5. Don’t be a “yes” woman.
“The models who have this attitude of, ‘I’ll do whatever you say as long as I can be famous,’ that attitude doesn’t work. You will get washed and burned out very quickly,” Coco explains. “The girls who have made it have taken over their career and taken [powerful positions]; Cindy Crawford, she was doing workout videos, and then she was offered to do cigarette videos, and she said no because it wouldn’t look good for her brand.”
“It’s okay not to be everyone’s cup of tea; for some reason a model goes to a casting and if they don’t cast her, she thinks why don’t they like me?” Coco says. “But at the next one they might love you. Models want to be accepted; probably because you came from high school and you just want to get accepted. But it would be boring if you got every single job and I saw you in every single photo. We want you to have highs and lows, as long as the model doesn’t take it so personally.”
6. Be prepared to invest in yourself.
“You can easily run up a tab as a new model,” Coco says. “It comes with the territory, so you have to be very savvy about your accounts. A lot of models think their agents are taking care of them, but early on models must take over their accounts. Even if it’s just looking at it and being like, there’s a charge for a car, but I didn’t take a car. It’s not that your agency’s trying to trick you, but it can also damage you and give you a bigger debt than you need.”
“I’ve been modeling for 10 years and I only started checking my account four years ago,” Coco said. “I knew if I really wanted to take this seriously, [I had to have control].”
7. Understand that the party-girl lifestyle of models portrayed in media is a myth.
“A lot of models think it’s more of a party lifestyle instead of a job,” Coco advises. “But this isn’t how modeling is. If you look back, many people still think of models as a rock ‘n roll lifestyle, and sure there’s a little bit of that; but that’s just not life 24/7. We have to actually arrive early at work, we have to come well rested and look prepared. Some models still go on the subway—I still go on the subway!”
“Don’t think this is going to be the easiest life. You can almost be shell-shocked if you’re really young and you learn that it’s not just all fun all the time. Smart girls will make it—good girls win the race nowadays.”