Becoming a Model: Step By Step Guide

Have people always told you that you should be a model? Have you been looking at models on billboards and in social media and thinking, “I want to do that!”? If that describes you, you might also be wondering how to get your foot in the door of the modelling world. To help get you started, we have compiled some information every aspiring model should follow.

1. TYPES OF MODELLING

Being a model isn’t about just being pretty or handsome; models each have a unique quality. Think about what sets you apart from others: is it your dimples, your tooth gap, or something else? Height is a common industry standard in modelling, though not all modelling areas have this requirement.

High-End Fashion Modelling

High-end fashion female models are usually tall and lean, measuring about 172 – 180 cm tall (5’ 8” – 5’ 11”). Sizes are traditionally 4-6 US, 6-8 UK, or 10 AU with a typical bust size of 34. Their ages usually can be 14 – 25, though in the US, legislation regarding minors has changed the landscape in favor of ages 18 and older.

Male high-end fashion models have a bit more flexibility, as they can work from ages 16 until their late 40s and their sizes can be approximately 37” – 42”.

Editorial Modelling

Editorial models can usually also work in high-end fashion areas as well. Editorial work tends to be high-exposure, though the pay can be low starting out. After earning some experience, jobs will eventually start to pay a bit more.

Commercial Print

The commercial print market covers everything from magazines to billboards. Target audiences can vary, so there are countless opportunities for models that do not fall in the high-end fashion category.

Petite Models: These models are shorter than the industry standard and will typically wear smaller garment sizes. Petite models are usually around 168 – 170 cm (5’ 6” – 5’ 7”).

Plus-size Models: Plus-sized models tend to be tall, toned, and well-proportioned, ranging in size from 12 – 20 and about 172 cm tall. Plus-sized modelling is becoming more and more popular as an advertising tool, especially in North America.

All-Rounder Models

All-rounder models can work in all divisions of modelling: photographic, catwalks and runways, showrooms, and acting or TV commercials.

Catalogue Models

These models are hired to market clothing lines in print and online. This is definitely a growing market, considering how many websites and apps are available to consumers!

Glamour Models

Glamour modelling emphasizes a model’s sex appeal and jobs can range from lingerie to nude photography. There is no height requirement in glamour modelling, which can be very appealing to potential models. The most important consideration is to ensure a professional working environment and a good agent because many models can get taken advantage of.

Body Parts Modelling

Body-part modelling is quite lucrative. The most common body parts are hair, eyes, lips, hands, feet, and legs – all of which can be used to advertise brands and products in print or on TV.

TV Commercials

TV commercial models do not have any specific height, size, or age requirements. Each commercial will be aimed at a different demographic and have a different style.

People Models for TV or Film Extras

If you want to model, but none of these categories seem like the right fit, you could be a “person model,” or an extra. Extras are not usually given speaking roles and tend to just be in the background. Any time spent waiting is also paid!

2.    BUSINESS STRATEGIES

As independent contractors, models should be business savvy and understand marketing strategies to grow their brands. In Australia, contractors are required to have an Australian Business Number (ABN), which can be registered with a Tax File Number. Models can register as a ‘sole trader.’ Whether working under an agency or independently, invoices should include their ABN, full name, contact details, and payment account information. Always keep clear documentation of everything required on a shoot.

3.    CONFIDENCE

A model’s confidence can make or break her career. You will more than likely get a “no” far more frequently than you will hear “yes,” but don’t let that affect your opinion of yourself or your worth. You must have thick skin and a strong sense of self to take on the modelling world. Confidence is sexy!

Models on the catwalk have makeup on, and models in magazines have been airbrushed to perfection; do not compare yourself to them. Love yourself for who you are. You were chosen for your own attributes.

4.    NUTRITION AND WELLNESS

Health and nutrition can be an overwhelming topic. Even the experts don’t always agree on the subject, but some research does support a number of wellness tips.

Food

•    Don’t drink sugar calories. They can significantly increase your caloric intake without you noticing.

•    Nuts can be a great snack.

•    Fatty fish, like salmon, is an excellent source of high-quality protein and healthy fat.

•    Avoid refined carbs. They have been highly processed to remove their fiber. They’re relatively low in nutrients and can harm your health when eaten in excess.

•    Artificial trans fats are harmful, man-made fats that are strongly linked to inflammation and heart disease.

Exercise

•    Doing cardio is ideal for your mental and physical health.

•    Lifting weights is one of the best things you can do to strengthen your muscles and improve your body composition.

Sleep

•    Poor sleep is one of the most influential individual risk factors for weight gain and obesity.

•    Avoid bright lights before bed – it can block the production of melatonin.

5.    SKINCARE

Skincare is a complicated and very individualized issue, but we’ve compiled a list of tips that should be useful to everyone. Keep in mind that different things work for different people, so work with a dermatologist for serious advice.

•    Always wear SPF – clouds do not protect you from the sun’s UV rays. This is true even in winter.

•    Sleep is essential to a well-rested complexion.

•    Hydrate! Drink at least 1.5 liters of water a day.

•    Do not smoke or do drugs, and limit your alcohol consumption.

•    Exercise regularly.

6.    HAIRCARE

As a model, your hair is a statement piece that says a lot about you. It is challenging to conceal the condition of your hair if it is unhealthy, which is why you must maintain it regularly. The tips we have compiled for you work in conjunction with the Nutrition and Skincare tips, as they all work towards a healthy system and will reflect in each part of you!

•    Perform regular treatments on your hair to avoid split ends.

•    Find the right haircut, color, and style to accentuate your features, skin tone, and eye color.

•    Use professional haircare products.

•    If you dye your hair, keep up with the regrowth at the roots.

•    Semi-permanent pigments are less damaging than permanent ones and easier to change.

7.    CATWALK BASICS

Modelling is about manifesting the vision of the designer and bringing the garments to life, no matter if you are on a runway or a photoshoot. However, on the runway, there are no second chances. When you walk, you need to look straight ahead and leave your mouth slightly open to avoid pursing your lips or making a harsh face.

As you walk, do not swing your arms wildly; instead, keep them by your side loosely and move them only slightly to the rhythm of your walk. If you are on a high-fashion runway, push your hips forward slightly, which will tilt your shoulders back a bit as well. That will bring your arms behind your body, and they can sway side to side – but not past your body. Take more substantial steps than your regular walk. This is your catwalk strut!

When you reach the end of the runway, pause so the photographer can capture the image of the clothes you are modelling. When you pose, consider the best way to show the features of the outfit, unless you’ve been instructed to pose in a specific way. In some jobs, an on-site choreographer will direct you on how to turn, pose, walk, and emote.

8.    MODEL PORTFOLIO

Your portfolio differentiates you from all other models. Why should they hire you and not any of the other candidates? Your portfolio must convince the hiring agency that you are the best model for the job. When setting up your collection, think about what the agent wants, not what you or your photographer wants.

“What is a portfolio?” you may be asking. It is also known as a “book,” and it will contain your pictures and past work. It is the first thing casting agents, brands, and designers will look at to decide if they want to work with you. It is a visual first impression that could make the difference between your being cast or not.

When you’re just starting out, your book will not be very full. That is to be expected. As you work more, it will grow. When you build it out for the first time, however, ask a friend to take some pictures of you with a good camera in flattering lighting. Be sure to include headshots as well with varying facial expressions.

Consider the target market when cultivating your portfolio. Commercial models should have smiling photos that make them approachable, for instance, while other models should have more neutral expressions. Glamour models must include swimsuit shots. In every portfolio, you must include a page with your stats: your height, weight, hair, and eye color.

9.    AGENCY INTERVIEW

Booking an agency interview is undoubtedly one of the most exciting things that can happen as a model, but it can also be very overwhelming. Don’t worry! We have some tips on how to ace your interview.

Arrive 10 – 15 minutes earlier than the appointment time. Always bring your portfolio book with you; the agency needs to see what you are capable of. Bring water and sip strategically through your interview – you don’t want a dry mouth. Be patient and friendly, no matter how long you may wait. Discussions are complicated and don’t always run according to schedules. Your confidence in yourself in this stage can go a long way to convincing the agency that you are the right model for them. Answer their questions truthfully and clearly and do not be afraid to clarify if you are unsure of something.

10.     HOW TO PREPARE FOR A PHOTOSHOOT

You booked a shoot! Congratulations! There is a lot of information to know going into a photo shoot, but we have you covered.

First of all, make sure you are clear on the concept of the shoot from the client or your agent. It is essential to know the creative direction the shoot will be taking so you can prepare by practicing poses. Typically, you will receive ‘moodboards’ that will help the general direction of the shoot.

Make sure your hair is clean and dry, and your face has only moisturizer on. Make sure to wax or shave unless explicitly told not to, in addition to exfoliating and moisturizing your body. Whiten your teeth regularly and make sure your lips are not dry or cracked.

Models are always encouraged to bring their ‘model bag,’ which includes essentials like makeup wipes, a toothbrush, a phone charger, neutral colored bras and g-strings, safety pins, lint rollers, pantyhose, high heels, sneakers, a scarf, clear lip gloss, mascara, neutral eyeshadows, hair products, jewelry, jeans, an everyday basic tee, a book, a water bottle, and her portfolio. For male models, it will contain much of the same, sans the jewelry and substituting the makeup with concealer and pressed powder.

FINAL TIPS

Entering a new field can be quite overwhelming, so be sure to do your research and surround yourself with people who can be a resource to you. Modelling is extremely competitive, so you need to learn how to make yourself stand out at castings and interviews.

We wish you the best of luck!