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Fashion Modeling: How to Become a Fashion Model

How to Become a Model  

We have all heard of Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, and Cindy Crawford. They were the world’s first supermodels who appeared on the covers of the most popular fashion magazines. But, if you’re wondering how to become a model today, you should know that a lot has changed since the 1990’s. Modeling is still a challenging and highly competitive field, however nowadays there are a lot more opportunities in the modeling and the fashion industry for people of all shapes and sizes. Modeling is a career that requires a lot of hard work, dedication, patience, and determination, and most importantly thick skin. So, if you’re considering the possibility of becoming a professional model, here are some tips to help you get started.

What is modeling?

Fashion modeling recruits people to pose either on stage or in photographs and display certain clothes and accessories, in order to allow the public to see how certain fashion looks. A fashion model will work with different brands, fashion designers, makeup artists, stylists, and photographers to advertise a wide range of products like clothes, accessories, beauty products, and other consumer goods. Models promote services in order to increase attention, create interest, and generate sales. 

How to be a model?

The fashion industry is fiercely competitive, so in order to become a model, the first thing you’ll need to do is to do your research and  find out exactly what type of modeling you would like to do. Nowadays, there are so many types of modeling that you can easily find the one that best suits your looks  as well as your personality. So, when you find the type of modeling you want to do, you will have to take some photos in order to create a model portfolio, do an extensive research to find some reputable and trustworthy model agencies in your area, and then you will have to send your applications and go to casting calls. 

Types of fashion models

If you wish to become a model, you need to know that there are many types of fashion models and each type has its own set of basic requirements. Let’s take a look at some of the basic types of  fashion models.

Editorial models

Editorial models are the people we see in popular fashion magazines like Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, or Vogue, wearing the latest designs from renowned fashion designers. They’re highly coveted and set the current trends in the fashion industry. Female editorial models are  categorized by their height and measurements, and they’re usually very tall and slim and have unique facial features. 

Runway models

Runway models are the models that we see on the catwalk during fashion shows. These models are hired by fashion designers to show off their latest clothing lines and are characterized by their height and measurements, so they are typically over five feet, nine inches tall and very slim. 

Swimsuit models

Swimsuit models specialize in showcasing the latest bathing suits and bikinis. These type of models have to be more voluptuous and curvy than the editorial or runway models, and they must have minimal visible skin flaws like cellulite or scars. Swimsuit models must also work harder on their body skin by regularly exfoliating and moisturising in order to keep it healthy and glowing. 

How to become a model

Lingerie models

Lingerie models tend to pose in the latest underwear, sleepwear, and lingerie for different magazines, photoshoots, and catalogs. They can also be seen on the runway, showcasing the newest undergarment collections from lingerie brands. These models should have nice, proportional figures and attractive faces. Many lingerie brands prefer their models to have a good bust size to show off bra sets, so a curvy, hourglass shape is always a positive if you want to be a lingerie model.

Fitness models

Maintaining peak physical fitness is definitely the biggest requirement for fitness models. They need to exercise regularly in order to have toned and muscular bodies. Fitness models are usually athletically built and they often appear in magazines or commercials, advertising the latest workout clothing, supplements, or gym facilities. 

Glamour models

Glamour models are normally hired based on their appearance and sex appeal. Glamour models don’t have to fit into certain size or height requirements like editorial models, but they are often more sensual and curvier than them. They usually have beautiful hair, stunning faces, and pose more seductively than editorial or commercial models. Therefore photographers and brands usually hire glamour models to appear in men’s magazines, music videos, or swimsuit calendars. 

Promotional models

This type of fashion models are usually found at conventions, trade shows, and other live events. Promotional models are typically hired by brands to distribute marketing materials and promote their products and services in order to attract potential customers. These models need to be outgoing, polite, beautiful, charming, and most importantly, they need to know everything about the product or service they are representing. 

Catalog models 

Catalog models are the people we see in clothing catalogs, posing in a wide range of outfits. These models are regarded as commercial models meaning they will look more like everyday people than editorial models. There are no specific requirements for catalog models, but it helps if they have beautiful, healthy hair, glowing skin, and a gorgeous smile. 

Plus size models

Plus size modeling is one of the most popular types of modeling today. Plus size models tend to be a size 12 to 18 – they’re usually cast based on their dress size rather than their body measurements. Plus size or curvy models should be confident and feel comfortable in their own skin, and they’re often hired to pose for photographs for brands or fashion designers that specialize in plus-size clothing. 

Parts models

Parts models are people that specialize in modeling specific parts of the body like their arms, hands, feet, and legs. These models may use their hands to show off a new polish, bracelets, or rings, or their feet to advertise the latest shoes or sandals. Generally, brands look for models who have well-proportioned hands or legs that will fit most standard shoe, gloves, and jewelry.

How to get into modeling?

Now that you know more about the main types of model work and you’ve decided to give the modeling life a shot, you’re probably wondering how to start in modeling? Here’s a list of tips you need to follow if you want to kickstart your modeling career.

Find a reputable agency

The first step to a successful career as a fashion model is to find an experienced and trustworthy agent. It is extremely important to find out whether the modeling agencies you want to work with are legitimate and reliable. So, take your time and do your own research, check out the websites of the agencies, see if they have any good or bad reviews. Check who are their past and present models or which are their latest campaigns and find out what is their submission process? Be careful – if the modeling agency is asking you to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars in advance, keep looking. Demanding money from a new client beforehand is one of the biggest red flags, so if you see signs that they are trying to trick you, run as fast as you can and keep looking for another agency. 

Create a portfolio

Once you’ve found the perfect modeling agency that suits your needs and requirements, you need to prepare for the audition and create your portfolio of pictures. A modeling portfolio is definitely the most important thing you need as a fashion model, because all potential clients will look at your modeling photography before choosing to work with you. Have your friends take a few full body and head shots of you wearing a simple, natural makeup and a basic outfit against a plain background. This will help agencies and clients to decide if you’re the type of model they need. However, you will also have to hire a good photographer to take a few professional, high-quality photos of you that you can send to agencies.  Remember that along with your portfolio of photos, you also need to include your basic measurements, height and weight. 


Modeling is a career that doesn’t require any formal education, but you can always go to a modeling school or take classes to improve your poses and your runway walking. Classes can also help you develop the skills you need to become a model. Modeling is an art that requires a lot of practice, so even if you don’t go to a modeling school or classes, you can watch different YouTube tutorials, study other models, and read popular fashion magazines. Having the right posing skills is crucial for becoming a successful model, so ask your friends to shoot a few photos of you from different angles and perspectives. Practice makes perfect, so practice in front of the camera as much as you can and work on becoming the best model.

Get out there and start building connections

Modeling also requires you to have a friendly and sociable personality. If you’re just getting started in the modeling industry, you will have to make an effort and put yourself out there in order to meet people and start building connections. You should go on every meeting, to every casting call and audition, and volunteer at fashion shows. Casting calls are usually open to the public or they’re arranged by modeling agencies. You’ll have to bring your modeling portfolio along with your measurements and your clothing and shoe size. Another important thing you need to keep in mind is that you’ll have to build your digital presence and be active on social media.

Understand the pros and cons of the modeling job

If you’re considering of becoming a model, you need to understand the duties of the job. Fashion modeling needs determination, hard work, professionalism, resilience, and ability to follow directions quickly. There are many benefits to being a model – helping fashion designers and artists bring their visions to life, meeting amazing people, traveling around the world, and enjoying doing what you love the most. However, this industry is not always as glamorous and pretty as it appears on the outside. At the beginning you probably won’t be making a lot of money all the time and the job can also be both mentally and physically exhausting. Also, there’s a lot of competition in this field, so you need to develop thicker skin and a strong sense of self-worth and learn how to deal with rejection and disappointment. It’s also really important to be patient, because good opportunities may not come right away. But, the most important thing you need to keep in mind is to always be yourself and to never sacrifice your values. 

Average salary for a model 

Wondering how much do models make? Model earnings may vary depending on the type of modeling you do, your experience, as well as the clients you’re working with. Basically, there are two ways models get paid and they are by the hour and by the day. Hourly shoots are considered to be quick jobs that don’t require as much time and effort, but the majority of modeling jobs will be all-day events, so models prefer to be paid by the day. The average salary for a model in the United States is $60.32  per hour depending on the experience. According to Ziprecruiter, model salaries in the U.S. range from $11,000 to $401,500, with an average model salary of  $125,457 annually. Female models are paid more money than male models, simply because there’s a greater competition for female modeling jobs.