August 19, 2019

Like a river meandering round a bend, gaining momentum as its arteries meet, rushing into a waterfall, ebbing out and gaining momentum again, so the modelling and entertainment industry nudges, throws curveballs, ignites careers and egos, humbles some, can spit you out or catapult you onto the world stage! Beauty, fashion, travel and money can cloud your mind, fading memories of simplicity or mediocrity.

What works today, is out tomorrow, but the industry machine is forever constant in wowing critics and supporters alike, whether on billboards, glossy pages or moving media that keep you glued to your seat – even in an age where PVR hoped to eliminate the odd intrusion during your favourite soapie or film. No matter the state of the economy, the Cape Town modelling & film industry seems to survive and even thrive (compared to other businesses) during worldwide recession.

We have one of the most diverse location destinations, offering world class service. Cape Town has been the sought-after destination for decades, attracting international talent from every corner of the globe. This makes for rich pickings for international clients and creates opportunities for local talent and crew. Yes, we have had some rocky patches where other destinations peeked interest, but the clients invariably come back to the Mother City with its forever changing talent landscape. A constant flow of new faces, mixed with a few faithfuls, adds to the appeal. This make for a very competitive industry. You are only as good as your last job and more and more, beauty is simply not enough to clinch that sought after campaign. Modelling is a business. Acting is a business. The entertainment industry is a well-oiled machine that EXPECTS commitment, professionalism and a CAN-DO attitude. It’s no longer a means to an easy buck. It can be a very lucrative career if you put in maximum effort!

The one thing that does amaze me, is how some believe that success will just rain on them without making an effort. Having a few photos taken and then sitting back, does not make that telephone ring. Constantly working at your image, updating your portfolio, adding to your skill set, attending your castings, come rain or shine, is just the beginning. Being punctual, pleasant, listening to direction and giving 100% on the job, will get you further. Being reliable, constant, helpful and respectful, even further. Treating your modelling/acting/creative career as a business, is what creates longevity in this business. Being spotted and becoming an overnight success, is not the norm! In this industry money is easy come, easy go and your status… here today, gone tomorrow, if you don’t up your game.

Consumerism dictates, Creatives comply… Creatives dictate and consumerism swells like a pregnant sea washing up gifts of transformation, endless possibilities and hope. Through more than three decades of Cape Town Season, international travel and experiencing more meandering rivers or tumultuous seas that most would experience in a lifetime, the industry never ceases to amaze me.

From days of perfect bodies, high cheekbones and perfectly plucked brows peering down from teetering heights, models have morphed into interesting, approachable, sometimes whacky, sometimes near perfect beings. With a sea of types to choose from, one would think that anyone could be a model – almost, but not quite. Many models have turned to acting and actors to modelling, the average jo has become the go-to look, those who felt they could never model, now do as the industry morphs into a stronger, richly diverse giant embracing change and spreading a message of inclusivity. However, there is an art to having just the right mix at just the right time, because just when you think you have found the perfect formula to ebb the tide, a whirlpool of fluctuating currency, consumer trends and the latest celebrity antics, sweeps the industry into a slipstream of momentary confusion, and then spits out a kaleidoscope of creative genius.

This industry gets under ones skin and when it’s pulsing through your veins, each project and each day brings new challenges. Where else can one explore so much diversity, create hope through beauty and entertainment, and have the power to affect positive change, then this unpredictably fluid industry of ours?

  • YOU have the power to influence, to contribute, to be magnificent.
  • Up your game.
  • Invest in yourself and your craft.
  • Tag your agency on social media and mention them in your bio - they are there to protect you and manage your bookings!

    When applying for a regular job, you need experience and/or tertiary education or be trained in a craft. Being a model or actor means working on yourself, learning new skills, attending film and commercial workshops, attending catwalk training and performance workshops. It means paying for professional test shoots and shooting with as many photographers as possible, saving your money to build your career. That new pair of shoes you have your eye on, cannot earn you an income, YOUR PORTFOLIO SHOOT CAN, THAT ACTING WORKSHOP CAN, THAT ACCENT TRAINING SESSION CAN, ATTENDING YOUR AUDITIONS CAN.

I urge, no challenge YOU, yes YOU, to help your bookers help you. With updated photos, footage and sizes, you have the opportunity to SHINE.

Agencies receive briefs that specify criteria. Bookers submit talent that fit that criteria. Casting directors/clients REQUEST who they want to see.

Think, just for a moment, how important it is that your bookers have the best material possible available to them to present you to their clients. Think for a moment what YOU CAN ACHIEVE if you put in maximum effort.

I made modelling my full-time career for twenty-five years, and I had the time of my life doing it. It took 100% commitment, and I made it work for me. There were no hand-outs, no all-expenses paid contracts. I put every cent into growing my portfolio, attending workshops, and also doing countless free collaborations, whether it be for images or gaining more experience in front of the camera. I attended every casting. I would use my lunchbreak on shoots to attend other castings or ask my agent to arrange for a time after the shoot. If I had a last-minute casting and I had no time to go back home to fetch the required wardrobe, I would buy something on my clothing account. I was never too sick to work. I never questioned my bookers’ recommendations and never told them that I felt I wasn’t suitable for a particular role – it’s their job to know, who am I to question? If I wasn’t working, I would call a meeting with my agent and ask what more I could do to help them get me the job. I was courteous, punctual, well-prepared and available. No party, no other commitment would take preference over a casting or a shoot, unless it was IMPOSSIBLE to change, in which case I would try and move mountains to somehow still do both.

My reward? A very successful and lucrative career, rich in travel and life-changing experiences, because clients knew they were booking a sure thing.


- Martez