There is no single path to follow for getting started. Different models have found success through different routes. If you want to become a doctor, for example, there is a set course of schooling, experience, and testing to follow. But for a career in modeling, there is no clear path. Some of the ways that I know models have gotten started in the past are listed below. Although it is by no means an exhaustive list, it might help you launch your
☛ career in modeling.
☛ Front Door - Go to the Source
☛ Know Someone
☛ The Fates
☛ Hard work
☛ Try to Buy Success
This is the burning question. The general guidelines for women are height 5'9" to 6', around size 6, 34B-24-34, and 14-21 years of age (more details). For men the guidelines are height around 6' (a couple of inches over or under), size 40R. Are there exceptions to this? You bet. Is it fair? No. Are there petite sizes and plus sizes? Yes. Do commercial, glamour, acting, or smaller markets care anything about these sizes? Not much. Only if you want to work high fashion in the major markets like New York are these numbers important.
Yes. It has been my experience that models that have photogenic faces and bodies do not necessarily have photogenic hands and feet. Hand models, for example, are difficult to find and frequently a photographer uses one model for the face while another model's hands may be reaching into the picture. Of course the photographer makes it look like one person, but in fact there are two. Jewelry photographers look for good hands, a nice neck, and photogenic ears. As with hands, good ears are hard to find, as they must have the right shape, with smooth skin, and pierced for only one earring, not five. Paying jobs for modeling jewelry, however, seldom come along. Body-parts models follow career paths similar to regular models. If you are interested in this type of modeling, be sure to read through the Modeling Advice section of this site.
You hear about the fabulous big money that supermodels make, but only a handful of models in the world ever achieve this kind of income, which can be in the millions. Most models earn far less, assuming they get any work at all. Modeling fees for markets outside of New York, as a general rule will be in the same range as a photographer's fees. For example, in Portland, Oregon, when I last checked, modeling agencies fees were $150 an hour. As you move to larger markets fees for photographers and models go up (one agency in New York was asking $250 per hour).While you may not have the income of an elite supermodel, you can make a good living if you can find steady work. And that is a big "if".
First the YES part. Reviewing snapshots of potential models is a normal screening practice used by modeling agencies. You send them a couple of snapshots of yourself, usually a head-and-shoulder shot and a full-length body shot in a bathing suit or tight clothes. Some say they can tell from these snapshots whether you have what it takes for modeling.
You should send good, clear, properly exposed, properly composed photographs in which you are properly positioned. They can use these photos as a screening tool. This means that if there is an opening for someone with your look, the agency will be interested in meeting with you in person to see if, in fact, you look like your picture. This does not necessarily mean that you have or do not have what it takes to be a model. It just gets you an interview and maybe on to a test shoot.
I have never personally been to one of these events (nor are any of them asking me to come and check them out) and I have not seen any 60 Minutes type of journalistic investigation on them. I have looked over their web sites and I have seen endless chat-rooms that call these events the biggest rip-offs out there. I don't know of any top models that have come out of conventions and searches, although I do know of one TV actress discovered at IMTA. What I do know is that for the money some of these organizations charge, you could fly to New York, stay for week, and do open calls at every top agency in the city. Personally, I don't feel that they are a very good investment. There are better ways to get discovered.
Remember the story of the three blind men describing an elephant? One man felt the trunk, another felt the tail, and the third felt the leg. Each had a different description of what the elephant was like. The modeling industry is the same way. The modeling industry is big and has many specialty areas. What I have experienced is quite different from what fashion photographer has experienced. And what he has experienced is quite different from what glamour photographer has. And what we all have experienced is quite different from what the modeling agencies are going to tell you.
Another thing that leads to different views on the industry is that we are all small business people, each one running his/her own business in as many unique ways, and hopefully better than the competition. This leads to a lot of different ideas about how things work and how things should be done. It can also lead to confusion and presents opportunities for con artists. Since there is no set way to become a model, it leaves the door open for the "expert" to "guarantee" to make you a top model for only a small, non-refundable fee. Watch out and try to educate yourself on the many areas of the modeling industry.
The first is a matter of knowing if you are a modeling agency, a model management firm or a modeling school. A modeling agency finds works for models. This can range for any type of runway (mall shows, tea room shows, fashion runway, department shows), photo shoots (fashion and commercial print) commercial acting, and personal appearance (auto show, samplers). In some states and agency is considered to be an employment agency and must meet all of the state laws and regulation for this type of business. Many businesses try to avoid this by calling themselves modeling management firm and their role is to work with independent contractors or businesses (the model) to develop their career and business and to put them in contact with firms that need their services. The last business form is a school. With a school the purpose is to train and prepare an individual for a career in modeling and not to find them work. Where I think a lot of folks go wrong is thinking these are all the same and not writing a business plan base on one of these types of businesses.
☛ Tell us about your education? What languages do you speak? Have you attended fashion modeling courses? What courses have you taken?
☛ Why would you think you're fit for being a model?
☛ What are your goals as a model? How do you see yourself progress in this field?
☛ What do you know about the advertisement industry, advertising psychology and photography?
☛ How do you communicate with people? Are you patient? Are you friendly? How open are you to clients' requirements?
☛ What is your nutrition? How often do you go to the gym? Do you practice constantly?
☛ What do you hope to accomplish at our modeling agency?
☛ What are you likes and dislikes?
☛ What is your availability? Traveling? Full-time, part time? hours?
☛ What are some of the main differences between runway and photographic modeling?
☛ What was the premise for the shoot you did with the photographer?
☛ What's your favorite outfit in this set of photos?
☛ What's your favorite outfit from your own closet? Do you have your own personal uniform?
☛ Describe the atmosphere when you're on a shoot. Do you play music? Do you talk with the photographer between shots?
☛ Anything else you'd like to say?
☛ Tell us about yourself: Why do you want to work as a model? Why are you interested in this Career? What led you to apply for this job?