Zach Morris pursues modeling career with Stars Agency

Camille Kawawa-Beaudan

Junior Zach Morris’ modeling career began when he was discovered by a Tommy Bahama model last year while in Mill Valley. The model, who was the face of a company campaign for a few years, mistakenly took Morris’ sister for a fellow model, and Morris ended up getting signed with Stars Agency.

“[The model] was their main face model, and he asked my sister if he might have known her through modeling, because she’s, well, I think she’s really pretty. She [said], ‘No, but my brother’s done some modeling, do you know him?’ He didn’t,” Morris said, laughing.

Courtesy of Stars Agency 2
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After discovering that Morris had an interest in entering the industry, the model struck up a conversation with him and helped him get signed to Stars Agency, where Morris now has two agents who find him auditions.

“Last year I was doing at least two auditions a month,” Morris said. “But it really depends [how often I audition] because I’m not allowed to pick them myself. The agency does everything.”

Morris added that he has done fewer auditions recently due to his conflicting school and acting schedules as part of the drama program at school. Though Stars Agency helps him find auditions, he still finds working with the agency difficult at times.

“They don’t tell you that much, you just get thrown into [auditions],” Morris explained. “You go to all the auditions yourself so it’s kind of just like, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing,’ but it’s interesting and fun.”

Morris has focused primarily on film and on-camera modeling—that is, still photoshoots and commercials. Although his dream was to be a runway model, certain factors, such as height, have prevented him from doing so thus far.

“I wanted to do runway modeling, but the average runway male model is 6’3” and I’m only 5’10”,” Morris said.

Film and on-screen modeling auditions can be intimidating at first, according to Morris.

“[The company looking for a model] put you in a huge room and they call you in,” Morris said. “They’ll go through about 500 kids in a day. It’s crazy. You see all the other families, all the other kids.”

According to Morris, models at the audition often times look similar. However, Morris remembered his first audition, when he felt quite different from all the other models who were auditioning.

“I did [an audition] for Dick’s Sporting Goods, and I’m a pretty skimpy kid, I’m not jacked or anything—but all the guys there were super muscular and were wearing bro tanks, so that was pretty scary,” Morris said.

The audition process itself is quick and efficient, according to Morris.

“Most of the time [the audition] will be five minutes. You’ll go in, they’ll have you stand on a line, and there’s a camera in front of your face that is often-times hooked up to a TV so people can watch you and see what you look like,” Morris said. “They’ll ask you to read certain lines or literally just ask you questions.”

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Morris explained that auditions are short because the company already knows what type of people it wants to hire.

“They always have something very specific in mind–they know what they want already–so it’s just a matter of finding what it is that they want. They just want to see what you look [like] on camera,” Morris said.

The pay from modeling jobs differs widely between companies, according to Morris. Companies offer prospective wages for the job when they send emails for auditions.  

“You [also] get 20 percent of what [the company] makes, and the agency takes some of [the cut], so it depends on how big the company is,” Morris said.

Understanding that companies search for a specific, predetermined aesthetic helps Morris maintain his self-esteem.

“[The agency] told me that you have to get a lot of no’s before you get a yes, but at first [the rejections] kind of got to me anyways,” Morris said.

He explained that companies only contact models after the audition if they have been hired; otherwise, the model never hears back.

“It was a little nerve-wracking [at first] and I thought a lot about what I can improve,” Morris said. “[But] I wouldn’t say it made me any more self-conscious because I know that they’re looking for something specific. ”