Becoming a Model

Modeling is a very competitive industry, but if you have got the goods to make it happen, then modeling can turn into a huge career for you. If you’ve always been told that you have the face or body of a model, and you’ve bought every magazine there is just to look at the different models and you’ve had the thought running through your head that it should be you in that magazine, then you may wonder what you have to do to get in the modeling industry.

Many aren’t sure how to become a model, and almost anyone interested in the modeling interested would be interested in learning how to become a model. Therefore, this article is going to give you some insight as to how you can start a modeling career. You’ll learn how you get one foot in the door so you can finally become the model that you have always dreamed of being.



Here are four essential steps that you can take to become a model:

Step #1: Choose Your Market

There are several different markets in the modeling world, and you’ll need to choose one that you are comfortable and most suitable for. You can’t just simply jump into any market, as you won’t find success that way. The primary modeling markets include swimsuit/lingerie, catwalk, commercial and plus size. Let’s look at the basic guidelines for each:

  • Swimsuit/Lingerie – Most glamour models have smaller waists and large chests.
  • Catwalk – As a catwalk model, you will need to be 5’8” or taller, have very few curves and be pretty thin.
  • Commercial – As a commercial model, you can be a bit shorter and your body doesn’t necessarily have to portray any specific type. Although, as a general rule, commercial models aren’t plus size, but they aren’t catwalk-thin.
  • Plus Size – Plus size models speak for themselves – they have curves, but they are still fit.

There are always exceptions to the rule, but the aforementioned are just general guidelines for these markets. Therefore, don’t think it is all set in stone, you may not have the largest chest, but you may be able to score in the lingerie and swimsuit market if you approach it at the right time and in the right way. The same is true for the catwalk – maybe you are an inch short or just a few pounds more than they would like, if you can strut your stuff unlike any other model, then you may be able to land that gig.

You will need to contact an agency that can help you search for modeling jobs that will fully embrace your aesthetic.

Step #2: Create an Outstanding Portfolio

You can’t get far in the modeling industry without a portfolio, as this is one of the most important items that you’ll need when seeking a job. A model’s portfolio includes photographs (full body, head shots, etc.) as well as previous work. It is a model’s portfolio that catches the attention of designers, brands and casting agents, as the portfolio is the very first thing that they look at and is the deciding factor in whether they choose to work with you or not.

Obviously, if you are just starting modeling, your portfolio will be a bit sparse, and that’s okay. With time, effort and modeling success, your portfolio will quickly develop into a larger book. In the meantime, though, get someone (a professional or a friend) to take a couple of snapshots of you. This will provide agencies an idea of your look. Always ensure the light is flattering and try to make sure that the images are as close to professional quality as possible.

What type of pictures do you need? Well, it really depends on the market that you are eager to work in. However, regardless of the market, you want to have a couple headshots, which are pictures of your face from different angles). Be sure to have some straight-faced shots as well as smiling smiles with the latter being more important if you are heading towards commercial modeling. It also wouldn’t hurt to have at least a couple full body shots with them being from different angles. If you are entering the swimsuit/lingerie market, make sure that you are in a swimsuit for at least one of those full body shots, but several would be ideal. Even if you aren’t pursuing that market, it doesn’t hurt to show off what your body looks like because you never know when you might catch the eye of someone outside of your target market!

Once you have a decent and varied selection of pictures, create a portfolio by putting them all together and don’t forget to include a stats page that lists your basic information: height, weight, other measurements, eye color, hair color, etc.

Step #3: Submit Your Portfolio to Agencies

Once you have your portfolio completed and set, you will need to reach out to a few modeling agencies.

First things first, you will need to spend some time doing research. You want to make sure that you choose to work with reputable modeling agencies that specialize in the market that you are hoping to pursue. You will also need to check out their website, or give them a call if there is no website, to find out their preferences in regards to the submitting of your portfolio. Some prefer to have you mail your portfolio while others have forms available online and allow you to upload pictures directly.

A lot of the time, agencies will have open casting calls, which is the perfect opportunity for any and all aspiring models. At an open casting call, you will take your portfolio and meet with several different casting agents. They’ll look at your portfolio, but they’ll also look at you in person, and decide whether you are a good fit for their agency and clients.

Honestly, a casting call is a much better opportunity for you, especially if you are new to the modeling industry, than simply submitting your portfolio. Your photos may be great, but you can’t show them your personality. Your personality can enhance your appearance in person making it more likely that you’ll land a gig!

If you attend an open casting call, make sure that you do have your portfolio, or at the very least a composite card with your photo in it, as well as contact information, including your name, phone number as well as your personal stats.

Step #4: Continue to Look for Experience and Exposure

It can take a little while to find the right agency, making the process overwhelming and tedious. But, don’t get discouraged. While you are waiting for an agency to give you a call back, there are some other ways you can gain that much-needed experience and exposure. Some colleges, particularly those in larger cities, will have modeling clubs where information can be shared amongst aspiring models regarding castings, tips, advice, go-sees, etc.

However, you want to be careful when you go outside of colleges to find “clubs” like this, as there are fake agencies and low-quality modeling schools that are simply there to take your money and not make you a pro on the catwalk. If anyone ever asks you for money up-front, turn away immediately because that isn’t a company you want to work for. Be skeptical because when you feel it’s not right in your gut, it usually isn’t or if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Always do background research on any agency that you are considering working with before you make that final decision. You want to make it to the top, not get stuck at the bottom or in the middle.