The Ultimate Guide to Modeling in Bali (updated 2021) • Bali Model Agency
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FREELANCE MODELS & AGENCY MODELS IN BALI:


THE ULTIMATE GUIDE (2021)

(April 6th, 2021) So you’re already a model keen to try your luck in Bali, or an aspiring model looking to get into the Bali modeling scene?

Here we will go over every detail and give you all the tricks of the trade to successfully becoming a model in Bali.

In this comprehensive guide we'll cover:

  • Freelance model or agency model: what's best?
  • How to work successfully with an agency
  • What to do when you are booked for a modeling job?
  • Everything you need to know about money
  • How will your modeling agency promote you?

So if you want to be a successful model in Bali, you'll love this guide.

Let's dive right in!

CHAPTER 1:


IN A MODEL AGENCY VS FREELANCE MODEL?

There are many benefits to living and working on the island of the gods (C’mon it’s paradise!), but better that you know all of the details before making your move.

Lets dive into how the industry works and start with the fundamentals of models + agency VS the world.

Let’s get started

How is the modeling industry in Bali?

The modeling and fashion industry in Bali is one of the most up and coming new fashion locations in the world!

Thanks to the likes of Instagram, Facebook and other social media platforms, Bali has been put on the map with its endless stunning locations. Quickly Bali has become the number one tourist destination in the world, and the rest of the globe has noticed!

All of the biggest brands are shooting content and campaigns here or are planning to in the near future. The island has gone trendy and being a model based here gives you an edge to get in on the action.

Bali has been a breeding ground for creativity over the years. It has attracted creative people from around the earth including models, photographers, make-up artists and stylists.

A huge expat community contributes to the ever-growing list of talent that makes up the industry here in Bali.

There is a never-ending list of clients shooting here constantly and always checking in with the modeling agencies on the island to see who is new here. Of course there are a handful of models who have been here for a long time, and it comes as no surprise that they are constantly working.

With no lack of jobs here, there is enough room for anyone to come join the fun.

How to work in Bali legally as a model?

As it goes in most countries in the world, you need a working visa to legally work in Bali and the rest of Indonesia.

The modeling industry is no different.

Unfortunately, there are many models who are working in Bali illegally and this is no secret! Immigration here is very smart and they know how this industry works.

They do surprise visits at studios, follow brands and illegal models, photographers and make-up artists on Instagram and they see where you are shooting from your stories and they show up.

Immigration regularly deports all different types of talent in this industry for working illegally and without the correct visas and permits for shoots.

While there is a possibility to operate as a freelance model with the correct working visa, it is a very hard and long process to go through and there are many ways for it to go wrong.

Working with a model agency such as Bali Model Agency can be a huge advantage to you as a model. As a registered business in Indonesia, we can help you quickly get the correct visa and make sure that all of the work you are doing is legal and above board.

Don’t work without the correct visa, as if you get deported you won’t be able to come back to Bali for a long time!

Why sign with an agency, isn’t it better to be freelance?

The age-old question that always comes back!

It’s no secret that social media platforms have changed the modeling industries over the years.

That being said, there is something to be said about having an agency behind you to help you grow your career that Instagram could never do.

For those models who are freelance, of course you can get jobs this way but in our experience, they are few and far between unless you have a big following base and a reason for clients to book you that benefits them more than "just" booking you as a model for their next campaign.
The days of an easy climb to social media stardom are already behind us. With an over-saturation of Instagram models on the market, clients turn back to model agencies to help them find the best talent to represent their brand.

You may be an excellent model, but maybe you don’t like to negotiate and handle the business side of the industry, this is where an agency can really help you.

Most agencies have phenomenal bookers who have been working in the industry for years and know ways of doing business that others don’t.

What’s the secret?!

As you can imagine, when we separate the artist being booked, by the business being done behind the scenes it works to everyone’s advantage.
If you are represented by an agency, your booking agent is like a second mom to watch over your career, make sure clients are treating you the right way, and that you grow as a model alongside your daily model rate.

Agents manage your portfolio, help find your strengths as a model and can manage your bookings within those strengths.
Also, when it comes to your modeling rates, agencies can always fight to get you more...

Safety First!
Another good reason to have an agency is for your safety.

Agents diligently research any new clients and filter through requests to make sure that the work being requested is legitimate.

The agency is your back up which means you can have peace of mind that your team always knows where you are and what is happening with you. You are never in it alone! ❤️

How to find or get noticed by an agency

First you have to find the right agency. There are a few model agencies in Bali although not all equal. You have to weigh the pros and cons of each one of them.
You can find them on Google to start with then ask your friends their experience perhaps.
You can also reach out to other industry people using Facebook Group.

The largest one is Bali ❤️ Models, Photographers, Videographers, Makeup artists that was created by us a few years ago.

There are more groups of course.

You'll find lots of people there currently living in Bali that can share their experiences with you and help you find the best model agency in town.

Facebook Groups are great for networking.

Check it out:
Whether you are a model with years of experience around the world, or are an aspiring model that is new to the industry, most agencies have a spot for everyone if you have the right look!

As any business goes, modeling agencies like Bali Model Agency are always looking for fresh and new faces to push to their roster of clients.

Most if not all modeling agencies have a section on their website where you can submit to become a model or an email where you can send your portfolio to. Bali Model Agency is no different!

Agencies around the world are constantly looking for new models to join the ranks. They regularly look at local photographer’s portfolios on social media platforms and are searching for models who are active online.

What does this mean for you models?

Keep your page filled and post content often!

This way agencies near you and possibly around the world can find your profile and can get in touch to work together.

Portfolios are the CV’s of the modeling world.

If you don’t already have a great portfolio with a variety of images from portrait, lifestyle, fashion, swim, etc… make sure it is up to date and eye catching.

This is your first impression for an agency. Make sure they are wowed!

Never stop updating and filling your book with new images.

Reach out to photographers in your area and setup test shoots so you can both work on your books together. Keep in mind the stronger the portfolio, the more clients will want to book you.

Ok let's get down to business now 👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻

How to get signed by an agency?

You’ve done the work and submitted your portfolio to an agency. Now you are on to the next step, signing with an agency.

Congrats, that’s a huge step!

What’s next? Let’s take a look at the contract.

Every agency in the world operates in a slightly different way. One thing is a given - they all use contracts.

Most agencies have an exclusivity contract that forbids you from doing jobs outside of that agency. Although this might seem like a strong move from the agency, it is in everyone’s best interest.
If you are in Indonesia where there are a few options of model agencies, it is best for you to visit the agencies to see which one you like best.

After all, the agency you sign with are the ones who will be managing your career and handling all your business for you in the future and it makes sense that you will want to be signing a contract with an agency that you feel comfortable with.

Most of us aren’t lawyers, and that is OK!

If you aren’t signing with a major agency such as Wilhelmina, Ford, Elite, etc… the contracts should be pretty simple and straight forward.

That said, get a friend to look it over with you and check for anything that may seem sketchy or not legal in the region you are looking to be represented in.

We hate to say it, but even here in Bali there are some agencies that are not operating up to standard, and are using tricks in their contracts

Agent to Model Relationship

You just moved across the world for a short or long term stay on the beautiful island of Bali.

CONGRATS!!! 👏🏻 👏🏻 👏🏻

When you first meet with agencies, there is one feeling that should be an absolute must.

TRUST!
The relationship between a model and their agency is an incredibly important factor to the success of your time here in Bali both mentally and physically.

Many in this industry say that your booking agent becomes your second mother. This is absolutely true in every way! Without trust, this new business relationship will not work.

Ladies, that goes both ways.

How trust works:

Trust the agency to: Trust the models to:
Work hard for you Take the job seriously
Get you as much work as possible Represent the agency in a positive way
Be honest and transparent about money Always be on time
Help you reach your goals Treat clients with respect
Help you develop your career Be open and honest with them about any difficulties faced
Be honest with what you need to improve on


If at any moment when you first meet with an agency you feel uncomfortable or something unsettling…

RED FLAG! 👉🏻 Get the heck out of there!

In most industries, there are some dodgy characters, and the fashion industry is no exception. You should feel open and capable to tell your agent everything.

In life, things happen beyond our control and we get that! As long as there is an open and clear line of communication between the model and agency, we will always help each other and find a solution.

Let’s dig a little deeper...

CHAPTER 2:


HOW TO WORK SUCCESSFULLY AS A MODEL WITH AN AGENCY?

You have worked hard to get noticed by an agency and have now signed to have one of them represent you.

You are ready to work!

While the agency will work hard to get you work, there are always many things that you can do to help further your career.

It goes without saying, that if the agency notices you are working hard on your career, they will be that much more likely to help you even more!

Here is our list of suggestions for you to get as much work as possible.

Expand and update your portfolio

No matter how long you have been in this industry, you should always and constantly be updating your book / portfolio to add in your diversity as a model and keep clients knowing that you are working.

If a client comes back to an agency and each time see that you have the same photos, it makes it seem as though you haven’t been booked on other jobs and therefore they are more likely to choose another model.

Which brings us to our next point, test shoots!

Test shoots with a good team

Fortunately now that you are in Bali, you have access to so many creative and talented individuals who are all looking to improve their skills and add to their portfolios as well.

SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT!
Ask your agent or arrange yourself some awesome test shoots. Keep in mind that the more professional the images are, the more they benefit you.

It will be a huge help to find a makeup artist and stylist to accompany the photographer and you on the test shoot.

Luckily, all of these roles are constantly wanting to test so they can also keep their portfolios current.

Within your agency, they likely represent makeup artists, stylists and photographers also. If you don’t know any yourself, ask your agent and they can make recommendations.

Another great tool to finding great creatives in your area is Instagram or our creatives Facebook group!

Use social media

The digital world encompasses many of our lives these days. Everyone we know is using it, clients included.

The more you are active the more other people see you.

Your agent is also likely to repost your images to their social media platforms also.

The more people see you online, the higher the chance is that they will recognize you at your next casting or when browsing through your agency’s website.

Keep up appearances! 😃

Let's talk about castings a bit now...

Castings

The modeling industry has changed a lot over the years with the introduction of social media. But, the traditional clients (all the big ones) still hold castings.

You should be at as many as you can!

Talk to your agent and let them know that you are eager to go to any castings available.

Sure, you might not fit the brief that the client was looking for, but that is the great thing about castings.

When clients get the chance to see you in person, they get to see your personality shine.

With an oversaturation of models in the world, your personality and attitude goes a long way with clients. Many models get chosen just because of their upbeat charm, can-do attitude and being a joy to work with on set.

Wardrobe for castings

These days, the majority of castings are unpaid. But, they can highly benefit any model.

After arriving at a casting, keep in mind that all the others in the room with you are your competition.

We’re not saying you should be aggressive and fight with one another. At the end of the day we’re all family and in the same industry and we should be helping each other.

In a casting setting, the way you look also matters.

If you have a good selection of wardrobe at home, you have a huge advantage! Do some research beforehand and check to see what type of clothes your potential client creates.

Take a look at their previous campaigns and look books to see the style they like. It helps if you can style your casting look similar to their vibe so they can get the feeling that you are the type of person that is their customer and fits the vibe and feeling they are looking for when choosing the model for their upcoming campaign.

You don’t need to go broke to do this! Borrow from a friend, check out thrift stores and find cheap alternatives to wow the client at your next casting.

Makeup for castings

Makeup is important for any casting.

Unless the client has told your agent that you are required to come bare-faced, show a little effort before arriving.

If you show up looking like you just rolled out of bed, it won’t help you :-)

Do a little work beforehand to help the client’s imagination envision how you will look for their campaign.

A natural makeup look is usually the best way to go, but this can be done in many ways! Some even call it “Fake natural casting makeup”.

Of course, you don’t have to be a professional makeup artist to do this. There are many good tutorials online that can help you get the right makeup for a casting call!

Check this one out!

Polaroids

As a standard in the modeling industry, before a client books you, they will always ask your agent to see current polaroids or digitals.

Most agencies offer this in-house and you can stop by your agency’s office to get updated polaroids taken.

In the situation that you are not able to make it in to the office, or a client is requesting polaroids over the weekend or after office hours, it will be a huge plus for you to learn how to take them yourself!

Follow this video to learn out how to take picture perfect polaroids yourself:
Depending on the type of job, you may be requested to take full body digitals or bikini polaroids.

Most smart phones have a self-timer feature. It would be great if you could invest a few bucks in a smartphone tripod so you can easily set this up at home to do when requested. If you don’t have access to a tripod, using the webcam on your laptop is a great alternative.

No matter what type of digital the client is requesting, it’s always best to add a video.

Since not all clients hold castings and often don’t get the chance to meet you in person, a video is a good way to introduce yourself.

Say hello, be happy, smile and tell them that you are excited to work with them. Make yourself stand out from the rest.

Check out these examples of polaroids of Kat M, one of our BMA models, . 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

CHAPTER 3:


WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ARE BOOKED?

Ok so you've been booked for a job. Awesome!

Let's see hat you need to do in order to be as professional as possible.

Check out the to-do list below and how to organise your model bag to be sure not to forget anything.

Here we go...

You've been booked: the model to-do list.

Well done – your agent did a good job and your polaroids sealed the deal – you booked the gig! So how does it all work? A quick little run down on your shooting time line.
  • Client signed the booking terms and conditions – this states fees, usages, over time conditions, travel time, cancellation policy, etc…
  • As everything here in Bali runs on whats app – your booker then creates a whats app group connecting you directly to the client/shoot day contact. On this group they share details of the shoot day (time, location anything you might need to bring with you, etc)
  • Always greet the client on this group and show your enthusiasm! It sets a good vibe for the upcoming shoot.
  • Day before the shoot a gentle reminder from your booker that you have a gig the next day ;-)
  • Day of shoot: remember your model bag (don’t have one? More on this next!)!!!
  • Be on time – if running late or have a problem COMMUNICATE on your shoot group or urgently let your booker know.
  • On set be attentive, try and keep your spirits up, work fast and most importantly have fun!
  • If you see that you are running behind or into some difficulties – let your booker know. It’s their job to remind the client if you will go into overtime or if you are unhappy or feel uncomfortable with something. They have your back.
  • Put your phone away – only check it when you have a break. Clients don’t really love when models on their phones the whole time.
  • End the day on a high note and thank everyone as you leave set. They will remember you and that only counts in your favor…
  • Send your booker your final shoot times – as usually unless it is a big commercial shoot – there will be no time sheet. This is especially important if there is overtime applicable.
  • After the shoot – if you had a good connection with the photographer – ask them to share the pictures with you in order to add to your portfolio. Your agent will connect with the client regarding this – but usually a model/photographer connection gets you the material faster.
  • Once the agency has been paid – they pay you :-)

What's a Model Bag and why you should have one?

This is your little bag of tricks. It’s your “I’m prepared for anything you might throw my way” helper. And also – it shows you are a professional - puts you one step ahead of any of the other models.

What you need in your bag:

  • Underwear: 1 nude & 1 black strapless/seamless bra and g-string set
  • Basic Make up kit for touch ups and make sure you have a tweezer.
  • Make up remover or wipes.
  • Wipes also good for hygiene purposes accompanied with a deodorant.
  • Nail polish remover for the times you might forget to take off your nail polish the night before.
  • Sanitary items for women.
  • Scarf to put over your head when changing clothes so you don't get make up on the clothing items.
  • A straw for lipstick- not a necessity but good to have when you want to drink water when your make up is done.
  • Sunblock
  • Breath mints

You’re welcome ;-)

CHAPTER 4:


MONEY MONEY MONEY

Money, money, money.

At the end of the day, this is all about that.

In this chapter we'll explain how the whole thing work.

Who takes what and when?

How you can earn a living as a model and how your agency makes money.

Let's dive right in.

What is usage?

You haven’t heard of usage before? You are not alone! Here is how it works:

When a client wants to book you for a modeling gig through an agency, there are two parts to how that client is billed and invoiced. The day rate is where you get paid for your time on the actual day of shooting.

The second part is the usage rate.

This is where the client pays for HOW/WHERE/HOW LONG FOR they want to use the image. With most agencies and clients around the world, there is a standard usage that is included with the day rates. This usually includes online and social media. So the client can use the images for their Instagram page, Facebook and depending on the size of the client, can also use for e-commerce on their website usually for a term of 1 year.

Where the usage rate kicks in is when a client wants to use an image of you for advertising purposes outside of the web. Most of the time this usage payment gets put into play after the shoot once the photos/film are published.

Note: if for some reason the client decide not to use the photos/videos, usage is de facto cancelled unless guaranteed priorly.

So, you have finished your shoot and the edits have been made and the client LOVES the images.

What’s the next step?

If it’s a bigger client with an ad budget, they most likely will want to use the images to help them advertise.

There is a number of ways they could use the images and each of them holds a usage percentage based on the day rate and for a specific duration of usually 1, 2 or 3 years.

The most common usage purchased are for billboards, in-store posters, product packaging, magazines, flyers and catalog. All of these items are billed individually depending on how many billboards will be used, how many flyers printed, what parts of the world they will be used in and many more variables.

Like we said before - usage rate is calculated by a percentage of the day rate. And that percentage is outlined in usage tables that agencies have access to in order to keep fees it at a unified structure.

Usage is where a model can really make money from their likeliness.

Surprisingly, most freelance models and Instagram influencers don’t know about usage and often get taken advantage of by clients who get them to sign away all of their rights to the image being used however the client likes.

This is where your agent can help you get the income you deserve and follow the industry standard of being paid for usage.

Let Bali Model Agency help you get paid correctly for your next jobs.

Model Fees

Every agency in the world has their own policy on model fees.

At Bali Model Agency, we like to make sure our models don’t go hungry. We make sure the models get the money they deserve for their work.

Agency rates for the models are lined out based on their experience, look demand and often social media following. Some models dictate their own rates as they already have a big individual business and use the agency as an additional way for income.

Either way you know you are getting fair rates as the agency knows your worth, the clients capabilities and being fair in getting budgets to work for all parties involved.

Agency Fees

The main source of income for many agencies would be exactly as you’d assume, agency fees.

The term “agency fee” covers many things, but this is basically the fee the agency will charge the client for their service in booking the model.

To be honest, this fee is usually the main source of income for most agencies. How does an agency fee work?

Let’s get into it.

At every agency, the agency fee is usually represented as a percentage.

For example, if a client was interested in booking a model for a full day campaign shoot, they would pay an agency fee on top of the booking rate.

Let’s say that the day rate of the model was $1000 USD.

Most agencies charge an agency fee of 20% on top of the day rate.

So in this case, the client would pay $1000 USD plus 20% for a grand total of $1,200 USD.

The agency fee is kept strictly for the agency as revenue, and the remaining $1,000 USD goes directly towards the model payment (but hold on read till the end)

Keep in mind that this agency fee applies to everything included on the quotation / invoice to client.

If there was an extra fitting day rate, any usage fees or something else, these will also incur the agency fee on top.

Now depending on the agency you are working with, some charge other fees to the models.

But Bali Model Agency does it a little differently.

We try and work in the best way for both our models and our clients.

And this we do by not charging an additional agency fee. We quote our clients flat rates for the models which includes our 20% agency commission already.

This means more opportunity for work for the models because clients love that they save a bit of money and at the same time the models still get good rates as you have the backing of an agency that negotiated that for you.

CHAPTER 5:


HOW WILL THE AGENCY PROMOTE YOU?

An agency, like any other business, needs to make money to survive as a company.

No matter how great your agency is and how much they take care of their models, they still operate in order to make income.

Below we talk over the different points of how agencies make money as well as compare the top 3 modeling agencies in Bali and how they operate.

How Do Model Agencies Get Models Work

Each agency has its own marketing tactics. Some put more work into this than others.

There will always be jobs that come through the agency’s website from interested clients. BUT, Bali Model Agency works hard to keep models working as much as possible.

Bali Model Agency has one GIAAAAANT benefit over the other agencies…

BALIPROD! What is Baliprod?
Baliprod is the parent company of Bali Model Agency.

Baliprod is a production house that serves the international advertising agencies wanting to shoot throughout Southeast Asia.

Why should you care?

Well, that’s a no brainer.

Baliprod has the biggest clients with large budgets working constantly to shoot TV commercials, billboard ad campaigns, tv shows, films and more.

For Baliprod’s clients, Bali Model Agency operates as its in house casting department, pitching the BMA talent to the client for their ad campaigns.
These are always bigger budget projects, and often with big usage fees.

This in itself is a way to make sure your bank account stays full during your time in Bali.

Baliprod’s clients include:

American Express, Nike, Facebook, DJI, L’Oréal, Red Bull, La Mer, IBM, Michael Kors, Herbal Essences, Unilever, Nestle, Huawei, Fruit of The Loom, Conde Nast, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Unilever, Airbnb, Johnnie Walker, Netflix, The Body Shop, Sports Illustrated and more!

Who wouldn’t want to get booked for a shoot with their roster!

Model agency exclusivity

All the agencies in Bali work on an exclusivity agreement.

What does that mean for you?

It means that once you make an agreement to sign with one of the agencies here (hopefully Bali Model Agency), along with your contract you will also sign an exclusivity agreement.

This agreement confirms that all the work you do while in Indonesia as a model will be booked and managed through your agency.

This covers a couple things:

  • Working with another model agency:
    You agree not to work or be represented by another model agency here in Indonesia.
    If you are signing with Bali Model Agency, if one of the other agencies has a job they would like to book you for, we are absolutely open to it.
    However, for legal reasons, the booking needs to go through our booking office and invoiced by BMA directly.
    Also, with exclusivity it provides safety and assurance for both the model and the agency.
    If an agency spends money and time to develop and maintain the career of a model, an exclusivity agreement protects them so other agencies won’t be able to take advantage of the work your agent has put in to build you here in Bali.
    In return the model finds confidence in the fact that with an exclusive agreement, the agency will do their best and work very hard to make sure every client sees you, and you get booked as much as possible.

  • Not accepting freelance jobs:
    It’s 2020! Thanks to the trendiness of social media and the world wide web, if you are operating model social media accounts, you are bound to get offers to work freelance outside of the agency.
    Let’s face it, some clients prefer to go direct to the model instead of using an agency.
    It’s common practice for the smaller brands to go this route as when they hear the word agency, they immediately think that it will be too expensive.
    If your exclusivity agreement contradicts you from being able to accept other freelance work, that means the next time you get an offer from someone through your own contacts, you’ll have to insist that they speak to your agent in order to book you.
    At the end of the day, these are usually the smaller budget jobs, but a lot of small work does add up, so think twice before you sign an agreement that will tie you to an agency and not let you work on any jobs that come to you organically on your own.

Pssst. Bali Model Agency does have an exclusivity agreement that prohibits our models from being directly booked by competing model agencies.

HOWEVER, one thing that sets us apart from the others, we are totally fine for you to take freelance work that comes your way!

Of course, we understand you want to work as much as you can and it will help you financially and help you to build your career.

We are all for that!

We understand not every client has the budget to pay agency fees and we sympathize.

Mother agencies

Maybe you are already signed with another agency in your home country or abroad, but are still thinking of come to Bali?

No Problem!

At Bali Model Agency we represent many models who are already working with another agency and are under contract obligations.

In this industry, they are known as mother agencies.

How does this work exactly?

When a signed model is looking to travel and work in other countries, there is a standard way of how the mother agency will work with your new agency here in Bali.

Usually we would set up a split commission structure allowing both your Bali agency and your mother agency to still make money while you are traveling.

What does that mean?

It means the agency fee collected during your booked jobs is split into two.

For example, the 20% that the agency takes from your booking fee turns into 10% for Bali Model Agency and 10% for your mother agency back home.

This is a smart way of doing business and allows both your agencies to continue to grow your career. I

It is in the best interest of the model knowing that you now have not one, but two agencies with your best interest in mind.

Bali Model Agency also has relationships with many top agencies around the world in other countries and big fashion cities.

If you are working with BMA and are interested in seeing the world, we can help with that!

NOW IT'S YOUR TURN!

We really hope you enjoyed our Bali model guide.
And now we’d like to hear from you.
Do you have any experience you’d like to share with the community?

How are you doing so far in the modeling industry in Bali?

Or maybe you want to ask other models for some tricks of the trade?

Either way, let us know by leaving a quick comment below.

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Gawain
Gawain
April 9, 2020 4:35 pm

Wow great review, def will help aspiring models everywhere

Ludo
Ludo
April 10, 2020 11:25 am
Reply to  Gawain

Very good article. Very interesting and well presented!!