Casting Calls and Go-sees: What do you wear?

Posted on November 6, 2011


A frequent question from models has been “What do I wear to…?” Sometimes, with that question, I am asked if the model can borrow an outfit or two when they go. This seems to panic people going.

A casting call is a pre-production scheduled event to things like fashion shows, theatrical, and movie events. An open call is an unscheduled casting call. In some rare situations, you might have something like this for a project. It is used to select the people who will best be able to carry out the show or project. To be honest, I haven’t gone to any casting calls for fashion shows this year. Last year was the last time as a favor for a friend, and to recommend people to him who would photograph well during the show. One thing I am used to seeing is massively over dressed individuals who are trying to work in a show. Frequently the individuals have large amounts of jewelry, overly decorated (and difficult to walk in) shoes, outfits, and makeup that are well over the top for a casting call. The net result is that the individuals come across as either a “diva” or “wanna be”. What should you wear? Wearing simple and not so extravagant comes across as wearing more. The clothing should be relatively form fitting – nothing too tight (if you can’t stick three fingers at the tighter parts like the waist band, it is too tight). You also don’t want anything too loose. If you can’t see your form in the clothes and look more like a bag lady, then it is well into being too loose. The colors should be fairly neutral on the clothing – tans, . Don’t wear black! Don’t wear brightly colored outfits. Something that shows your legs and arms would be appropriate. Evening gowns, club wear, and similar types of clothing is inappropriate. Your makeup should be neutral, too. Peaches, nudes, and beige are best. Stay away from brighter colors like pinks, purples, greens, and reds. Best would be foundation, concealer, mascara, and maybe a neutral lipstick or lip color. Hair should be pulled back in a pony tail, and kept out of your face. The people making the decisions at a casting call want to see you for who you really are. Nails should be clean and manicured. You don’t want them glittered, with pieces of $100 bills, rhinestones, or with anything else on them (or your toes). They should be relatively short and no horrendously long. Your shoes should be fairly plain (black/brown), and high heels that have a one and a half inch heel but no longer than two inches. They should be comfortable and you should be able to walk in them for a while. Never EVER wear flats, flip flops, or tennis shoes into the building – change before you walk in. Your undergarments should be appropriate to cover you, and fit properly. Make sure the bra fits, you are wearing underwear, and that nothing is inappropriately popping out (and yes, it does happen). Also have a two piece bathing suit in your purse. You may be asked to show some skin to make sure there aren’t any scars, tattoos, or rashes that might show. You might be also asked for measurements while wearing your bathing suit. If you don’t have one, you will be given the option to do them in your underwear (and look like an unprofessional and inexperienced wanna be) or asked to leave.

A Go-see is a photographer, designer, or agency that is looking for a specific look or a test photo shoot. These are more difficult because they require you to do work: you have to find out what the specific look or style is BEFORE you go. Frequently, you will have some hints at what is wanted. If they are a designer, look at the rest of their clothing line and see what it is. Photographers will frequently give you some clue to the concept they will be shooting. Agencies are the most difficult, and is usually based on what their clients want, and if you are lucky, they will tell you what to wear. You will want to wear everything in line with the requirements they are looking. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, ALWAYS take a two piece bathing suit.

For both, you want to bring a great attitude and warm smile. Remember to be yourself.

Edit: For as long as this has been posted, I am surprised I haven’t received any comments on bringing a headshot, comp card, or zed card with you to leave behind so they don’t forget you. Also, some models have asked me if they should bring a portfolio of images showing themselves in shows for casting calls. That all depends on the casting call and what they ask you to bring. Many of the calls I have been at don’t request them, but it wouldn’t hurt to have one with you just in case it wasn’t listed in the call and they ask. For a go-see, you should always carry your book (portfolio) with you. Always have extra full body shots and head shots to leave behind (they are best not professionally taken because you often wonder how much has been manipulated if they are). If you have zed cards or comp cards, bring some extras with you, too.

Edit: For shoes, stay away from heels longer than four inches. The shoes should be comfortable – if they aren’t, you will be hurting with really sore feet by the end. Expect to stand a lot. Also stay away from wedges. Some designers will ask you to walk in a traditional stiletto (you will frequently hear something along the lines of “if you can walk in these, you can walk in anything”). Your hair should be plain. Nothing more than a pony tail for long hair. It is best to not wear jewelry – keep earrings to simple stud earrings or none at all. Finally, be yourself. Don’t be someone who you aren’t. Don’t have an attitude.

Edit 18 Feb 2013: All models should bring comp cards, business cards, portfolio/book, pen, notepad, vouchers (if with an agency), calendar, and two piece bathing suit to everything you do as a model. If you don’t have a kit with them, you should have one and take it with you no matter where you go as a model. Get used to having it with you.

Posted in: Modeling