Models offer tips on the biz
LINDA SOBEK was a model and cheerleader on the Los Angeles Raiders football team when, in November 1995, she was murdered by a photographer who took her to an isolated spot in the San Gabriel Mountains.
The case received national attention because of her position with the Raiders organization but, unfortunately, was not an isolated incident in L.A.
'THE MODEL'S WORKBOOK'
Talk and book signing:
Place: Barnes & Noble, Kahala
Time: 2 p.m. Saturday
Also: William Squire will also be sharing makeup tips and performing makeovers at the Chanel counter at Macy's Kahala Mall, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday. Call Macy's for an appointment.
Upon hearing of Sobek's death, William Squire, who knew her, decided enough was enough and, with longtime friend Laura Boulay, began collaboration on "The Model's Workbook," which would offer insight on the modeling and entertaining business, and help beginners steer clear of hazards, both financial and physical. The workbook includes sample résumés, letters and comp cards for getting started.
Along the way, actor and model wannabes learn not all is bad news. The upbeat Squire dispels the notion that you must be tall, beautiful and skinny to make it.
Squire and Boulay, who have earned the nickname "The Modeling Police" because of their work in protecting novice models and entertainers, are in town to promote their book at 2 p.m. Saturday at Barnes & Noble, Kahala Mall. They will be offering tips on how to find an agent, new trends in the business, how to stay safe and how to model at any age and size, and will also take time to look at photos brought in for critique.
Squire and Boulay met as dancers in their teens, and both started modeling early, Squire at age 18, learning the business through trial and error, eventually finding print and runway work for such designers as Yves Saint Laurent, Versace, Armani and Calvin Klein.
"When I got tired of modeling, I worked as an agent for 10 years, and I really started to see kids coming in and getting ripped off in every way possible, because ours is an industry with no guidelines," he said.
"Laura and I couldn't believe the things that were happening to people, and we just thought we need to give people some advice in getting into this industry, how to do it safely and correctly."
For starters, at every level there are predators and scam artists, many posing as photographers or agents, waiting to part novices from their money.
"Now, with the Internet, it's even worse," Squire said. "There are so many Web sites that advertise 'Be a Model,' and offer to help if you pay $50 or $100. That's not the way the industry works. A good agent doesn't charge you upfront."
Squire believes anyone can make it as a model by following his book's 20 simple steps. Cynics might say that would certainly help to sell books, but he says he's seen it happen.
As an agent he's turned people away, only to see them appear in ads later. During his nationwide talks, he's also met people with success stories to share, including one woman who had just about given up trying until reading his book.
"All her life she heard she couldn't make it because she was too big; now she's a successful plus-size model," Squire said. "It's the same with petites, and age and ethnicity are no longer barriers, either. I got my mom into it at 75, and my dad at 78, and now they do a lot of commercial and print work.
"The top models are not necessarily the most beautiful, but they know the industry and know how to wear and show clothes," he said. "When I started modeling, (advertisers) wanted women to be 5-foot-10, then along came Linda Evangelista, who's 5-9, and suddenly that became the standard."
Today, Kate Moss is a relatively petite 5-foot-6. "So 'rules' are being broken all the time," he said. "We'll still have tall, slender supermodels, but there are all kinds of niches. If modeling is what you want to do, you have to make it happen, like any other career or business."
What won't work is relying on luck. "A lot of kids, with reality TV, think getting discovered is a matter of being in the right place at the right time," he said. "I can only think of one model that happened to, and that's Naomi Campbell. For everyone else it takes being prepared, knowing how the industry works, looking at it as a business and having the right attitude and energy."