So you want to be a model?

Leslie Turner, The founder and owner of LModelz gives advice to aspiring models

When Leslie Turner decided to open a modeling agency in Indianapolis six years ago, the odds were seemingly against her. Turner, a single mother of two who had dabbled in modeling herself, chose to step behind the camera and open LModelz in 2005. Despite chatter from critics that Indianapolis was a poor location for such a venture, Turner used this to her advantage and worked to help create the market for models in Indy.

Today, LModelz has a location in the heart of the circle city along with a roster of approximately 50 models that have been featured in national publications like People magazine and JET to fashion campaigns for American Eagle. Models from LModelz have also appeared at Indianapolis- based events such as the Indianapolis 500 and Midwest Fashion Week.

In the beginning, Turner says she received plenty of rejection just like models will experience. “Keep at it…and don’t burn bridges,” she advises, whether that pertains to opening your own business or pursuing a career in the modeling business.

Here’s some more great and free (love that!) advice from Turner if you’re pursuing a career in modeling and/or the fashion industry. We think they’re a great fit with the mission of the Indianapolis Fashion Collective; Empower, Unite, Showcase, and Grow!


  • Never let go of the bigger picture. You will be rejected and you will experience obstacles but the key is to remain passionate.
  • See it. Visualize it. Never lose focus. Keep your eyes on the prize.
  • Use social media to your advantage. Jobs will research you, as will the agencies. If they’re looking for you to represent their brand or product you can’t be posting inappropriate pictures all over Facebook. You have the power to create your presence on the internet.


  • As a model, you’re essentially selling yourself. Get to know people in the industry and unite with them as a professional. Show up on time and remember, don’t burn bridges. You never know who you’ll be working with in the future.
  • Maintain a presence but be wary of overexposing yourself in industries that may not suit you. If you want to do commercial work, get to know the people in that specific genre and focus your efforts there. If your goal is commercial work, don’t do a sexy lingerie shoot.


  • Be you. When you submit headshots to agencies,appear as natural as possible in your photo. There’s no need to do a full shoot with hair, makeup and extravagant clothing. They’re distractions. Wear little or no makeup and a simple outfit such as jeans and a tank top.
  • Just as you can create a presence on the internet, you have the power to create a presence in real life. This means you must be very selective about opportunities and realize there is such a thing as too much exposure. Have a clear understanding about who you would like to work with and the type of work you would like to do.


  • Do your homework and learn about the business. Read, read, and read some more. I learned so much by reading.
  • Be honest with yourself. Determine where you fit; not everybody is runway (material).
  • Don’t limit yourself to modeling; consider photography, design, makeup, or being the creative person on set. Be open.

Leslie Turner was recently featured in Indianapolis Star. Got any questions for Leslie! Post them here!

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2 replies on “So you want to be a model?”
  1. Catherinesays: Catherine

    Thank you for saying that about the social media! It can be hard to remember, but consider every post public–and remember that a potential employer can see it. I’d add to that: get yourself an email address that is professional. If you went through college as, consider changing it to a version of your first and last name. Email addresses are easy to get, so don’t contact a potential employer as Seriously!

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