ClaimFame was lucky enough to sit down with 27 year old model Michael Lewis and hear how he rose to fame:
Michael has been in the entertainment industry from the past ten years. He has modeled for brands like Armani, Lee Cooper, Samsung, Apple, Century 21, GANT, Macy’s, Michael Bastian and more. He was chosen by the TV channel “E!” as one of “The 25 Sexiest men in the world” (next to George Clooney and Brad Pitt!) and appeared on numerous commercials, TV shows and international campaigns — not only for fashion brands but also for electronics, sports, liqueur, cars, watches, yachts and more.
Since the day he started modeling, which happened by accident (someone spotted him while he was playing basketball in his neighborhood), he says he has gained valuable experience and learned a lot about the world of modeling.
He admits that the fashion and entertainment industries can be shallow, undermining and frustrating at times, but it can also be very luxurious, upscale, cool, and plain ol’ fun if you work with the right people (and get paid, of course). Here are some tips for success he has learned along the way and wants to share with the ClaimFame community:
1. The Extra Thing
Before I start sharing some of my knowledge, know this: Modeling is not a job for everyone. You may think you look good and you have what it takes, but 99% of the time that just ain’t enough. You may look good and have a great smile, but in this world there is something else you need that will push you up the ladder and get you recognized in the field.
It’s called “THE EXTRA THING,” or “ADDED VALUE.” That “extra thing” is something that cannot be described. Either you have it or, you don’t. Do you have it? Don’t worry, you will find out if you have it or not in when auditioning for a commercial or going on casting call. The Casting Directors are usually not afraid to tell you to your face what they think (even if you’re standing there almost fully naked with just your underwear on) and in the long run the truth will help your career.
2. Timing and Effort
I am big believer in TIMING and EFFORT. Most of the time you would work for free and spend your time doing less rewarding work to make money. It’s like being an intern, just that you actually don’t get paid at all. This is not a waste, it’s INVESTING by making an effort to improve yourself and your skills and wait for the right time to succeed.
3. Keep Your Day Job
Please remember: before you even start going on castings and auditions, if you have a second job that you can rely on, stick to it. It’ll keep you sane. One thing models don’t have is a schedule. It’s very easy to get lost in thoughts. Don’t let that happen. Keep yourself busy at all times. For example, I do sports and I read a lot. Books are my best friends.
4. Connections Never Hurt
If you are born to influential family with well-connected parents then congratulations: you’re lucky. Use it, don’t abuse it. Friends who have good connections are also helpful. Use them wisely. Networking is very important, especially when you’re starting out.
Michael Lewis for Century 21
5. Love Thy Agent
It’s very helpful to have a modeling agency that pushes you to go to auditions. Remember: For every one they accept, they deny hundreds. If they agree to represent you, then most likely they believe in you and want you to succeed.
6. Adapt, Don’t Change
If your agent(s) tell you to gain weight \ lose weight \ cut your hair \ change your style etc. I suggest to first listen, and then try to understand if it really fits YOU. This world has a tendency to change people. If you want to succeed, you need to stick to your own ground. If you are open to changes, then be my guest and embrace them. Just remember – BE YOU. This job is about ADAPTING, NOT CHANGING.
7. Health Comes First
Modeling is a tricky business. On the one hand, it has a mysterious way of pulling you down and beating you up when you least expect it. On the other hand, it can be fulfilling, rewarding, and give you a chance to travel the world, meet interesting people and have CRAZY and exciting experiences. But at the end of the day – it’s only a job. So, stay sane, work out, live well, adapt, embrace, listen, get involved (but not too involved!), eat right, drink (sometimes, and stay on your feet while you do!) and always remember – enjoy the ride!
Michael Lewis is represented in New York City by Innovative Artist for acting and commercial work and by RE:Quest Model Management Agency for print, as well as by agencies in Italy, Germany, Spain, France, and England
This post is part of ClaimFame‘s tutorial series “Casting Essentials – everything you need to know to get started and find success in showbiz“