Could I Be a Model?
3 Comments • Uncategorized • By Melissa
Do you often ask yourself, ‘could I be a model?’ It’s not just as simple as looking pretty. Modelling takes a lot of determination and hard work, both in front of the camera and away from it.
Read on to find out if you have what it takes to become a fashion model.
What Are the Requirements to Be a Model?
The requirements for being a model change depending on your gender, as well as the type of modelling you wish to enter into.
For example, high-fashion modelling (also known as catwalk or runway modelling – basically, the type of modelling all supermodels do) is notoriously strict about its requirements. In fact, it is said that only 1% of the world’s population has the correct body types to be accepted for this form of modelling. Women need to be around 5’8” and 5’11” in height with a UK 6-8 dress size and a 34″-24″-34″ bust, waist and hip measurement. For men, their height should be between 5’11″ and 6’3”, their waist should measure 29-32 inches and their chest 39-40 inches.
For commercial modelling, things are a little more relaxed. For traditional commercial modelling, brands and agencies still prefer models to be tall (over 5’7″) with an hourglass figure. But the different types of commercial modelling allow for different body shapes and types; plus-size and petite obviously have completely different allowances, as does alternative and lingerie. Body parts modelling only requires you to have one part of your body a certain way, while alternative tends to prefer the quirky look.
Age range is also a factor. For high-fashion modelling, they prefer young people in their teens and early 20’s. For other forms of modelling, age is more flexible. There are some agencies looking specifically for mature models to cater to a specific audience.
It’s all about finding the correct niche or modelling category to suit your unique look; once you’ve figured out which style of modelling you match, you can get applying to agencies that accept that type of model. If you know that you can reflect a specific target audience, you can find work in modelling.
Do I Need to Study Modelling?
No, you don’t need to study modelling to be a model. But there is a bit of a catch – brands like to work with models who already have experience. It’s difficult to get work if you don’t have any previous work… we told you there was a catch!
That’s why many aspiring models work for free (or for freebies) initially, just to build their experience and portfolio. Once they have become more established, they can start to charge for their work.
It works slightly differently through an agency. The difficult part is getting signed. This can take a while because you’re competing against thousands of other hopefuls. But if you’re lucky enough to be noticed and get signed to an agency’s books, you will be offered opportunities to audition for different modelling jobs. There are never any guarantees in the world of modelling, so you must continue to have a good work ethic and never take anything for granted.
Looking After Yourself Physically and Mentally
Modelling doesn’t end when you want away from a photo shoot. A model must put in a lot of hard work behind the scenes.
Part of this is looking after your physique. Models work out a lot to keep their bodies in good shape year-round. They can’t let themselves alter too much, or they could lose work. They must maintain or update their measurements constantly so brands and agencies know what they are working with.
Models must also put in other forms of work, including skincare, hair and nail care, and other forms of beauty hygiene and maintenance. While these things may feel like treats to us, to a model they are an essential part of their job.
Another aspect of self-care is mental health. Whilst this has been an often overlooked topic in the past, a recent discussion about the importance of good mental health has raised awareness. If you’re not able to brush off criticism, or you struggle to be away from home alone a lot, or you can’t stand rejection, you’re going to struggle as a model.
You also need to have a lot of self-confidence and assurance. There are those in the industry who will tell you to do certain things in order to get ahead (for example, lose weight), even if it is unhealthy or dangerous to your welfare. You need to be able to step back and tell these people no. Knowing your worth as a model is essential.
If you’re the type to give up easily when things don’t go your way off the bat, modelling is not the industry for you! Modelling is all about perseverance – finding an agency that will accept you, going to auditions and facing a lot of rejection, working hard in the gym consistently, eating well constantly… it all requires time and patience. If modelling is truly the occupation you want, you’ll have no trouble riding it out when times get tough. But if you’re the type who is after instant gratification, modelling isn’t the job for you.
Similarly, you shouldn’t get into modelling purely for money or fame. Most models never make it big time; only a select few make it to superstardom, and it’s usually because they are famous elsewhere (for example, they have famous parents), or they were in the right place at the right time to be scouted. You have to know you might never make it big, and you might never make millions from modelling – but if you enjoy what you do, you’ll have a rich life regardless.
Following on from the above, it’s important that you have the right attitude and mindset to succeed as a model. All models are hardworking, tenacious and resilient. You need to be able to do long hours, travel at all hours of the day and night, be OK being away from home for long stretches, and you need to be OK with being alone, too. Modelling can be a lonely business, especially for those not used to the lifestyle.
You also need to be a people person. As a model, you will be working with strangers constantly. Are you comfortable enough to be in a state of undress (for example, in a swimsuit) around people you don’t know? Are you good at being friendly and taking direction? Can you have a positive, can-do attitude even when tired or hungry? If you answered no to these questions, you might want to rethink modelling.
Being a people person will also make networking easier for you, and networking is the best way to get noticed in the industry, which can lead to more work. Models often attend events and parties with networking in mind.
Finally, modelling also requires you to be photogenic. Do you feel comfortable and natural in front of the camera? Do you know your best angles? Do you know how to be graceful? For some, this comes naturally, but for others they need to work on and practice their technique. You could be the most aesthetically appealing person in the world, but you could still photograph poorly if you don’t know what you’re doing. Fortunately, this is something you can get better at. Practice posing in front of the mirror, and ask a friend to take photos of you so you can see what you look like. Try to emulate editorials and other photos you find in high fashion magazines.
It’s also a great idea to book in for a professional photo shoot. If you’re new to modelling, this can be advantageous for several reasons. Firstly, it will give you excellent experience in a real-life setting. It will give you the experience to decide whether modelling is something you enjoy doing and wish to pursue. It will also give you a chance to purchase any photos taken, which you can then include in your modelling portfolio (an essential modelling tool) and on your z-cards.