It may look glamorous and fun, but becoming a model can be hard work. Aspiring models must work hard to be noticed in such a competitive industry, but modelling can be a rewarding job for those who are suited to it.
Are you keen to become a model? Read on to discover what it takes.
Other Useful Articles:
- Everything You Need to Know About Modelling Agency Open Casting Calls
- What to Expect at a Professional Photo Shoot
- What is Brand Repping? Everything a Fashion Model Needs to Know
- How to Get Signed to a Modelling Agency
- How to Model Like an Expert: Top Model Poses
Models aren’t airheads – they’re businesspeople. They must know how to market themselves, how to stay safe and how to negotiate a contract. Top models understand that a career in modelling will likely not last forever, so they move into other industries (like music, TV, and business).
Any aspiring models should endeavour to learn as much about the industry as possible. That includes all the interesting stuff like brands, people and rates, but also includes more boring topics such as what rights models have legally. The more knowledge you have, the more tools you are giving yourself for a fair and rewarding modelling experience.
You should learn the different types of modeling available and understand which sector you suit best to boost your chances of success.
You do not have to go to modeling school or workshops to be a successful model; on the contrary, most top editorial models just happened to be in the right place at the right time and later learnt on the job how to be a model. If you have the look they’re looking for, you won’t need any experience.
Be Willing to Learn
Even if you have spent a long time learning something, that doesn’t mean you are finished learning about it. Everything is constantly evolving and it’s the same with the modelling industry. There is always a chance to learn something new, whether it’s from a photographer, brand representative or even a fellow model. Always be open to new experiences and be ready and willing to learn at any time.
It’s not just the modelling industry you should be open to learning about. Your make-up artist will have lots of great tips and tricks to making the most out of your makeup, your hairstylist will be able to advise the best products for your hair, your stylist will show you the best colours on your skin tone. Everyone has something to teach, and you should always be willing to listen and learn.
Many photographers and shoot managers like to give models direction on how to pose or what facial expression to have. Some people are harsher than others; remember, they may be rushed or on a time crunch. You need to be a good listener to be a successful model, and be able to take critique. Top models always give their best and are able to follow advice.
Stay Healthy & Active
All top models need to follow a healthy and active lifestyle to maintain their famous physiques year-round. Learning about proper nutrition and exercise from a young age is incredibly important as many young, uneducated models end up undereating to achieve their small frames, which is not healthy and can not be maintained.
Many top models have voiced in their later years that they wish they have known more about how to eat properly and work out from a younger age. Heed their advice and do as much research as you can now. It’s best to approach a professional like a nutritionist and a personal trainer to ensure you are getting the best, most up-to-date advice that can also be catered to your personal body type.
Eating well is not just to maintain your shape. A healthy diet and good exercise routine will also make your skin clear, your hair shiny, your nails stronger and will give you more energy. Modelling can be a tiring job and you may be required to work on little sleep; eating well ensures you are getting all the nutrients you need to keep you healthy and vibrant.
Have a Great Portfolio
Your model portfolio is a vital tool that will help you find work in the industry throughout your career. A modelling portfolio is like a model’s CV. It contains up to 20 high-quality modelling images of them.
Know your modelling genre and include photos within your portfolio that reflect your chosen category. For example, if you wish to enter high fashion and meet their strict criteria, include catwalk and editorial images within your portfolio. An aspiring fitness model should include images focused around athleticism. A glamour model should include lingerie or bikini shots.
Experienced models will include previous modelling work within their portfolio, but aspiring models will probably not have any experience. In this circumstance, an aspiring model should look into paying a photographer for a professional photo shoot. Don’t forget to take headshots as well as full length shots.
You also need to include your details and measurements on your portfolio. Make sure these are accurate and update them constantly. A brand or agency may hire you based on the measurements you included within your portfolio. If they later find these inaccurate, you will likely lose the job. They need your measurements to determine whether you can fit in their clothes or not, so always be honest.
Have a Z-Card
A z-card, also known as a comp card, is another vital tool for all models to have. Even top runway models will have a z-card. A z-card is the model equivalent of a business card. It is the shape and size of a credit card but includes photos of the model as well as details including their name, dress size, waist and bust measurements and their agency (if they have one). Contact information must also be included, whether that’s for the model’s agency or the model’s personal information.
A z-card is a very handy item to keep on you at all times. It can be handed to anyone with whom the model may work with in the future, or who he/she wishes to network with.
If you want to know more about z-card, check out our other article here.
Know How to Network
Networking is a vital part of growing your success as a model. Networking involves meeting and socialising with people who may be able to help you out in the future. Anyone you come across in the modelling industry has the possibility of helping you in some way. They may know of a job opening, or when an agency is looking to hire someone like you.
Being friendly with everyone you meet and handing them a z-card or connecting with them on social media will help increase your opportunities hugely. The phrase, ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ is very true, particularly in an industry that is so difficult to get into.
Models need to lead flexible lives as jobs can occur at any moment. If you’re young and in school, you will need to have a good relationship with your teachers and headmaster so they will allow you to take the odd day off. Be prepared to have to catch up with schoolwork on the weekends.
If you are older than school age, you may need to book time off work to attend castings. A casting could happen on any day of the week. To succeed in modelling, you must be willing and able to attend any interviews you are invited to. If you regularly miss invitations, you will be seen as flaky and they will prioritise a model who is prepared to prioritise their modelling career.
Attending casting calls may also require extensive travel depending on where the interview is taking place. You will have to pay for travel expenses yourself when you are first starting out. Many agencies and brands are located in main cities like London and Manchester, though some may be anywhere in the country and even abroad in places like Paris, Milan, Los Angeles or New York for international companies.
Utilise Social Media
Social media can be a very useful tool for aspiring models as it allows them to share images and control the image you wish to portray. Models who get lots of followers and post interaction will also attract the attention of brands who may reach out to work with them.
Many modelling agencies also like to contact people on social media who they think would be a good fit for their agency (also known as ‘scouting’). So having a good social media presence can really open the door for opportunities to come to you.
Using social media will also allow you to practice posing and feeling comfortable in front of the camera. It will also make you more aware of the process behind a good photo.
It’s a good idea to have profiles on Instagram and TikTok/YouTube if you have the time to create regular content. If you prefer writing, a blog (accompanies with excellent photos) is another way to build a fanbase.
Be Ready to Make Sacrifices
Aspiring models must be willing to make the odd sacrifice if they are serious about becoming successful. This might mean missing a social night out to go to a casting, or it might mean choosing a healthy meal in a restaurant instead of a burger because you have a shoot coming up. You won’t have to give up your whole life, but you will have to miss the odd treat or two.
Remember that the industry is fiercely competitive and those who go the extra mile will be noticed for their effort. Established models have more chance to pick and choose, but aspiring models must put in the work to get noticed.
Don’t Give Up
Rejection is something all models face during their careers. It’s important a model does not take it personally and instead ploughs on regardless. An agency may turn a model away for a number of reasons;
– They may be fully booked
– They may already have a model signed who looks too similar to you
– You may not be a good fit for their clientele
You can apply to as many agencies as you want as many times as you want, so make a list and re-apply to any agencies you don’t hear back from in a few months.