Forums > Model Colloquy > Discussing weight with a model?

Photographer

STASIS

Posts: 30

Terre Haute, Indiana, US

I've worked with a model who has put on a lot of weight recently.

She has a beautiful face, but she is probably 25 pounds overweight. (huge gut, overflowing love handles, and too big of a bust)

I'd love to cast her for a shoot, but she won't fit the part.
__________

How can I approach this with her without seeming like an insensitive clod?

Jan 08 13 02:30 pm Link

Model

Lynn Elizabeth

Posts: 1336

Coral Springs, Florida, US

Be honest, but kind. Tell her that the size you need for this project is smaller but you like her look and want her for something else. (If you truly do want to shoot with her) Most models understand sizing when they are on the bigger side, even if its not by much. Just be honest and keep it friendly if you do want to work with her in the future.

Jan 08 13 03:11 pm Link

Model

CRIMSON REIGN

Posts: 813

Baltimore, Maryland, US

Lynn Elizabeth wrote:
Be honest, but kind. Tell her that the size you need for this project is smaller but you like her look and want her for something else. (If you truly do want to shoot with her) Most models understand sizing when they are on the bigger side, even if its not by much. Just be honest and keep it friendly if you do want to work with her in the future.

+1

Jan 08 13 04:32 pm Link

Model

angel emily

Posts: 1020

Boston, Massachusetts, US

STASIS wrote:
I've worked with a model who has put on a lot of weight recently.

She has a beautiful face, but she is probably 25 pounds overweight. (huge gut, overflowing love handles, and too big of a bust)

I'd love to cast her for a shoot, but she won't fit the part.
__________

How can I approach this with her without seeming like an insensitive clod?

"The client is looking for size ___ and you won't fit the part, but I'd love to keep you in mind for future projects."

Jan 08 13 04:49 pm Link

Photographer

S230

Posts: 566

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

you need to tread carefully on this because some people are more sensitive to this topic.  ask someone you know really well what you want to show the model and see what they think or if wording is needed.

Jan 08 13 05:42 pm Link

Makeup Artist

sweetcheekscouture

Posts: 429

West Palm Beach, Florida, US

STASIS wrote:
I've worked with a model who has put on a lot of weight recently.

She has a beautiful face, but she is probably 25 pounds overweight. (huge gut, overflowing love handles, and too big of a bust)

I'd love to cast her for a shoot, but she won't fit the part.
__________

How can I approach this with her without seeming like an insensitive clod?

You don't.

Cast someone else who fits the part. It's not your job to educate the world.

If she approached you it would be different but you don't need to approach her. Pretty sure she knows what she looks like.

In my humble opinion.

Jan 08 13 05:47 pm Link

Photographer

sjx

Posts: 899

Boston, Massachusetts, US

Don't you dare ask her weight. It's as bad as asking her age. Just go with the flow and don't don't get bogged down with statistics smile

Jan 08 13 05:53 pm Link

Model

Evie Wolfe

Posts: 1201

Nottingham, England, United Kingdom

I'm a little confused - did she approach you for the shoot, or is this just something you've been thinking about, sort of a 'she'd be perfect if' senario?

EDITED** - Assuming that she contacted you for the shoot and is after a clear response, then;

If she's a pro, then you should be able to just say 'sorry, youre about 25 pounds too heavy' and leave it at that, since she should be used to rejection and have no issues with her body in a professional capacity.
I'm often asked to lose or gain weight for clients since I'm a big between-y when it comes to measurements (no-one is perfect for everything) but I have to explain that since I have an underactive thyroid and I'm still figuring out my medication, it is very hard to alter my weight despite the strict exercise and diet plans that are necessary to make the medicine work - I am fine with answering those questions, but, if the model isn't a pro and has gained a lot of weight very quickly, you could be unintentionally treading on a medical issue and despite you meaning no harm, you could cause her a lot of hurt.

Jan 08 13 05:56 pm Link

Model

K I C K H A M

Posts: 14636

Los Angeles, California, US

Evie_Wolfe wrote:
I'm a little confused - did she approach you for the shoot, or is this just something you've been thinking about, sort of a 'she'd be perfect if' senario?

If she's a pro, then you should be able to just say 'sorry, youre about 25 pounds too heavy' and leave it at that, since she should be used to rejection and have no issues with her body in a professional capacity.
I'm often asked to lose or gain weight for clients since I'm a big between-y when it comes to measurements (no-one is perfect for everything) but I have to explain that since I have an underactive thyroid and I'm still figuring out my medication, it is very hard to alter my weight despite the strict exercise and diet plans that are necessary to make the medicine work - I am fine with answering those questions, but, if the model isn't a pro and has gained a lot of weight very quickly, you could be unintentionally treading on a medical issue and despite you meaning no harm, you could cause her a lot of hurt.

I was wondering this as well.

The answer depends on a lot of factors.

But as a general rule of thumb, don't offer reasons that weren't asked of you.

Jan 08 13 05:59 pm Link

Photographer

Art of the nude

Posts: 11892

Olivet, Michigan, US

STASIS wrote:
I've worked with a model who has put on a lot of weight recently.

She has a beautiful face, but she is probably 25 pounds overweight. (huge gut, overflowing love handles, and too big of a bust)

I'd love to cast her for a shoot, but she won't fit the part.
__________

How can I approach this with her without seeming like an insensitive clod?

Why would you "approach it with her" at all?  Choose the person who suits your project.

Jan 08 13 06:10 pm Link

Photographer

Gloria Budiman

Posts: 1683

Beijing, Beijing, China

Learn from my mistake, don't mention anything regarding her body.

"Sorry, you're not what I'm looking for for this project".

Period.

If she asked for the reason, feel free to be more verbose.

Tips: Mentioning "no offense" does not work. If someone is insecure enough, no matter what they'll take the offense.

Jan 08 13 06:12 pm Link

Photographer

STASIS

Posts: 30

Terre Haute, Indiana, US

I want to cast her, but she needs to lose weight first.

That is my dilemma.

This is a shoot I'm planning for ~6 months from now.

Jan 08 13 06:18 pm Link

guide forum

Model

Koryn

Posts: 36719

Boston, Massachusetts, US

STASIS wrote:
I want to cast her, but she needs to lose weight first.

That is my dilemma.

This is a shoot I'm planning for ~6 months from now.

Weight loss is very difficult for most people, unless they have the resources that will enable them to get on a structured diet and exercise plan.

That generally costs a lot of money, and people almost never have the motivation to do it on their own, or otherwise try and are accidentally harming themselves, because they do not know HOW to lose weight healthily.

Cast someone else.

Jan 08 13 06:20 pm Link

Photographer

Good Egg Productions

Posts: 15721

Orlando, Florida, US

sweetcheekscouture wrote:

You don't.

Cast someone else who fits the part. It's not your job to educate the world.

If she approached you it would be different but you don't need to approach her. Pretty sure she knows what she looks like.

In my humble opinion.

that.

Jan 08 13 06:23 pm Link

Model

angel emily

Posts: 1020

Boston, Massachusetts, US

STASIS wrote:
I want to cast her, but she needs to lose weight first.

That is my dilemma.

This is a shoot I'm planning for ~6 months from now.

Oh.
Then no, you need to cast someone else.

I thought she approached you, and you were trying to find a way to politely decline.

IF she asks you why she wasn't considered AFTER, you can tell her why - but otherwise don't bring it up.

Jan 08 13 06:24 pm Link

Photographer

STASIS

Posts: 30

Terre Haute, Indiana, US

From what you're all saying, I should not only *not* cast her and give her a chance (even though she would be the best choice), but also not offer her a reason why she wasn't chosen.

Alright.

Jan 08 13 06:26 pm Link

Photographer

Ryan Kerns

Posts: 123

Richmond, Virginia, US

I've been in similar situations when casting... I usually just tell the model that she doesn't have the right look for the project. If she persists and wants an answer why I'll be honest and point out the exact things that she would need to change.

Jan 08 13 06:27 pm Link

Model

K I C K H A M

Posts: 14636

Los Angeles, California, US

Yes, that's what we're saying.

If you can use her, use her. If you can't, don't.

You aren't her agency. You aren't her mom.

It is not your place to tell someone to lose weight.

Jan 08 13 06:27 pm Link

Photographer

Top Gun Digital

Posts: 1273

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

STASIS wrote:
I want to cast her, but she needs to lose weight first.

That is my dilemma.

This is a shoot I'm planning for ~6 months from now.

Most models are very aware of their weight.  If she has gained 25 pounds and is oblivious to that fact you should just find someone else.  A real pro that wants to continue working is not going to allow themselves to gain that much weight.  More than likely you will hurt her feelings if you say anything and she will never work with you again.  Find a different model for your project.  Keep the first model in mind for future work in case she loses the weight.

Jan 08 13 06:27 pm Link

Photographer

STASIS

Posts: 30

Terre Haute, Indiana, US

Guess I'm one of those idiots that thinks honesty is the best policy.

Thanks for the advice!

Jan 08 13 06:35 pm Link

Model

Adrienne M Plus

Posts: 194

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US

Two thoughts:
Could it be because of medical reasons or pregnant that she gained the weight?

Maybe for the right $$ she could lose the weight in 6 months, if she wants the work. Otherwise, for TF shoot move on and find someone else:)

Jan 08 13 06:36 pm Link

Model

K I C K H A M

Posts: 14636

Los Angeles, California, US

STASIS wrote:
Guess I'm one of those idiots that thinks honesty is the best policy.

Thanks for the advice!

There's a difference between being honest and being rude.

You can be a very honest person without being rude or mean. Telling a girl she needs to lose weight is not nice.

Jan 08 13 06:36 pm Link

Model

Jordan L Duncan

Posts: 207

Jacksonville, Florida, US

It says a lot about you that you are trying to find a tactful way to discuss this with her in a way that won't hurt her feelings. That is a good sign, but I hope she doesn't see your post describing her body in such a way. Even if you'd sent me the nicest rejection letter in the world, if I saw your post on here I would probably be really upset. I feel like its enough to say that she is heavier than the body type you were looking for without going into details. We are all creatives here and we have enough imagination to be able to picture a heavier type of woman. I think its disrespectful. But that's just me.

Be as honest as possible and think about what you would want someone to say to you. Modeling is all about looks and she more than likely owns a mirror or two and she knows what she looks like. She is also probably aware of the fact that most photographers tend to expect a slender little slip of a girl as opposed to a fuller figured woman. She has probably accepted this as a fact of life. If she was smaller before, it is a possibility that there is a medical reason for her weight gain and she could be trying to lose the weight. If you think she is talented enough to work with if gets skinnier you don't want to offend her and make her not to work with you once she loses the weight.

I speak from experience. I used to be super super super skinny and due to some medical problems I gained weight because I was physically unable to go to a gym. Then I got pregnant and gained weight. I have recently started modeling again but my body is nowhere near what it used to be. But some photographers are happy to work with models of all body types so until I do lose the rest of my weight and get my body back to where it used to be, I will not be working with photographers who require a certain standard. I'm fine with that. I understand that clients go for a certain look and if that look isn't me, then whatever.

I am still beautiful and I deserve just as much respect as I did when I was 100 lbs soaking wet with a brick in my pocket.



Now, its another issue entirely if you booked her based on her old body and she did not make you aware of the change in some way. If she showed up looking totally different from what you expected then you have every right to be disappointed and ask her why she misrepresented herself. I have some of my older work in my portfolio, and I have made it a point to include current snapshots of myself so people can see what I look like right now, and I have it mentioned in my bio. If she is totally clueless then maybe you should tell her that you felt like she misrepresented herself and then suggest that she update her portfolio to reflect the changes in her figure.

Jan 08 13 06:38 pm Link

Model

angel emily

Posts: 1020

Boston, Massachusetts, US

STASIS wrote:
Guess I'm one of those idiots that thinks honesty is the best policy.

Thanks for the advice!

Well, just think of it the other way - if you were a model, would you want someone coming up to you at random saying, "You'd be great for this project, but you need to lose 25 lbs"...?

It doesn't matter how you put it, that's the message.

If you think she can take it, go for it - she might feel inspired to get back into shape...  but you take a huge risk that she'll also feel offended, hurt, and unwilling to change for your project - and possibly damaging your relationship for any future work together.

I might consider a proposition like that if it came from my agency, but if I were just a girl who found pleasure in modeling for hobby, I might not understand or feel flattered for the consideration.  Know thy model.

Jan 08 13 06:38 pm Link

Model

Christinare

Posts: 116

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, US

Yeah... I would not want to work with a photographer who offered me a job, but told me I had to lose weight to get it. That seems kind of manipulative. She doesn't have to lose weight just for you. Cast her as she is, or don't even bring it up to her.

Jan 08 13 06:39 pm Link

Photographer

GCobb Photography

Posts: 15897

Southaven, Mississippi, US

Without suggesting everything you should say, try talking to her and working up to what you need for the shoot.  The maybe ask her if she thinks it's doable to be able to meet your needs by the time of the shoot.  You don't have to ask what she wears unless she brings it up first but maybe ask if she can be a 5-6 or whatever by a certain date.  With enough tact I wouldn't see where she'd take offense to the suggestion.

Jan 08 13 06:42 pm Link

Model

Christinare

Posts: 116

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, US

STASIS wrote:
From what you're all saying, I should not only *not* cast her and give her a chance (even though she would be the best choice), but also not offer her a reason why she wasn't chosen.

Alright.

STASIS wrote:
Guess I'm one of those idiots that thinks honesty is the best policy.

Thanks for the advice!

Well, given your slightly snarky answers I gather that you were only coming here for confirmation, and not actual advice.

Jan 08 13 06:44 pm Link

Photographer

STASIS

Posts: 30

Terre Haute, Indiana, US

model emily  wrote:
Well, just think of it the other way - if you were a model, would you want someone coming up to you at random saying, "You'd be great for this project, but you need to lose 25 lbs"...?

It doesn't matter how you put it, that's the message.

If you think she can take it, go for it - she might feel inspired to get back into shape...  but you take a huge risk that she'll also feel offended, hurt, and unwilling to change for your project - and possibly damaging your relationship for any future work together.

I might consider a proposition like that if it came from my agency, but if I were just a girl who found pleasure in modeling for hobby, I might not understand or feel flattered for the consideration.  Know thy model.

It's not "at random", we have a working relationship.

The issue is that if she *does not* lose the weight, that relationship will be over. I can't cast her for any more projects.

Jan 08 13 06:45 pm Link

Photographer

STASIS

Posts: 30

Terre Haute, Indiana, US

GCobb Photography wrote:
Without suggesting everything you should say, try talking to her and working up to what you need for the shoot.  The maybe ask her if she thinks it's doable to be able to meet your needs by the time of the shoot.  You don't have to ask what she wears unless she brings it up first but maybe ask if she can be a 5-6 or whatever by a certain date.  With enough tact I wouldn't see where she'd take offense to the suggestion.

This is the kind of advice I was looking for. Thanks!

Jan 08 13 06:47 pm Link

Model

a raw muse

Posts: 3196

Amundsen-Scott - permanent station of the US, Unclaimed Sector, Antarctica

STASIS wrote:
I want to cast her, but she needs to lose weight first.

That is my dilemma.

This is a shoot I'm planning for ~6 months from now.

No, you just need to cast someone else.

I know llamas who many people would consider 25  lbs overweight, but that's exactly why they're marketable as art llamas. As long as she's happy with her body and getting the amount and type of work she wants, that's all that matters.

If the scenario was that the llama in question was asking to shoot in a style where weight and size has an upper limit (i.e. fashion), then it would be right to give her a general response along the lines of "I need this size for this project".

Jan 08 13 06:49 pm Link

Model

angel emily

Posts: 1020

Boston, Massachusetts, US

STASIS wrote:
It's not "at random", we have a working relationship.

The issue is that if she *does not* lose the weight, that relationship will be over. I can't cast her for any more projects.

But... it is "at random".   In that, she didn't apply for this casting, you're approaching HER.

I might get a clue and ask the photographer 'Hey, why haven't we worked together in awhile?' 

But it seems like you're just here to hear what you want to hear and gain support for a decision you've already made - so good luck in whatever you decide to do.

Jan 08 13 06:50 pm Link

Photographer

AJ_In_Atlanta

Posts: 12835

Atlanta, Georgia, US

And there is the problem.  As many pointed out you are not her agent, it's not your place to say or have any such conversation.  The correct response is to cast someone who fits the requirments.

But as we see so often on the Internet people ignore advice until they get the response they wanted (for a decision they made before they ever asked)

Jan 08 13 06:51 pm Link

Photographer

STASIS

Posts: 30

Terre Haute, Indiana, US

Jordan L Duncan wrote:
Now, its another issue entirely if you booked her based on her old body and she did not make you aware of the change in some way. If she showed up looking totally different from what you expected then you have every right to be disappointed and ask her why she misrepresented herself.

This is what happened on our last shoot. Showed up with a completely different body type that when we've worked previously.

She doesn't have a portfolio. She is not a professional or even aspiring model like most of you on ModelMayhem. She is has only done 3 shoots, all with me. But I treat her as a professional, and she acts like a professional.

I'd love to keep working with her and help her develop a book. But not if she doesn't care about her body.

Jan 08 13 06:53 pm Link

Photographer

STASIS

Posts: 30

Terre Haute, Indiana, US

indefinite anomaly wrote:
If the scenario was that the model in question was asking to shoot in a style where weight and size has an upper limit (i.e. fashion), then it would be right to give her a general response along the lines of "I need this size for this project".

Well, she wants to work with me. And it's a fashion shoot I have planned.

So I just tell her "no"?

Jan 08 13 06:54 pm Link

Model

angel emily

Posts: 1020

Boston, Massachusetts, US

STASIS wrote:
This is what happened on our last shoot. Showed up with a completely different body type that when we've worked previously.

She doesn't have a portfolio. She is not a professional or even aspiring model like most of you on ModelMayhem. She is has only done 3 shoots, all with me. But I treat her as a professional, and she acts like a professional.

I'd love to keep working with her and help her develop a book. But not if she doesn't care about her body.

Are you sure she wants to model?????

It sounds like this girl enjoys getting nice pictures of herself and being your subject. 

Hearing this, I'd be DOUBLY cautious about approaching her with a request to lose weight.

Jan 08 13 06:55 pm Link

Photographer

Brooklyn Bridge Images

Posts: 9789

Brooklyn, New York, US

STASIS wrote:
I want to cast her, but she needs to lose weight first.

That is my dilemma.

This is a shoot I'm planning for ~6 months from now.

There is no dilemma
Cast somebody else

Jan 08 13 06:59 pm Link

Model

Jordan L Duncan

Posts: 207

Jacksonville, Florida, US

STASIS wrote:
I want to cast her, but she needs to lose weight first.

That is my dilemma.

This is a shoot I'm planning for ~6 months from now.

Assuming that you have best intentions at heart and would want her to lose the weight in a healthy way, this could be very tricky.

If she has a life at all outside of modeling such as a family obligations or another job, this could be really difficult because in order to lose 25 pounds in 6 months is a VERY tall order. I work out 5-7 days a week for 30-120 minutes at a time, eat nothing but fresh fruits, veggies, and lean proteins, and I only lose about half a pound per week on average. I don't know why, its just how my body works. Unless I spent all day in the gym I doubt I could lose 25 lbs in 6 months. Women lose weight VERY differently from men and it takes a long time to find a fitness routine that works for your lifestyle and a diet plan that you can stick to. She could have a medical issue which prevents her from doing strenuous exercise or from eating certain foods and that could be why she gained the weight. Or she might be pursuing plus sized modeling and is no longer interested in other projects. You never know.

Its not out of the ordinary to ask someone to lose or gain weight for a job, but some people are willing to do it and some are not. For instance, Renee Zellweger. She gained weight for Bridget Jones 1 and then a year later did Chicago and she was so skinny you could practically see through her, and then like two years later she did Bridget Jones 2. She had to WORK WORK WORK and devote a ton of time and energy to that. But in a recent interview with Amanda Seyfried, she says she would never consider a role in which she would have to put her body through something like that. Both are equally professional in their careers but they are willing to go to different lengths for jobs.

What I'm trying to say is that there would be a lot more work involved for her than just showing up to the shoot and posing. She'd have to work her butt off for months for just one shoot. Unless you plan to pay her quite handsomely, then it might not be worth it to her if she is still getting paying jobs in spite of her larger figure.

Jan 08 13 07:06 pm Link

Photographer

Images by MR

Posts: 7778

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

STASIS wrote:
Guess I'm one of those idiots

Yes!!  Now leave the girl alone & find someone else....

Jan 08 13 07:14 pm Link

Photographer

Leighthenubian

Posts: 2968

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

sjx wrote:
Don't you dare ask her weight. It's as bad as asking her age. Just go with the flow and don't don't get bogged down with statistics smile

What??

The model is fat and you want to go with the flow?

Jan 08 13 07:17 pm Link

Photographer

Leighthenubian

Posts: 2968

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

STASIS wrote:

Well, she wants to work with me. And it's a fashion shoot I have planned.

So I just tell her "no"?

Shoot with her..big girls are cute too..just not for the job your client is paying for.

Jan 08 13 07:18 pm Link