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What Steps Do I Take to Become a Model?

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There are thousands of aspiring models around the world who desire to become the industry's next top model. Many view this industry as glamorous and lucrative; however, it is an extremely competitive field. It does not just take a tall body and pretty face to model; models must also have tough skin and a passion for fashion. There are a variety of steps to take and skills to acquire to become a model.

Types of Modeling

The first step to becoming a model is to understand the different types of modeling and what will be the best type for you. Models should have the right body shape for the specific type of modeling. Modeling types include fashion models, high fashion models, editorial models, runway models, showroom models, promotional models, specialty models, teen junior models, glamour models and commercial print models. Depending on your look, some types will be better for you than others.


Once the type of modeling is decided, models should take suitable photographs for their portfolios. You should use at least two professional photographers so your portfolio has some diversity in style. Models should also update portfolios on a regular basis and add tear sheets from magazine ads or another similar medium. The portfolio should also include photographs displaying various angles, hairstyles, profiles and expressions. Do not overedit photos, and never wear the same outfit in two different photographs.

Comp Card

Another step to becoming a model is to create a comp card. A model’s comp card is like a resume and a business card combined. Traditionally, it is a two-sided card stock sheet, with the front side displaying the model's head shot, name, contact information and vital statistics such as height, weight, eye and hair color. The back side should include a collage of three to seven pictures; the industry standard is four.

Avoid Scams

As you are developing your modeling career, you must beware of potential scams from fake agencies trying to take advantage of you. A reputable agency will not do any of the following: charge an upfront fee; require one certain photographer to take a test shoot; offer a free photo shoot just to charge for hair and makeup; require certain classes to be taken through their company; schedule appointments during the weekday night or weekends; or only accept payments in cash. Aspiring models should get everything in writing, read forms thoroughly before signing anything, check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any pending complaints and watch for any claims that are too good to be true.

Learn to Work the Look

While there are various types of modeling that incorporate different kinds of beauty and body types, there are a few things that all models should keep in mind to make the right impression on potential employers. Models should have clean nails, hair and skin, and they should dress in clothing that emphasizes their body structure. Models should also know how to apply their own makeup to achieve various looks quickly. Models should take good care of their bodies and skin, because these two things are prime assets in this business.


Chris Newton has worked as a professional writer since 2001. He spent two years writing software specifications then spent three years as a technical writer for Microsoft before turning to copywriting for software and e-commerce companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of Colorado.