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Models are as varied and unique as the clothes they wear. Models work in a number of capacities, and they do not need to be stick-thin, or have chiseled features to find work. The supermodels who show off designer fashions in Paris, Milan, and New York are only a few of the models working all over the world. Models can be young, old, small, large, tall, or short. They can be completely different from what we think of as a typical model. While supermodels are the ones we associate most immediately with the industry, there are actually a number of opportunities for well groomed and confident people.

Runway models do not only find work in Paris. Models of all shapes and sizes can be found on the runways at community fashion shows, shopping center shows, fundraisers, and modeling shows for local designers. These models must be excellent at maintaining poise and confidence, while keeping their cool, not doing anything that would draw the viewers' eyes away from the clothes. These models have to balance quick and hectic backstage changes with the poise and confidence they exhibit to the public.

Print models work in studios or on location outdoors. They model clothes and products for magazines, newspapers, flyers, brochures, catalogs, and billboards. These models must be patient, and comfortable with having their photos taken. Often, print models only use their hair, hands, or feet for a modeling shoot.

Television models usually promote products and clothing. These models are more comfortable with live action, and usually have more experience. They need to be natural actors, as well. They are often regulars on television, making numerous ads for makeup, food, or household products. They are known as "spokesmodels".

Some models work at trade shows, publicity events, and fundraisers. They demonstrate products, interact with visitors and shoppers, and explain products, hand out samples, and help draw people's attention to the items. These models are especially comfortable working with people.

And then there are the artists' models, who pose for hours on end in art classes where students are learning about the human form. This is perhaps the most versatile of all areas, as artists' models do not need to fit any specific body type, as artists need to practice drawing the human form in all its shapes and sizes.

Most models work in their teens and twenties, and most are only involved in the industry part-time. They work in other jobs, or attend school when they are not working. It is important, for young models especially, to stay involved with their regular activities when possible. This is a good way to help them stay focused and grounded while working in a fast paced industry such as modeling.
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  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
Median Salary:
Highest 10% of Earners:

  Interests and Skills  
Interested in becoming a model? Models need to be confident, patient, and dedicated to pursuing their career. They should be creative, friendly, and have good communication skills. Models need to have natural grace and poise, and they must be adaptable to long hours, location changes and anything else that might come up. This career requires models to look act their best, even under immense pressure and stress. Models should enjoy being in the spotlight, and many have an interest in acting. Models also need to be physically fit, and well-proportioned. They might need a specific body shape or attitude--as every type of model, from fashion to spokesperson to artists' model has an established list of criteria that prospective models need to fit.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Meet regularly with agent
  • Review contracts
  • Sit for hours getting hair and makeup done
  • Pose for photographs
  • Model on runways
  • Audition for shoots, spokesmodel positions, or commercials
  • Interact with public at trade shows
  • Keep in shape with proper diet and exercise
  • The typical day for a model is long. Each work day can be from six to 12 hours long, including posing, live modeling, interviews, and meeting with agents, other models, and designers. Models may be required to work outside in extreme temperatures. Often, they will be modeling swimwear in February, or ski wear in July, and must manage to look comfortable in both situations. Along with the preparation that goes into an actual shoot or runway show, there are also the workouts, the meetings, and the travel involved in getting to and from locations. Models will have to fit meetings, reviewing contracts, exercise, and auditions somewhere into their hectic work schedules. Models get to meet all sorts of people, including models, photographers, directors, hair and makeup stylists, and agents.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Models work in a variety of locations. There are some freelance models although it is rare and most of those models have already succeeded in some capacity. Most models will be employed and have a contract with a specific agency and they will work for clients who contact that agency for models. Models who work with artists will work in art studios, while models who work in commercials will spend their days in television studios or on the location of the shoot. Models also work internationally, traveling all over the world for photo shoots and runway fashion shows.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Models can work their way up to supermodel status, but this is a rare path for a career to take. Many models never make it that big, and most move onto new projects after several years of work. Models can get into acting, open up a modeling agency, or become a scout for an agency. They can also get into fashion design, make up and hair, as well as work as an event planner, putting on parties and modeling shows. They may also become instructors and public speakers.

  Educational Paths  
While there are no specific educational requirements for models, most models complete some sort of training in another field, so they will have something to fall back on if the modeling falls through. Models are typically advised to take some modeling classes, which are often available through the agencies. These courses cover everything , including skin care, body image, audition preparation, and how to walk down a runway without falling over. It is a good idea to contact reputable agencies or models themselves and ask which programs are the most reputable to take. Drama, dance, visual art, photography, and physical education classes also provide valuable skills and training.

Models may also consider taking some business courses, as they will need to read and review contracts, handle finances, and meet with lawyers, executives, and agents regularly to discuss their careers.

Aspiring models often go to an agency office and request a meeting with an agent. Besides asking if they have what it takes prospective models may inquire about artist modeling, plus-size, hair, and hand modeling, and catalog work.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002,

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