Learn the “Secret” to Becoming a Model – How Do You Become One?

As a professional photographer, I am constantly asked questions like how to become a model. Or, can I just do hand, feet or other types of body parts modeling.

Are You Ready for Modeling?

Why should I bother to write about how to get started? You do want this career or you wouldn’t be reading this, right? Well, I might want to be a jockey and ride in the Kentucky Derby or become the star basketball player for Chicago but neither of these professions are going to work for me.

Why? Just two of my many other reservations are, I’m just too tall and fat to ride horses and too short and fat to play professional basketball!!

Now, you know what my body type is but what about yours? Do you have “all that” and feel you are the gift to the modeling industry?

Here are a few questions I get frequently as a female model photographer and publisher of the modeling tips newsletter.

How to become a model1. What Age Do I need to be to Model?

Depending upon the type modeling you want to do, age is relative. Ages of models range from infant to senior citizens.

Most girls believe that the teenage years yield all the opportunities and they have to walk the catwalk to be successful in the industry. Nothing could be further from the truth.

It’s a given that the high fashion runway and print models normally must be less than 20 years old (over this and you’re normally out of high fashion chances). These chosen few get the most attention from the press and shows like America’s Next Top Model make it very clear that you have to have “the look” meaning young and beautiful to make it in this competitive business.

In reality, if a magazine or book publisher is doing a story or ad about vitamins for people 50 years and older, they are not going to choose a 19 year old glamour model to use in those photos. Same with baby food. This producer will need an infant for those shots!

So, if you listen to all the hype you’ll just simply say; “I give up” and go on to a safer profession. Before you take this attitude, read on …

2. How Tall Do I Have to Be to Model?

Again, this is relevant to the type modeling you plan to do.

Listed below are a few physical requirements for modeling …
For runway modeling you need to be at least 5’9″ tall or taller and have the look of a high fashion model

  • Your body weight and proportions need to flatter your height
  • You need to have a good skin complexion without lots of pimples or blemishes
  • Your hair should be in good shape (no excessive split-ends or over-dying damage)
  • Your teeth should be well taken care of, straight and white (a dynamite smile)

For commercial modeling the same applies in many cases but height is not as important. Check with your local or national talent agency and ask what their particular requirements are.

3. Can I become a Hand Model or Beauty Model Because of My Pretty Face?

This is yet another question I am asked often and, in a word, the answer is usually “no”. There is no reason for a modeling agency to hire a girl or young man for doing hand modeling or for her facial beauty when they can pick from their signed models readily available to do this work. You simply must have the other features to become a model and not pursue the hopes of a body part modeling career. It probably won’t happen.

4. How Can I NOT Be a Model?becoming a model

Below, I will talk about some of the most daunting attributes that will keep you from becoming a model.

Unusable Facial Features

Modeling agencies have certain looks they want and know what they are before you ever come in for an interview. If you are not what they are looking for nothing else will matter. Agencies hire models they believe they can market. In other words, no job, no commission for the agent. It’s that simple!

Get Turned Down If …

A few facial features that will get you banished from talent agencies are, but not limited to, blood shot eyes, a bad complexion (pimples, sun damage, etc.).
Agencies want their models to have healthy skin and good, pleasant features so make sure you have what it takes before you approach them.

A Quick Word about Tattoos on Girls and Guys

DON’T!!!! – Don’t do it!

I know that tattoos are a growing fad these days but modeling agencies hate them. If you don’t own a tattoo yet, don’t get one. If you have one, don’t show it in your modeling portfolio.

That little butterfly on your shoulder or tummy could cost you a career as a model so just say no to tattoos!! There are enough of these attributes to keep you from becoming a model without adding to the pile!

Other reasons to be turned away by a modeling agent is to have what’s known as “lazy eye” or one eye that stays closed.

While concentrating on the face, look in the mirror at your face and see if you have features like a double chin or out of whack ears.

Lastly, male and female models should have sparkling white teeth that are straight for a flawless smile. Do a quick grin check in your makeup mirror. What do you see? Did you smile back?

Hair Care

This covers areas of your looks such as balding (women too) and having unwanted hair such as upper lip hair if you are a female model.

Agency Turn Offs of Older Models

For baby boomers and senior models the hair should fit the age group. For instance, a senior citizen should have at least some gray around the temples or the hair might be speckled to be believable in pictures for editorial use and in advertising print work.

ATTITUDE!!!

No, I’m not talking about an “all that” attitude. I’m talking about the attitude you show when you walk into an agency for an interview. Be on your best behavior and don’t show any signs that you will be difficult to work with.

If the agency tells you to cut your hair and come back in a week, cut it! After all, they did ask you back, didn’t they? You’ll find some very helpful information about interviews in the article about the Model Agency Interview .

How to become a female modelWhy Were You Turned Down?

So, you see? You might have been turned down for any of these reasons and didn’t even realize it. Some of these things you can correct and try again. Some might not be so easily changed. You’ll have to decide what route to take or if your dream of becoming a model will have to stay a dream.

Finally, now that you know what to look for, take a glance in the mirror, get your portfolio together and go for your career. Follow the simple steps above for how to become a model along with some of the pitfalls to avoid and you’re off to a good start. I hope you success!!

Filed under: Modeling Tips