Topless modelling can be a lucrative part-time job for many (and for a select few, a full-time and exciting career). Unfortunately, it can also be a dangerous and exploitive industry.
Here’s how to have a successful and safe career in the world of topless modelling.
What is Topless Modelling?
Topless modelling is a sub-category of the modelling industry that requires models to pose without a top on.
Some models pose seductively and this is more commonly thought of as glamour modelling. These types of shots used to be regularly seen on page 3 of The Sun newspaper and in lads-mag style publications. They are also seen in calendars. Glamour shots tend to focus more on the sexuality of the model, rather than a particular brand or product.
Other models, such as high-fashion models, pose in a more artistic way whilst topless. The breasts may be cleverly hidden by props, or by their pose (long, beautiful hair is regularly used to cover breasts). Occasionally, models will showcase themselves fully topless. Topless high fashion poses are not generally deemed overly sexy or seductive. Topless high-fashion models are usually selling a product or brand.
Male models regularly pose topless to show off their muscles and physiques, though occasionally you will see a fully nude image of a male model. It is less common than female models and their private areas are usually hidden by the pose or by props.
High-Fashion Models Who Have Posed Topless
Many supermodels have posed topless or even completely nude at some point during their careers. These images are usually for campaign shots for high-end brands or magazines including Vogue, Calvin Klein, Stuart Weitzman, Victoria’s Secret and more.
Supermodels who have posed topless and/or nude include:
– Bella Hadid
– Gigi Hadid
– Cara Delevingne
– Kate Moss
– Romee Strijd
– Kendall Jenner
– Naomi Campbell
– Tyra Banks
– Jourdan Dunn
– Jasmine Tookes
What is the Criteria for Topless Modelling?
Since 2003, models must legally be over the age of 18 to pose topless.
If a brand, agency or photographer tries to convince a model who is under the age of 18 to pose topless, this is a huge red flag.
For other topless model criteria, it depends on the brand. They may require a slim figure with narrow hips and a fuller bust (a C to an EE). Some brands request no excess muscles and no cellulite. They may also request that you have good hair, skin and teeth.
For other brands (in particular commercial or alternative brands), you do not have to have a slim figure or large breasts to pose topless. Glamour models may be required to have a fuller bust, but many high-fashion models have smaller breasts.
Topless modelling is seen in every form of modelling, including petite, body parts, high fashion and commercial. There are no height restrictions and the main requirement is to have an overall attractive appearance.
Do I Have to Model Topless?
No model can be forced to pose in a manner they are not comfortable with. This includes topless or nude modelling.
Some models even include a line in their contract which states they are not happy to model without clothes on. This is a great idea if you are sure it is something you don’t want to do; it legally protects you and makes it clear to agencies and brands what you are happy to do as a model.
I’m Not Sure if I Want to Pose Topless – What Should I Do?
If you are not sure whether you want to pose with a revealed chest area, it’s best to step back from the situation and really think about it. Photos will last forever and any images you have taken will be on the internet for all to see.
Unfortunately, topless or nude images may destroy future career opportunities. If you are thinking about pursuing a career in the future which may be affected by this (like working in law, for example), it’s best not to do it as, once taken, there’s nothing you can do to stop people seeing the images.
Only you can decide whether or not you are happy to pose topless. Do not let anyone force or cajole you into doing it if you are uncertain. Only those who are 100% happy to do so should do it.
Topless shoots have been known to boost model’s careers through national exposure, but remember that everyone (including friends, family, your children and past/future partners) will be able to see these images. You should try to be 100% sure that you are not likely to be affected or regret having such images taken in the future.
How to Stay Safe as a Topless Model
When posing nude or topless, all models should feel safe and protected. Unfortunately, there are some people in the industry who may try to take advantage or exploit topless models. It is imperative that all models are smart about their choices to protect themselves.
Topless modelling and the field of topless glamour is an exciting path to take in a modelling career, but your safety should ALWAYS be your number one priority. Even in topless modelling, no two experiences will be similar and it is your responsibility to do your research before each shoot. If you are successful, you will get to experience a variety of photo-shoots with many different brands and photographers. Be sure that each and every one is professional.
Do Your Research
You should always research who you are working with. From your agency to the brands, make sure the people you are meeting are legitimate and professional.
If you are approached online, always treat this with caution as it’s very easy for con artists to take advantage of aspiring models. Never call a number given to you by a stranger claiming to be from a certain company; always visit the company’s official website and ring that number to verify whether or not the person legitimately works for them.
You should also never send photos via social media to people you are not certain are professionals. Most professionals will not approach you via social media unless they have no other way of contacting you.
Get Signed to a Good Agency
Safety is the height of importance for topless and nude modelling. Having a good agency will mean you have unlimited support should you need it.
A good agency will never force you into uncomfortable situations and they should support the choices you make about your body.
Unless you are a glamour model, topless bookings will not be an everyday occurrence. Talk to your agency and make sure you are fully aware of what is expected of you.
Know Your Photographer
The concept of working with attractive nude models can attract the wrong people into the business, but for a reputable photographer it should just be another day in the office.
Research the photographer and check out their work. Are they known in the industry? Do they have good reviews? What type of images do they generally take? Has anyone ever complained about them? In particular, look for comments from previous models who have worked with them.
There should be a private area for you to undress and you should be offered a robe for you to wear between shoots.
Grow a Thick Skin
Topless modelling may result in people giving you grief. Men may feel they are entitled to you/your body because they have already seen it. You may also face backlash from other members of the community who do not agree with this form of nudity.
You must feel confident and sure of yourself. Don’t let negativity and critique affect you.
How to Pose Topless
– Having a confident attitude at topless photo-shoots is a must
– Follow the photographer and shoot the manager’s guidance
– Remember that you can change your mind at any time
– Practice in front of a mirror or set up a camera
– Maintain a good bust by exercising the upper portion of your body and using moisturisers to keep skin healthy and glowing
– Know what to expect. You will have a better experience if you are not nervous about the unknown.
The Cancellation of Page 3 Topless Models
The Sun, a Rupert Murdoch newspaper, dropped its infamous page 3 girl in 2003 after a 3-year campaign ran by Lucy-Anne Holmes picked up steam. Lucy believes that the page 3 girl is an outdated and sexist tradition.
Some models have fought against the banning of topless photos in lads mags and newspapers, saying it is the right of women to appear topless if they wish to do so.
The topless picture demise has meant there are less opportunities for glamour models than there once were.
How to Get Into Topless Modelling
As with all forms of modelling, a topless model needs to have a good portfolio in order to be noticed and land a good agency. If topless modelling is your main goal, focus on filling your portfolio with relevant images that show your flexibility and strengths as a model.
Apply to agencies who work with the type of brands you are interested in. There are some agencies who specialise in working with glamour models. If you are interested in topless modelling but not glamour modelling, apply to alternative agencies and be sure to inform them of your preferences.
Brands are always on the lookout for new-face models, so keep applying and don’t let rejection put you off. Don’t forget, many models are turned down initially.