What it takes to become a model
Modelling can be a fantastic career that allows you to travel and meet many interesting people.
As the only Scottish member of the BFMA, we take our responsibilities as agents very seriously. We believe in developing the skills required to be a model with each of our talents throughout their careers.
Modelling is a business; as a model, you will be self-employed. Like any business, success takes time, effort, commitment, and patience. It does not happen overnight. Confidence, resilience and determination are essential in this high-paced, ever-evolving, competitive world.
Models often have very tiring schedules and must take care of themselves to keep up. You will need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Keep to a nutritious diet, work out regularly, get sufficient sleep and avoid smoking and alcohol. Drink lots of water and avoid too many late nights. A tired model is not a working model – it shows.
Be the very best version of yourself, have a friendly and positive attitude and be the ultimate professional. Always make a good first impression!
Frequently asked questions
DO I HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A MODEL?
Modelling requires dedication, patience and determination because, with very rare exceptions, it doesn’t happen overnight. Just as important, models need to have the right personality for this type of work. A model must be hard-working, resourceful, reliable, patient, mannerly, good-natured and must also have a great deal of common sense and a good sense of humour! Present yourself as the perfect candidate: show confidence, have a good attitude and a friendly personality. Show your personal style, but keep it clean and simple and always make a good first impression. Models often have very tiring schedules and they need to take good care of themselves in order to keep up. You will need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Keep to a healthy diet, work out regularly, get sufficient sleep and avoid smoking and alcohol. Drink lots of water and avoid too many late nights. A tired model is not a working model – it shows. Look after your skin and your hair. Use quality skin and hair care products, keep make-up to a minimum and make sure you take it off before you go to bed. But, never get your hair cut or dyed without first consulting your booker. Models should also invest time and effort in the development of their portfolio and experience in front of the camera. It’s essential that models continue to evolve and work with as many good photographers as possible. If you’re not testing, you’re not learning. Practice, practice, practice! Make sure you are available for as many castings and go-sees as possible. These are effectively job interviews and should be regarded as such. Be ready. The majority of castings / shoots take place during the day Monday – Friday. Most of our work is across the central belt of Scotland but can sometimes be “on location” further north or south to use our stunning Scottish scenery as a backdrop. Learning to drive can be hugely advantageous as there can be early starts and late finishes which public transport may not support.
WHAT KIND OF MODELLING CAN I DO?
There are a variety of different kinds of modelling. Nowadays, brands connect and engage their customers across various media platforms so that a model can work across several other media. Below are the main areas of modelling in which we work and provide models. As a model, you may find that you are suited to more than one modelling category.
HIGH FASHION / COUTURE MODELLING
These tend to be the models you see who grace the international catwalks at all the main Fashion Weeks and shoot editorials for the leading fashion houses and designers. They are the ones most likely to be found on the pages of magazines like Vogue, Harpers, Love, i-D, GQ or Dazed.
This is advertising in magazines, billboards, bus sides and the like. Advertisers choose their models to suit their particular target customers, so there may be many criteria for selection across age, ethnicity, size and so on.
DIGITAL / E-COM MODELLING
Models are chosen to represent the target audience of the different companies so that their customers can buy goods directly from an image on a web page. Businesses such as ASOS, Boohoo and Net-a-porter are huge e-commerce companies. In addition, virtually every high street retailer, M&S, Yours, The White Company, John Lewis, Tesco, and Sainsbury's will also have a website where customers can order goods! With the increasing number of websites that require models to promote their interests online, many models can work almost daily for e-com clients. It's an environment where models must work quickly and “pop out poses” as they can shoot many garments daily.
This type of modelling is for both women and men and if you’re confident, toned and between the sizes of 14-22 UK, this could be for you. More and more advertisers are using curve models to promote their products to appeal to a broader demographic. As a curve model, you will still need to have great skin, teeth and hair and have something special about you. The height requirements are usually 5’8″+ for Women and 6’1″+ for Men.
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 editorials come without added social media coverage – from Instagram to Facebook, Twitter and Periscope. 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 and confidence, but this can be a natural or learned ability. There are many types of TV commercials, ranging from the highly stylised photographic to the performance-led reality style. Many different categories of parts are available, usually ranging from background extra / walk-on / featured artist through to main part. The fees are typically based on a day rate for your actual role whilst filming and then usage based on the longevity of a commercial’s appearance, frequency of use and local, regional or international use.
Many parents dream of their children becoming catalogue stars. Child modelling can be pretty competitive, and parents should be prepared emotionally and financially, as well as prepare their children for the possibility of rejection when trying to find work. At an audition (known as a casting), a client may ask to see 50 children, and only one may be chosen for the shoot. The majority of castings / shoots take place during the day, Monday – Friday. Most of the work is across the central belt of Scotland but can sometimes be “on location” further north or south to use our gorgeous Scottish scenery as a backdrop. Once at work, all child models need reliable and calm chaperones – and the models must be well-behaved and be able to follow directions from the photographer or director. As the chaperone taking a child to a castings / shoots, it is preferable to have your own transport, be a good timekeeper, and be reliable and organised. 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!