How to Become Big as a Model

Where Is the Money? Real Experience from a Freelance Model.

Welcome to Mutsumi Takahashi’s Model Bible.
Last time, we talked about “Two Hidden Traps That Freelance Models Can Fall Into”.

What other things do freelance models particularly pay attention about?

I just got an offer for a job but I’m not entirely sure if they will pay me or not.

I want to hear about real stories about troubles that happened in the past.

To answer requests like these, this time, we would like to talk about real stories that have happened to freelance models in the past about money.

There are people that run away without paying what is due or some people even have no intention to pay from the first place.

Several models came out to talk about what had happened to them so that others wouldn’t have to go through what they have gone through.

Stories have been altered slightly in order to protect the privacy of those involved.


Two Hidden Traps That Freelance Models Can Fall Into

Welcome to Mutsumi Takahashi’s Model Bible.

Last time, we talked about “Four Reasons Why You Want to Be a Exclusive Model (Restriction, Promotion and More Opportunities)”.


I sometimes hesitate to make offers to freelance models because I can never be sure if they are on top of their past jobs. I wish all models were exclusive.

In our last article, we have touched on some comments like these from casting directors. However, restrictions are not the only reason they would prefer to stay away from freelance models.

For example, they may be appearing in stock photos or may have done something that could damage their public image.

There are a number of traps that ordinary people wouldn’t even give a thought about.

This time, we will be covering major examples of such trap.
It is especially important to those who are working as freelance models or who are looking to becoming one so that you won’t end up having to pass up great opportunities in the future.



Four Reasons Why You Want to Be a Exclusive Model (Restriction, Promotion and More Opportunities)

Welcome to Mutsumi Takahashi’s Model Bible.
Last time, we talked about “Can I sign with a modeling agency? First, let’s talk about the two types of contracts and different kinds of work!”.

As you probably know by now if you have read our previous articles, there are two styles of signing with a model agency, namely exclusive and registration.

These days people are becoming more and more freelance.

It is much easier to get started with no string attached.
It seems like there are more advantages if you sign a registration contract.

Ideas like these may have come across your mind already.

However, if you want to make modeling your full-time job, there are a lot more advantages to becoming an exclusive model than any other kinds.

Today, we would like to talk about what those advantages are and talk about them in detail.


Exclusive Models and Registration Models. What Are The Pros and Cons?

Let’s again go over what the advantages and disadvantages are for both exclusive models and registration models.

Exclusive model

·Type of contract

Exclusive models work with one agency.
All the work is arranged by the agency.
It is very common among major talent agencies and well-established model agencies.
Contract models agencies who bring models from other countries also sign with their models on this type of contract.


They tend to look after their models better not as one of them but as an individual.
They will take care of scheduling and watch out for conflict of interest and promote you.
You could have your personal manager if you get popular.


You may not agree with your management’s ideas and strategies about promotion.
Even if there is a job you want to do, you may miss the opportunity if your agency does not have the casting. (Because you cannot receive work from other agencies)

· How to Land on a Contract

After the agency reviews your resume and photos, you will be invited to an interview/audition. Only successful applicants are contacted throughout the process.
Some agencies go look for prospects on the street or some contestants in beauty contests are occasionally contacted by agencies.

· Rate/Commission

Some agencies pay their models fixed salary. Alternatively, you could receive the amount after a percentage of commission is deducted from your gross pay.


Registration Model

·Type of contract

As a registration model, you can sign up with multiple agencies. The agency will only contact you when they have work for you.
You can accept offers from anyone without the representation by the agency.
There are not many agencies that offer a contract like this for Japanese models but it is more common among agencies that focus on long-term foreign residents in Japan.


More chance to get work..
Lower barrier of entry.


You are responsible for your own scheduling and watch out for conflict of interest, prepare photographs and so on.
You will be responsible for any troubles like double-booking or causing conflicting interests.
The agency does little individual promotion.

· How to Land on a Contract

Agencies sign people up via their websites.
Photo selection, interview and you are good to go.

· Rate/Commission

You receive the amount after a percentage of commission is deducted from your gross pay.

Reference: “Can I sign with a modeling agency? First, let’s talk about the two types of contracts and different kinds of work!


You Will Have Some Strings Attached. But They Are There For Good Reasons


Looking at the above, there seems to be an equal number of pros and cons to both exclusive models and registration models. Exclusive models may rather seem less appealing to you with all the strings attached and difficulty of getting started.

Yes, that is true that your agency will have your schedule, pick what jobs you can and cannot do or sometimes intervene in your personal life.

But the reason why they do such things is that they want you to be successful as a model. Professional models, needless to say, make their livings out of modeling and they need to make enough money for that.

In order to make that a reality, your agency will think how you can land on more jobs and put that as a priority in representation.

It might seem like the agency is restricting your actions with their power but the reality is a bit different.

Good agencies will decide on their path upon consultation with you.

Sometimes they have to say harsh things and tell you what you should do but they do it for the sake of your success.

Furthermore, this relationship is in no way unilateral. You can talk to your agency when you have something to talk about. If anything happens, your agency will be there to protect you and above all, there is nothing better than having an industry professional that you can talk to at any time.


To Be an Exclusive Model. What Are The Advantages for Clients

If you look more, there are more advantages to exclusive models.

1.Advantage as an Exclusive Model: Promotion


Like we talked about above, it is a great advantage to be an exclusive model that you have a consultant that together thinks about your promotional strategy.

Especially as a model, you will be deeply associated with the advertising which values image so you will find it very helpful.

That includes how to keep getting jobs. People are not so good at looking at themselves objectively. What you like to wear isn’t necessarily what you look great on.
Plus, they can help you determine the best strategy based on market demand.
These are more likely to apply if you are a rookie in the industry.

What kind of hairstyle should I go for?
How would I make my composite card, cool or more friendly?
What path am I going to take?
In order to achieve that goal, what kind of jobs should I be going for?

These are a few of the examples that you can talk about with your manager. Of course, they may say tell their honest opinions if they think you are heading in a wrong direction.

They are the ones that get to see what kind of offers come in, what kind of models get those castings and what is in demand in the market. They are the ones closest to the source of what’s hot and what’s not. It is a great advantage as an exclusive model that you can consult with an industry professional like them.


Advantage as an Exclusive Model: Restriction and Reverse-Restriction


In our world, restriction refers to any conflict of interest between sponsors and their products.

Let’s suppose that a model accepts a casting for Car Company A with a restriction. Then he/she cannot accept any jobs for Car Company B.

You will be representing the company by appearing in an advertisement for that particular company and it doesn’t look good if you are also promoting their competitors.

On top of that, there is something called “reverse-restriction”. In this case, a mode is appearing in Car Company A with no restrictions. Even if you are an extra in that, you will not be able to accept an offer for Car Company B with a restriction. Although Car Company A won’t say anything, you can’t take that offer if Car Company B says no.

The more jobs you do, the more difficult it will be to have your restrictions status organized.

Especially, the reverse-restriction that we just talked about is more tricky because people tend to forget about jobs without restrictions even if they remember about jobs with one. This is especially true if they were just an extra and it is most likely that they forgot about it.

For example, if you get five advertisement jobs per month, it will amount to 60 per year and three years late it will be 180.
How do you get on top of 180 contracts with their details?

Whenever you get an offer with a restriction, you will need to dig through this pile of records to make sure it won’t cause any conflicts.

You could do it yourself if you make a clever spreadsheet but there is hardly anyone that does it as well as an agency does.

This is worrying for clients that offer you jobs. It is impossible for them to dig through what you have done in the past. If they are looking for two people, double the trouble.

You will face a major consequence if you falsely report your restriction status. People get fired for this if you do it wrong and sometimes end up in court.


On the other side, if you are an exclusive model, clients will have only one point of contact and they can know all about your past jobs. Even when you change agencies, your current one can ask the previous one so there won’t anything for you to hustle over. Simple and easy and it is easy to point who is accountable too.

Of course, agencies for registration models also think about these things when making offers. However, they have to rely on models at the end of the day regarding their past jobs.


One casting manager once said they sometimes hesitate to make offers to freelance models because they can never be sure if they are on top of their past jobs. They wish all models were exclusive.

That’s how much is at stake.


3.Advantage as an Exclusive Model: How to Decline Offers


It is important to keep restrictions in mind when examining offers. You might end up missing an enormous opportunity with Car Company B if you have a pre-existing contract with Car Company A.

Even when restrictions are not concerned, it is important to think twice about whether the rate for a job is reasonable and whether it can damage your image.

Your agency keeps these things in mind when examining offers before deciding whether or not to accept them.
Sometimes they deliberatively choose to decline the offer if they think a model can get a much better role instead of cutting off such opportunities.

On the other hand, you are a lone individual, you may not have the guts to decline offers out of the fear that the next one won’t come. Your agency, with more experience in the industry, can have a long-term vision and decline some offer on behalf of you.


4.Advantage as an Exclusive Model: No More Scheduling


The more offers you receive, the more difficult it will become to keep your schedule organized. As an exclusive model, you can leave all these things them so you can focus on your actual job. No more double-books.

Again, there are so many companies and people involved in the production. It is very hard to reschedule a shooting day or rehearsal day just because you can’t make it. That will upset a lot of people.

There are a lot of people who have trouble keeping their schedule organized. Double books happen more frequently than you would imagine.


Why Not Registration Models?

OK, so what makes this kind of support is difficult to get for registration models? The answer is simple. There are just too many people.

Agencies for registration models tend to have a huge pool of people so that they can find a candidate no matter what kind of roles they get.

Some agencies have hundreds if not thousands of registrants so it is impossible for them to focus on individual promotion.

Of course, those agencies have managers to look after you but they are different from managers for exclusive models.

Managers for Registration Models

Managers are assigned on casting basis
Each job comes from different managers

Managers for Exclusive Models

Personal manager
They will be involved in every job that you do

You can talk to a manager as a registration model but in order to have a long-term promotional strategy, you will have a big advantage by having your personal manager.


You can focus on your job as an exclusive model.
Leave everything else to your agency.

Is It Hard to Become an Exclusive Model? How to Work Your Way Up?

As we discussed in our previous article, there will be a huge barrier to become an exclusive model. With no previous experience or career to talk about, it is impossible for anyone to seal the deal.

Having said that, there is a way. Some models start off as a registration model and by building a good relationship with the agency, they ended up becoming exclusive.

I want to gear towards a different path.
Is this really what I want to keep doing?
I just keep doing what is given to me every day. I don’t see what’s ahead.
I want more support from the agency.

If you are a registration model and feels like this, you may want to consider talking to your agency and bring up about becoming an exclusive model.

Before you do that. please keep know;

what your agency is good at
what you want to do
what you need to do to be better

Reference:”8 Keys to Find a Legitimate Agency for Aspiring Models


One more important note! Please live close to the city center. Most auditions are held there. If you can respond to the last-minute call, you will have an advantage over others.

Next time we will talk about two hidden traps that freelance models can fall into.

Can I sign with a modeling agency? First, let’s talk about the two types of contracts and different kinds of work!

Welcome to Mutsumi Takahashi’s Model Bible.

Last time, we talked about “8 Keys to Find a Legitimate Agency for Aspiring Models”.

For those who have read the Model Bible so far, you may be set on working as a model and are ready to get to work with an agency.


Well, can I sign with a modeling agency?


It depends on the agency because what type of contract you will sign and what type of work their models do can hugely vary how difficult it is to join an agency.

With this concept in mind, let’s further narrow down what kind of agency you should choose!



8 Keys to Find a Legitimate Agency for Aspiring Models

Welcome to Mutsumi Takahashi’s Model Bible.

Last time, we talked about “Why Should I Work with an Agency? Two Reasons to Sign Up!”.

“I want to be a model but I don’t know if you can really trusty agencies”

“Someone came to ask me if I wanted to be a model. Should I go for it?”

“I passed an audition but I was told to go to a school. It is so expensive”

I’m sure some of the aspiring young folks have been through something like this before. It is easy to imagine the anxiety you have especially when you don’t have anyone around you that can tell a thing or two about how the industry operates.

Today, we would like to talk about how to find an agency you can trust when it comes for you to find one yourself.

No matter when you are or where you are there are a countless number of cases where aspiring young people are exploited.

Please keep these key points in mind when looking for your reliable partner.



How Do You Pick an Agency? What Are the Differences Between “Talent” Agencies and “Model” Agencies?

“I get that there are lots of advantages to working with an agency, so what kind of office should I sign up with?”

This time we will tell you about the different kinds of agencies and how to choose which is best for you.

Depending on the direction you want to head in and what your goal is, the best agency for you will change. Please think about the following things as you choose.



Why Should I Work with an Agency? Two Reasons to Sign Up!


“I want to be a model!”

There are a lot of people out there with that dream.


“I don’t know how to become a model.”
“I’m not really confident enough to be a model.”
“I don’t know exactly what a model does.”
“Can foreigners really make enough money as a model in Japan?”

As well as many other questions and doubts often coexist with that desire to become a model.

My name is Mutsumi Takahashi, and I am Freewave Model and Talent’s founder and president. To help explain things and guide potential models, I have created this “How to Succeed in Japan as a Model” guide.

I have 27 years of experience working in this industry, and I want to use that experience to help guide you to be the best entertainer that you can be!

Let me teach you about the mindset of professionals in the Japanese industry, the structure, and rules of working in entertainment, how to find representation that is right for you, and secrets to succeed as a model.

If you have the best information available, there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of when it comes to working as a professional model.

It is my hope that you will read this “Model Bible” carefully and consider my advice. Let’s work together to unleash your potential as a performer and help your career grow!



How To Find Your Successful Career in the Japanese Industry Part 2

「外国人モデルだけじゃない。日本の芸能界で成功するための基本ルール 〜フィジカル編〜」イメージ図

Following up on our last article where we talked about certain customs of the Japanese show-biz industry, today, we would like to talk about your physical sides.

Models, actors or dancers, as long as you put yourself in front of the eyes of the audience, you need to take care of your physical conditions.

You can’t get a haircut if you are a model?

Is it OK to have my nails done?

Why are you so strict about keeping my body shape?

Even you are at the very beginning of your career and have barely any idea about what it takes to be a model, everything will start to make more sense after finish reading this.

All the things we cover here are the fundamental skills you need. Let’s find out what they are!


How To Find Your Successful Career in the Japanese Industry Part 1


What we have covered in our previous article “3 Tips To Find A Successful Career In Modeling: Asking An Experienced Industry Professional” may have been a bit abstract. But it was only just the beginning of our entire journey.

This time, we would like to go more in depth. Specifically, we would like to cover what people may call “manners”.

There is a saying “In Rome, do as the Romans do”. And in Japan, do as the Japanese do.

Well, this article isn’t asking your complete conformity to what Japanese people do but it is certainly better to know things than not.

This site is called Model Bible and it is mainly focused on people who would like to work as a model in Japan but what we will talk about in this article does not only apply to future and current models but also anyone who may get themselves involved with the industry, like actors or even just you are going to be an extra.


3 Tips To Find A Successful Career In Modeling: Asking An Experienced Industry Professional

To mark our first article on Model Bible, we would like to talk about whether it is possible to become a model with no experience.

Our editor, Kaori, sat down to have a chat with Koji Yokohata who has a very long experience in representing foreign models and talents.

This is a must-read piece for any aspiring models as well as people who really need some boost for their careers.