What is the truth about glamour and luxury? Model Dino Busch gives
an insight into the reality and the life of an international model
– over and above casting shows and TV shows.
Foto Claudius Holzmann
44 www.harbor-magazin.de HARBOR I.2014
How does a model get discovered and what are
the requirements to be able to work as a model?
Dino Busch: Talent shows try to give a fake impression of
what real life is supposed to look like. Tons of tests and
‘competitions’ for all kinds of different characters. Wallflower
meets arrogant urban-chic. The more drama, the
better. Does anybody in these formats really want to find
the next top model or is it all about making a profit? The
product has to be sold, and in this case the product is
the show, not the models. Most of the successful models
never planned on becoming a model or even dreamed
of becoming successful. As a young teenager, I was already
scouted twice on the streets. At the age of 17½, my
pictures caught my agent’s attention on facebook and
that’s how I started.
Carsten Drochner: First of all, it was Dino’s face that
caught my attention. He was photogenic in all private
snaps I saw of him. To be pretty is not enough though. You
have to have that little something. Also, Dino works as a
photographer, and I was impressed by the work he created
with his friends. He has an eye for aesthetics and the
ability to capture moments and emotions precisely.
Dino Busch: Many models were bullied throughout their
childhood because of their looks. Too tall, too skinny, too
boring. Sometimes it’s just the nose, the mouth or the
chin. Gisele Bundchen used to be bullied because of her
skinny body. But it is precisely these features that make
a person interesting. But looks alone are not enough. As
a photographer, I would say a model is only photogenic
when that person has vibrancy. Something special that
enables the model to fascinate people.
Carsten Drochner: For many agencies and clients, the
looks are all that matters when it comes to booking a
model. Many agencies change new for old models on a
daily basis. For us, character and personality are very important.
Something that makes a person stand out from
the crowd. Next to personality and singularity, versatility,
self confidence and motivation are important. And of
course, soft skills such as politeness, good behaviour, reliability
and the ability to cooperate with people. If all these
points are fulfilled and there is a family that supports you,
the requirements to start working as a good model are
Does the biggest responsibility lie in the hands of the mother
agencies or model managers?
Carsten Drochner: The most reliable and responsible agencies
not only invest in teaching the models and preparing
them for the job; they support the development of these
young people into strong personalities. Self-confidence,
self-esteem and knowledge help them to be a partner
for all clients and their productions. They don’t only care
about maximising their profit but about achieving what is
best for their protégés. Not only financially, but also guaranteeing
them a trustworthy contract throughout, good
and safe basic conditions in their own country and while
they are on their travels, and protection from exploitation
and disrespectful behaviour.
Dino Busch: Many agencies worldwide try to escape their
responsibility and leave their models alone. Only a minority
of models have parents with knowledge of the law
who can check the details of contracts. But it’s not only
about the contracts. A good agency supports its models
at all times and helps them wherever possible, even when
they are on the other side of the world at that moment.
What time do you get up in the mornings, what role does
having to be patient play in your everyday life, and what
does a model have to do during a typical day?
Dino Busch: Normally, the agency sends the appointments
for the next day in the evening via email: castings,
go-sees, and during fashion weeks in the big fashion capitals,
up to twelve castings per day all over town. This
means a lot of queuing and waiting in lines of up to 200
models, all hoping to book this one runway job. It is important
to remember that decisions during castings are 100%
subjective. During fashion weeks, the person him or herself
unfortunately isn’t important at all. Casting directors
and clients are looking for a mannequin who can present
their own fashion in the best way possible. Two hours’ waiting
for a quick “Hello” and “Thanks for coming”. Eleven
At castings for photo shoots, personal values are more
important. The team may be working together for up to
several days in a row. That’s why photographers find the
personality very important. Diva behaviour and bitching
around on set is a danger to the success of the project.
But also on a photo shoot, patience is a must-have. Waiting,
fitting, waiting again, then hair and make-up. Wai-
Din o 45
Foto Nghia Truong
www.harbor-magazin.de HARBOR I.2014
ting again, light testing, waiting and then the shoot starts.
Waiting again if the set isn’t built properly yet and so on.
So a ten to twelve-hour shooting day consists of a lot of
waiting and at the same time being ready at all times.
What is the truth and what are the myths of the jetset life?
What role does money play in the industry, and why do
catalogues pay the rent?
Dino Busch: In the 90s, models were superstars: Claudia,
Naomi, Linda, Christy. They had strong, unique looks.
That’s why they have still been getting booked recently.
And this in a time of short-lasting fashion trends, in which
models don’t even survive for a decade. In many shows,
it’s already hard to tell the difference between the young
models on the runway. But still many brands are screaming
for a new selection of new faces. This leads to agencies
having massive newcomer boards. The person is not
important anymore, the agency’s model ID is more than
enough. It’s not unusual that only 10% of models in an
agency actually make money. The other 90% are exchanged
really fast. Only a few are making big money
and live off that. Those who have recognisable faces
and spent a lot of time in their career. Being pretty is not
enough. You have to be able to express the values of those
clients and brands who booked you. You need to be
versatile and be able to present emotions and moods.
Talent is a basic requirement, but to be a good model,
you have to learn your craft. You need elements of acting,
dancing and other disciplines. The most glamorous
jobs, beautiful editorials for major magazines and runway
jobs make the least profit. They are your publicity. But
they don’t pay the bills. Neither is the payment enough
for other basic needs such as food, clothes and so on. Big
campaigns are the best thing that can happen to you.
But there are not so many of them. The most glamorous
jobs such as editorials for the big magazines and runway
jobs do not really pay. They are basically all about PR.
But that doesn’t pay the bills. Neither is it enough for the
other expenses in your everyday life such as food, phone
bills, clothes etc. Advertising campaigns are the best
that can happen to you. But there are not that many of
those out there. The money you earn for your life is made
through catalogue jobs. And what is the truth about the
luxurious lifestyle everybody is talking about? This happens
in between the pages of the magazines and at all
the events models get invited to. But canapés with caviar
and champagne don’t keep you fed in the long term.
Where do you work? Which markets are interesting for
models, and is there more than just Paris, Milan and New
Dino Busch: Big names such as Paris, Milan and New York
represent fashion. That’s where all the big shows take
place. Many ads and editorials are shot here. But the
photo studios are not as glamorous as you might think.
You are there to fulfil a purpose, and you work and try
to achieve the result the client wants and nothing more.
And you work wherever clients, producers and production
companies have their offices. This might be Hamburg
or Düsseldorf in Germany. Or even not so amazing cities
such as Guangzhou in China and Bombay in India.
The 101 of modelling
Dino Busch: The work of a model seems to look very easy.
But there are big differences between theory and reality.
Let’s start from your mental condition. You always hear
the word “No” and a lot of criticism about your body that
is not always appropriate. You have to have a thick skin
to survive that. The most important ability a model should
possess next to soft skills (such as a healthy appearance,
getting lots of sleep, a healthy diet and fitness) is patience.
Modelling means waiting. Long flights, castings,
fittings, make-up, show and shooting preparations. All of
this takes time. So it’s not unusual to sit around at a job
for several hours doing nothing. And this is way more exhausting
in the long term than it sounds in the beginning.
Also, publications and negotiations with other agencies
can take weeks and weeks. So anyone who hasn’t got
patience should look out for other job possibilities.
When do you feel you’ve done a good day’s work?
Dino Busch: You’ve done a good job when the client is
happy and the model as well. The best-case scenario is,
of course, that everybody is happy. But in the end, the
model has to put his own interests aside. Criticism of the
pictures, make-up or styling is an absolute no-no. You
should rather try to let the client experience your passion
and professionalism. A good model is only happy, when
the client is happy. And the jobs should always be fun, of
How does modelling influence your personal career perspectives?
Foto Carina Jahn
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Carsten Drochner: Modelling opens doors to job opportunities
in a lot of non-classic employment fields. Companies
have high expectations and are looking for personality.
People who show enthusiasm and are able to give their
best. They are looking for good communicative skills and
expect the applicant to speak at least two languages fluently
besides their mother tongue. The best-case scenario
includes experience abroad and intercultural skills; this is
because of increased globalisation. Also creativity, being
able to work in a team, having the strength of your own
convictions and the ability to be self-confident and independently
minded; these are all qualities that are in high
demand. What better way is there for young people to
achieve all of this? Which other job can offer a young
adult the chance to gain all this experience? Dino is way
more independently minded than many other people of
his age. He travels the world, lives alone and organises
his daily life and himself all on his own. He is also able to
meet many interesting people, which can help him get
into other career paths after his modelling career is over.
What sets you apart from other models and what are your
Dino Busch: Every model is different, a different type. Obviously,
I have my face and my body. That is important,
because every client looks for a type of model that can
represent his product in the best way possible. Other than
that, I have to find other ways to convince the client to
hire me. I always try to be positive, to have a positive vibrancy
about myself, and I like to crack a joke from time to
time. I have a lot of stamina, and even after working for
ten hours, I am still excited. I love my job. The clients and
people I work with see that, and I think you can also see
it in the results.
What sort of support have you had in the past and will you
still need in the future?
Dino Busch: Parents and good friends are essential in this
superficial industry. You need help to adjust to the lifestyle
and sometimes a shoulder to cry on. My parents support
me in the best way possible; not only do they give me
their time, they also supported me financially in the beginning.
A good mother agency is also very important.
The agency knows the business and can give better advice
than friends who have no idea about the industry. So
if you have good friends and a family who are looking after
your back plus a good agency, you are good to go.
What gets you really excited?
Dino Busch: Everything about this job, to be honest. The
friendships, the travelling, waiting at airports, the pictures,
the shows, everything. It’s a great feeling, to be the
centre part of a creative process and to create a result
in the end, which wouldn’t have been possible without
you. It’s a privilege to be creative, and that’s what excites
me about my job. The whole package gives you so
much that you couldn’t achieve in any other way at this
point of life. The feeling of seeing yourself on billboards, in
ads or in magazines is also incredible, and of course the
payment plays a part in me being happy about it.
What are the temptations and bad influences out there,
and how do you resist them?
Dino Busch: There are some. Models get a very privileged
treatment. We don’t pay in clubs and get all drinks for
free. That sounds like fun, but can become dangerous
very fast, because there is no consistent routine in your
life, there are no fixed times or days you are working. You
need to have a strong personality and be responsible, to
set yourself limits. And never go out clubbing before jobs
and castings. The client deserves a model who has slept
enough and is fit, who can work with 100% of energy on
What makes modelling so different and nice but still like
every other job out there?
Dino Busch: The job is often pictured in a completely
wrong way; behind all the glamour of jet-setting, parties
and billboards is a lot of work. It is a completely different
work process than most other jobs, but it is also professional.
Those five or seven pictures in a magazine can take
up to ten hours of production. We don’t work everyday,
but we work on weekends and always have to be prepared
in case castings and jobs come up at the last minute.
The job has many positive aspects, no doubt. Mentally
and physically it is tough, the competition is big. The job is
different from someone working in an office. But it is every
bit as hard and not just a paid hobby or a paid vacation,
like many people picture it to be.
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What responsibilities do parents have, and what level of
support is necessary?
Parents should always be aware of their responsibility, no
matter if the child is a minor or not.
They invest time, money, patience and understanding
into the modelling career of their child.
Be careful about ads and offers from model and casting
agencies that are looking for new models. Professional
model agencies have their own scouts who approach
new faces on the street, in the shopping mall or other locations
of your everyday life.
After getting in contact with the agency, there is an invitation
to a free test shoot. The invitation should contain
a request for a parent to attend in case of the model still
being under age.
Be very careful if you have to pay for the introduction and
the shoot or if you have to join a paid course. A professional
agency never charges. They believe in the new face,
and they invest their money in the model; these expenses
are going to be paid by future bookings of the model.
Never sign a contract in a rush. Ask all questions you want
to ask until all points are 100% clear. Especially in the modelling
industry, there a many promises that will not be
fulfilled in the end. It’s important to have a fair contract
that covers all the small details. You might want to check
this contract with a lawyer, just to be sure. Trusting people
too easily can become dangerous. Especially under-age
models should get special treatment. You have a very
close relationship between model and agency, because
it is the only consistent part of your job, since all the jobs
are short term. They are the person you can trust when it
comes to taking care of your career and your personal
issues. These kind of agencies are hard to find. Is there someone
who is able to always be there for the model, no
matter what time of day or on the weekends? Problems
in Asia, Australia, Indonesia or the States are not bound
by the rules of an eight-hour working day and a five-day
working week. The work with models requires a lot of responsibility,
professionalism and integrity.
The first steps
Especially in the beginning, it is important that the ‘new
face’ gets help to earn experiences. You need photographers
who shoot for free. This is how the model gets
self-confidence, experience, safety and good pictures to
further their career. These shoots take a lot of time, lots of
hours or a complete day and can be hundreds of kilometres
away. The shoot itself might not cost, but you invest
time and money for travelling out of your own pocket. International
agencies only provide money for models who
have already gained experience and who have a strong
book. Modelling requires a lot of investment of your personal
time. Time you cannot spend with your friends and
on different hobbies. Especially under-age models should
always travel with a person they trust and they feel safe
with. Normally, not much can go wrong, even travelling
internationally. But there are people who use this business
to treat people without any respect and let models work
in inhuman conditions. They can achieve this easily with
models who come from poor families and dead-end situations.
Especially East European models or models from
South America from rather poor environments are in danger.
Therefore ‘new face’ models need to build a strong
personality. Self-confident young people who are able
to say “no” and who just leave the studio if they feel something
is wrong. And who know that their families and
their agencies have their back in any case.
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a r e e r
How to deal with criticism
Competition is part of the business. It leads to a bigger
selection and better prices for clients. Only the strongest
providers can survive in the long term when it comes to
quality or by offering a product the market does not cover
yet. Modelling is not much different in that way. There
are thousands of young people who get casted all over
the world and get introduced to clients and agencies.
Hundreds of boys and girls compete for a single job.
The decision not to take a model has nothing to do with
the person themselves and is never objective. The decision
is always subjective. The client might not like the
hair colour, the hips are too big or the nose doesn’t fit. All
points made up from personal criteria. The problem is that
there are human beings who have lost the connection
to reality and lost their manners, who think of themselves
as demigods and who have no social skills. It hurts if you
always get negative comments about yourself and if you
get insulted. Nobody can take that easily. That’s when
you need your family and good friends who support you,
who take time to listen, to talk and to cheer you up. Anyone
who doesn’t have that will struggle a lot. All of the
above should not leave a bad impression. The majority
of people working in this industry are amazing. Photographers,
stylists, designers, other models and clients. People
who are fun to work with. Working in a professional field
with lots of compliments and constructive criticism. You
build many friendships that go further than just modelling.
As a model you work hard on your body to gain an aesthetic
physical appearance. A healthy diet is essential.
Studies carried out at the Robert Koch Institute show
that one in five of all teenagers between 11 and 17 have
some kind of eating disorder, whereby the number of
girls is double in comparison to boys. Models are in even
greater danger, since they work in an industry that tells
them what the ‘perfect’ measurements are. You have to
watch out if your kid is eating enough and if it is getting
everything that is important for a healthy development.
Health is always the most important part.
Inform yourself about the business. Only then will you be
able to give advice. The most important thing is that parents
have an open ear, because often they are the only
ones who can actually help. This means you should Skype
a lot, support as much as possible and take time to talk.
About Dopamin Models
Dopamin is a Boutique Model Management company.
We think that a good model only comes in a combination
of beauty with a strong character. That’s why we place a
lot of value on the personality of our models.
Our philosophy says that we take care of models represented
by us with all our heart. For us, they are individuals,
and safety and health is always of paramount importance
to us. We try to support our models in developing
not only their modelling career, but also their personal
artistic career and their character development.