We list things that a legitimate model agency does that make you feel uncomfortable but is actually beneficial for you in the long run.
A model agency may ask for an initial outlay of money from you. Either they may ask you for portfolio fees or deduct a certain percentage of commission from your initial project fees, or even work at contracts. This may sound pretty demanding; However, it should not deter you if you have enough passion for excelling in the industry. The reason why a model agency extracts some initial cost from you is because they need to make up their costs of creating a portfolio for you and work required to set you up with clients. Working for free also gets you opportunities easier, for example, you can work with designers and photographers who want to create their own portfolio for free, and this allows you to gain modeling experiences as well. This makes it a mutually beneficial solution for all. The experience and portfolio you gather from the initial sacrifice of fees and payment will go a long way in getting more job opportunities.
Change your Looks to Suit Their Assignments
A model agency may ask you to do certain fashion makeovers such as changing your hair from blonde to brunette, or changing the length of your hair and so on. This is not because they don't think you look good, but rather they usually want to fit you into the style of modeling that suits you best. For example, the agency may already have an excess of blondes, and they need a good brunette. There may be a few reasons why they ask you to change your look, but it is ultimately the best calling for your look and job opportunities in modeling. Anyway, a top class model is expected to be flexible and look good in any style or costume fitted. Hence, you should never be hesitant to change your look and style, and carry yourself with confidence in your new look.
Lose or Gain Weight
Again, although this may come off as a sensitive matter to you the industry is competitive and requires you to be at the top of your game to succeed. Even for non-mainstream modeling such as plus-size models, there are weight standards that need to be adhered to. In general, agencies have come to the point where they want to portray healthily-sized models. So they may outright reject you if you are too thin or too overweight. Hence, the key aspect to look after is your diet, your nutrition, and health. If you are doing the right things with your health your body will reciprocate naturally and your weight / BMI would not be hard to control.
Traveling and International Opportunities
Most of us will be delighted at the sound of this, however, most of us do modeling as a 'side hustle' and few turn it into long-term fully fledged careers. The thought of traveling and working may sound too exhausting if you are not fully committed to the pursuit of modeling excellence. However, if you have the looks and ability the chances of working on International assignments are pretty high. Many people can only dream of such offers, so think twice before you reject them. And by the way it's legitimate to receive the offers, and you should be given the liberty to accept or reject them.
Be open to all requests and demands but at the same time be cautious and do your research thoroughly before accepting or rejecting the offers. If you can establish that an agency is legitimate and has nurtured many models, it is likely that the demands they make of you are for your good and progress.