Types of Modeling Defined
Dreaming of seeing yourself modeling in magazines and on billboards? Most think to achieve model status the requirement is a stick-thin body and perfect everything else. Contrary to public perception, there are many different types of modeling. The standard model does not have to be six feet tall and built like Barbie to book a job. Since only 2% of professional models come into supermodel stardom, 98% of the work is left for the rest of the model population. However, one still needs to be photogenic and have a great personality for a long successful career.
Fashion & Commercial Models
The most sought after type of modeling is fashion and commercial talent. When you hear the word ‘model’ these are the people who come to mind. Not only are there ascetic prerequisites for this group, this is where the majority of the money goes.
The word fashion model generally refers to an edgier look. This can mean unique features such as; very tall, larger eyes, or possibly an uncommon hairdo. Interesting features also work perfectly when shooting magazine editorials which try to tell a story, as well as, models walking down the runway showing off the latest fashions.
Since a fashion model is hired to flaunt clothing, designers for the most part like to chose the models which are very thin. This typecasting is not only emulating what’s in the most recent Vogue, the choice also has to do with how clothing lays on a more thin figure. Some fabrics, such as silk, can be daring for an average body type to wear as it shows every bulge, curve, and shape of the body.
Commercial models, on the other hand, will have a more approachable look. A friendlier face is more likely to be found on advertisements for everyday products, such as; beauty product lines, electronic devices, home decor, or even posters in Target stores. Mirroring a healthy lifestyle, a perfect-warm smile and symmetrical features is the usual qualification for conservative family brands.
For both of these categories a female should be as tall as 5′ 9” to 5′ 11” and are usually 16 to 26 years old. Keep in mind, these numbers are averages. Supermodel Kate Moss is only 5′ 7”, and in her 30’s. Female clothing averages are size 4 through 6 but, of course, this will depend on your height and weight.
The male type of modeling is a great category since men have the most flexible age range. A male model can start very young and go into their 50’s. Usually, a male model’s strongest market is around 25 to 35 years old since they can play a variety of characters, such as; athletes, business men, and husbands. Agencies are always on the look out for men in their 30’s to 40’s who have aged well.
A male model is typically 5′ 10” to 6′ 2”, as well as very toned and fit. Salt and pepper hair never hurts to have when more mature either.
Runway models will vary in looks by each designer’s target market. However, most runway models range from 5’9″ to 5’11”, and consistently designers select the taller models to be in their shows. Since a runway show is live the clothes need to fit and hang perfectly to how the garment was made. Unlike, a camera or a staged movie or television show, it is harder to hide the fact a model is short or the clothing is disproportionate.
Plus Size Models
A type of modeling which has been on a constant growth in America is a plus size model. Power house agencies like Ford Models and Wilhelmina, among numerous others, have opened their doors to plus size divisions. Since a fuller figure makes up most of the American population many companies in the fashion kingdom have finally caught onto their needs. Top designers now offer trendy fashionable clothing to fit all forms.
An average plus size model wears sizes 12 through 18. Agencies typically look for photogenic body lines, nice legs, and shoulder length or longer hair. Unlike a fashion model, having a funkier look in the plus size market is seen as a negative since clients generally go for a more classic look.
To have a successful career, a plus size model should have a lot of personality, and be extremely comfortable in their skin which will translate wonderfully in photos. There is also a huge demand for plus size lingerie models, so a model taking care of skin, hair, and nails is of paramount importance to keep work consistence. However, this should go for all models.
Health & Fitness Models
Another type of modeling is a health and fitness model. Where these super-toned model’s bread and butter lies is in health magazines, protein bars, supplements, gym equipment, and tanning products.
Since fitness models have to stay incredibly fit, fashion and commercials models can fall into this category as well. Lucky them, since they are already paying close attention to diet and exercise programs to keep their bodies trim and toned
Although there is a bigger market for men in the fitness category, women make up 40% of the industry. Rising from 25% in 2005, there is more opportunity for posing in women’s health magazines, athletic wear lines, and anywhere else in the fitness business.
Bikini & Lingerie Models
Hottie bodies, bikini and lingerie models will have a busty chest, barbie like figure, or can be very curvy. You will see models in this category in lingerie catalogs, car shows, costumes packaging, and in a ton of other categories. With the right bikini body, and a beautiful face, this type of model can fit into a lot of other categories as well, like; health & fitness, and commercial modeling.
As with fashion and commercial models, you will typically see a bikini type of model between 5′ 9” to 5′ 11” and extremely well proportioned in all the right places. Long legs, long torso, C cup and above as well as very lean will make the cut.
There are few requirements for getting a child-wonder into the modeling game. Agencies like to see a sparkle which will stand out among the cuteness which children already have. The most important of the requirements are how well a child behaves in front to of the camera, and will they listen to the parent when they are there. This type of modeling can include infants to about 9 years old.
Standing in front of a camera can be stressful for a child if they are shy. Being uncomfortable and scared will make any photo task difficult for the child to take direction and may take up more time then the client is able to afford. If they are outgoing and shine then they are exactly what agencies are looking for.
A teenager has a lot of opportunities in the modeling industry. There are tons of teen magazines, teen clothing stores, teen products – you name it. Teenage models don’t have to be as tall as commercial and fashion models, they are typically 5′ 7 to 5′ 9. However, they do have to have tons of energy. Moving well in front of a camera is the ideal teen for clients.
Teenage models can range from 13 to 21 years of age. Their skin and hair should be vivacious by drinking lots of water and getting plenty of sleep. A teenage life can be hectic with school activities so they need to be able to get to castings and jobs easily and on time. Luckily, there is not a weight requirement for teenage model types but clothes should lay well on them because they will usually wear sample sizes which typically run small.
Lifestyle modeling can usually mean 1 of 2 things, or both; selling the style of everyday living, such as, decorating a new home, yachting and resorts, or a model over 30 years old with an approachable commercial look.
The lifestyle type of modeling is very similar to the commercial type of modeling because, let’s face it, it’s rare you see a 20 year old own a home and is looking to remodel, or own a sailboat and is looking to buy proper clothing. Of course, it happens. However, typically people with established careers and above the age of 30 are the target market for lifestyle products, brands, and business product advertising.
Body Part Models
Body part models are needed to sell products such as watches, pantyhose, hand creams, and even shoes. Body doubles also fit into this category. The most sought after parts are hands, feet and legs. However, you can also find work for butts, necks, abs, arms, backs, lips, and hair.
If you do have a part that is model worthy, of course, you have to take care of it. Agencies will only be interested in what you’ve got only if there are no cuts or scars, large pores, cellulite, or a lot of veins.
No need to worry about complexion or perfect model looks, a fit model (not to be confused with fitness) will go to fashion houses and model clothes to make sure the clothes lay right, and are correctly sewn. Effectively, this type of modeling is becoming a live mannequin.
The only standard fit models need to worry about are their measurements. Keep the right measurement and good attitude and you will be called back. Most fit models range from size 2 to size 12.
As you can see, there are a variety of areas and types of modeling in the industry. To get your foot in the door you will need energy, personality, and to realistically figure out which market you fit into.
The hardest part in the beginning will be finding an agent. Meaning; to find one that will take you or to find a good fit if you have agency options. If you have a slow start try not to be discouraged, rejection is one thing you will have to get used to if you want to be a model.
Lastly, you’ll need great self-esteem.
Models spend a majority of their career going out to meet clients, more so than taking photos. Some of the toughest days will be trucking all day around the city to see if you are right for a job – which you won’t always book. That being said, stay confident! There are a lot of markets and it’s important to take time to find the right one for you.