Model FAQ – How do I become a model?

Many people dream of becoming a model, but few understand what it takes to get into the business. It takes more than beauty, it also takes hard work. If you have no clue on how to become a model, but want to try, then you need to learn what steps to take.

1. Realize that there are qualities every model needs to have, depending on the type of model one wishes to become. Generally, any feature indicative of good health is a must–clear skin, a full head of hair, and overall symmetry. Other qualities such as height and weight depend on what you’re modeling.

2. Decide what kind of model you’d like to/can be. Technically, anybody can be a model. Modeling is open to both male and female models and people of any ethnics or national background. The two main modeling categories are Editorial/Fashion (i.e. runway and fashion magazine models) and Commercial.

  • A Fashion Model. If you’re tall (at the very least 5’7(174 cm) for editorial & 5’8(177 cm) for catwalk), slim and healthy looking, you can be a fashion model.
  • Commercial model. Fashion models normally promote high-end designer clothes; commercial models advertise everything else. Females should be between 168 cm (5,6) and 180 cm (5,11) tall.
  • A Plus Size Model. If your body is full and curvaceous, you may be able to be a plus size model.
  • An Underwear Model. If you have large breasts but not very wide hips, you can be an underwear model.
  • Other Types of Modeling. If you don’t fit any of the face or body descriptions, perhaps you can be a foot, hair or hand model

3. Improve your looks
While people might disagree on what looks beautiful, there are a few things everyone can do to improve his or her looks. Dieting, plastic surgery and similar devices are rarely necessary to becoming a model. One must simply work at staying healthy.

  1. Be meticulous about your personal grooming. Your skin, hair and nails should all be clean, healthy and look good at all times.
  2. Learn how to dress. The right clothes can help emphasize your body’s good points and downplay the negatives.
  3. Start a regular skin care regimen.
  4. Learn how to apply makeup. Learning to apply your own make-up to achieve different looks is essential.
  5. Eat a good diet. No, you don’t have to starve yourself down to a size zero, but you will be better off if you cut the sweets and focus on fruits and vegetables.
  6. Drink plenty of water.
  7. Exercise. Again, the focus is not on being thin but being in shape.
  8. Get plenty of sleep. No one looks good with dark circles under his or her eyes.
  9. Practice good dental hygiene. You should also stay away from cigarettes and coffee because they can turn your teeth yellow.
  10. Work on your posture.

4. Look up the number of a reputable modeling agency.

Choosing a modeling agency is something that can help your career greatly. However, if you choose the wrong one or do not take time to make a good choice then you could actually hurt your career. You want to be signed with an agency that is reputable, trustworthy and that will work hard for you.

If you want to be a model, you need to learn how to avoid the scams. Modeling scams have become so common that the Federal Trade Comission has issued its own warning about them. However, you don’t have to become a victim. Learn which agencies to avoid as well as a few basic tips to follow to protect yourself.

Agencies to avoid
There are some signs right up front that an agency might be less than reputable. As a good rule of thumb, avoid any Agencies that:

  1. Charge upfront fees. They might be called “signing fees, new account fees or evaluation fees.”
  2. Require you to use a specific photographer. They might call it a “test shoot.” Real agencies will provide you with a list of photographers you can use.
  3. Require you to go through their classes, for which they charge a fee. Again, this is asking for money up front.
  4. Guarantee you work. Getting booked as a model depends on several factors, most out of the agency’s control.
  5. Advertise. Good modeling agencies receive plenty of inquiries and have no need to advertise.
  6. Claim you can earn a high salary or work full- or part-time. Modeling is by nature irregular and very few models earn high salaries.

5. Be professional
Be polite and always turn up on time to any appointment or shoot. If you’re late or rude, word soon gets around and then nobody will want to work with you.

  • Be organized! Models often get called off places at the last minute and have very busy days. You need to be on top of things if you want to succeed. Buying a day-to-day planner can really help.
  • Be truthful about your measurements. Don’t say you’re skinnier than you are just to get a shoot. Once there, the stylist will have problems and you will get found out. Word will get around and you could find yourself without a career!
  • Treat modeling like a real job. Girls that don’t take it seriously have small chances of succeeding in their modeling career. Realize that it is harder than it appears and there’s a lot of work behind all that glitz and glamor at fashion shows.

Hanne Sagstuen

Norwegian New Yorker Hanne Sagstuen a fashion model, art director and editor in chief. Beautylovin is the website where she shares her take on life, travel, beauty and everything in between.

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