First things first: if you want to become a model it isn’t easy and it’s certainly not just about having a pretty face. It takes hard work, commitment and commercial savvy to become a model – and maybe a little bit of luck too…
“Breaking into modelling is no easy task and it is all about taking the right steps. It starts with marketing yourself the right way and knowing which agencies are right for you and your look.”
Saying that, modelling can be a lucrative and immensely rewarding career. The job can be hugely varied, and you’ll meet a huge range of interesting people. If you’re still interested in breaking into the modelling industry, here is our 4 step guide to get you on your way. Good luck!
4 Step Guide to Become a Model
Step One: Find out what type of model you are
If you want to become a model, the first thing you need to do is determine which type of model you are. Each type of modelling caters to people with a specific look and ability, so it’s important to determine which type of modelling you’re best suited to.
These are some of the most common types of modelling:
Body Parts Modelling
Of this list, the fashion modelling industry is the highest profile area, while commercial modelling is the largest. The types of models that tend to do best in each are very different.
Step Two: Find out what the requirements are to become a model
The type of modelling you’re suited to will determine the requirements and the steps you need to take to build a modelling career. You can read more about the different types of models in our in-depth piece, but the major two areas are fashion modelling and commercial modelling.
Fashion Modelling (Runway, Editorial, Catalogue)
“Fashion modelling is more prestigious than commercial modelling, but the requirements to get into fashion modelling are much more stringent”
Notoriously difficult to get into, you generally have to meet stringent standards to become a model in this area. Fashion modelling is about modelling clothes, and those clothes are made in certain standard measurements. If you don’t meet those measurements, you won’t fit the clothes and therefore can’t model them!
Female models should be above 5’8, while male models need to be at least 6ft, and both will generally be expected to be slender and striking.
Commercial Modelling | We Are Models
“There is no one type of commercial model. The key to being successful is to be able to create diverse images that show a range of expressions and movement. The character you play needs to be believable.”
The largest area of the modelling industry, the requirements to become a commercial model are different from becoming a fashion model. Your role is to sell products or services through advertising, so client requirements range from aspirational but relatable looking models to real looking models that you’d see in your local post office or supermarket.
The most important thing for commercial models is to bring the character you’re modelling to life. As with all modelling, you also need to have an outgoing personality that means casting directors want to rebook you.
Step Three: Build a portfolio
Model Portfolio | We Are Models
“A model’s portfolio is like a professional CV. It is the most important tool for getting agencies to consider you. The images within the portfolio need to sell you and be marketing you in the right way to maximise your opportunities.”
This depends on which type of model you are. If you’re a fashion model, you don’t need a portfolio to apply to agencies and you should attend a walk-in instead.
If you’re a commercial model or freelance model, your portfolio is your most important tool in getting agencies to consider you. It acts as your CV, showing what you look like and what you can do. People are making decisions based on your portfolio every day, and you get a split second to make an impression.
An excellent portfolio is one that shows versatility. We’ve written about building the perfect model portfolio in detail before, but the main point is this: your model portfolio should demonstrate your suitability for the type of briefs you’ll be considered for.
When building your portfolio, find a photographer who understands the modelling industry. A lot of aspiring models go to a makeover studio, which is set up to take brilliant makeover photos, but they’re not tailored to creating an amazing model portfolio.
We Are Models offer a professional model portfolio service to help position you for the modelling roles you’re best suited to. Read More
Step Four: Find a modelling agency
Become a Model | Modelling Agency
“Getting signed by a reputable agency is something that all aspiring models want to do, but to ensure that this can happen for you it is important to be applying to the right agencies for you and for your look.”
Becoming a model comes back over and again to knowing your look. The most common reason aspiring models struggle to break into the industry is because they don’t apply to agencies who are relevant to their look.
Most modelling agencies have different requirements – if you don’t meet those requirements, you’re wasting your time applying to that agency. We’ve said this before, but if you’re 5ft 5 you’re unlikely to ever get signed by a fashion agency, no matter how committed you are.
Different types of models will be much more likely to get signed by different agencies, in other words.
Find out what different agencies are looking for before you apply and you’ll be more likely to get signed. [Read more about our intelligent model to agency matchmaking service].
You can also increase your chances of getting signed by building a following on social media. If you have a thriving online brand, you’re more attractive to model agencies because of the influence you have, influence that can help convince more people to buy their products.
And a bonus point: Don’t Give Up
There are some things that are just out of your control. You could have the perfect model portfolio and have applied to exactly the right agencies, but they might just not need someone with your look right now. They might have signed someone in your niche yesterday.
Some of the most important advice for aspiring models is this: never take it personally. Even once you get signed, becoming a model isn’t an easy ride. You will get rejected at castings. You’ll probably get rejected for far more jobs than you win. That’s OK.
It’s a super competitive industry, and very few people don’t have a bumpy ride. It’s important to stay positive, stay professional, and seize every opportunity to do your job well. If you’re doing those things, you just have to stick with it!
Thoughts? Questions? Comments? Get the conversation started below.