How to Become a Professional Model – Pursue a Modeling Career

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Do you get moved and enticed by the beautiful images and pages of Vogue magazines? Do you admire those beautiful steps you watch on your TV set? Finally, do you feel like you have the look and all that is required to be up on magazines as a model? This content is definitely for you!

The modeling industry has something for everyone- disregard age, size, and even skin color. There are lots of specializations and niches that fit perfectly into your personality and look. After making the decision to be a model, you need to read well and know which path to move through. Modeling entails a more than just having good looks and appearance; read through these lines and discover all.

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Who is a Model?

A model is a figure-better said as a person- tasked with the role of promoting, advertising and displaying commercial products; these products usually cover beauty, fashion, and many others. Models usually play the role of a product or company’s ambassador by taking poses to make shoots for the promotion of firms.

These days, models offer beyond just advertising products, they are becoming very needed and important in the development of the fashion industry in the areas of fashion films and runway shows. According to the term ‘modeling’ in American English, this kind of performance is considered to be different from other kinds of public performance like dancing or acting. There is a huge difference between modeling performances at fashion week and exhibitions and the performance made by dancers and actors.

Based on the fact that models come in different sizes, colors, and heights; they also have diverse interests and areas of specialization. In respect of the latter, models are opened to a lot of genres from which they can choose from. These genres include glamour, fashion, fine art, fitness, promotional, bikini, commercial print models and a lot more. 

Choosing a Career Path In Modeling

Choosing a career path and area of specialization in modeling is highly integral as this helps model focus on a particular area and get better doing what they know how to do. The world of modeling has been taken over by social media with many people gaining interest and getting involved in the process of standing before the camera and taking commercial poses. Check through the subsequent lines and see what career path your qualities has to offer.

To get started, you need to know what is expected of a model as outlined below:

  • Firstly, models are those that show designers work on the runway; hence, you know you would be doing something as such in no time.
  • As a model, you will work alongside photographers, makeup artists and stylists to make editorials for magazines, editors and designers.
  • You are expected to promote fashion and beauty products in photo shoots, commercials and other kinds of media.
  • To keep up a good shape and remain fit in all aspects of your physical health, you need to continually check in the gym.
  • Most importantly, models are expected to keep up a strong portfolio that beats showcase your works and shoots.

Essential Qualities and Skills

This could be said to be one of the most important sections of this context; disregard of your genre of modeling or area of specialization, there are certain qualities that all models share in common- this helps them scale through the hurdles of the industry. More is said about the essential skills and qualities of a model below.

To be able to stay ahead of your game in the modeling industry, the traits and skills you must possess are but not limited to:

  • Time management skills: Models could face a very overwhelming schedule especially during fashion exhibitions and week. In that regard, it becomes very imperative for them to learn how to manage their time so as not to miss out on appointments with potential clients.
  • Communication skills: In many times during your career, you will meet with a lot of people- both good and bad-, your ability to communicate perfectly with all is what brings about their impressions about you. Undoubtedly, good communication skills make up for a better impression than a poor one. No matter how impressive and professional your portfolio looks, you still have to market yourself with your use of words.
  • Discipline: There is huge pressure on models to look good and attractive. Hence, they need to be highly disciplined with how they eat- by keeping up with a good diet- as well as constant check-ins to the gym. This help maintain the desired physical appearance for your career.
  • Patience: Things usually do not go as planned, often could be due to flaws from one of the parties involved; in this aspect, models need to exercise proper patience. At times, shoots might also consume more hours and still, nothing would be achieved- the level of patience exhibited by the model does a lot of favor to the crew at large.

Get the Qualifications

After discovering which modeling niche you fit into properly, it will be fine if you seek qualification in that area- this will help you stand out. Contrarily, if you are new and still indecisive about your area of specialization, opting into a modeling school is a very good idea; you will learn some basic and advanced skills required to you at the front of the camera. 

Modeling schools also help you build your portfolio and get some things done therein; however, this is not very necessary since you can learn all these things on your own. 

Major Types of Modeling

Modeling is one of the unique profession that slows you put in your distinguished talents in any of the diverse areas you find highly interesting and engaging. As a model, you have the chance to explore the diverse artistic options within the fashion industry while still staying creative by coming to settle for the one you perform best. 

There are many types of modeling of which you can be the best in more than just one genre. A lot of models have checked through more than one genre before coming back to settle for the one(s) that suits them. The present modeling industry has the following kind of modeling genres available.

  • Fashion (Editorial) Model

Models in this genre are those you see in high fashion magazines in the likes of Elle and Vogue. This kind of model works with fashion designers and fashion magazines who hire them for shoots. Generally, editorial modeling seems to be the most selective since it attracts the attention of a huge number of models.

  • Runway Model

Runway models are usually found on the catwalk during fashion weeks and fashion exhibitions. They are hired by fashion designers to showcase clothing line(s). The size and height of a model can be specified in this kind of modeling as it is based on the designs from the designer.

  • Swimsuit & Lingerie Model

Just as the name suggests, this kind of model is specialized in showing off lingerie and swimsuits. Sizes can also be specified here as the aim is to attract the audience with beautiful skins and physical appearance in alliance with the clothing accessories. These models can also model summer wear, sleepwear and all forms of undergarments.

  • Commercial Model

This kind of modeling leaves no restriction to age, size or height; this makes this type of modeling open to every interred person- even actors, singers, dancers, and other performers can be a great commercial model. What commercial models do is to advertise products in campaigns, catalogs, and commercials.

  • Fitness Model

Fitness models mostly require the best time in the gym and watching what you eat as they are believed to be the most toned, fit, athletically built and attractive. This makes more sense as they get to wear fitness attires in commercials for the demonstration of fitness routines and many more.

  • Parts Model

Ever thought of what part models would be doing? They are those models that specialize in modeling their hands, feet, arms, and legs. Jewelry companies usually hire part to wear their products for a shoot. Other organizations and companies that can hire part models are shoe companies, beauty care, and nails even stylists hire part models to promote their services.

  • Print Model

The difference between print and editorial models is that the latter makes shoot for fashion magazines and fashion designers while the former makes random shoots for magazines, campaigns, billboards, flyers, booklets and even posters. Print models sometimes promote products; in most cases, they are simply photographer upon the needs of the client.

Myths About Becoming a Professional Model

The beautiful world of modeling is one that everyone envies secretly. Although many people would not want to admit this fact, it remains indisputable that at a time or two, we all have dressed well, admired ourselves in front of mirrors and take poses for photographers- the same thing models do. 

Sadly, there has been a lot of myths and unrealistic fact being spread in the air about the modeling industry as the career therein. Here is some clarification about some of those myths.

  • You have to be tall to be a professional model

Clarification: there are the face and part models who need no height to be in shoots.

  • You have to be Skinny

Clarification: Plus-size models now have a market too; size is no longer a huge criterion for modeling.

  • You have to be young to be a model

Clarification: commercial modeling has no restriction on age.

  • You can barely eat proper food

Clarification: modeling does not stop you from eating good food, de facto, you are advised to take more of healthy food to keep up with good health and physical conditions.

  • You have to prepare with a professional portfolio

Clarification: having a professional portfolio is not true when starting your career, all you need is a clear photo of yourself.

  • You must have a “Perfect” face

Clarification: there is nothing like a perfect face, you just have to be good at what you do.

  • Plus-size models can eat whatever they want

Clarification: this is not true. Plus-size models are hired for particular body size and measurement, by eating whatever they like, they get to jeopardize chances of being hired.

  • You get to keep all the clothes, you model

Clarification: models do not keep the clothes they model. Immediately after showcasing them on the runway, they get stripped off them.

Why You Should Consider a Career Path in Modeling

If you are happy with your present career but will not mind appearing at the front of cameras to take poses and subsequently appearing before magazines and journals for adverts; why not try out modeling? The good thing is that you can run this on the side alongside your job.

Modeling has evolved and developed over the years that you can expect nothing but great from the industry as it allows you to immerse yourself into an exciting environment where a lot beyond career happens.

Thinking about the lot that happens beyond a career? Perhaps you need to get yourself acquainted with the modeling industry; below are some reasons why you should consider a career path in modeling.

  • Meet New People

The fun about modeling is that you will not only meet people with similar interests, you will also be exposed to network whichever way you wish to within the modeling industry. 

Making new friends and meeting with professionals does a lot more to your career beyond learning and improving your skills; you will likely get your next jobs through the networks you have made today. 

  • Make Extra Money

Starting as a model is not always easy and regular, the longer you stay the more bookings and shoots you get. That being said, if you already have a paid job, this can also help you make extra money while you build your career for the best days ahead.

  • Be Your Own Boss

Modeling is one of the contemporary jobs that allow you to decide when you work and when you go on vacation. With the high number of models in the present industry, a lot of people are opting for freelance modeling. This means they promote their career by themselves, they are their own boss and they are answerable to themselves alone-except when working on commercials where the photographer directs.

  • Channel Your Passion

As mentioned earlier, modeling has many areas from which you can select the one that aligns with you most. There are beauty and comfort in the diversity created by the modeling industry since this allows everyone to decides what style is best for them.

Modeling helps you get the definiteness in purpose, however, you can as well decide to delve into other kinds of modeling if you fit in perfectly- there is room for every size, height, age, and color.

  • Challenge Yourself

New things are meant to be tried, else we would be doing the same old thing and getting the same old result. That being said, if there is anything you want to try during your career, try it! 

Just like every other industry, modeling requires a lot of hard work, energy, and consistency- you might not know this until you start getting in front of cameras.

You will be further exposed to a wide range of skills like communication and time management skills. Modeling has also helped a lot of shy people build their confidence, thereby thriving in areas that seem hard to survive. If you do not challenge yourself, you might never get the best of yourself.

Top 10 Expert Tips to Start a Career in Modeling

Have you ever thought about how to kickstart your modeling career but you do not know where to start from? Here is a comprehensive guide on starting your career and seeing yourself perform better than your peers.

  1. Discover Your Strengths

What features do you think you have? Which niche are you settling for? These are the first questions you should ask yourself when starting your career. You should not be applying the right strength in the wrong place. As a male model, if you have ripped abs, this is very perfect for fitness modeling, do not settle for where your strengths would not be recognized.

  1. Get Confident on Camera

Another tip for beginner models is to be familiar with being on cameras. While it is very normal for you to feel nervous at first, it becomes abnormal and uncalled for if you are shy or still nervous at subsequent shoots. However, you can take continual practices to get acquainted with being in front of cameras.

  1. Learn Your Angles

Modeling goes a long way beyond your natural good looks; you must know how you will work with your photographer to tell the story perfectly. No one model has the 100% face, hence, practicing in front of the mirror and learning your angles is highly important for you.

  1. Be Willing to Invest

 Modeling, just like any other career, requires an investment of lots of time and money especially when you are just starting your career. No one wakes up in a day with all the best portfolio and experience, it is gained through uninterrupted investments.

  1. Build a Portfolio

Your portfolio is like your resume, this is what your prospective clients will ask for before handing out jobs to you. It is also what modeling agencies use to represent you in your absence. Never settle for the least portfolio, build it to a professional level, it has a lot to do with building your modeling career.

  1. Gain Exposure

It is a very good idea to have a professional-looking portfolio, however, if you do not seek exposure then how are you supposed to land jobs? A lot of people are gaining recognition and exposure on social media platforms like Instagram and the likes. Create a professional account and separate it from your account; do not forget to mention and tag modeling agencies in your posts.

  1. Sign with an Agency

Many models have decided to be freelance models, while both have their advantages, signing with an agency offers a lot more than you promoting yourself. Signing with an agency is very important when starting your career since this handles the tedious task of getting clients.

  1. Always Practice

If asked what makes the best people in all spheres of life, it is a constant practice. The practice has a lot to offer you. It is during practice sessions that you get to realize some facts and truths about yourself; when you practice and prepare yourself before a shoot, you do the whole job like a professional!

  1. Avoid Scams

A lot of models have fallen victims of scams especially when starting out their career, you need to be careful and know how to recognize a red flag whenever one is in sight. In most cases, when agencies ask for an annual registration fee, they are most likely not the best to go with. Also, when making transactions, try to keep a record of all payments; one thing the fashion industry is well known for is poor payment!

  1. Be Persistent

Some models get work on intervals, others don’t. Some land big commercials within their first months while others don’t. The truth is, only a few populations of the crowd gets a big project within their first few months into the industry. If you seem to be having more disapproval than approval, never see this as a criterion to quit. Be persistent and keep trying you have all it takes to be at the top of the industry; patience is all you need

Working Conditions and Hours

Whether the shoot is for a campaign, ad or magazine, video, and photoshoot sessions are usually long and unpredictable. This is due to the large crew working together; ranging from the stylist, makeup artists, photographer and even the model(s). Seldomly, when all is set, factors like clothing could be the only delaying thing.

However, on an average scale, models can spend about 5 to 8 hours for a shoot. Note that shoots are made about weeks or months before the exact season, this implies that models have to work frequently and put in a good effort.

Top Modeling Agencies to Look Out for When Choosing a Career Path in Modeling (for Africans)

As you already know that modeling agencies offer the best services to get you at the top of your career, below is a list of the top agencies to look out for when choosing a career path in modeling.

  • Elite Model Management
  • Ford Models
  • IMG Models
  • Wilhelmina Models
  • Premier Model Management
  • Storm Model Management
  • Next Management
  • Marilyn Agency
  • Q Management
  • Models 1 Agency
  • Exquisite Models International
  • Y-Ray Models
  • Zahara Models
  • Fashion Instinct Modeling Agency
  • Beige Model Management
  • ISIS Model Management
  • Black Dove Model Agency
  • Wave Model Management
  • Few Model Agency
  • Iris Modeling Agency
  • Glam Model Management

Above all, modeling is not for everyone, however, if you are highly interested in posing for commercials and magazines, you can get started right where you are; with what you have. All that is required of you is to be yourself, keep up with the flow and apply the concepts mentioned above.


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