How to Be a Model: A Guide

how model teaser How to Be a Model: A Guide

There is always someone who wants to be the next Kate or Naomi, but despite what the movies tell us, becoming a model isn’t just about being tall and beautiful. It’s about having the uniqueness, talent and drive to back up those looks. In this article, we will give you some tips that will hopefully teach you how to be a model.


Know the Type of Modeling you Want to Do

Frida Gustavsson Marc Jacobs Fall 2011 How to Be a Model: A Guide

Image: Frida Gustavsson walking Marc Jacobs show

The first step in becoming a model is knowing what type of modeling you want to do. There are quite a few areas to choose from–print focuses on magazine photo shoots while runway models walk the catwalk for labels. There are also more commercial options such as being a swimsuit or catalogue model. Plus size modeling has made an impact in the recent years too. No matter which area you choose, most female models start at the very minimum height of 5’7″ but closer to 6’0″ is preferred.

Find the Right Agency

Karlie Kloss Elie Saab Fall 2012 How to Be a Model: A Guide

Image: Karlie Kloss walking Elie Saab show

Now, that you have figured out what type of modeling you want to do–look for an agency that specializes in the field. You can search online for agencies quite easily. A simple “model agency” query will garner a lot of results. Search for an agency that’s local to your area, and it’s important to remember to research an agency first. Think: What models do they represent? What type of jobs do they book? Are there complaints online about this agency?

And remember, if an agency asks for money upfront, you should stay away. So called “modeling” schools are also suspect too. There are plenty of scammers out there looking to take advantage of aspiring talent.

Take the Right Photos

katelongchamp2 How to Be a Model: A Guide

Image: Kate Moss for Longchamp Campaign

After you have researched the right agencies for the field you are interested in, you will want to contact them. Most agencies have forms online where you can send in your photos and stats. Stats include your height, measurements and weight. They will also want to see photos of you. Don’t worry, you do not need to get a professional shoot done. Simple digital photos are what most agencies require. Make sure to do a head shot and full-length shot. Wear no makeup and a simple tank top and pants. Take the photo in natural light so people can see your features. Look for a response within (usually) 4 weeks.

Some agencies will do open calls, where they will see aspiring models from the street–bring your digitals or past professional work printed out. Once again, keep your styling minimal. You may be told you are not what they’re looking for or get a callback later.

Think Ahead

giselehm2 How to Be a Model: A Guide

Image: Gisele Bundchen in H&M Campaign

If you are lucky enough to get signed, you should also know all the difficulties that come with the job. Depending on the jobs you book, traveling can take you away from home a lot. Rejection is also something, especially at the beginning of the career, you need to get used to. Even if signed, some models have part-time jobs. That’s why we recommend having a backup plan just in case your modeling career doesn’t pan out. But, if you manage to make it, there is a world of opportunities. Models like Gisele Bundchen, Cindy Crawford and Kate Moss have transformed their looks into lucrative careers with their business smarts. Think ahead, always!

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  • JC Cavanaugh

    Great point about finding an agency that specializes in the genre of modeling you are looking to get into.

    It’s foolish to be a fitness model but sign with an agency that specializes in fashion!

    Great post!

  • Carmen

    Whilst I agree with most “how to be a model” articles, I think it’s important to understand all aspects of the business, and being the highly competitive business it is, there is little room to be choosy if you really want to make a living from it.

    During my modeling days I did not have a choice on what jobs I took on- fashion, editorial, commercial and so on. I realized early on I had a knack for landing TV commercials and focused on improving my casting skills, but on a day-to-day, I did any job thrown my way. The only thing I steered clear from was blatantly nude modeling; however, that being said, some BIG jobs require next to nothing on the job in order to get the right shot. It’s important to be flexible and assertive at the same time.

    Another note to point out, all aspiring models need to go to each agency during walk-in hours (usually in the morning between 10-12). This way they have to either accept or deny you in person. It’s easy to ignore an email, but it’s harder to ignore the person. You will never be asked to pay. An agency that accepts you will organize a test shoot with a photographer and those photos will be the start of your portfolio until you’ve done enough replacement work.

    The business is fierce and there’s one thing aspiring models need to know: YOU CAN ONLY BE SO PRETTY!

    I was one of the smaller models in my day and did very well. I would say as a rule, height matters, but at the same time there are exceptions to the rule. It’s nothing personal, it’s only because samples made are slightly larger and longer than the final product; however, that being said, there is duct tape, bull-dog clips, and camera angles for a reason. So unless you have a dream to walk down the runway, someone who is 5’5″ can have a very lucrative career.

    At the end of the day, it’s a very small world and you see the same faces, so it’s important to be polite and consistent, otherwise casting directors will not call you back.

  • Josh

    Hate Moss is hot ! She should wear The Big October Clothing

  • Kate101

    I think becoming a model would be amazing, but I’m pretty short