What You Need to Know About Modeling During a Pandemic
Updated: May 21, 2022
By: Marijka Munoz
When I signed to a modeling agency in 2019, I did not expect that the first few years of my budding modeling career would be in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. In this blog, I share with you what you might expect as a model during these peculiar times.
1. Casting requests for models + their real families or significant others
In the summer of 2020, I received casting requests with the requirement that I submit for a job along with my family member/s and/or significant other. If production had to continue (and it did) amidst a global pandemic, models and their real families or models that were part of a real couple were being sought out for castings because this was the safer option.
Since the models with their real loved ones already belonged to the same small social circle or were already living together, then the rules and protocols calling for strict mask use and six-feet-apart distancing were less of a concern for the production team, making the need to physically distance talent on set less imperative.
My boyfriend and I were fortunate enough to land a campaign for a wine brand that summer of 2020. It was his modeling debut, and having him on set with me, experiencing what I normally experience on set, was momentous for me.
2. Proof of vaccination or COVID-19 test requirements prior to arrival on set
Many times, right after you’re booked for a modeling job (or at times even prior to booking), the client will specify their proof of vaccination needs or Covid-19 testing requirements.
Generally, you will have to show proof of vaccination and/or a negative COVID-19 test result prior to the shoot day. Often, there will be a COVID-19 health form to sign beforehand as well.
Some clients cover the costs related to testing, and at-home tests have recently become widely accepted. These rules can differ from client to client – you’re a signed model, be sure to check the call sheet or ask your agent for this information. If you’re a freelance model, the client will typically communicate this with you but in case they do not, remember to inquire about this with them. This shows you have initiative, are considerate about everyone’s health, and are safety-focused.
3. Masks and on-set etiquette
If you booked a job as a model during the COVID-19 pandemic and are curious about on-set etiquette, the call sheet will clearly outline those expectations – in my experience. If this protocol is not detailed, ask your agent (if you’re signed) or the client if you’re working with them directly.
A lot of times, I would wear my mask upon arrival, but did not have to wear it: 1) after I had my makeup done, 2) right before being on-camera or while on-camera, and 3) while actively eating or drinking. It can get chaotic on set, so it’s wise to pack a couple extra masks in your model bag.
In my experiences, all members of the production crew wore their masks, and some even wore face-shields, gloves, and so on. Sanitation stations were available on set, but it’s a good idea to pack personal hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes in your modeling bag, too.
There were times I waited to be called in front of the camera and was instructed to wait in an area separate from other models (this was if I was not booked with my real significant other/family!)
4. Possibility of doing your own hair and make-up
With some jobs I booked, there was a hair and makeup artist available on set, and with other jobs, I was expected to do my own hair and makeup before arriving on set. The latter was preferred by some clients for sanitary purposes and to reduce the risk of virus transmission among talent and crew.
I recommend that you clarify these terms with your agent or the client. In any case, I do recommend that you bring your own make-up kit with you on set just so you’re especially prepared, pandemic times or not!.
5. Being gifted the products used during the shoot
This last one is not a totally uncommon practice and would happen even pre-pandemic.
But to cite some real instances, for a footwear brand I modeled for, I was gifted the clothes I wore during the shoot. Another time, during a beauty shoot, I was sent home with the makeup brushes and tools I used as my props while on-camera. This may have been simply client generosity or perhaps may have been pandemic-related (or a combination of the two).
Modeling during a pandemic might look a little different at the exact time you’re reading this, but these are some of my candid personal accounts from summer 2020 to up until now (winter 2022). Good luck and be safe out there, models!