In this Talent Spotlight Interview, we will get to know a little bit more about Pri, a lifestyle & commercial model, presenter and actress based in Sydney. Pri is an ex-banker turned performer and freelance artist, and is one of our top booked talent on theright.fit. She has worked on campaigns and commercials for several Australian and global brands including Tourism Queensland, Blackmores, ModelCo, & McGuigan Wines. As part of our Interview series, we caught up with Pri to ask a few questions about what it’s really like to be a model in the ever-changing industry.
Can you tell us a little about how you started as a model? What inspired you to switch from a corporate career to a performer & freelance artist?
I come from a corporate background (digital transformation in banking) and had been living and working in Canada. I had quit my job and left Toronto to see a part of the world I'd never been to and take some time off corporate, and travel to Australia. Unfortunately, this was just prior to COVID - as you can imagine, the opportunities were in steep decline because of the pandemic. However, I knew productions were still going on (with extreme precautions in place), so I decided to give modelling a shot! While it began because of the circumstances, I enjoyed working with creative teams, being surrounded by the talented crews and their energy. and got booked on some beautiful campaigns, so I decided to continue working as a model despite other options opening up!
You have a fantastic portfolio! Tell us about your journey with building your portfolio? How did you start getting shots, how do you build it over time, what kind of photos do you include, and how do you know what to include?
I started noticing more work in commercial modelling, so I decided to add images to my portfolio that catered more to commercial modelling work I was seeing available. This meant things like natural headshots, lifestyle shots, really showcasing myself in the situations that these brands were looking to cast.
Obviously in addition to seeing that there were more jobs available in commercial modelling, I also knew that my look was more catered to that kind of modelling vs. catwalk, high fashion etc, so I was clear to play to my strengths. To do that, I knew I needed to make sure that my portfolio was in line not only with the opportunities I wanted to be a candidate for but also those that are most suited to my look.
Having a range of images and videos in your portfolio is essential. It took time and fine-tuning to see what images got the best reaction and responses back from clients. It was a really worthwhile endeavour for me to build out a strong portfolio, and leads to me getting more bookings when clients can see the variety and experience in my portfolio.
You've booked several jobs - how do you nail your application message to brands?
In most cases, I just show my enthusiasm to work on set - my message and profile description state my values, what I bring to set and my excitement to work in the industry. However, sharing previous work similar to what the clients are looking for is very helpful in some cases. In those cases, it's beneficial to share those examples so I can help build confidence with them that I can deliver the vibe they want to bring to life for the campaign. I make sure to read what the client needs carefully in the job description, and tailor my application message to match, and show that I am clear on their needs and what I can bring to their production.
Be aware of your look and where it fits into the modelling industry. Many changes are happening in the industry, including diversity and realism. As a result, there are more opportunities for many diverse talent than there have been in the past. Understanding where you might fit in can help direct your efforts more productively.
Collaborate when you have slow weeks. This is an excellent opportunity to reach out to creatives and expand your portfolio and practice.
What's the best job you've got through theright.fit? What's the best campaign you've ever worked on, and why?
The best jobs I've had are those that involve travel. I am new to Australia, moved here at the very start of the lockdown, and had never seen the country. Modelling has allowed me to travel to places like Uluru, Hunter Valley, Blue Mountains, Mudgee and more.
How do you decide your rates or price projects?
The rates and prices vary for every job. It's essential to understand the budget that the client is working with and what it includes in terms of shoot time, travel, and usage.. It is also important to understand the competitive landscape of the client and the impact the job can have on opportunities. For instance, doing a shoot for a massive telco company can mean that you can't do another job for a telco for a few years. Rates tend to be higher in those instances.
On the other hand, clients in the travel sector, like Destination NSW, have little impact from a competitive standpoint, and rates tend to be lower. Rates also depend on how long the footage is used and where the footage will air (TV vs. online, internal vs external audience, Australia or global etc.). Rates can also change if the client wants you to bring your own wardrobe and do your own makeup and hair. Depending on how many clothing options you bring and what hairstyle, there can be 1-2 hours of additional pre-work for models. The rates vary with each of these factors. It's important to have these conversations with the client to understand their budget, the usage and the terms. This will determine the rates and prices and help you think through if the job is for you.
How do you think the modelling industry in Australia has changed in the last 12 months?
I have only been modelling for two years, all through the pandemic. But I do believe that there is an increasing desire from the general public and clients to see more realism and diversity in campaigns. We have a long way to go, but these things are in motion. I am noticing that values are coming into play in consumerism and will change the way industries, including this one, will function.
What are some of the highlights of your career?
My very first big-brand job was for Audi. I remember the brief initially said they wanted a caucasian, red-haired model. I'm not encouraging models to ignore briefs from clients, but I felt a strong pull to the brand and knew that it would be something I wanted to work with. I was surprised when I got the job, and upon meeting the client, I asked them why they picked me when I could not be farther from their brief. The feedback was that when they saw my application and portfolio on theright.fit, they just knew I was the right person. That was a really good moment for me for a few reasons. Seeing a demand for my look and what I brought to the screen was encouraging. It was also interesting to see that campaigns are so dynamic - things are constantly shifting while planning, and sometimes what is on paper might not be best for the screen. I mentioned enthusiasm earlier in my interview and know that something like this can make a difference for clients during the application process. Don't be afraid to add personality to what you bring to that table!
What three things does anyone starting in the modelling industry need to know?
Know yourself - understanding yourself, your look, where you fit in etc., will help bring confidence and life to the campaigns you work with and make you easier to work with. How you show up to work makes a big difference. Be open to direction, feedback and learn with every job. Don't be afraid to ask for feedback!
Don't take things personally - I get rejected 90-95% of the time. It is part of the job and is inevitable. I once heard (which I can't remember the source) that the jobs you get belong to you, and those you don't get don't belong to you. This is a very competitive industry, and rejection is part of the process even if you fit the brief on paper 100%. It is unlikely you will ever know why you didn't get a job, and you have to move on and persist. It also helps to remember this to stay grounded and be happy for the friends who do get these jobs. It's vital to set your ego aside and be happy for your peers. I've recommended jobs to friends and vice versa - while the industry is competitive, it is also very collaborative. There are so many opportunities for all of us!
Invest in your portfolio - spend the time and resources it takes to build and finesse your portfolio. Evolve it as you understand what works both for you and your clients. Keep it fresh by collaborating with creatives (photographers, videographers, HMUA etc.) Take acting classes, modelling sessions for posing etc.
Do your research - if you're looking to be a part of an agency, for example, reach out to models in their books and understand their experiences. Spend time looking at different campaigns and observing actors/models - this is an incredible tool (and often free) accessible to us. If you do a TFP with photographers, do your background on them as well. There is a lot of trust involved in collaborations. You're within your right to ensure you're partnering with people with good credibility.
What would you do differently if you were starting today?
Initially, I was too nervous to ask questions to clients about the projects. Before accepting the job, do your best to understand all the terms of the contract and make sure to keep things in writing. This is for everyone's benefit.
How do you decide which brands to partner/work with?
One of my biggest drivers is my values - it is the first filter I use when I see a brief for modelling and influencer opportunities. Is this a company I believe in, and does it have a good reputation? Is this a campaign I'm comfortable with?. Most of the briefs tend to pass this test, but it is essential to have this lens on - in this digital world, even though the campaign is short-lived, your work is immortalized.
Which trends do you think will shape the industry this year/upcoming years?
I believe that we will continue to see a higher focus on values coming to the forefront across industries. Companies will focus more on ethics, sustainability, human rights etc. I believe that the creative sector can play a part in helping with accountability in these realms of business.
We're also seeing shifts in opportunities. For example, influencers are being offered movie deals which means there are vast visibility opportunities, more focus on representation not for the sake of tokenism but because of a more profound understanding of what consumers want to see on the screen etc.
We also know that the weight on mediums is changing - in the past, TV had more reach and tended to pay more. When you look at contracts as a model for jobs, you can see how the contracts are legacy documents that cater more to television opportunities. Things are changing, there is far more reach online, and I believe this will be reflected in rates, the contracts, the number of campaigns etc.