If you want to walk down the runway and strut your stuff or see your fabulous self in a magazine with the latest fashion, you need to learn everything you can about becoming a fashion model. It may not be easy or fun, but the rewards can’t be underestimated. If you are the type of person to follow your dreams, here are a few things to remember.
If you want to become a fashion model, you need to follow seven essential steps:
- Know what you want
- Locate an agency
- Prepare yourself mentally
- Stay away from sketchy people.
- Practice your interview skills
- Get a good headshot
- Stay realistic
Becoming a fashion model is a challenging process, but these are some crucial steps to help you get started down the catwalk of your career. If you are willing to put in some hard work and do your research, you can get started on the job of your dreams alongside the newest fashion accessories and brands.
How Can I Become A Fashion Model?
Research is your best friend when it comes to learning about any industry. Looking for a career, especially when you are just starting, is a daunting task, and it will take every ounce of determination and hard work to succeed. That work starts with your research.
7 Essential Steps To Become A Fashion Model
A lot of modeling comes down to luck. Being in the right place at the right time with the right look is the best way to find success, but it is hard to plan for that. However, having some awareness and preparation is the best way to be ready to take advantage when a great opportunity finally comes knocking.
If you are ready to be the main event and put your face out there, here are seven essential steps to become a fashion model.
Know What You Want
Fashion modeling isn’t all one single job. Runway models are different from fashion show models who are different from commercial models.
Some people are only hand models and take out comprehensive insurance policies on their beautiful fingers, while others are full-body models. Knowing what you want to flaunt as your moneymaker can go a long way towards narrowing down your options.
Additionally, it is vital to know the area you live in and understand the trends. A modeling agency in a big city will be searching for someone with a sleek and sexy look with a lot of contouring makeup, while an agency in the suburbs or a small town will probably be looking for someone completely different. You need to do your research before auditioning.
Here is a short list of different types of fashion models:
- Runway model
- Hand/foot model
- Commercial model
- Magazine model
- Face model
Locate An Agency
This is another step that involves a lot of research. You want to find the right agency to represent you, but there are many scams out there. How can you find and avoid them? One thing to do is find an agency that doesn’t charge you any money upfront. Just signing on with an agency shouldn’t have a cost attached.
The Better Business Bureau is an excellent website to check if you want to know what kind of reputation your agency of choice has. A good agency won’t send you on sketchy jobs or ask you to do things you are not comfortable with. A good agent is essential for learning the ropes of modeling and finding safe but paying jobs.
To get started, here are a few well-known modeling agencies:
Prepare Yourself Mentally
Like most entertainment industries, the world of fashion modeling is cut-throat. Other models may be rude or sabotage you out of jealousy or take your place in gigs. Certain bosses or clients may try to force you into situations that you are uncomfortable in. Less scrupulous agencies may ask for scandalous photos or pressure you into gigs you don’t want.
You should also remember that modeling doesn’t exist to make you famous. If you are going into modeling of any kind, you should keep in mind that you are there to show off the product being modeled and merely create the overall look or design that the director or designer is going for. You may get tired of being treated like a stage prop, but that is essentially what models are: props.
You might have to cut or dye your hair, spend hours or days traveling to photoshoot locations, have to spend a long time standing or crouching in an uncomfortable pose, or any of the other various sacrifices that fashion models make to stay relevant and look cool for the camera. That doesn’t even touch on the strict diets and exercise routines most people need.
Stay Away From Sketchy People
They say that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. That old adage certainly applies to fashion modeling. Many people are competing for the same job, and you might think that you are willing to do whatever it takes to be successful, but that attitude can end up costing you big.
Unfortunately, there are always predators who want to take advantage of young people desperate for fame.
If someone wants to meet you in a private space for a modeling gig, but you end up at a house, or it is just you and one other person, trust your gut. If your instincts are telling you to leave, do not hesitate. Make up whatever excuse you need to and get out of there. The same rules that young women remember when they go to a college party will be your best protection:
- Don’t let someone be alone with you.
- Don’t accept an open drink from another person.
- Trust your gut
- Be wary of things that seem too good to be true.
- If the person is willing to hire you for a lot more than your standard rate, stay on alert. They might be nice, they might see potential in you and want to be your mentor, but it usually means that they will ask for more than you want to give.
Practice Your Interview Skills
One does not simply walk into a fashion model agency and wind up with a long list of well-paying jobs. Your agency is a big help, but they can only take you so far; you need to be able to seal the deal with clients by dazzling them with your winning personality. Plus, if you are looking at a well-reviewed agency, you probably can’t just waltz in and say that you’re ready for your close-up.
Most agencies have a policy where you fill out an application and attach some pictures and headshots. Once they have been approved, you will likely be invited in for an interview. Look up some useful interviewing tips and keep your skills sharp so that once you get the call, you can turn some heads with your casual and courteous attitude.
Some great interviewing tips include:
- Maintaining eye contact with your conversational partner
- Turning off your cell or other electronics before the interview
- Keeping your hands in your lap; fidgeting with jewelry and playing with your hair can be distracting
- Keeping your answers short and sweet
Don’t Throw Away Your (Head)Shot
Having a good headshot is how you get your foot in the door with fashion modeling. You will want to have professional photos of yourself, not just a selfie from Instagram in your arsenal. It may cost a lot more, but it is worth the investment if the headshots lead you to your career. Your headshot should ideally:
- Not have anything in the way of touch-ups.
- You should wear little to no makeup for the headshot.
- Your hair should be kept in a clean and simple hairstyle.
The point of a headshot is for the agency or client to get a sense of you as a clean slate. They will want to do your makeup and style your hair to suit their needs, so you don’t want to overdo it in the original photo, or they may not choose you.
Fashion modeling is one of the most challenging careers to make it in. It’s essential to keep your head out of dreamland and know that most people who haven’t been modeling before the age of 22 probably won’t be able to land a job as a runway model. It may not be nice to hear, but it’s true. If you want to be a model, you need to start around puberty for your best chances.
However, for other types of modeling, you can start a little bit later in life. If you are in your late teens or early twenties and haven’t had any modeling work before, you might be able to find an agency that can bring you on for commercial work or magazine work. You might not be strutting down the catwalk, but there are many more opportunities for other kinds of modeling.
How Much Money Do Fashion Models Make?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016, the average salary for a fashion model is $21,870. One-fourth of all models make less than $19,000 annually. If you want to be a model, you will likely need a second job or independent wealth to support yourself if you live in a metropolitan city like Los Angeles or New York City.
For the select few models who do make it big, however, you can earn up to $20,000 per show as a runway model or see hourly rates like $100. Keep in mind, though, that a fashion agency makes its money by taking a cut of your earnings, so you won’t be able to keep every penny. Most models make about $20.00 an hour when they are starting.
Additionally, for many models who are starting out and trying to build their portfolio, you may have to do some work for free to beef up your resume. It might be better to have reputable companies who have worked with you before knowing your face and name if you can handle working for free.
How Tall Do You Have To Be To Become A Fashion Model?
On average, most female runway models are between 5’8 and 6’0. However, there are no hard and fast rules for companies. Also, because the runway isn’t the only kind of fashion model with job opportunities, it doesn’t matter how tall you are. There is no height requirement for being a fashion model.
What Size Do You Have To Be To Become A Fashion Model?
Now that more companies are making fashion lines for plus-sized people, there isn’t a specific size that you have to be to become a fashion model. Men and women of all shapes and sizes can now be considered possible candidates for modeling. However, it should be noted that the most successful international models are between 110 and 130lbs.
Although modeling alone likely won’t pay you enough to live if you happen to be in one of the larger cities in America, plenty of people love being in front of the camera and striking a pose with the latest fall fashion. Very few people make enough to have modeling be their only job, but it might make for a fun and exciting side hustle.