Launching Your Career in The Modeling Industry

Updated: May 19

By Dea Cadwell


Learn and research as much as you can about the modeling world. You must be disciplined, have the right bone structure and height for fashion modeling. Typically, the standard for fashion models’ women height is 5’9” to 6’0” and for men 5’11” to 6’3”. It is crucial that you stay within strict weight guidelines for fashion modeling. Working with a designer and wearing their fashions you are promoting their garments. The clothing is the star not the model, you bring the look alive.

However, there is work for those that are under 5’9”. And let us not forget the importance of seeing models being represented by the real look of women today. Plus size has become a growing market. These models are generally 5’6” to 5’9” and size 10 to 14 clothing. More designers are starting to make more clothes for plus size category.

Let us talk for just a minute about the return of the mature model making a mark in the industry too! They represent a market for travel, fashion, medical, pharmacy and skincare. Market experts understand the needs for this marketing tool.

For the fitness model category, you must be fit and toned! This is a limited division within agencies. Usually these models are seen in fitness magazines and workout equipment ads.

In addition, there is what we call “parts modeling.” This is where your hand(s), feet, legs are used in advertisements. Making money from this varies, however you may earn as little as $500.00 for the day or as much as $2,000. Ah hour. You must not have any scars or varicose veins or discoloration for this type of work.

Get to know your look and style. Practice in front of a mirror and or record yourself on video to see yourself walking. Learn pivots and turns and hand movements. It is especially important that you be respectful of others and have a good attitude! Learn to ask questions in working with photographers, they often will give you great advise. However, should you ever feel uncomfortable in any situation let the person know this. If they are insisting on something you do not wish to do, be firm but get up and leave. If you are a minor, you must have a parent or guardian with you on your photo sessions and jobs.

In the modeling world modeling agents represent fashion models to work in the fashion industry. These agents earn an income such as a commission from what they make from booking assignments for the model’s job. Commission rates vary but are usually in the range of about 20%. The role of the agency is to find work for model representing them to fashion designers, photographers, ad agencies and other sources.

There is often a misconception about what new models think about costs. When thinking about becoming a model you will need some basic snap shots of yourself. You can do this at home with your camera, a head shot no makeup and hair pulled back from you face. And a body shot as well. (No nudes!) Once an agency is interested in you then you will begin the process of testing with different photographers to get the best shots of you for composite card and to build your book. All of this is your cost along with makeup artists and stylists. Still, other agencies may work with you when you book your first job, they will then take their commission and a portion of the cost from photo sessions until your account is paid in full. Do not forget this is a business and you are an independent contractor.

Reminder, you should not change your hair color or cut unless you let your agent know first. If a client is booking you and you have totally changed your look you probably just lost that job! There is so much more to share with you however, that will have to wait for next time!

Dea Caldwell

Heart Of Hollywood Modeling Consultant

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