Here’s The Truth About Becoming A Model

Here’s The Truth About Becoming A Model

When I was first asked to write a piece on how to become a model, I was hesitant, as many models can attest to. Getting asked about how to become a model is pretty much de rigueur for the job.

When I was first asked to write a piece on how to become a model, I was hesitant, as many models can attest to. Getting asked about how to become a model is pretty much de rigueur for the job. I’ve been asked multiple times by people far and wide of varying age range, height, and personality. It’s really hard to let people know the truth, but as soon as aspiring models learn the harsh reality of the business, the better. Things only become more cutthroat as you immerse yourself in it.

Modeling is very much like the sorting hat in Harry Potter. Essentially, you do not choose your house, your house chooses you. Much is the same with modeling, though it’s not fantasy fiction, it’s reality based on the superficiality of the look of your face and body. You do not choose to become a model, modeling chooses you. You either fit the bill or you don’t and none of it is a direct reflection of your character or inner beauty.

Google any modeling agency you have ever heard of and you will see that before they meet with you or recommend you attend an open call, there are specific requirements that must be fulfilled before an agency chooses to sign you, thus making you an actual model. Every legitimate agency will request that you measure at least 5’7” or 5’8” in height and that your hips are no larger than 36” around. Models are typically in their teens when they start, although some girls are in their early 20’s. I’m fairly certain that agencies are uninterested in anyone over the age of 25 who has no previous experience. However, there are exceptions to every rule. The exceptions lie in the face.

Of course, the industry is always searching for an incredibly beautiful face. A model must be beautiful, very proportionate, or also intriguing enough that one cannot take their eyes off her. Not every model is your typical beauty; however, a striking appearance is pretty much required. It may sound strange to talk about beauty so objectively, but this is how the modeling industry works. Of course, agents and clients love models that are kind, thoughtful, outgoing, confident and sweet, but at the end of the day, your looks are what get in you in the door. Once again, this is absolutely not a direct reflection of your character, but as model Cameron Russell put so succinctly in her TED talk, it’s merely the product of a random genetic coincidence.

As you can see, modeling is not like becoming a doctor or skilled worker. It’s more akin to musical talent, something that can be improved upon but overall must be innate. I love my job. Modeling has afforded me so many opportunities like traveling the world and meeting some incredible people. However, modeling just sort of happened to me. Ask any model you know and their story is most likely the same. Of course there are struggles. For years, I worked hard to build my book and gain a steady clientele as well as the confidence needed to not care about what anyone thinks of you except for yourself. However, if you are trying to become a model and things seem too difficult, chances are the business is not for you. And that’s okay.

If, all things considered, modeling is still something you want to pursue, contact the local modeling agency in your town. All you need to do is send them images of yourself, sans makeup, in a fitted tank top and jeans and possibly a bikini. Any portfolio building is up to the agency, so it’s not necessary to get your own shoots set up. While a photographer may ask for a few hundred dollars to do the shoot, this is the only money you should be shelling out (besides investing in a pair of heels). At least for this money you will get pictures in return that can book you jobs. It’s never necessary to spend money on classes or training, and if an agency is requesting substantial funds, run away. It’s most likely a scam. The best training a model can get will simply come with experience. No one expects a brand new model to pose or walk down the runway like an expert.

Some extra tips for new models:

Study the editorial images of magazines and practice the poses in the mirror. This will help you realize how to move your body even though a pose may feel awkward. You will see how it looks as a result.

Follow top models on Instagram to see how they pose, what kind of work they get, and how they network. It helps to emulate those you look up to.

If a modeling agency asks you to make any drastic changes to your body (weight loss of more than 15 pounds, any cosmetic or body surgery, etc.), I do not recommend pursuing a career in modeling. This career can present precarious psychological, emotional and, of course, physical stress for young girls. The way you view your body will be forever altered once you begin modeling and have to commoditize yourself. Signing a contract allows an agency discretion over your body and look. While they may ask you to cut or dye your hair (and many models’ careers take off once this simple change is made), anything drastic can be harmful. If you are predisposed to depression, an eating disorder, or even an unhealthy body image but still want to pursue this line of work, consult proper counseling before, during, and after modeling.

All in all, if you wish to become a model and things work out, prepare to enjoy some incredible years ahead of you. Never lose sight of who you are as a person, and remember your character is the most important quality you can ever nurture in yourself. If modeling turns out to not be for you, there are so many amazing careers you can pursue if you just put your mind to it.

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