So you’ve decided you want to give the model life a shot. The first step to a successful career is to find a qualified, experienced agent. As with the “modeling classes” mentioned above, some modeling agencies are actually scams. It is extremely important to make sure the agencies you are considering working with are legitimate. Do your research! Checking out the websites of agencies you are interested in will help you get a sense of what types of models they look for, the jobs that their clients have booked, and their overall professionalism. Model management is very important, it’s best to do your research before signing up with companies.
There are often references or recommendations online that can help lead you in the right direction. One of the biggest red flags is if an agency asks for money from a new client upfront, whether this is for a photo/portfolio package or for any other reason. Reputable agencies will never have a cost. They make money if you book a job, and only if you book a job. If you see signs that they are trying to earn their money in any other way, run – don’t walk, run – away.
Many models brand-new to the industry express surprise at just how many different genres are available for them to find work.
Here is a list of the most well-known genres:
- Runway (cat-walk) modeling – High-end models typically shooting for editorials, high-end designers, runway and fashion campaigns. Fashion models have very particular age, height, and measurement standards. The typical age is 16-21. Models can be younger than this, but many agencies will require models to be at least 16. Likewise, models can be older but agencies and clients tend to like their models looking younger and more youthful. Height is typically between 5’9″-6″, bust is between 32″-36″, waist is between 22″-26″, and hips should be between 33″-35″. Of course most woman don’t meet these standards and that is why fashion models generally get paid the most and work the most. If you do not meet these requirements, don’t worry, most women don’t and that doesn’t mean agencies don’t make exceptions and you can’t walk the runway.
- Print (catalog, editorial) modeling – Another lucrative modeling genre that is slightly less restrictive than fashion modeling. Height is generally between 5’8″ and 5’11” and typical measurements are as follows: Bust 32″-35″, hips 33″-35″, and waist 22″-26″. Catalog and fashion are the two most specific modeling genres. That is why they are the most profitable.
- Lingerie/swimsuit modeling – Models also tend to have specific measurement requirements. Typical lingerie measurements are: height 5’7″-6′, bust 32″-35″ C cup,waist 22″-26″, and hips 33″-35″. A bikini model will be similar to a lingerie model but with a slightly larger bust size.
- Other types of modeling include television commercial, live product/brand, live showroom, web, and niche modeling (tattoo’s, piercings, petite, plus-size, mature, body part, fitness/body building, without clothes et al). Measurements will always vary depending on type of modeling and industry you’re working in.
Are there areas of modeling listed above that you aren’t familiar with? You’re probably not alone. So which genre is right for you? Well, models with a girl-next-door look are often a great fit for commercial and catalog modeling to sell beauty products, clothes, and accessories in magazines and advertisements. If fitness is your passion, a major growing area of modeling is fitness modeling for girls who are in great shape and can help promote athletic wear and fitness companies. Knowing what type of model you best embody will allow you to be more successful because you can focus on that area. There are a lot of opportunities in the entertainment industry. This will help you avoid frustration as you try to get started in modeling, and will allow agencies and casting directors to see you more clearly fitting into their roster or filling their needs for a certain job.
If you’re just now getting into modeling, you may want to know if there are training classes specifically for modeling. It is important to be cautious if you believe you’ve found a modeling class because it could be a scam. It is generally safer and more beneficial to take other types of classes, like a dance class to improve your movement quality and body awareness, an acting class to help you feel more comfortable speaking and taking on commercial jobs, or a fitness class to help keep your body in shape. It is also hugely beneficial to spend time with a professional photographer since they can give you real-world advice on exactly what other photographers and directors are looking for from their subjects.
Do you have the look? Being a model isn’t just about being “good looking” or “pretty.” There are a lot of beautiful people in the world. If you’re serious about getting into modeling, it’s important to have “a look.” There should be something unique about the way you look or the way you’re built. It could be a beauty mark (a la Cindy Crawford,) the way your dimples look when you smile, something about the shape of your chin or your nose that adds dimension to your face, or another unique quality. Embrace this. It will be what sets you apart from other models in the industry.
As far as common characteristics that are important for anyone looking to get into modeling, height is probably the single most important physical attribute for most models, with 5’7’’ generally considered a minimum. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule (take Kate Moss, for example), but this is a good place to start in order to determine if you are meant for the modeling industry. Runway models should be at least 5’8” as a female and 6’0” as a male. For editorial modeling, having the right look is more important than height or slender frame alone. For convention/promotional models, it’s more about having an engaging personality and the ability to act as a product spokesperson. Different types of modeling have certain requirements, but before you get into modeling you should understand what type of modeling work you will be pursuing. Will you be on the runway? Do you want to be in magazines or be a part of private events?
In recent years, for example, there has been a move towards more plus-sized models in the business, along with growth in other niche areas like tattooed models. Your look can help to determine what area of modeling you will fit best into, as there are numerous subdivisions under the larger modeling umbrella. Remember, getting into modeling doesn’t just mean being tall and thin with perfect posture. It means identifying and playing to your own strengths, looking for the type of work that’s right for you.
Getting started in the modeling world can feel like a daunting task. You’ve probably got all sorts of questions, like “Do I have what it takes?” “How do I get an agent?” “What are the pros and cons of becoming a model?” If you’re looking for help when if comes to getting into modeling, this article will help to answer some of your questions on how to break into the industry and guide you towards becoming a successful model.