shuts down when it matters the most? I thought hard about what I could do to help myself become better!!
First things first, find commercials that you love, that you find funny, and record yourself recreating them. As many times as it takes! Remember, nobody – and I mean NOBODY – has to see the outtakes if you are not comfortable showing them. And watch yourself. Would you HIRE you?
Remember that every art form is a tool to dig deeper and express yourself more.
Never start with negatives like, “Oh God, I shouldn’t have left the frame so early” or “All the words come out mushy.” No, no, no! Instead, find things that you did great: “The smile in the end really made a great closure,” or “Look how shiny my hair is!” It really doesn’t matter! What matters is for you to remember that you are trying to learn something about yourself not tear yourself down.
After you become YOUR best friend, start perfecting the rest. Have a strong opening and think of a good button (a button is a small gesture or a word that gives your self tape a closure, like a nice smile, or a smirk, etc).
Trust me, once you cringe over your videos it will be easier to work with someone else (preferably a professional, but a good friend who can give good constructive criticism will also do).
Alright, now what’s next? Take acting classes! As many as you can afford. There are so many options nowadays –in person, virtual, weekend, night classes. If you live in the Chicagoland area I highly recommend acting classes at the Forge or Vagabond School of the Arts.
This is not an advertisement, this is from my personal experiences with them. You can also Google available classes near you ;) but make sure to always read the reviews. Take everything you read with a grain of salt, but it can be insightful if a lot of people talk about one specific instructor. Try to take a class with them, or if they have a ton of bad reviews, don’t immediately cut them out of your class list (I would suggest attending a class somewhere else that has great reviews and ask around at that acting studio, more than likely someone will have attended classes there and can speak to the bad reviews either explaining them or agreeing – and maybe then steer clear!). But, it will always be whatever your preference is, what instructor you like will not be the same as the person next to you, and that’s okay as long as you are comfortable and growing in your classes.
Remember that every art form is a tool to dig deeper and express yourself more. There is a rockstar, a nurse, a teacher, an international spy, and an Anna Vintour in all of us. Being able to channel each required character will only make you better at your job.
Remember this the next time you do a little photoshoot playing a young mom, or a sexy dominatrix ready to snatch a man’s soul!