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How to Get into Modeling

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Although you need a certain look to be a model, looks alone aren’t enough to get you into the business. Modeling isn’t just about beauty and glamour. To be a successful model you need brains, a fit body and the right attitude. Personality is as much a part of being a model as is being attractive. Professionalism counts, and so does a modeling agent who will assess your physical features and professional demeanor.

Learn all you can about the modeling industry. Not all models are high-fashion or runway models. Find your niche and focus your efforts on that. There are specialty models, plus-size models, petite-size models, hand models and catalog models to name a few. Some of these types of modeling offer regular work and lucrative pay.

Enroll in a modeling school. The cost can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars. Although you do not have to attend a modeling school to start a modeling career, a modeling school can teach you how to dress, apply makeup and walk. You will also learn how to develop your self-confidence in addition to receiving fitness and nutrition advice.

Send photographs of yourself to modeling agencies or take them along to interviews. Select photos where you look natural and not posed. Agents look for natural beauty. Choose images where your personality shines through. Include a headshot and one full body shot. Two or three additional color photos should do to start. Consider using a local professional photographer for your headshots.

Attend an agency’s open casting call. Contact several agencies to find out the dates. This may work to your advantage if you live near a major city such as New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami or Los Angeles where some of the top modeling agencies are located. If you don’t live near a leading fashion market, contact agencies based in a large city and inquire whether the agent works with smaller modeling agencies closer to your area.

Project confidence and energy when you approach a modeling agency. Wear little or no makeup to your interview. A modeling agent will want to see the real you. Dress casually in clothing that shows your body shape but isn’t too tight or shows too much skin. Go for a conservative look that emphasizes your best features – those that catch people’s attention.

Present yourself as a professional, which means you can’t be shy. Your goal is to sell your look to the camera. Make eye contact with the agent when you first meet. Relax and give the agent a genuine smile.

Listen actively. Look interested and allow the agent to do more of the talking. When asked, describe your experience in as few words as possible. Don’t be modest about your qualifications, but don’t ramble. Show courtesy for the agent’s time.

Demonstrate a cooperative attitude. Follow the agent’s advice about weight, hairstyle and clothing if you want a contract with that agency. Attitude is a huge part of succeeding in the world of modeling. Avoid coming off as being uncooperative or difficult to work with.


Attending weekly open calls is one way to get experienced agents to look you over and give you free advice.

Most modeling agencies and photographers prefer that you get your training through experience and test shoots.

If you don't go to modeling school, you can learn practical modeling tips from the first model agents and photographers with whom you work.


A modeling school is not an agency and therefore cannot book you work. You can gain access to modeling agencies on your own, and it won’t cost you any money.


Amber Keefer has more than 25 years of experience working in the fields of human services and health care administration. Writing professionally since 1997, she has written articles covering business and finance, health, fitness, parenting and senior living issues for both print and online publications. Keefer holds a B.A. from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. in health care management from Baker College.