Modeling Advice




This page contains straight talk and hard truth about modeling.



1.  Children are NEVER hired directly.

Anyone under age 18 should NEVER contact an agency, photographer, or client directly.  Modeling business professionals WILL NOT deal directly with a minor (person under the legal adult age of 18).  They will only deal with the parents or the agency of the minor.  It is DANGEROUS for any minor to solicit modeling offers or give out any kind of personal or contact information to strangers.  If a minor is interested in applying to a photographer or agency, they must have their parents make the inquiry for them.  

2.  Your adult height limits your modeling potential.

Not everyone can be a fashion or runway model.  You might have the perfect face, but if you don't have the height, you cannot be considered for certain jobs.  If you don't meet the needs of the clients, you will not be hired.  The following are criteria for what types of jobs you can get based on your height.

Fashion / Runway
Females:  must be 5'9" or taller and very slim (size 4 to 6)
Males:  must be 6'0" or taller and very well defined muscles

Catalog / Commercial Product
Females:  must be 5'8" or taller and very slim (size 4)
Males:  must be 5'10" or taller and slim build

Petite Catalog 
Females:  must be 5'6" to 5'8" and very slim (size 4)

If you don't fit these categories, be wary of promises from any photographer, "charm school," or supposed agency which claims otherwise.

3.  Models are the Lowest Budget Item

According to the Federal Bureau of Labor job statistics (for 2004) - full-time professional fashion & commercial models earned an average of $27,480 per year, which averages out to just over $13.21 an hour.  (See weblink: ).    Also - the study shows that the 90% of ALL full-time models make less than $17.17 per hour.  To use an comparison, if you're Bill Gates of Microsoft (the top computer professional in the world), you earn considerably more than the average computer programmer.  Modeling is the same, in that only a handful of models in the world make "6 figures." 

The fees paid to models are the very least of the expenses of the job/shoot.  In addition to the modeling fees, there are reproduction costs of the advertising (fees paid to magazines, networks, websites to display the final advertising), the fees paid the advertising agency that designed the layout, photographer fees, production fees, location rentals, costuming and prop fees, and fees paid to assistants --- such as photography stylists and make-up artists.

Know your place in the "pecking order."  In the modeling industry - the client is the KING!  Do whatever the client tells you, or you're banished from the kingdom.  After the client, the pecking order is the advertising agency reps,  the photographer or videographer, the set assistants, and finally the model.  

If a model doesn't meet the needs of the shoot (or worse yet, blows off the assignment), the amount of money "down the drain" is often over 100-times what the model was to be paid.  If a model blows off an assignment, you can guarantee that the client, advertising agency, photographer, stylist, make-up artist, costumer, and assistants will "spread the word" that the model is a "flake and a fake."

4.  Modeling is a BUSINESS and HARD WORK.

Modeling can be lots of fun, but it is also very hard work.  Don't fool yourself.  Modeling is a serious business.  While some sessions and jobs are thrills, often times there is very little "fun" about modeling.  Most models end up going to hundreds of auditions and are constantly rejected or told they are too short or too fat or too plain or too old.  If you do get a job, you are often having to stand in awkward poses in uncomfortable outfits in impossible settings and environments -- all the while putting on a "happy" face.  There are great perks however.  Fame and the possibility of fortune draw HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS each year to the modeling profession.  

5.  Starting at the Bottom and Working Your Way to the Top

Just like any other job, there is no "starting at the top!"  Just like everyone else without a professional college education and substantial job experience, getting jobs and reasonable wages in modeling is very difficult.  Starting models often earn little over minimum wage when starting their modeling careers.  As they learn more and perform more jobs, the fees gradually increase.  Persistence is important.  Most models get frustrated and give up before they are able to earn the experience and skills they need in order to be "worth" a reasonable fee.  Only the strong survive and prosper.  Take ANY jobs that come your way.  Gain the skills and experience you need, and slowly work your way up the ladder.  (Everyone else has to, so you're in good company.)

6.  Think LONG TERM, not Short Term

Many models blow their career by making stupid and avoidable mistakes.  For instance, skipping out on a low-paying assignment because it doesn't seem "worth the effort" will often blacklist a model so no-one will want to work with them again.  Also does turning down jobs because of low budget (and therefore low pay).  Doing great on a low-budget job will help convince clients to re-hire the model over and over again.  It is much more profitable to do ten $100 jobs than one $400 job.  Finally, models need to figure out where their looks, body style, and interests fit into the marketplace.  Rather than focus on short-term "I wanna be a famous model..." - the prospective model needs to develop a long-term plan of how they will gradually get to their goal by taking work in their area of interest, working with talented people, and learning skills that will make them valuable and "hirable" in the future.


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