What is the difference between a casting call and an open call?
Clients that need models hold casting calls, where they invite models that fit their requirements and have them appear in person so that they can see who would be the best fit for the job — whether it’s for a runway show or a photo shoot. The models bring their portfolio so that the client can see their work experience. From there, the client will choose the model or models that will be officially hired and paid for the job.
Open Calls are held by modeling agencies who open their doors to model hopefuls to potentially sign them — no appointment necessary. Be sure to check out the height/weight/measurement requirements on their website, along with what days and times open calls are held before going. This is a great opportunity to meet face-to-face with top agencies.
Now, on to what to wear to a casting call or open call. The dress code is the same, so we’ll cover both at once.
For women, either a sleeveless top or t-shirt in a solid color like black, grey, or white is perfect. Make sure the collar isn’t too tight around the neck — you don’t want to hide your collar bones and décolletage. Don’t wear a top with a pattern or screen print, and also make sure to not wear any bright colors. Muted, neutral tones are best.
Men, for the most part, stick with t-shirts that have either a crew neck or v-neck. Again, solid black, grey, or white are the go-to colors. Make sure the shirt is fitted and doesn’t have any crazy designs on it.
For women, skinny jeans are the best option. If it’s scorching hot outside, or you have really amazing legs that you’d like to showcase, shorts work as well (make sure you don’t have any bruises or scratches on your legs). Dark or black denim is slimming and lengthening, so try to keep your bottoms on the darker side. Be sure not to wear bottoms that have a lot of pockets or extra volume (ex. cargo pants or shorts), as this will make you look larger than you actually are.
Men, fitted jeans in a dark or black denim are perfect.
Ladies, you must wear heels. Models and heels go together like peanut butter and jelly. Pumps are generally easier to walk in than strappy shoes, so go for a pair of these in nude, black, or grey. Strappy heels can be worn too, just make sure they’re comfortable to walk in without any slipping and sliding. A 3-4 inch heel is ideal. Practice your runway walk in whichever pair you decide to use to confirm that your heel doesn’t slip out of the shoe and that you’re stable and graceful as you glide across the floor. Avoid chunky heels and wedges, as these are heavy and less elegant than the classic pump or strappy heel. Wearing a pair of flats or flip flops between castings is a good idea, just change into your heels before entering the building.
Men, don’t wear flip flops or your beat-up, everyday sneakers for a casting or open call. A semiformal shoe will look great with your dark jeans. Leather or canvas lace-up or slip-on shoes work well.
For women, a nude colored strapless bra and thong are essential. This helps to avoid the problem of a crazy colored bra with straps hanging out of a top or underwear lines. This can be very distracting and takes away from you.
Men, just to keep on the safe side, a boxer brief (or even just a brief if you’re adventurous) in a neutral color like black, grey, or white is a good choice.
Ladies, a fresh faced look is the goal for a casting call or open call. This can either be achieved by wearing no makeup at all, or by wearing concealer where needed, maybe a bit of light foundation, a swipe of mascara, and a coat of sheer-colored lipgloss. Don’t wear a full face of heavy makeup. Avoid dramatic eye liner, smokey eye, bright colored eye shadows, and fake lashes. Less is definitely more. Again, clients and agents want to see you as a blank canvas, not one that’s already painted on.
For women, a ponytail gets a thumbs up. Although it’s not a crime to wear your hair down to a casting call or open call, make sure you bring a hair band (but don’t ever wear it on your wrist!) so you can pull your hair up and out of your face if asked to. Wear your hair with its natural texture — curly, straight, or wavy. If it’s a tad out of control, you can put a bit of frizz taming product in it, as long as you avoid the wet hair look.
Men, hair pomade is a great styling product that adds texture without turning you into a helmet head.
It’s best to go without, but if you absolutely have to wear something or else you’ll feel impossibly naked, make sure it’s not distracting. An example would be simple stud earrings, a thin band ring, or a small chain necklace with a tiny pendant. Don’t wear any statement pieces. These will take away from your face, which is where the focus should be.
Ladies, make sure your nails (hands and feet) are either au naturale, painted a nude color, or manicured with a french tip. No chipped nail polish allowed! Guys, just be sure your nails are neat, clean, and trimmed.
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