Option. What a word. First, let me quickly explain what this word technically means in the modeling world. We all have agencies that try to get you booked for jobs. A client might be looking for a certain kind of model, and will start checking with different agencies which models they have that would fit their idea. The ones they like the best (with or without a casting), they will put on option.

Marius and Lonneke for Kuyichi by Pablo Delfos

What does The Option really mean

Alright, that was the more technical definition. Now here is what it means: we might pick you. Then again, we might not. For now, we just want to know if you’re available. And if you’re not, get available.

The word ‘option’ is without a doubt the most hope-giving and disappointing word in the modellng industry. A good option is like having an amazing guy or a girl flirt with you, and you know somewhere deep inside that that person is just too good looking, too perfect for you. Yet sometimes he or she will come and talk to you and other times, well, they go home with someone else.

What makes the option such a difficult concept as well is that the agencies normally don’t help. Think about it from their point of view. They want to tell their models they are on option for big campaigns or good money jobs, because it shows the models that they are working for you. We got you an option! Yet it is always surprisingly hard to figure out how many models are on option. This is, of course vital information for your excitement. But in my experience, the answers remain rather vague. There are reasons for this: one agency might not be sure how many models are on option with other agencies. But I think there are also reasons for an agency to keep it a little vague, or to make the option seem stronger than it actually is: they need you to keep that day, or those days free. If an agency tells you you’re on option, together with the major part of the models present in New York, you might plan a beach day. If it unsure how serious it is, or they tell you it is indeed serious, you’ll be available.

Needless to say, hearing you have a big option is always nice. It’s always better than having no options at all. But how to handle this terribly exciting word?

Marius and Lonneke for Kuyichi by Pablo Delfos
Marius and Lonneke for Kuyichi by Pablo Delfos

How to deal when an option falls through

  • First of all, never ever take it personal if you don’t get the job. Think of all the times you didn’t get a job. If you would have to be personally insulted all of these times, you’ll be very busy, have a bruised ego and a lot of spite towards many people you’ve never even met! And the worst part of it is that nothing changes because of it. They were looking for a different look, a different style. They didn’t reject you personally.
  • From the moment you hear you are on option for something big, you’re going to try to not think about it too much, but somewhere in the back of your head you booked it, did well, and you’re spending the money. So, a second tip: do not count your chickens before they hatch. Do not spend money that’s not yours yet, do not claim a campaign that’s not yours yet.
  • A third tip would be to not tell too many people about a big option. Think about it, why would you? Sure, it’s exciting news, but on the other hand, it’s not news yet! And then when the option doesn’t go through, you’ll be stuck with curious friends with the best intentions constantly reminding you of the disappointment, by asking you if you got it or not.
Marius by Alique
Marius by Alique

My Strategy

My strategy, after some too exciting options that bombed in the end has been to ask my agencies not to always tell me all the options. To let me know when it really gets serious. Like this, I don’t get needlessly excited, and I know that if I do get a call about an option, it really means something. And from there on I move around with my fingers crossed.

Maybe by now I’ve slightly terrified you of this innocent-looking word, and if I did, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to.  I’ve just been fascinated for years by this word and the implications of it. To end it on a bright note, it’s good to remember that no matter how deceptive the word is, you will always first need the option before you get the job.

Cheers!

Marius

Marius was a contributor for Organice Your Life between the years 2011-2012

 This article was first published by Marius Hordijk on OrganiceYourLife.com on May 12th 2012. Updated in 2019.