The Dos and Don'ts of Alt. Modeling

We've published an article on The Dos and Donts of Alt. Photography. Here is a variation on that article that focuses more on the perspective of the model.


Model: Portia Surreal.


1. Modifications. Tattoos and piercings are a plus and part of alt. culture. Look how far Sabina Kelley has come. Make sure your tattoos are unique and of a high quality. Not every alt. model has tattoos and that works too.

2. Body type. You can be thin or plus size. The fashion world has strict guidelines on what they consider "beautiful". Some models aren't accepted in the fashion industry if they have a mole or birthmark on their face or if they are too short. The alt. model scene is much more forgiving.

3. Your name. If you don't use your real name, choose a great model name. Dita's real name is Heather Sweet. She chose Dita as a tribute to silent film actress Dita Parlo. For her 2002 Playboy cover she had to go with a surname, and she chose Von Treese from the phone book. The editors of Playboy misspelt her name as Von Teese, and she decided to stick with it. Avoid names that sound childish (Bambi) or are popular stripper names (Foxy, Mercedes, etc).

4. Networking. Beyond a website, set up a Facebook, Twitter, and Model Mayhem account. Network with other models, photographers, and designers.

5. Portfolio. Diversify your portfolio. Some magazines prefer pinup, while others prefer fetish or tattoo modeling.

6. Hair and make-up. Hair and make-up and wardrobe are key elements to making a great photograph. Don't overlook them.

7. Wardrobe. Invest and develop a great alt. wardrobe (corsets, gloves, girdles, lingeries, hats, boots, shoes, etc).

8. Choose wisely. Choose the photographers and hair and make up people you work with carefully. You are who you work with.

9. Time. Be on time. The people you work with will appreciate it.

10. Respect. Treat people with respect and never have a prima donna or condescennding attitude. Some of the biggest models are the most humble.



1. Don't do the Duckface.

Urban Dictionary definition-
Stupid facial expression put forth by stupid women that don't know how to smile. The Duckface is made by moving both lips has far up and outward as possible.

Don't do shoots with you sitting on a toilet.

Don't have pictures taken of you eating or modeling food.


2. Don't bash other models in public forums. It makes you look petty. You should be supporting other models and trying to better yourself.

3. Don't sign exclusive contracts with alternative modeling sites. Their restrictions might make life hell when you try to leave.

4. Don't post webcam or mobile phone shots of yourself too much unless you are a narcissist or if its blog related.

5. Don't do a shoot if you've been up all night.

6. Don't do a shoot if you've just eaten a 9-course meal.

7. Don't cancel a shoot with short notice or not show up. You will develop a reputation as a FLAKE.

8. Don't let rejection get to you, if your photos are rejected by a magazine. Keep trying. Walt Disney was rejected by 300 loan officers at banks before he got a loan to start building Disneyland. Persistence is the key.

9. Don't do something during a shoot you feel uncomfortable doing. You should always discuss the shoot details in advance.

10. Don't shoot pornographic material if you think you will regret it later in life.


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