Everyone has a chance to become a model and there is no real criteria to work in modelling. The only challenge is to meet the expectations of a casting or marketing professional, whom will judge the strategic use of your image to convey a message, sell products or represent a brand or company.
Of course, professional models who parades for haute couture and fashion, demands for a specific physical criteria. The models are generally between 16–25 years old, between 1m70–1m80 and weigh between 45–60kg. It is also mentioned that an "ideal measurement" for a model is 85-60-85 and for a "pro": bust 80–90cm, waist 56–64cm and hips between 80–90cm.
On clothing sizes, size 36–38 are dominant. For men, the range will be between 20–30 years, 1m80–1m85 tall, body measurements around 100-80-100, weighing between 70–85 kg and a well-shaped body.
However, advertising and marketing executives, as well as creators claim that these beauty "criteria" have ultimately little meaning. The fashion professionals are often seduced by an attitude, a style, an imperfection, a charisma, a natural, the sparkle of a look, a photogenic or timeless freshness of a face. As for marketers and advertisers side, the spectrum of expectations is even wider and the "criteria" disappears: a marked physical (large, small, strong), friendly, reassuring or atypical, a beautiful bosom, beautiful hands or even a rare colored eye.
Make an assessment of your strengths, on your own, between friends or by a professional, and first of all decide which model you want to be.
These models are the elite ones, that is the most popular and well paid. The term "Top model" is not customary in Anglo-Saxon countries where the term "supermodel" is being used. There is no standard for determining the supermodel status. The term itself is an invention of the media. We can find common elements between these models: they work for stylists or very renowned Maison de Haute Couture such as Chanel, Lagerfeld, Dior or Gaultier, and make the covers of fashion magazines all over the world. These models, almost exclusively women, take advantage of their fame to sign contracts with major brands, especially in the highly lucrative field of cosmetic products and ready-to-wear, or start an acting careers.
These models participate in the fashion shows of the stylists for ready-to-wear clothing and occasionally for fashion designers in France and around the world. They are shot by major photographers like Mario Testino, Patrick Demarchelier, or Barry Lategan. These models use their face and their body to express the various feelings required by the photographers, creators, art directors, or chief editors of the press. They often participate in editorials of fashion magazines (Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, ELLE or Marie-Claire) and pose for advertising campaigns. Even then, the criteria of beauty can be drastic, and certain fashion models knew how to take advantage of their unique physical appearance. Actress Rossy de Palma, became a model thanks to an atypical physical appearance and self-deprecating that appeals to the professionals around the world.
When we say lingerie model, many people think of angles of Victoria's Secret; Candice Swanepoel or Adriana Lima. For women, this job requires beautiful breasts and small hips. For men, broad shoulders and slim waist.
Fitting model is a model whom the stylist is going to try the pattern and prototypes on the models that he is creating. The interest of the job is to work for a big Maison, as closely as possible to the creation. Very few fitting models have a public career, like Grace Jones for Azzedine Alaïa.
The work of these models can be less prestigious than those of the runways, but equally exciting, a number of models, usually freelance live on it correctly. These models appear in women's magazines, commercials or catalogues. There is no standard for these models. They may have very different measurements.
Parts model specialised for their hands, legs, feet, hair, bodies or tattoos, etc. for advertising (cosmetics, jewelery, lingerie), photography or cinema.
Most female face models are about 1m65, with a beautiful face and often a strong personality (think Barbara Palvin).
Senior modeling is the same as the traditional modeling except that it caters to a different age and an atypical physical appearance. Catalogues, magazines, advertising, television and poster campaigns; the opportunities are numerous. It’s image is used in various brands, such as cosmetics, food companies and ready-to-wear clothing. We think of the amazing Parisian model, Tanya Drouginska.
These models assume their proud curvaceous body, like plus size model rising star Leah Kelley. We also remember Crystal Renn, one of the pioneers who shook up the fashion world in 2005 by modeling for Jean-Paul Gaultier.
Salaries vary widely. In the beginning of the career, renumeration is not important. To start a career, it takes between 3 to 12 months of experience. Subsequently, the higher the demand/request is made for a model, the higher the price of the services will be. Salaries vary depending on the profile and reputation of the model. They also depend on the medium and service: runway, advertising shoots, press. Note that, agencies take a percentage on the salaries of their models.
A photo shoot can earn between 300 to 7500 for a day, according to the reputation of the model, their experiences, prestige of the brand or product, media broadcast, hours and conditions of work, etc. For beginners, the press shoot, trades between 300 to 1200 Euros per day; a runway or advertising shoot between 700 to 1500 Euros per day.
Most models are on part-time basis and they combine their activity with studies or other classic profession.
To apply for various castings and professional offers, a portfolio is often necessary. It usually consists between 5 to 10 photos in the format 13 * 18cm.
The portfolio is free if you are in an agency, but not if you’re a freelancer (usually count between 50 to 250 Euros at a pro photographer).
It is essential to have both a hard copy and digital format of your portfolio. Request it from your photographer.
Your portfolio usually contains at least 2 portraits and 2 full-length portrait photos. If you have worked as a model, add snapshots of your various jobs (tear sheet).
For the rest, choose freely your selection of photos, by keeping in mind the following ideas:
The composite is a mini-book, a front page (or recto/verso), usually contains 1 to 4 photos together with your name, contact number, your measurements and possibly your agency.
Eat healthy, practice sports (walk!) and take care of oneself.
Know your measurements by heart, including the trio chest/waist/hip.
Know how to speak and understand a little English.
Feel free to join an agency (such entry must be entirely free, the agency gets paid through your job) or try your luck in some competitions (Elite Model Look is one of the most prestigious).
Castings are a battle field, take it with a positive attitude and take pleasure in doing it.
Look after your looks, whatever your trend: boyish, hipster, girl next door, electro, nature, punk/rock, etc.
Be punctual or do not arrive late.
Show yourself to be friendly, cheerful and patient with stakeholders and other candidates, even if it is 8am in the morning. When it is your turn, release the tiger in you: personality, attitude, self-confidence, humor, perspective.
Networking is the basis of the trade. Get on top of the profiles on Facebook, Google+ or Pinterest, and think of the Diesel campaign in March 2013, for which the models were all spotted on social networks.
While it is important to watch your weight, it is essential to remain reasonable. Leanness and anorexia are dangerous, and health should always come first: Ana Carolina Reston, a Brazilian model aged 18, died on November 14, 2006 in Sao Paulo. Measuring 1m74 and weighing only 40 kilos, she was feeding only on tomatoes and apples.
Young model is up for parties, and everything that is offered to them: nightlife, restaurants, clubbing and weekends. But constant frequentation in nightlife events can quickly turn into a dangerous activity: alcohol, drugs, escorts and worse. Stay aware, surround yourself by friends and always have enough money with you to get home without depending on anyone.
Sleeping around to succeed? One thing to remember: sleeping around never helped anyone succeed in this field, ever.
The career is short, and you can usually exercise your job for about fifteen years. At the age of 30 or 35 years on average, a career change is almost always necessary. It is often in the field of fashion journalist, advertising in a fashion house, TV columnist/media, communication services, photography, etc.)