In the past, models had to be represented by an agency, but now in a highly competitive market with fewer jobs, models are taking their careers into their own hands and starting to create their own freelance pathways. However, being independent and working as a freelance model can be quite challenging. This means that you have to represent yourself and are responsible for finding and booking your own work. Nontobeko Mothabisa currently works as a freelance model and shares more insight into being independent.

Q.  When did you start modeling professionally?

A. I started modeling in 2016 whilst at College. I landed a contract with an agency called Manifest Modeling agency based in East rand. That’s where I learned how to walk, pose, and to represent myself in front of people.

Q. What do you love about modeling?

A. Modeling has taught me discipline and self-confidence. These are two important aspects that make me strive to look and be my best at all times. I also like fashion photoshoots because I get to wear different clothes from various brands.

Q. How long were you signed under Sync Models?

A. It was a 1-year contract from July 2018 to July 2019.

Q. How was the experience for you? 

A. I had a great and challenging experience with Sync Models. The agency helped me to build my image, but the challenging part is that having agency representation doesn’t necessarily mean that a model has signed up for success. You still have to work hard and find gigs on your own.

Q. How has freelancing modeling been for you?

A. Being a freelance model has been challenging. Working independently has not been easy. Finding gigs and bookings on my own, building my own portfolio, marketing, educating myself about the modeling industry and networking has been quite a daunting task!

Q. What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a freelance model?

A. The Advantages: There is no contract involved with many rules and regulations. The Disadvantages: You are responsible for finding your own work and sometimes you don’t get big gigs. Brands mostly reject freelance models and consider those from agencies.

Q. What type of modeling do you do?

A. I’m into commercial, swimsuit and lingerie and promotional modeling.

Q. What is the process of finding work for a freelance model? 

A. A model should have professional pictures, set up an online portfolio because social media sites are not as professional as websites. Networking with people in the modeling industry and going to open casting calls is important.

Q. So, does this mean that you can sign with different agencies as a freelance model?

A. Yes, I can sign with different agencies as long as they don’t overlap. However, the agencies have to be separated by city.

Q. Have you secured any modeling gigs so far?

A. Yes. I have done music video shoots.

Q. Can you make a full-time living just modeling as a freelancer?

A. Unfortunately not! I cannot make a full-time living modeling as a freelancer because I don’t always get paying gigs every month, and I have monthly bills to pay.

Q. Being able to do your own hair and makeup is one of the requirements for a freelancer – Can you?

A. Yes, I can. I have makeup skills and I can do my own hair.

Q. How do you ensure that you build a strong online presence in order to be spotted? 

A. I am always active on social media and always ensure consistency. I also manage my posts in terms of when and what to post, as well as keeping track and looking out for opportunities.

Q. How do you take care of your skin and keep your body in shape?

A. For my skin, I avoid using strong soap and I use a moisturizer to keep my dry skin moist and smooth. To keep my body in shape,  I try to follow a healthy diet and avoid eating junk food.