What Does a Model Do?
A model works with consumer brands, fashion designers, photographers, and artists to advertise a wide array of products. Consumer brands hire models to wear fashionable clothing in magazines, on runways, or to model cosmetic products. Models generally have stylists and makeup artists crafting their clothing, hairstyles, and appearance, but they are ultimately responsible for how they portray their look in front of the camera.
10 Types of Fashion Models
There are nine basic types of models in the fashion world. Each type of modeling has its own set of requirements:
Editorial models. These models often appear in fashion magazines, like Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar, wearing the latest designs from a particular fashion designer or clothing brand. Editorial models pose for fashion photographers during photoshoots, taking direction, and following their own artistic instinct to help capture the perfect image. Female models are categorized by their height and measurements, and are typically five feet, nine inches or taller and slim. Male models are categorized by their height and measurements, and are typically around six feet tall and slim.
Runway models. These models walk the catwalk during fashion shows, displaying carefully curated ensembles for audiences that set the current tone or upcoming trends for the fashion world. All runway models are categorized by their height and measurements, and are typically over five feet, nine inches and slim.
Plus-size models. In the fashion modeling industry, models who are larger than the editorial standard are considered full-figured or curvy. They primarily model plus-size clothing designs.
Parts models. Parts models only model a specific body part in product photography. For example, they may use their hands to model a new nail polish, or their feet to advertise a new sandal. Parts models must take special care of their coveted feature to ensure it stays in optimal condition.
Fitness models. Maintaining peak physical fitness is a major requirement for fitness models. These models exercise regularly, creating a toned and muscular physique. Fitness models usually appear in magazines, advertising supplements, workout attire, or gym facilities.
Glamour models. Glamour models are usually hired based on their appearance and sexual appeal. Brands and photographers hire glamour models to appear in certain magazines, calendars, and music videos.
Lingerie models. Lingerie models pose in brassieres and underwear for photoshoots, catalogs, and magazines. These models also work the runway to show off the latest undergarment fashion for lingerie brands and designers.
Swimsuit models. Swimsuit models pose in bathing suits, showing off the latest in summer swimwear. The magazine Sports Illustrated is most known for its athletic swimsuit model features.
Promotional models. Brands hire this type of model to market their products and services. Brands hire promotional models, commonly known as influencers, to promote their products and services to their target audiences.
Catalog models. Companies hire these commercial models for their relatable image. This type of modeling has more flexibility in terms of appearance. Catalogs typically feature models who look like everyday people, rather than runway-ready supermodels. This type of commercial modeling includes mainstream retail clothing, and products that are more accessible to general consumers.
9 Tips for Becoming a Model
Establishing a modeling career requires time and discipline. If you’re an aspiring model looking for full-time modeling work, check out the following tips:
Recognize your strengths. Being a model involves hyperfocus around your appearance. However, beauty is subjective, and you never know what someone will find beautiful about you. You can reflect confidence in your body language, which can affect how other people perceive you. The modeling world is full of rejection, and it can be easy to take that rejection personally. You need to keep in mind that you have something unique to offer. Presenting yourself as a confident person can play a big role in becoming a successful model.
Understand the duties of the job. Modeling requires hard work, determination, and the ability to follow directions quickly and efficiently, posing in particular ways or recreating looks for hours at a time. You will need to have a variety of poses in your arsenal for the type of modeling you are pursuing. You’ll also need to know how to angle your face and body for the camera to convey the right image. If you want to become a runway model, you will need to establish and practice your signature walk.
Take care of your appearance. Modeling is all about aesthetics, but being attractive isn’t the most necessary part. Taking care of your body is a big part of modeling. While there are now more modeling opportunities for various body types and clothing sizes, you still have to take care of your skin, hair, and nails—especially if you’re a parts model.
Get headshots. To get a modeling job, you’ll need a variety of headshots and full body shots to submit to potential agencies and employers. Hire a photographer with experience to shoot you in natural light and plain clothes to highlight your features. Ensure that your pictures closely resemble how you look in real life, so modeling agents can see what you bring to the table. Avoid submitting filtered photos from social media.
Create a portfolio. A modeling portfolio is an important tool that many potential clients will look at before deciding to work with you. These photos are more highly styled and edited than your headshots. Gather your best, high-quality professional photos, and organize them into a portfolio or on a website that advertises your abilities and range. A website can also make it easier for potential agencies to find you and see your work.
Find a modeling agency that fits your brand. Most models need an agency to help them find work. Research the top modeling agencies and find a few who seem legitimate and who represent the type of model you wish to become. If you find a model agency that seems like a good fit, submit polaroids (also known as digitals) along with any relevant modeling experience.
Try a modeling school. Enrolling in a modeling school or taking modeling classes can help aspiring models better understand the basics of what the career entails, like how to compose their photo portfolios, how to pose or runway walk, how to work with photographers, and personal image development.
Look for open casting calls. Sometimes, the best way to get into modeling is to go to an open casting call. While you can’t just walk into any agency and be seen, open calls (or go-sees) are a period of time an agency sets aside to see new models without prior contact or appointment. As a new talent, use these go-sees for self-promotion, further increasing your chances of becoming a top model.
Consider moving. If you are serious about becoming a model, you may want to move a major city with more opportunities. New York and Los Angeles are major modeling hubs, and the best places to find editorial, runway, and commercial work.