Many lifestyle and commercial print agencies don't ask for you to SIGN exclusive with them, you just freelance and work with them as a contractor. You give the agency your compcards, they promote your look and photos to their clients and the agency calls you. If you book the job the agency will mail you a check and the percent SHOULD be already taken out. Usually %20 is standard. SO if the job paid you $1000, your check wilkl say $800 and when you do your taxes, it was for 800.
TV might trick the mindset when it comes to the importance of signing with an agency. Yes fashion models might sign with an agency, and the agency might scout and put these models in houses or dorms, but for commercial print modeling, for girls who are petite, shorter, and lifestyle and print models you don't.
A talent agency or commercial print lifestye agency that only works with commercial print models should not ask you to sign an exclusive contract. Most don't and if one does it could be a scam and please let me know about it.
Signing with an agency limits your chances because then you are waiting for this one agency to call you because you can't work with anything, anyone else, and for the commercial print modeling world that is just not how it works anyways. A legit agency will NOT ask you be to exclusive. And it is better this way.
Don't be decieved over the feeling of "Someone represents me." or " I have an agency," and don't be mislead by the question, " Who are you with?" Do you have an agency?
Because who you do have at the end of the day ....is mainly YOU! I enjoy working with my agents alot, but I do not expect them to promote me and make my dreams come true. Or really and honestly care about my goals. Our relationship is a mutual business. I give them photos, they mailk them out, or send them to their clients, I get sent to the casting, and get booked and paid, and they get a percent.
An agency is sort of like a non exclusive marketing tool.
Over the years in NYC I have worked with 5 commercial print agencies, who send you on castings and bookings and at the end of the year I file my own taxes. It is sort of like making yourself a small business.
Imagine being a handbag designer an working with 5 different department stores, instead of only just one. What if the store doesn't sell your bags or re-order? Then you are stuck with nothing. You do NOT have to sign with a modeling agency exclusively to be a model and get work. Don't be trapped.