Whether you are new to modeling and pageants, or an experienced pro at casting calls and appearances, all models, pageant contestants and titleholders can benefit from practicing basic safety tips when making appearances both in public and online. For the purpose of this article, we are addressing models specifically but many of these tips can be helpful for pageant people as well.
Safety Tips for Pageants and Modeling
Park your vehicle in public places.
Model casting calls act as magnets for predators, and sometimes take place near industrial or potentially dangerous parts of town. Parking in alleyways or side streets should be avoided when attending events by yourself. When you are going to auditions in downtown or tourist areas of your town or city, you can also find valet parking just about anywhere if needed.
Be aware of your surroundings.
Just because a fashion shoot is taking place does not mean the participants are protected from the public. Photography equipment and personal belongings often get stolen when thieves disguised as onlookers catch models, stylists and photographers off guard. You should always be aware of what’s going on around you and trust your instincts to avoid dangerous situations.
Tell someone where you are going.
When you go out to attend a casting call, photo shoot, or any other type of meeting or booking, the details of where, when, and with whom should be provided to a trusted family member or friend in addition to your agent or manager. Even if you get a call in the middle of the day or when traveling from casting to casting, it’s easy to send a quick text or email from your phone to a friend of relative to let someone know where you are going and what time you expect to return home.
Bring a buddy.
Although it is not customary unless you're a minor, it is acceptable when traveling alone to a remote or distant location for an event, casting call or photo shoot to bring along a stylist, family member or friend. Please notify your agent ahead of time, and remind your guest to remain professional and do not interfere with the business at hand once you arrive at the booking. If a photographer or client is adamantly opposed to you bringing an escort, you may opt not to attend the shoot. It’s okay to say “no” when something doesn’t seem right to you.
There's nothing wrong with being safe.
Guard your personal information.
You should never give out your address, home or cell phone numbers to anyone. Instead, the safest route is to provide the contact name and number of an agent or manager. You may also choose to use a calling service or free virtual phone service like Google Voice, which can be easily forwarded to your personal cell phone.
Keep hold of your ID at all times.
A model’s identification, keys, and other personal belongings can be targeted in a waiting room, dressing room, or on the set. And when traveling abroad, even your own modeling agent could try to ‘hold’ your passport for safekeeping. You should NEVER leave identification unattended or in the hands of anyone, including your agent or manager, for any reason.
Safeguard computers and tablets.
There have been many headlines over the years of hackers accessing laptop computers and tablets with built-in cameras to invade the privacy of models and celebrities in compromising situations. One of these stories involved a former Miss Teen USA, Cassidy Wolf. Electronic devices, especially those with cameras, should be kept away from changing rooms and private areas of the home, and free of stored photo and video files that you would not want shared with the public. Always assume that if there is a camera lens that can see you, that camera can be hacked, turned on, and possibly become accessible to someone.
Act as though everyone is watching.
Whether you're on a sound stage, out on Hollywood Boulevard, or on the sands of Malibu, you will attract attention and people might try to sneak a peek, especially when it’s time to change your clothes. Practice mastering the art of changing your clothing without taking anything completely off. Wear clothes that can be pulled down over your shoulders and body, avoiding anything that must go over your head to be removed. Bring multiple layers, big button-up shirts, and a beach towel. You may also benefit from carrying a portable privacy tent, about the size of a folding reflector, for those times when extra concealment is needed.
Password protect electronic devices.
It is inevitable that at some point you will have to abandon your cell phone, tablet, or other electronic device somewhere off-camera while on the job. You really cannot expect to carry it in your pocket all the time. What if your outfit doesn’t have a pocket? And if you drag your device all over the stage or studio, you may leave it behind on the set, or even worse at a public location. For this reason, all access to electronic devices should be protected by a password, fingerprint or retina scan, so they can be kept in your model bag or the dressing room while you are working.
Use common sense.
In most cases, a little common sense goes a long way. Don't let anyone bully you or make you feel bad about practicing basic safety tips on the set or the job. Just because you are participating in pageants and modeling doesn't mean you have to leave your common sense at the door. Take care of yourself first and everything else will fall into place.
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