A lot of people want to be a model because it’s glamorous, lucrative and you might want to be recognized in the modeling world. Modeling is extremely competitive, and the industry is filled with rejection, but successful models are doing something that they love. Here are some major truths about becoming a model, as well as some realistic advice to make it happen for you.
Part One: The Basics
1. Take care of yourself! Features indicative of good health are a must. Eat healthy, work out, take care of your outer appearance (and inner peace of mind), and look good in clothes. It’s a simple equation, but it’s harder than you might think to execute.
– Focus on keeping your skin clear and glowing. Wash your face in the morning and at night, exfoliate once a week, and remember to wash your makeup off before you go to sleep.
– Shiny and healthy hair is important. Some agencies and Managers prefer the “natural greasy look” so if you prefer to minimally shower that is okay too.
– Fitness is important. Consider working with a trainer who works specifically with models. Tell them your modeling goals and how you want to look. Tell them how you feel and your opinions.
– Eat right. Contrary to what some people tell you, you should eat healthy foods, as well as healthy amounts of food. Veggies, fruits, whole grains, and proteins should make up the basics of your diet. Sugars, starches, empty carbs, and unhealthy fats should be avoided as much as possible.
2. Decide what kind of model you hope to be. Technically, anybody can be a model. However, do remember that if you don’t meet certain requirements, the work available to you will be incredibly limited, and you may have to compensate in other departments (reliability, technique, etc).
– A Plus Size Model: If your body is full and curvaceous, you may be able to be a plus size model (for example, Crystal Renn).
– A Runway Model: Most women on the catwalk are at least 5’9, very skinny, and small-breasted (for example, Magdalena Frackowiak and Sasha Pivovarova). Men are mostly between 5’11 and 6’2 (for example, Clement Chabernaud and Sean O’Pry). Except this does not quite fully pertain to Victoria’s Secret models.
– A Print Model: Most editorial female models are at least 5’7, but a beautiful face with great personality are really important for print models (for example, Charlotte Free and Barbara Palvin).
– An Underwear Model: For women, this requires large breasts but small hips (for example, Adriana Lima and Candice Swanepoel). For men this requires broad shoulders but slim waists.
– Other Types of Modeling: If you don’t fit any of the face or body descriptions, perhaps you can be a foot, hair, or hand model. There’s also the option of being an alternative model.
– Consider your “look”. There is more of a curvy California look, a svelte and sophisticated New York look, a waif-like European look, girl next door, swimsuit or lingerie (usually requires the bust to fill out the suits and a very thin waist)… Know what you’re equipped with, but also work to pull off other looks.
3. Educate yourself. There is a lot you can learn from reading books and articles on modeling. Reading quality guides, articles, and books will both help you to improve important skills (like posing) and to better understand how the industry works (how to find an agent, etc.).
– Realize that it’s tough. The modeling world is jam-packed with pretty faces. Just because you are good looking does not mean that you can succeed as a model. In the modeling business, it is not just about looking great. You have to fit the need of specific jobs just in order to get a chance. Modeling is only for serious people who carry unique looks and characteristics. Since there are so many people trying to become models in today’s world, it’s very challenging to get a breakthrough and will only come with patience and perseverance.
– Realize that a model does not always have to look like a supermodel. With a lot of effort, however, you may reach that supermodel status. One of the most important things to remember is to never be shy and don’t apologise if you mess up! Yes, some models tend to act “stuck-up” and “overly confident” but as long as that makes you feel good, go ahead! Be yourself, and remember to act. Modeling requires a lot of acting skills so acquire a little attitude.
Part Two: Portfolios & Agencies
1. Take some snapshots. This doesn’t mean candid shots of you and your friends, but rather shots of you up close without a lot of makeup and on a plain background. You should shoot them in nice natural light without a lot of distraction in the photos. These are meant for agencies to get a look at you in a raw state. Consider a head shot, a body shot, and profile shots.
2. Consider getting some professional shots taken. Professional photography, even if it is expensive, will give you a better idea of what kind of look you give off. You may eventually need these photographs to snag an interview, so think of it as a worthwhile investment!
– Get your favorite professional shots printed into 8x10s. Save these in case you are asked to leave a photograph anywhere before you have professional ones done.
– If you’ve got enough of these photos, consider putting everything into a portfolio, or “book.” Bring this portfolio with you to castings or to agencies.
3. Take and know your measurements and stats. These will help modeling agencies place you.
– Basic measurements are height, weight, and shoe size.
– Know your clothing measurements such as dress size, hip, waist, chest etc.
– Know your own personal stats, such as hair color, eye color, skin tone etc.
4. Visit a modeling agency. Almost every major city has multiple modeling agencies, and almost every agency has “open-calls” where they look at new talent.
– Bring your snapshots and/or portfolio. They will often ask you to walk or pose for them. They may take a headshot or take your measurements as well. If they reject you, don’t get disheartened; often an agency is looking for a diverse set of models, so you may just not fit their model lineup right now.
– There are many problems presently with some modeling agencies. So many people don’t know about the business and end up getting conned. No agency should be asking you for more than $20 when meeting you. The agency will some of your money when you model, but shouldn’t get much up front. If they ask for hundreds of dollars beforehand, walk away. Don’t take their offer.
Part Three: On the Job
1. Be truthful about your measurements. Don’t say you’re skinnier than you are just to get a shoot. Once there, the stylist will have problems and you will get found out. Word will get around and you could find yourself without a career!
2. Be professional, polite, and courteous. Remember that, even though you’re not working in an office, you need to be professional. Treat the people you work with respectfully — you never know who they know or what sort of a recommendation they might give of you. Never look down on anyone. You may be a model, but that doesn’t give you the right to be snooty, affected, or pompous.
– Always turn up on time to any appointment or shoot. If you’re late or rude, word soon gets around and then nobody will want to work with you.
– Be organized. Models often get called off places at the last minute and have very busy days. You need to be on top of things if you want to succeed. Buying a day-to-day planner can really help.
– Develop relationships with photographers. Not those kinds of relationships! Professional relationships. You help the photographer look great, and they will help you look great. It’s a win-win situation, so be sure to treat photographers with respect.
– Treat modeling like a real job. Girls that don’t take it seriously have small chances of succeeding in their modeling career. Realize that it is harder than it appears and there’s a lot of work behind all that glitz and glamour at fashion shows. Modeling is a full time occupation that requires constant attention. One week away from it and your career can be over. Understand that modeling has only a small window of opportunity, and even if you take a short break, you may never be able to return. Models can only work in the business for a maximum of 5 years. If you become famous inside of the business, it might be other wise.
3. Confirm whether or not there will be a make-up artist (MUA) on site for any work you are doing. Sometimes you are expected to bring certain things with you (such as base foundation) and if they don’t have a makeup artist booked you need to prepare accordingly.
4. Be creative on shoots. Photographers want to see you pose in various works, work for the camera, and interact with the world around yourself. Runway coordinators want you to put attitude in your walk (or very specific emotion).