Have you ever wondered how a friend consistently gets modeling gigs and you don't? Getting a shot on a fashion runway or a call back for a print ad may not depend on your look but who is representing your look!
Having an agent is a personal decision but not having one can decrease your financial gain. Good agents will have numerous contacts in the modeling industry. Many companies only hire from reputable modeling agencies. You may come across a casting call for models in newspapers or magazines but the vast majority of jobs are never posted for the public to see. Casting calls or modeling jobs are often only sent to professional modeling agencies.
A modeling agency's number one purpose is to find the model work. They work as the model's representative or agent. As an agent they seek and negotiate contracts of employment for the model or talent who is an independent business. For finding the model work, they take a percent of what the model makes (10% to 33%). The more money you make, the more money the modeling agency makes.
Modeling Agencies often advertise for new talent. Open calls are equivalent to open house for modeling agencies. Some agencies will host "open calls" often while others may have them less frequency. This is a great way to be noticed by an agency with face-to-face contact.
Remember, all of "you" is on display when meeting an agent for the first time. Many models misjudge and think that the face is the most important feature of a model. Agents will look at a models personality and body language just as much as looking at the physical features. Always come dressed in clean clothing with hair clean and nails done. Less make-up is more when meeting an agent for the first time.
The modeling agency has been known to have a large source of "fake" or "scam" modeling agencies. Don't fall for the scams! Make sure the agent has an office that is accessible to the public. Never sign with an agency at a coffee shop or local library- you might be surprise how many naive models do this. Some agencies may only see models by appointment. This is not a bad thing and don't be discouraged by agencies that do not allow walk-ins.