Modelling Advice: Tricks of the Trade

Modelling is a difficult industry to enter. It’s a highly coveted and competitive industry and aspiring models face lots of rejection. Despite this, that doesn’t stop thousands of hopefuls keenly applying to modelling agencies in the hopes their modelling dreams will soon be realised.

If you’re eager to become the next top model, read on for some simple modelling advice that could help you land your dream agency/job.

Be Realistic

Firstly, it’s important to manage your expectations. You will likely be disappointed if you’re dreaming about being the next Kate Moss – not only because there’s only one of her, but because achieving such high levels of success in the modelling industry is really, really difficult.

Don’t be discouraged. You can still have an amazing career modelling even if you don’t reach supermodel levels of fame. Be realistic about what you’re likely to achieve.

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Modelling Advice 101: Be Smart

There are so many different types of modelling – are you aware of them all, and do you know which category you fit into (and does this match with the niche you want to be in?)

Here are some of the niches of modelling available:

– High fashion

– Commercial (aka catalogue)

– Fitness

– Plus-size

– Petite

– Glamour/lingerie

– Alternative

High fashion has notoriously strict requirements, and is therefore the most difficult to get into. High fashion models walk on the catwalk at runway shows and model for the most luxury premium and designer brands. Most aspiring models dream of working in this sector, but only a fraction will meet the standards expected.

Commercial and all other forms of modelling, however, are far more lax about their requirements, meaning there’s far more accessibility. Most prefer those who are tall and fairly slender with a proportional hourglass shape, but there are certain agencies and brands that require other types of body shapes, too.

For the best chances of success, you need to know which modelling niche you fit into best. You can then research the type of brands that work with that type of model, and cater your agency applications to match.

Applying to Agencies

Some models are lucky enough to be noticed and approached by model scouts, but the average model must find their own opportunities.

An aspiring model should looking into getting signed by a decent agency for the best chances of success. A modelling agency will sign a model and then invite them to auditions (also known as casting calls). If a model manages to land a booking, the agency will take a cut from their paycheck.

Having a good agency gives a model credibility, as well as vital support. Being a freelance model is a possibility, but many models struggle without an agency as they must find their own auditions and do all the legwork themselves.

You can apply to as many agencies as you like, and there’s no limit on how many times you can apply (though it’s a good idea not to apply more than once every 6 months or so). Be sure to follow the guidelines on their submission process. If an agency likes your look, they’ll invite you for an in-person meeting where they can evaluate your look and decide there and then whether you’d be a good fit for their agency.

If you’re not getting anywhere with your applications, you should think about updating your application photos. Remember, agencies receive hundreds if not thousands of applications each week, and yours has to stand out from the crowd. A selfie taken on an old phone camera probably won’t make much of an impression.

If you don’t yet have any decent professional photos, it’s a good idea to think about booking in with a studio. Not only will this give you important practice in front of a camera in a professional photo shoot environment, but you can purchase your favourite photos to go into your portfolio (we’ll talk more about your modelling portfolio in a minute).

Looking (and Feeling) Good

Have you ever seen a photograph of a model looking less than perfect? Not likely! Most models are naturally beautiful due to their good genes, but that doesn’t mean they don’t also spend a lot of time, money and energy enhancing, polishing and maintaining their appearance.

Your diet and exercise routine are really important as a model. You have to maintain a good physique year-round, which means having a healthy lifestyle 90% of the time. Eating well and exercising will also cause skin, hair and nails to be healthy and strong.

Most models also have a good skincare routine. Many regularly visit an esthetician or dermatologist for facials and skin-resurfacing treatments to keep acne at bay and prevent/undo unwanted pigmentation.

As well as the basics, models learn all about makeup and hairstyling. Most regularly have experts touching up their features for work, so they’re able to pick up tips whilst on the job. These tips will become valuable when you’re away from the camera; they don’t call it off-duty model chic for nothing!

Having a Great Portfolio

A model’s portfolio is their single most useful tool in the industry. A portfolio is used when applying to agencies and brands – it’s the first thing most would-be employers look at and judge you by. If your portfolio photos are no up to standard, you could miss out on lots of great opportunities.

Your portfolio should be around A4 in size and contain up to 20 high-quality photos. If you’re not good at photography or finding your angles, hire a professional to help you take some snapshots – investing in your portfolio photos is one of the few ways you can invest in your modelling career as a starter in the industry.


It’s not what you know – it’s who you know! And in the modelling industry, that couldn’t be more appropriate. Networking is an important part of being a model. You never know who might get you your next big break. And it’s not just photographers or directors – you’re makeup artist and hair stylist are also people in the know. Be polite and friendly with everyone you meet, and think about keeping some z-cards on you at all time for when you want to pass on your contact information.

Avoiding Scams

Aspiring models are, unfortunately, prone to attracting scams. People take advantage of a model’s keenness and naivety to make it into the industry. Don’t allow yourself to be scammed!

If you’re approached online, always ALWAYS research the person contacting you. Do this by contacting the company they claim to be from. Go through the company’s official channels (i.e. find their website yourself and ring the number provided). Don’t use any e-mail addresses or phone numbers that they send you themselves until you’ve verified who they are.

When attending a casting call or audition, tell a friend or family member where you’ll be (or even bring them along if it’s your first time). You should always feel comfortable in every situation.

Modelling agencies will not usually ask for money upfront. They also won’t ask you to pay for modelling lessons or other industry-related costs. Never give your bank information to someone you’re uncertain of.

Remember – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Modelling scams are rife and it’s your responsibility to ensure your own safety. Don’t allow exciting opportunities to blind you to potential fraud.

Staying Positive

In such a competitive industry, it can often be hard to remain positive. But it’s important that you maintain a positive attitude while attempting to become a model; those with a more sensitive personality or who can’t brush off negativity or rejection will really struggle. Even Victoria’s Secret models must face rejection at some point during their career, so you’re in good company! Stay focused and keep going; you’ll soon find your first big break.

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