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Model Monday: Tattoo. To be, or taboo?

Jesiah and Kimber Recently, I was casting models for a fashion shoot. To me, I thought it was normal casting requirements for print fashion. 5'8-5'11, Size 0-4, and no visible markings or tattoos. Well to my surprise, the last requirement seemed hard to come by. It seemed that those requirements were mostly able to be filled by "agency" models. So I ask, does having a tattoo or several impair a model's ability to get hired for a gig?

First, let me qualify the question with two things. 1) Personally, I love tattoos. While I would probably never have one, because I am not too fond of needles, I like the details, the colors, the meanings that most tattoos signify. 2) Whether it is a tattoo, changing your hair color, gaining or losing 10 pounds; any physical alteration that you do with your body will usually have an impact, positive or negative, on your ability to get casted for certain gigs. I feel so strongly about that second statement that I think it applies to both in front of and behind the camera. Physical appearance does matter when it comes to getting some gigs.

The reason why I ask, is because I want us to think about our personal expressions and our careers. When you look to Hollywood, you see many actors who gain and lose weight, sometimes over 50lbs, in order to land a role. Their dedication to their career requires them to do so. In the fashion world, I have seen blonds turn to brunettes, and women who are normally a size 4 slim down to a size 2 in order to walk a runway. At the end of the day, what is more important to you, your career or your personal expression?

This year, more so than ever, I think I have seen more tattooed models walking in NYC, London, Paris, and Milan. From my sources though, this is more a trend out of necessity than it is out of desire. I have yet to see tattooed models make a big impact in editorial fashion magazine and ads. As expressed by advertising clients, tattoos are mostly about personal expression. They are art. But a model's personal expression may not match the message or vision of the client. The preference will usually to have a model with a "blank slate" or "clean canvas." Most fashion designers and product clients do not want the focus to be on anything but their product, and often a tattoo is a distraction away from the product being marketed.

Yes with photoshop, or posing position, small tattoos can be covered up or removed, but the reality is that the more work that has to be done to make an image look ready for print, the more cost that is attached to it. Set directors and photographers do not want to be limited in what they can do with a model. When thinking of getting a tattoo, dying your hair, or anything that might change your appearance, ask yourself, "Can this wait?" If you are desiring to do fashion and you are 18 or 19 years old, can the tattoo wait. If you were casted as a brunette for a shoot coming up this weekend, can dying your hair red, wait until after the shoot?

If modeling is desired to be more than just a hobby, that means doing every little thing possible to make you more successful. Conversely, it also means refraining from things that can limit your progress. We should always strive not only to do our best, but to bring our best as well.

Leighton DaCosta

LeightonD, LLC, PO Box 80065, Charleston, SC 29416, USA

Hello, I'm Leighton and I help people around the world tell their story. Let me introduce myself. Whether it's for online dating, or a professional profile, it always seems that the "About Me" section is always the hardest to write. Not because you have nothing to say about yourself, but because you want to be sincere, genuine, interesting, and brief all at the same time. I have never been a fan of writing about me in the third person, like: "Leighton DaCosta, was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and moved to Brooklyn, NY at an early age when his parents wanted to form a new life for themselves and their children. In the third grade, the family moved to Orlando, Fl, where Leighton considers his home town. After spending 3 tours in the Navy, he settled in Jacksonville, and now Miramar, Florida, where he now calls home. Today, still wanted by many, he does work as a fashion and wedding photographer. If you have a wedding(or photo shoot)... if no one else can help... and if you can find him... maybe you can hire... ok.. this is not The A- Team." But you see what I mean? What do you know about me? How can we connect? Did you know that my FAVORITE food is Pizza and Sushi? Or that my favorite color is Purple? When I go to the wine bars, I usually order Mimosas, because even the cheapest champagne tastes great with some good ole OJ. When I travel, I like staying in nice hotels. Not because of the name, (even though I AM partial to Hyatt) but because of the bathrooms. One of my favorite hotels is the Viking in Newport, Rhode Island. Small rooms, but AWESOME bathrooms. I LOVE TO EAT, and eating as much as I have, has led me to be about 100 pounds more than I was in High School... Yeah there is some muscle there, but if it was all muscle, I'm sorry folks, I wouldn't be taking photos, I would be retiring from the NFL. If you want to see some of my favorite dishes, follow me on Instagram. Because of that, I find myself now in the gym more than ever. Trying to stay fit and alive... I workout, so I can EAT! Well that's enough for now, if you want to know more about me, follow my blog. Better yet, I want to find out more about YOU. So let's talk!

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