Within modelling, there are a variety of different categories where some models will flourish whilst others may find themselves better suited to different kinds of modelling than others. However, brands connect and engage their customers across a wide variety of media platforms so, for any particular client, it is likely a model will find him/herself working across a number of different media. The categories below are not, therefore, mutually exclusive.
What Kind Of Modelling Can I do?
These tend to be the models you see that grace the catwalks and editorials for the leading fashion houses and designers. They are the ones most likely to be found in the pages of magazines like Vogue, Harpers, Love, ID, GQ or Dazed.
This is modelling for magazine editorials and covers, some in high fashion titles but also the likes of Elle, Red, Tatler, Marie Claire, Look, GQ or Esquire. Editorials provide all important exposure for models even though the fees earned are relatively low. This is normal and it can take a few years to gain the experience needed to get the bigger paying jobs. Editorials provide tearsheets which will be used to build an all-important portfolio.
This is advertising in magazines, billboards, bus sides and the like. Here the fees are larger and, dependent upon a number of criteria, such as exclusivity for a particular brand, extra usage across several media, such as social media, or usage on a global scale which might be worldwide or European, for example. Advertisers choose their models to suit their particular target customers so there are many criteria for selection across age, colour, ethnicity, size and so on.
Digital and e-commerce
Again, models are chosen to represent the target audience of the different companies. The traditional catalogue is very much in decline whilst ecommerce has taken up the slack for brands like Very and JD Williams. It has also become the epicentre for a lot of businesses such as ASOS, Boohoo and Net-a-porter. In addition, virtually every high street retailer will also have a website which will often account for more sales than any of their shops! Top Shop, M&S, Tesco, as well as the niche brands like Phase Eight, Hobbs or Whistles. With the increasing number of websites that require models to promote their goods online, this is very lucrative for many models where they can find themselves working almost daily and growing their experience.
It will be no surprise to any young person that the range and extensive use of social media has dramatically changed the landscape of traditional media advertising. Few advertising campaigns, fashion shows or editorial come without added social media coverage from Instagram to Facebook, Twitter and TikTok. Some purely social media campaigns are created and these tend to be designed to go viral. The fees in this sector are yet to be significant, other than for those models with substantial followings where considerable money can be earned. It has become critical for successful models to build their own followers to increasingly attract advertisers.
It is usually necessary to have some acting ability, but this can be a natural ability or learned. There are many different types of TV commercials, ranging from the highly stylised photographic, to the performance led reality style. The fees are usually based on a day rate, whilst actually filming, and then usage, based on the longevity of a commercial’s appearance, its frequency of use and its regional or international use.
Below the line
This is a rather all-embracing sector but, for the sake of simplicity, this is where brands use communication vehicles other than traditionally bought media and e-commerce. We are listing below a catchall of some of the other categories of modelling:-
PR; music videos; store windows; in-store showcards; leaflets; brochures; look books; personal appearances; brand ambassadors and even book covers
This type of modelling is on the increase and a relatively new phenomenon. It is predominantly for women and, if you’re confident, with great attributes and you are between the sizes of 12-18 UK then this could be for you. More and more advertisers are using curve models to promote their products in a bid to appeal to a broader demographic. As a curve model you will still need to have great skin, teeth and hair and have that something special about you. The height requirements remain at a minimum of 172cm (5’8″).
Glamour modelling is self-evident as a category but it is not one that the BFMA represents. If you are interested, it is, above all, advisable to have a reputable agency looking out for your best interests.
Body Part Models
An area not usually thought about for newcomers, but it is a very relevant sector of the industry. The most common body parts tend to be hair, eyes, lips, hands, legs and feet, which are used to promote many products in print and TV. You will need to have exceptionally well proportioned body parts and know how to look after them. Again, with few exceptions, it is not a sector where the BFMA has representation.
Many parents dream of their children becoming catalogue stars. Child modelling can be quite competitive, and parents should be prepared both emotionally and financially, as well as preparing their children for the possibility of rejection when trying to find work.
At an audition, a client may ask to see 20 babies or toddlers where only one will be chosen for the shoot. Most of the work is within the M25 area of London and often at short notice. Once at work, all child models then need reliable and calm chaperones – and the models must be well behaved and take directions well.
Most importantly, a child should never be forced or coerced into being a model. It is something children should naturally feel that they are thoroughly enjoying!
There are some basic tips to keep in mind if the decision to pursue this type of work has been made. Never answer an advertisement in a newspaper for child models and never go to a hotel for interviews or photography.
A lot of useful information is on the websites of reputable agencies and on other online resources. A good first stop could be Elisabeth Smith, the first UK child agency founded in 1960.
Once you have found an agency that looks like it might be right for your child, check them out with companies which are likely to use child models to see if the agency is known and used by these clients. For example, Toys R Us, Mothercare, Boots, Tesco or baby magazines.