Modelling is a notoriously tricky and competitive industry to enter into. However, for the driven few, it can be a rewarding and lucrative career.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in modelling, read on to discover our top expert tips.
1. Do Your Research
You might think that a model’s job is pretty easy, but think again. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes aside from looking great and posing for photos. For the best chances of success, you need to know what you’re getting into.
Models must put effort into their looks year-round. That means having a good diet and exercise routine consistently, not just when your summer holiday is approaching.
Models also need to know how to market themselves. As a model, you yourself are the product. You must learn how to make a good first impression, or you’ll struggle to find work.
It’s a good idea to learn about the different brands and publications you might be working with.
Models also need to know how to negotiate, how to understand a contract, how to network and how to stay safe.
While it’s true that a lot can be learnt on the job, give yourself the best opportunities possible by doing some research beforehand.
2. Health & Fitness
It can’t be underestimated how important a model’s health and overall fitness is to their career. Modelling is all about looks, so a model must know how to keep their body in good shape. In the past, models have received backlash for undereating. But the rise in knowledge about nutrition and training means most top models work with nutritionists and personal trainers to learn their specific body types and understand what works best for them.
Most models work out up to 5 days a week, and they eat well 80% of the time. Leading up to an important show or shoot, that can increase to working out 7 days a week (sometimes twice a day), and eating healthily 100% of the time. Models must make sacrifices and you might struggle if you love to indulge or hate to work out.
3. Looking Good
We’ve touched on health and fitness, but what about skin, hair and nails? Models work hard to look after all their body parts so they can be photo-ready whenever they’re needed.
A model must learn what works for their specific looks. They must learn how to look after their skin and prevent acne and ageing, they must learn what makeup products emphasize their features (with the help of top makeup artists), they must look after their hair and maintain its health (again, with the help of hair stylists). They must moisturise from top to toe and get spray tans, they must look after their feet and nails, they must groom their eyebrows and do what they can to prevent marks on the skin.
Basically, looking consistently good is a lot more work that it might first seem.
4. Modelling Portfolio
Your model portfolio is one of the main tools of the industry, and it’s imperative yours is up to standard. Yours should contain up to 20 high-quality images of you showing off your experience and skill as a model.
Your portfolio will accompany you to all your auditions, interviews and casting calls. It needs to stand out from hundreds of others and prove you’re worth signing up.
Only include your absolute best modelling photos. Include both headshots and full-length body shots, and try to include images that relate to the niche of modelling you are interested in. For example, lingerie models should include plenty of underwear and bikini shots, while fitness models should incorporate more athletic-inspired shots.
You will also need to include accurate information in your portfolio including your body measurements (shoulders, bust, waist, hips), dress size, shoe size, height and contact information.
The z-card is another useful tool for models. A z-card is a credit card-sized card with your modelling information on, as well as a few of your best shots and your contact information.
Z-cards are great for keeping on you at all times. They can be given out at events or while working to people you feel may help or hire you professionally.
A model shouldn’t underestimate the importance of networking. Modelling is a nepotistic industry (its not what you know, its who you know!) You need to make connections inside the industry to increase your opportunities and get your name out there.
6. Signing to an Agency
Many models want to get signed to a modelling agency. This is the best way of finding work as agencies provide you with protection, opportunities, support and a larger network of people.
Unfortunately, all models want to get signed, so it is a competitive and therefore difficult thing to accomplish for many. Some models who are in the right place at the right time get scouted by agency workers, but this is a rarity. The best way to try and get signed is to approach agencies yourself.
There are hundreds of agencies and you can find them all online, along with an application form that should feature somewhere on their site. You can apply to as many agencies as you like, as many times as you like, though try not to re-apply more than once every 6 months or so.
Remember that these agencies receive thousands of applications each week, so rejection is common. This is why its so important that you have a strong portfolio to stand out from the rest. An agency may reject you because they already have a model on their books who looks similar to you, or because your look doesn’t fit their clientele. Keep trying and don’t give up. If you’re really struggling to get noticed, try improving your experience and portfolio.
7. Utilising Instagram
Social media is a handy tool for anyone trying to get noticed. Instagram in particular has helped advance many model careers. As well as gaining fans and attention, Instagram allows you to share your experience and expertise as a model, as well as attract the attention of brands.
You can gain work and make money from being found on Instagram, or from Instagram collaborations and paid advertisements. Either way, it’s a great way to improve your opportunities and get noticed.
Be warned, however; using social media to boost your career is a time-consuming and tricky thing to do. Don’t underestimate the sheer amount of work it will take to grow a following.
8. Keep Going
No one said getting into the business of modelling would be easy. If it is truly your dream, you need to keep going and not give up, particularly when you face rejection. Rejection is a common occurence in the modelling industry and you must be accepting of this. If you’re the type of person who gives up after the first hurdle, modelling is not for you.
Further Top Tips
– Those who are located in major cities like London will find it easier to get to and from auditions, casting calls and jobs with brands and agencies.
– Runway modelling isn’t for everyone; only a fraction of the world’s population are able to meet the strict requirements. Remember that commercial modelling features plenty of sub-categories including fitness, petite, swimsuit, glamour models and more.
– Practice! You need to be confident and able in front of the camera and on a professional photo shoot to be accepted back for other jobs. Unless you are naturally gifted, a lack of experience will show. There’s no harm in mastering your posing, angles and facial expressions in front of the mirror to really nail those jobs you get invited back to.
– Learn as much as you can about the process of photography so you understand it more. You’ll be surprised how much natural lighting, camera lenses, and equipment can completely change the mood and appearance of a shoot.
– Practice your off-duty model look; you never know when you might be spotted!
– Read fashion industry news and keep updated on the latest trends.
– Be prepared to make some sacrifices for the job, particularly when you’re on your way up the ladder.
– Female models should regularly measure their bust and update their portfolio information as breast shape and size fluctuates constantly.
– Make friends with everyone you meet; fellow models, photographers, make-up artists, everyone!