How to Be a Model: A Guide

Joanna Elizabeth

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Updated May 5, 2020

How to be a model
Find out how to be a model. Photos: Instagram

There is always someone who wants to be the next Gigi Hadid or Kendall Jenner, but despite what the movies tell us, becoming a model isn’t just about having really good looks. It’s about having the uniqueness, talent and drive to back up those assets. 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

The first step in becoming a model is knowing what type of modeling you want to specialize in. There are quite a few areas to choose from–print focuses on magazine editorials as well as advertising campaigns. 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

Gigi Hadid stars in Reebok Classic 2017 campaign
Gigi Hadid stars in Reebok Classic 2017 campaign

Now that you have figured out what type of modeling you want to do–look for an agency that specializes in your field of choice. You can search online for agencies easily. A simple “model agency” query on Google will garner a lot of results. Search for an agency that’s close to where you live. So for example, if you live in Los Angeles, make sure that agency has offices near by. It’s also important to remember to research an agency first. Think: What models do they represent? What type of jobs do they book? Are there any complaints online about this agency?

Frida Gustavsson walking Marc Jacobs

And remember, if an agency asks for any money upfront, you should stay away. So called “modeling” schools and packages are also suspect as well. In addition, be on the look out for people who claim to be a part of a reputable agency. If the email or message is not from an official account, make sure to contact the agency on their official website to confirm that person works there. There are plenty of scammers out there looking to take advantage of young people.

Take the Right Photos

Adriana Lima. Photo: Instagram
Adriana Lima. Photo: Instagram

After you have researched the right modeling 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 images of you. Don’t worry, you do not need to get a professional photo 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. You can share your shots on your own online modeling portfolio for ease. Look for a response within (typically) 4 weeks.

Karlie Kloss walking Elie Saab

Some agencies will do open calls, where they will see aspiring models from the street. You can usually contact an agency and inquire about their open call schedule. Make sure to bring your digitals or past professional work printed out. Once again, keep your styling minimal. Remember that even if you are not what they are looking for, keep hope.

Take care of yourself

Modeling can be a though job due to lot’s of traveling, long days of work and having to show up with the best version of yourself every day. Therefor, taking good care of yourself is very important. From making sure you eat healthy, get some exercise once a while and especially applying skin- and dental-care. For example, some of the Victoria’s Secret models use cordless water flossers so they can keep their teeth in perfect shape, even while traveling.

Social Media & Modeling

Jasmine Sanders. Photo: Instagram
Jasmine Sanders. Photo: Instagram

One important thing to have in today’s modeling world is a social media presence. There are plenty of brands that will not consider casting a model in a campaign unless they have a sizable Instagram following. Likewise, if you are able to build up your social media presence, a big modeling agency will be more likely to sign you. Girls like Jasmine Sanders, Alexis Ren and Meredith Mickelson rose their modeling profile thanks to their Instagram engagement. So how do you go about building up your Instagram following? Make sure to be active, commenting on popular Instagram accounts and update your own page at least three times a week.

How to Be a Model

Bella Hadid stars in Nike Cortez campaign
Bella Hadid stars in Nike Cortez campaign

If you are lucky enough to get signed, you should also be aware of all the difficulties that come along 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 still have part-time jobs to make it. This is why we recommend having a backup plan just in case your modeling career doesn’t pan out. However, if you manage to make it, there is a world of opportunities. Models like Gisele Bundchen, Tyra Banks and Iman have transformed their looks into lucrative careers with their business smarts. Always, think ahead!


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28 thoughts on “How to Be a Model: A Guide”

  1. 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!

    Reply
  2. 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.

    Reply
  3. I do yoga and softball because I wanna be fit and my stomach toned pleas pick me I won’t let you down I will work harder than ever for this because I wanna be one of those girls who make it

    Reply
  4. I wuld luv to be a model.and am twelve going to thirteen.pls let me be a model.and tell me d steps to b a professional model.pls.u can contact me on facebook.my username is faithe bi.u can contact me there.while my fone number is 07015115874.pls contact me.

    Reply
  5. hi,my name is meera,i am 19 years old,i am a professional western dancer,,,, i love modeling also,,,,its my life i choose modeling,,,,,,

    Reply
  6. hai..i want to become a model,im 12yrs old,please anyone there want to teach me just add me thank you..

    Reply
  7. Hi guys my name is Nokubongwa Zondo i am 15years, my dream is to become a model and i have all the things that is needed to be a model, i’m tall, slender and beatiful the problem it that i don’t know where to start to be a model i really love modelling

    Reply
  8. I would really really loved to be a model….since I was small I look at a lot of fashion modeling but..I prefer being an commercial model would be awesome.. my name is BeBe and I’m 14 years old from USA. I’m pretty short…..

    Reply

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