HOW TO BECOME A MODEL: Frequently asked questions by beginner models

Updated: Jul 11, 2018

Entering into the world of modelling can be fairly daunting for some, especially when you're new to the industry. Questions like, where do I begin, what are modelling requirements, what are the different modelling genres, which agencies are reputable, are there model scammers out there and an endless list of other questions that keep beginners on their toes and unable to move forward. So let's take this one step at a time, and I'll take you through the main questions beginner models ask.

Questions and Answers:

Where do I start?

First things first, there is no set order to do things on your journey to becoming a model. It’s about working your way up to your goals. If you have no experience whatsoever, that means you have the potential to grow and build on your modelling career. There is no right or wrong way to go about it. If you’re simply wanting to enter the industry because you have been told 'you should be a model', then great but make sure it is something you want to do, because it interests you, otherwise entering into an industry with no passion for it, will not lead you to successful modelling outcomes, no one wants to work with a person who lacks drive and energy.

There are many different areas you can start from. You could start off by researching model agencies in your area and contacting them through email. Or you could reach out to some photographers, request collaborations if anyone is interested, or pay for a portfolio. You could even set up a tripod or ask someone like a friend or family member to take your polaroid shots (head shot close-up and full body, front, side and back) and send these images along with your expression of interest to the agency of your choice. Minimal make up and natural lighting is a winner.

I'd suggest build on your creative networks:

- Facebook groups for models and photographers

- Create a Facebook model fanpage, an example of mine:

- See if industry creatives would want to work with you and utalising Instagram by reaching out to hair and makeup artists, designers and photographers

- Create a LinkedIn account, promote yourself and connect with people

- Join model sites e.g. Model Mayhem, Starnow

Build on your skills, work your way up, post stunning photos on your social media accounts, reach out to creatives, get comfortable and confident in front of the camera.

What are the different modelling Genre's in the industry?

Commercial | Catalogue | Runway | Fashion | Editorial | Corporate | Promotional | Spokes | Trade/Convention | Petite | Plus-Size | Parts | Freelance | Art | Casual/Life Style | Fitness | Swimwear | Lingerie | Brand Ambassador | Influencer | Undercover Model Club Host | Print Model | Glamour | Fit Model | Alternative | Mature Model | Product Demonstration | Show Room | Nude | Photography Model Workshop | Makeup and Hair Model Workshop

Should I get photos printed professionally before contacting an agency?

Yes it does look better to agencies if you have a well developed versatile portfolio, but if you are new to the industry, agencies don't tend to expect this, and they will work along side you to help you develop your portfolio, by putting you in touch with their most reputable photographers.

How do I get work as a model?

There are different ways to get work as a model. One is to freelance and outsource your own work by applying for jobs on your creative network profiles and another way is being agency represented.

What agencies are out there and how do I find them?

There are many reputable agencies around the world. You can find agencies closest to you by simply google searching for example 'Modelling Agencies Melbourne' and a list will come up. If you are living in rural areas, this can be difficult becoming a model and you will need to think about moving to central cities where jobs are located. Often you may be required to travel for work so this is something you will need to consider.

I have created a list of reputable model agencies:

- Elite Model Management


- DNA Models

- Ford Models

- Next Model Management

- The Society New York

- Wilhelmina Models

- Brazen Models

- Vivien's Model Management

- Chadwick Models

- Wink Models

- Chic Management

- Royalle Modelling

- Why Not Models

- LA Models

- Bella Management

This is only a few modelling agencies in the industry, I'd consider doing your research and finding the best agency for you, located nearest to you.

Should I call, email or visit agencies?

You can do whatever you feel comfortable with, generally it is best to go onto the agencies webpage and follow their prompts to signing with them. If they are interested in representing you they will email or call you in for an interview.

How do I avoid scammers?

Be smart, do your research, don't work with anyone who's profile looks fake e.g. a person claiming to be a photographer with 25 friends/followers, 2 pictures, no likes or comments on their images, randomly messages you saying they're wanting to shoot you for $500 in a deserted location, then they are dodgy! If they talk or act strangely, block and delete! If it is an agency scamming you, they will demand money from you e.g. Sign up fee would be ridiculous amounts $1000+, and if they are asking that you get photos taken by their photographers that don't even look professional for $1000+, they're clearly trying to scam you. Real reputable agencies don't ever force their models, they only suggest their list of photographers where it is then the models choice on what they want to do. If the model has no photos then the agency will often try to help the model by organising collaborations with photographers. In other cases if the model finds a photographer under the agencies listing who they think is amazing because they have images featured in vogue, a reputable name, high social media following and have built up hype about them, then it is fair that the model will pay for their portfolio images. Another example of red flags is if an agency is claiming they can get you work 100%, this statement is beyond false, no one can grantee work.

When it comes to modelling and scams, just go with your gut feeling, it wont lie to you. Also best to get a second opinion from a trusted friend or family member, make sure people know where you are and who you're meeting with at all times to keep safe.

What size do I need to be?

Great news, the modelling industry is becoming more diverse, YAYY! This means there are opportunities for women of different sizes. There is standard, petite and plus size. Agencies are starting to take on the movement, because businesses are booming left right and center. There are clothes being made for women 5'3 and below and plus size. So that means companies need to find models who fit these descriptions and into their clothes to market to their costumers.

Do I have to be fit?

For health reasons, I would encourage exercising 30 minutes a day 5 times a week which is equivalent to 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week. This is also in accordance to The Department of Health and Human Services guidelines. Having a fit, toned body does help securing jobs in the modelling industry. Especially in the domains of fitness modelling if that is the genre you are focusing on.

How tall do i have to be to be a model?

Models need to be 5'9 which is 175cm tall. Being tall has it's advantages in the industry allowing a model to secure more jobs in more fields such as runway and editorial shoots. There is of course the occasional exception, where if an agency feels that the person applying has the potential to make them money then they will sign them onto their books. Diversity is thriving at this point, so this means that there is a chance for shorter models to make it.

I am only 5'1, i don't wish that i was taller, because i love being short and petite framed, if i was any different, i wouldn't be who i am today and i wouldn't be where i am today. I am agency represented after all my hard work and it has payed off. I've walked the runway for the biggest fashion festivals, have been globally published, modelled for celebrity and corporate clientèle, and I have aired on commercials and catalogues for major brands Australia wide. If it's possible for me, it is possible for you!

Should I do freelance modelling?

Yes i would recommend doing freelancing and applying for work via your social profiles like LinkedIn, Facebook, Model Mayhem and Starnow. If you are agency represented make sure this is okay by your agency, to avoid clashes discuss these terms and conditions.

Should I collaborate with photographers?

Yes of course, collaborate, build your portfolio up, get out there into the industry, show off your photos and build your following list. Work with photographers who are credible, have a large following and who you get along with. There is nothing better than doing a shoot with a friend who is also a photographer. BONUS.

What if I’m not confident enough in front of a camera?

Start practicing, if it is the industry you love then take selfies, set up a tripod and start clicking away 1000+ photos haha-haha. It's how i started, in my room. Then once you know your angles and you're happy with how you look on camera get friends and family to take your pictures at different locations. Once you build your confidence more, reach out to some photographers see if any will collaborate with you, otherwise invest in doing a shoot with someone who also offers a service to teach you how to model at the same time.

I’m to scared to contact modelling agencies, If I get rejected by an agency, does that mean I should give up, because they don’t see the potential in me?

It happens, get over it and move on to the next. The main trick is not to give up quickly. If you sit there putting yourself down, that isn't going to land you into the modelling career, so be productive with your time and keep at it by applying to different agencies who you feel will represent you best.

For others to see your potential you must first see it for yourself. Once you find your niche nothing will stop you. You're amazing the way you are and you can do this.

Beauty Shoot
Beauty Shoot Workshop Model: Yasemin Islek Photographer: Greg Desiatov