Learning to deal with rejection

Learning to deal with rejection

Job interviews are tedious. You always have to fear rejection. Who doesn't know this? And especially as a model, you know that you get rejected in about 90% of all job applications. On average, I probably even turn down 95 out of 100 applicants. But how can you deal with rejection?


Rejection never feels good. And even though we all know it's absolutely never meant personally, the feeling of having missed an opportunity or not being good enough remains. It nibbles at your self-esteem or you just get angry.

I'm sorry about that. I promise, it's simply because I don't have a suitable project when I say no. And as I said at the beginning, unfortunately I often have to say no.

Sometimes it's because I can't photograph every model that travels past where I live. I lack time and money to shoot every traveling model, but especially good locations.

In other cases, the application simply does not match the casting call. If I'm looking for a blonde model, then brunette is just not wanted. If I'm looking for a model up to 25, 35 is simply too old. I know that sounds harsh and superficial, but photos are about the outer appearance and not the inner values (which can still be good).

Rejection is not reserved to models.

The experience of rejection is not reserved for models. Just recently I discovered a model who is tattooed from head to toe. In a very symmetrical pattern and in a way I have never seen before. This is fascinating and gave me directly an idea for a photo series for my new book.

So I wrote to the model. For half a year I received no answer. Something like that annoys me colossally. And so I started another attempt and wrote to the tattooed person again.

This time she answered me that she does not want to work with me. Poof! That hit home. She turned me down! I felt surprise and was a bit disappointed, simply because I did not see this coming.

First of all, of course, everyone is free to decide with whom they want to work and with whom not! There's nothing wrong with that and honestly, it's better than models who write me funny things like their daily rate is 1,600 EUR. Then rather an honest rejection.

And it is better to get a rejection than no answer at all! So I had to readjust my feelings and ask myself: What could I do better next time and what was the reason for the rejection?

One sticking point is today's communication via messenger. You simply can't introduce yourself sensibly with just a few words.

In addition, my Instagram profile does not reflect my work in any way. This bothers me a lot myself, but I don't know how to change it when I can be suddenly deleted for no reason and without warning if I show something too much (for example, a bare back) and at the same time my best photos since 2018 are still completely unpublished.

For the future, I have learned not to ask too general if the model can imagine working with me, but to be very specific about my idea. This involves more risk, but if the model then rejects the project, it is easier for me to deal with it. Then I know right away that she was the wrong one anyway.

Fortunately, I'm not crying all over my pillow now, but will simply think more about my wording in the future before I make a first contact. After all, you can always improve!

To avoid being disappointed by rejection, it may be most useful to realize that it is never personal. Your counterpart does not know you at all. Therefore, do not take it personally.