There are many benefits to a career as a model. You learn skills that can give you poise and confidence. You could have the opportunity to travel to exciting places and meet fascinating people and the salary can also be good, depending on your experience and reputation.
Modelling is a very competitive career choice. This article explores how to become a model, what they do, salary expectations, and more.
No formal educational credential is required, and training is limited. Specific requirements depend on the client. However, most models must be within specific ranges for height, weight, and clothing size to meet the needs of fashion designers, photographers, and advertisers.
What Does a Model Do?
A model uses its physical appearance to help a company advertise a product or support an artist create or display art. The model might work with a photographer to generate fashion pictures or walk down a runway to introduce a fashion designer’s latest clothing line.
Artists often hire models to pose for them while they draw, paint or sculpt. Companies sometimes hire models for certain parts of their look. For example, a company may use a model’s hand to advertise rings or nail polish.
A model promotes products or helps a brand deliver a message through its visual appearance. They work for various clients and reasons such as posing for artists, modelling clothing apparel, or as extras in a commercial. Some models even specialize in a particular area of modellings, such as runway models, fashion models, or even fitness models.
Models pose for artists, photographers, or customers to help advertise various products, including clothing, cosmetics, food, and appliances. Models also work as a fit or fitting model, enabling the manufacturer or fashion designer to achieve the best fit for new styles.
How to Become a Model
If you want to become a model, here are steps you can take to pursue this career:
Decide What Kind of Model You Want to Be
A vital step to becoming a model is deciding on what type of model you’d like to be. Different types of modelling will have additional model requirements, such as height, style, and clothing size.
The style and concept behind each shoot for different modelling niches can differ. There are almost as many types of modelling as ice cream flavours; there are many models, including runway models, print models, plus-size models and hand models.
Some models do not conform to conventional modelling standards. Given this range of options, you must begin your modelling career by deciding the modelling that best suits you, so here’s a brief rundown on just a few of them:
Do you like to hit the gym? Do you lift? Does the idea of being covered in baby oil and flexing your hard-won muscles for an appreciative audience appeal to you?
It sounds like you’ve got what it takes to become a fitness model. A fitness model is dedicated to displaying a healthy, toned physique and maintaining highly defined muscles.
Fitness modelling has become a driving force in the industry. Beyond the dedicated competitions, there are several industries and commercial magazines ripe with opportunities for gym buffs.
Lights! Camera! Smoulder! Glamour modelling is surprisingly diverse. Unlike many other types of modelling, there are no industry standards or limitations to body size and shape.
Glamour models embrace the sexier and sultrier side of modelling. Bikini, boudoir, and lingerie are modelling all fall under this broad umbrella. Glamour models sell a high-end lifestyle—whether it’s in a music video, an art-house print, or a bikini calendar.
Do you have an ever-expanding collection of tattoos and piercings? Does your everyday look have other people’s idea of a fancy dress costume?
Alt, or alternative, models don’t typically fit in with industry norms regarding beauty and style.
With their tattoos, piercings, radical hair, and wardrobes brimming with spikes, corsets, and PVC, alternative models are the wild children of the modelling world. Alt modelling is usually a cross between glamour modelling and art modelling.
With the majority of American women falling into the plus-sized category, this type of modelling has been growing at a rapid pace.
Traditionally but with the plus fashion industry changing as rapidly as it has, the industry has seen a rise of all shapes and further size diversity models.
Plus-size models are gaining a lot of traction, especially on social media, and designers are continuously expanding their size ranges to embrace this growing market.
Divas to the runway, please! Runway models are the crème de la crème of the fashion world.
Adhering to strict regulations regarding height, weight, and measurements, these models travel the world and are often seen walking for the best designers and fashion houses. Some runway models even go on to create their fashion lines or agencies.
Editorial or Commercial
Finally, we have editorial models. While all of the above can also be editorial or commercial print models, editorial models know how to interact with the camera and create interesting shapes with their bodies to show off a garment.
Depending on the theme and mood of the photos, anyone can be cast for an editorial shoot. Print models tend to be the most varied and versatile of the group.
Work That Runway
Now that you’ve had a primer on how to get into modelling and choose the type of modelling that’s right for you, it’s time to go out there and work!
Find your light, your angles, and your stride. You’ve got this. The single most significant factor that will help you become a model? Confidence!
Start Practicing at Home
You can begin practising for a modelling career immediately.
Look for videos of professional models and study the way they move and pose. Imitate and learn from these videos. You can craft your runway walk in front of a full-length mirror if you have one.
If you don’t, try your local gym or dance studio. You might also pay attention to your diet and exercise since certain types of modelling require you to be within a particular weight range and have muscle tone.
Regardless of this, modelling can be a very demanding career. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help you stay mentally and physically well.
Build Your Photograph Portfolio
Start with photographs taken by your friends. Have them take the whole body and headshots of you wearing simple makeup against a plain background.
This helps an agent or client determine if you are the kind of model they are looking for. Look for start-up photographers who might take pictures of you in exchange for permission to use your photographs in their advertising.
You will eventually need to invest in a photographer to take professional shots. Ensure you have a good range of pictures in your portfolio showing you in several different poses and locations. This shows you to be versatile and able to work with a variety of situations.
Look for an Agent
You can try getting clients on your own, but most clients prefer working through a modelling agency, so you should try to find an agent. When you visit an agency, take your portfolio and be prepared to audition.
You should also know your body statistics, including height, weight, eye colour and shoe size.
While it is preferable to present professional pictures to an agency, your non-professional images may be enough. If the agency likes what they see, they will typically pay for you to visit a professional photographer.
Please make sure you research an agency to verify they are legitimate before you sign a contract.
Take Relevant Classes
There are modelling schools that teach about the industry, including performing at a photoshoot and maintaining good health and nutrition.
However, you do not need to attend modelling school to become a model. If you want to take classes to help improve your modelling skills, consider acting or dance classes.
Acting classes might help you in a photo shoot where you have to convey a mood or character. Dance classes can help you develop poise and good posture.
Look for Opportunities to Be Noticed
It would help if you were fearless about self-promotion to succeed as a model. Always look for opportunities to model that could get you noticed by potential clients.
You could, for example, volunteer at a local fashion show or look for retail outlets that need models to demonstrate products.
Perhaps there are local hair stylists or makeup artists who need models to practice on. Be sure to treat each engagement as a professional job, and make sure someone is there to take pictures of you for your portfolio.
Use Social Media
The internet is a great way to promote yourself since you can post photographs and videos that potentially thousands of people will see.
Through social media, you can build followers and develop a platform. This could interest possible clients who might want your followers to see you wearing their products.
If you don’t already have a professional social media presence, start to build one. Focus mainly on those platforms that emphasize pictures and video.
What Else Do I Need to Know About Becoming a Model?
Now that you’ve built a modeling portfolio and understand the type of modeling, you want to make sure you’re well equipped with the tools to become a model.
Whether you want to become a fashion model for high fashion, a glamour model, or a plus-size model, here are some extra tips for aspiring models on how to become a model.
Do You Need to Go to Modeling School?
If you’re looking to get started in the modelling industry, you might be considering going to a modelling school. However, it’s not a must. Many models start their modelling career by simply submitting their headshots to agencies and scouts.
That being said, if you’re looking to find professionals to teach you and learn how to be a model, how to walk down the runway, and how to pose in front of the cameras, you can choose to enrol in a modelling school.
In addition to posing, they may teach you other skills, such as makeup application, portfolio development skills, and understanding lighting and camera angles.
Besides modelling schools, you can also take workshops and classes to improve your poses and catwalk to help you develop the skills needed to become a model.
If you’re new to the industry, taking classes will also allow you to meet other aspiring models.
How to Find a Reputable Modeling Agent
Finding a reputable modelling agency can be daunting, especially if you’re new to the industry. When searching for a reputable modelling agent, make sure you do thorough research.
You can look at local modelling agencies in your city and reviewing their website. In addition to boutique agencies, there are also sizeable international modelling agencies with offices in many cities.
Head over to their website and social media platforms. Take a look to see the type of models they’ve signed and the work they’ve done previously.
Understand the companies and partners the modelling agency has worked with to get a feel for the brands you may be able to work with. If you’re looking to become a high fashion model and walk the runway in New York, you would want to see whether the modelling agency has had experience at those popular fashion events.
Finally, please look at online reviews for the agency or reach out to your network in the modelling industry to find reputable agencies they are currently working with.
Remember, find an agency that matches your needs and requirements. Once you’ve chosen the right agency, submit your modelling portfolio to them, and prepare for your audition.
Models don’t need a formal education to get their foot in the door as models are necessary for every age, race, shape, and size. However, getting a modelling agency to represent you is essential.
You’ll need to get photos of yourself and send those to agencies for review. These photos do not have to be expensive professional photos but should represent how you look.
Keep your look in these photos simple so an agent can quickly evaluate you. Some models do opt to attend a modelling convention or modelling school to get noticed. However, this is not necessary and can be expensive.
Practice Posing in Front of the Camera
Practice, practice, practice! Modelling is one of those skills where practice makes perfect. Your ability to pose or strut down the runway is what differentiates you from a model and a professional model.
Try setting up a simple studio in your home—all you need is a tripod and a camera or phone. Set the self-timer on, and you can start document your poses in front of the camera.
You can even try different locations, like a park, convenience store, or library.
Invite a friend to come with you and have them help you take photos. You can review all the pictures taken to see the poses that work best for you and how you can improve.
How Tall Do You Have to Be to Become a Fashion Model?
In the modelling world, height requirements can vary. Depending on the type of modelling you’d like to pursue, being lean and tall may not be a critical factor. That’s why, aside from height, the agency will often look at the other features too.
If you are interested in modelling for editorial, commercial prints, body parts, or catalogues, brands will look for models that can resonate with their brand.
From body physique to facial structure, criteria for the model can differ for each job.
However, if you’re looking to become a high fashion model, most modelling agencies may have a requirement of at least 5″ 8 to 5″ 11. There are a few high fashion models that are 5 “7 or over 6 “0 tall. Companies may make exceptions as long as they fit other requirements.
While education is not necessary, experience in the field can help you gain more gigs. The more gigs you land, the more diverse your understanding becomes, and this can bring you more work.
During this time, it’s also important to be aware of your image and ensure you are taking care of yourself. Eat healthy foods and take care of your skin so you can look your best at a moment’s notice.
You may decide to take modelling to the next level and model full-time. To do this, you may need to expand the type of work you do. For example, you can become a spokesperson for a product or learn to specialize in a specific area of modelling.
You may even discover that you are interested to learn more about other careers associated with the modelling industry, such as fashion design, product advertising, or photography.
Job Description of a Model
The job description of a model varies by the type of modelling job you are hired for. However, all models must keep an up-to-date portfolio of their work to include photos of themselves via composite cards.
As potential clients or modelling agencies, this is necessary to sift through portfolios and mixed cards before inviting a model to audition. The hybrid card would also include their body measurements.
Some models specialize in showcasing one of their body parts, such as a hand or foot. There are also fitness models when an agency needs a more athletic model for a shoot.
Along with these types of models, some models also do photoshoots to help sell a product and may be featured in online ads, billboards, websites, catalogues, or even on TV.
Other models work to pose for artists or art students. They may be helpful for aspiring artists learning composition or fine artists like painters and sculptors.