Wednesday, May 4, 2016

How do you handle rejection and criticism?

Everyone thinks modelling is this business where everyone tells you you’re beautiful all the time. It must be so nice right? Don’t you feel so confident? Umm… no.

Where this does happen on occasion, I really think it’s important for people to understand: that much like other parts of the entertainment industry – the modelling world is based on rejection.
What do you mean Shivani? I see you in advertisements, clients must like you, it doesn’t seem like you’re getting rejected.
GIRL PLEASE. From your agency to casting directors to clients, we are hearing constant criticism all the time. Believe me – not everyone likes us at all times.

If you work a 9-5 job I invite you to explore the following scenario with me.  Imagine that everyday you go into work; it’s a different client in a different location, sometimes in a different state or country. In order for you to work every day 9-5, you have to interview, for each and every one of those clients, on the days when you’re not working. And, your first day with each of those clients is a trial run. So, even if you book one, there’s no guarantee they’re going to book you again.
Welcome to my life. It’s a constant battle for regular clients. Most models don’t work everyday because it’s so hard to find clients who not only: a) liked you the most out of the many girls that casted for them but also b) like you enough after your first day to continue booking you.

What does this tell you? We’re constantly getting rejected. I used that scenario to compare it to someone who works everyday, to demonstrate how unrealistic our chances are of working every day, because we get rejected so much. We’re competing to go to work EVERY DAY. There is no security and there is (in my experience) less than a 1 in 10 chance that we’ll get booked at any given casting. So for every 10 castings I go to there’s a very small chance I’ll book even ONE job. People have told me that this is very similar to acting, where it’s so unlikely to book 1 job out of every 10-15 auditions you may go to.
In a way, the rejection can be great. Rejection gives you a thick skin, it makes you hustle, it makes you always work to be better so that next time you WILL BE the girl they choose.

But sometimes it plain sucks. Especially when they don’t choose you for a reason over which you have no control. For example, a lot of the time the reason we models get for not being chosen is that we didn’t have “the look they were going for”. I mean, in this world… there isn’t much you can do to change your look. What does that even mean? Am I supposed to change my hair? The shape of my eyebrows? My weight? I can’t change much about my skin colour, or my features. So what do we do with that information? The answer is: there really isn’t much we can do. One thing I’ve learned though: never take it personally, because they don’t mean it personally, even when they seem really mean. They don’t even know you, so how could it be personal? If you didn’t suit them, you didn’t suit them. There are thousands more clients out there, you be thankful for the opportunity to have seen them and move on to the next one.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. I can’t even tell you how many times I sat up at night wondering: when will there ever be a client who freakin’ wants to use me?! What’s wrong with me? Should I even be a model? Am I the right girl for ANY brand?! These kind of feelings also related back to anxiety (see my anxiety post here).

So how did I get over the inevitable constant rejection that came as a part of my career? Simple – I got used to it. That sounds weird but it’s true. There comes a time when you hear your 300th, “they just didn’t think you were a good fit for the brand” and you say, “well, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles”. Because what else can you do? And realistically, it’s the truth. You’re not going to be the right fit for every brand, or every TV show, or every commercial. And that doesn’t mean you’re not great, it just means you’re not right for them.
Sometimes you’re just not what they’re looking for, and that’s totally okay because when you DO fit the brand, it’s the best feeling in the world. When you finally do book a job, there comes a rush that you crave to constantly feel. It drives you to brush off the rejection, work hard on yourself and push forward to the next casting.

How do you handle rejection? Do you have any best practices you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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