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California is a good place to live if you are considering pursuing a career in modeling,. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2013 California is the third highest paying state for models. New York is the first, and Pennsylvania falls in second place. The median wage for a model working in California as of 2013 was $19.82 hourly or $41,220 annually.

More good news for model hopefuls: the modeling industry is projected to grow 15% from now until 2022. While these statistics appear to be promising, there are thousands of model wannabes living in California making job competition especially fierce.

While there is no formal education or training required to work as a model, models must fit stringent height, weight, and other physical requirements to secure work in their field.

Signing up with a reputable agency is recommended. Agencies find bookings for clients, make sure they are paid fairly, and often have working relationships with big name companies that can secure high profile jobs for their clients. Be wary of agencies that ask for money up front. You should not have to pay to be represented; a percentage will be taken from any bookings secured through an agency. The average rate is about 20 percent. San Diego Model Management, John Robert Powers, and Shamon Freitas Model and Talent Agency are a few reputable agencies operating locally. To be represented by these agencies, you’ll have to supply headshots, and be interviewed.

A model’s work schedule tends to be unpredictable. Many models experience lengthy periods of unemployment and most only work part-time.

Model and actress, Hannah Kat Jones, knows firsthand how demanding life as a model can be. Jones got her start on the popular reality show America’s Next Top Model, hosted and produced by supermodel Tyra Banks.

“Growing up [in Houston, Texas}, modeling was a far-fetched idea for me. I have always been tall, but as a young girl, I was more of a goofy tomboy climbing trees,” says Jones.

While attending St. Edward’s University in Austin, Jones developed an interest in photography. Her hobby boosted her modeling confidence.

“I began studying photography and doing abstract self-portraits. I started to find confidence in myself as a model. Within a couple of months after doing photo-shoots for fun with my friends, I had a portfolio to take to an audition for the 16th season of America’s Next Top Model in Houston.”

Much to Jones’ surprise, she was cast on the show.

“I lived in LA for two months with the cast and crew, modeling with bees one day, a jaguar the next, then on top a camel in Morocco. I won third place [on America’s Next Top Model Cycle 16}. Since that once in a life-time experience, life has completely changed. Modeling and acting has become my livelihood. I am happy I got the chance to compete on America’s Next Top Model, because it gave me a great foundation for my journey as a model and actor. There were peaks and valleys through the exciting, high pressure situations and also embarrassing moments balanced by priceless moments of awe. It was a dream come true. Now, thanks to the experience, I am a firm believer in the power and potential of the dreamer.”

Since coming in third place on America’s Next Top Model, Jones has found consistent work as a model. Her greatest career accomplishment thus far has been being cast in the Disney Show, Austin & Ally.

“The first episode, “Cupid and Cuties,” has already aired with six more on the way. It is my first job as an actor and I am very exciting.”

So far Jones has dealt with the various challenges that her modeling career has brought.

“Rejection and uncertainty can be hard to deal with at times. From an outside perspective I figured it would be tough to be turned down by potential clients and projects. What’s hard is letting go of the desire to achieve goals that are quite possible to conquer with the right attitude. Positive thinking and persevering are key.”

As for that first step down the modeling career path, Jones says for her it was, “studying fashion magazines, playing dress up with my friends, and doing photo-shoots for fun.”

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