The Business of Fitness Modeling With Micah LaCerte

I know there’s a bunch of you that read this site that want to know how to break into or get more exposure as fitness models. Even if you have no interest, more than not, we’ll cover nutrition and training methods that cover models use to achieve their conditioning so ANYONE can use some of the information to better their physiques.

Today we sit down with Micah LaCerte to discuss his road to the cover of the magazine and how to make it as a fitness model. For another great interview you HAVE to check out this interview with the Babe Ruth of fitness model, Clark Bartram, how to become a fitness model.

Q:I’ve heard that you “don’t need to compete in order to be a model in the magazines” and certainly some of the top models today have NEVER competed. Now when you look at the cost of competing (traveling, tanning, entrance fees etc) you can see how it would be a pain. I’m going to play devils advocate though, since the contests seem to be where all the top photographers and magazines go to look for new talent.

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A:I am one of those guys.  My first competition ever was this past September at the WBFF World Championships.  All of my publication came for marketing and finding the people who could get me into the magazines and on TV.  Competing is very expensive but I would say a majority of models are found that way.  What was difficult was being I lived in Kansas, fitness modeling in Kansas does not exist I had to be in places where things were happening.  I am living proof though if you want it bad enough you go out and get it, you make things happen.
Q:So let’s say you don’t decide to compete or you did a few of the bigger modeling shows and maybe things didn’t work out for you. Is all hope lost? How do you go about getting the attention of the magazines? Is it a matter of finding the photographers that have a relationship with the magazines or that submit to them? What’s the best way to go?

A:The key is taking good pictures.  You find photographers that are good and you work with them to build your book.. You go to expos such as the Arnold classic or the Mr. Olympia and you hand out your comp cards to the magazines.  You have to make relationships with the photographers and people who are at the magazine to get your shot.  When you do get the chance make sure you get in the best shape of your life.  You want the magazines to remember you and you want them to trust you.  In this business it’s about networking.  You cannot depend solely on your agency so you have to go out and get it.

Q:Now persistence pays off, so you can certainly email or mail editors your pictures and you can have them on sites (face book, model mayhem etc) but how do you keep yourself in front of the “powers that be” and how do you get yourself in front of new ones?

A:It’s about relationships and becoming the best you can be.  I worked hours and hours to become the best fitness model I could be so that when I did do jobs me would excel.  I was easy to work with; I worked very hard and produced the pictures the magazines wanted.. This is a business and you must treat it that way.  You want to send your pics from time to time to the magazines and to the people who can give you the chance.  There is no model in the business that at one time or another got denied, do not take things personally just keep trying to get your look and body to its top level where they cannot look over you.

Q:Everyone says “oh go to the big shows” like the Arnold or Olympia but how much does that really work? I mean the people that matter there have everyone shoving their comp cards in their face over the course of the entire weekend. What’s the best way to approach this?

A:This is what actually worked for me.  My first big break was in 2004 I was casted for a reality TV show and even though I did not do well on the show I made relationships and became friends with the producer of the show.  He later connected me with my first cover try in Men’s Workout.  From there I went to the shows and stopped by every booth handing my card to the magazines as well as getting their contact info.  You have to get your face out there, dive straight in and become as well known as possible through the shows, social networks( twitter and facebook, follow me!) and the magazines.

Q:You’ve been booked on some reality shows and the like. How did that come about? Do you have an agent? How does an aspiring model get notified of casting calls for shows or fitness infomercials? It’s not like they are posted on craigslist or anything. How does one find a good agency or create those opportunities? What do they type into Google?

A:I have 2 agencies at this point.  I have a local agency here in Kansas City which actually helped me book the Reality show Manhunt in 2004 and My Hallmark Birthday Hunk Card, lol.  My fitness agency is Silver models in New York helped me get into Muscle and Fitness 3-4 times.  There are only a few fitness agencies in the country.  An agency is not needed but does help to open a few doors.  If you are wanting to be represented my word of advice is get the best shots possible of yourself and do your research.  Contact models who are working for these potential agencies and ask how it is working out for them.   Finding the photographers that shoot for the magazines is the key component though.  You make good relationships with these guys and you will get in the magazines in a matter of no time.  It is very hard to get into the business and become successful with it.  It’s a small group of guys doing a ton of work and the rest trying to get to their level.  For me I shoot a few times per year now for publication and the rest of my focus is geared towards my gym and personal training business.  The magazine publication makes my resume better for the other aspects of my life and helps inspire the models who are just coming up.  I had fitness friends already in the business that’s how I got word on what agencies were doing well and which ones were a scam.  I have not googled for agencies but what I would do is get a local agency where you live, meet with them and start your dream.  Form there build your portfolio and work to become the best you can.

Thanks Micah, really KILLER stuff.

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