Rumour has it that it takes as little as being a foreigner in Japan, to be scouted for modelling. Well, personally I don’t think that’s true to any degree. I guess everyone can get scouted, you just need to hang out in the right places to get noticed. But since I don’t really aim to plaster my smiling face on a million magazine covers, I often hang out wherever I want, often in places not associated with fashion, like Ueno or Shin-Okubo. On the day when I got this photo shoot offer, I happened to have something to do in Shibuya — I met my friends and took a ridiculous amount of cute sticker pics (you can see all of that in my previous post).
I was hanging around the Hachiko statue / Forever 21 area waiting for my friends, when a guy with a huge camera asked me if it’s okay to take a few fashion snapshots of me. He said that it was my tattoos that caught his eye. Okay, yeah, I have some time, go ahead. He took a few shots, and handed me the flyer you can see below. He said he needed to show my photos to the editorial department of his company, and if they liked them, they’d invite me for a photo shoot. Okay, I thought, that would be cool, but the main question was : DO I HAVE TO PAY? He answered “Absolutely not, it’s free, no money talk involved”. But! My dad always told me that the only thing you can get for free is getting your ass kicked so I knew I should be careful, even if the guys seemed legit.
But first let’s see what actually happened on the actual photo shoot day…
What the flyer says:
Currently auditioning many models for work!
100,000 hits on the blog everyday!
100,000 hits on the website everyday!
Number 1 ranking of Dokusha models! (amateur models who appear in fashion magazines)
Over 10,000 followers on Twitter!
Over 20,000 readers of our mail magazine!
Wowzers! But let’s not get too excited.
On that day I was going to meet my lovely friend Ayaka.
Ayaka loves sweets, anime and cute stuff and she basically wears colourful clothes with candy & cookie motives and lots of Madoka Magica accessories. I was a bit surprised seeing Ayaka wearing “adult” clothes on that day. She told me that the green jacket you see, was the first thing she has ever bought in Harajuku and that she picked it up like 10 years ago or so. I’d rather not remember my fashion sense 10 years ago….
The Madoka Magica purse is one of Ayaka’s personal treasures. They’re inseparable.
And here’s what I chose for the photo shoot day…
white top: SPINNS Harajuku
denim jacket: GU
DAMMY skirt: WEGO
NADIA platforms: bought second-hand for 2000 yen
Nostalgic plastic wire choker thingy: Paris Kids
I asked Ayaka to go with me to that model (?) agency. You know, safety in numbers and stuff. I’m so grateful she agreed, they said some things in Japanese I couldn’t quite get and Ayaka has this amazing ability to explain everything using easy Japanese.
Here’s what happened next: upon arrival I got some documents to sign. I had to agree that the company could use my name and my photos whenever and however they want. So basically, I can’t choose which photos go online and I cannot take the whole thing back once I sign it.
Then a funny photographer came and said there’s a park nearby, so we could take a few snapshots there. First, he instructed me on how to pose. I suck at posing, I really do…Oh well, not that it was some magazine photo shoot or anything, so it’s all good.
Quoting my mom: “Boring shots”
Then we moved to another place and he told me to “look relaxed”.
The photographer didn’t mind posing for a photo with me, in fact he was a pretty cool guy.
Apparently this is what I look like when I’m relaxed…
And the last stop: the tree shots. As I mentioned before, I suck at posing and I don’t really feel relaxed in front of the camera. I would make a crappy model for sure. The funny photographer told me what to do — “Just touch this tree and look cool”. Okay, sounds like something I am able to do.
Touching the tree and trying to look cool
He then asked me if it’d be okay if he took some photos of my tattoos…and my shoes. I guess these things were the most eye-catching?
My dear Aya ♥
After the photo shoot we went back to the office and I got a questionnaire to fill out (which I handed to Aya). Let’s take a look at the questions:
1. How was the photo shoot?
fun? okay? boring?
2. (Whatever you previously circled) Explain the reason why you chose your previous answer:
My answer: “I don’t have much self-confidence in front of the camera, but during the photo shoot the photographer said things like: “Great!” or “Well done!” (← 上手い、いいね) and I thought that was nice”
3. Do you think you’d like to have a photo shoot again?
4. How about the photographer’s behaviour?
Very good? Good? Okay? Bad? Very bad?
5. Anything he should improve?
My answer: Nothing in particular. It was fun, thank you.
The last thing and the most important one…
After filling out the questionnaire, a guy wearing lots of silver jewelry introduced himself as the producer and invited us to his little booth-office. If you ever get scouted, expect to hear a lot of good things about yourself. I mean, it’s business and they’re trying to make money — this is something to keep in mind at all times. Don’t let them pull the wool over your eyes. Long story short, basically I was told that I have a huge potential because:
* my skin is sooo white
* my style is sooo good
*my Japanese is sooo cute
He looks at me and goes: “that’s what sells best, foreigners are cute when they make some mistakes while speaking, it’s not good when their Japanese is perfect. That’s not cute”. Ha.
He even told me that I could model for wedding dresses and I was like “Hmm, yeaaah” (look at me, 154 cm tall and lots of tattoos? PUH-LEASEEEE).
And the last little tiny itty-bitty thing: if I am interested in working for them, like getting fashion modelling offers and stuff, I should get a super-duper-professional photo shoot. And that photo shoot would cost me …. 120,000 yen (about $1200?)
I’m satisfied with my current job and I don’t really trust some random people promising an amazing career after taking just a few snapshots of me, so I said “I’ll think about it” and that was it. I don’t really think they are out there trying to trick people. Who knows, maybe if I got that special photo shoot, I could get some other offers? Anyway, I got some fashion snapshots for free, it was fun, that’s it.
They put up my pics on their website, check it out if you’re interested.
I guess that a vision of a modelling career is really tempting, especially when some serious people like photographers and producers tell you that you’re so cute and unique. But I have my priorities sorted and I’m a realist, so they didn’t manage to convince me that a 120,000 yen photo shoot is something absolutely necessary.
If you ever get scouted on the street, always, ALWAYS ask if it’s going to cost you money.
Has anyone had a similar experience?
♥Thanks for reading!♥