How to Be a Model:
A Guide to, Uh, Becoming a Model

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HEY, how exactly do you become a model?


It seems like such a simple question. But there's a lot of confusing information out there. What the heck?


Anyway, in the interest of trying to make things LESS confusing (fingers crossed), we'll try to keep it short and sweet:


First, what NOT to do

  • Don't pay upfront money to anyone. Ever. Period. This includes so-called "model scouts," companies that want to help you get "professional portfolio photos," teach you to walk on the catwalk or manage your career. You'll find out how to take care of all that below, all by yourself. Or someone will find you jobs, then deduct a percentage afterward, like 10-20%. Having said that, you can and probably should work "TFP" ("time for print," or free modeling for free photos), when you're just starting out.

  • Don't sign anything without having a lawyer look it over. Don't be rushed or pressured, ever. If you've got what it takes, or what they want, they can wait, or there's a better offer coming. Save years of your life: Lawyer first. Sign later.

  • Guide to modeling scams. The tips above are the biggest, most obvious things to avoid. But there are others to consider, so here's a free online guide to modeling scams.

Thanks, ModelNews! But what do I DO?

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What to actually DO!

  • Get some pictures together. Get a camera of some kind and get your girlfriend, bf, bff, sister or mother to take some pics. Make them look cool. Try and look your best. Get like 5 together. Here's a guide if you're submitting to agencies.

  • Join a free site like Model Mayhem. Model Mayhem ( is sort of like the Facebook of modeling. Upload your pics, wait for your account to be approved, then start networking with photographers and do some shots "TFP." TFP means "time for print" or trading your time (i.e. free modeling) for some cool prints (i.e. photographs) by a pro or semi-pro. BEFORE you respond to anything or anyone, read the online guide to modeling scams we talked about. Follow all the DON'Ts we mentioned earlier, while you're at it.

  • If you want to sign to an agency, go to an open agency modeling casting call. (That link goes to some we've compiled at You may have to Google around to find some closer to where you live. Just look for modeling agencies in your home town. Be sure to call first and see what you need to bring. Usually you'll show up without makeup. But if you want to be a professional independent model, you can get a lot of work using the methods above, without an agency.

  • Why not submit to Hey, we're just sayin', you could do that, too. Free press is good, right?

Worried about height and weight requirements? Don't be.

  • First of all, there are exceptions. If you have an amazing face and look, your height will be far less of an issue. Print campaigns care less about your stature than your look.

  • Consider becoming a commercial model. The requirements for commercial models are far different than fashion models, and it's a great career. Commecrial models appear in print, TV ads, catalogs, magazines, editorials (photos shown accompanying an article in a magazine), brochures, posters, billboards, sides of buses, product boxes, games ... anywhere a person is required. Generally speaking the only requirement is to look like a real person, often with the ability to bring a specific look or energy to a shoot. Google "commercial model" to find out more, and we also recommend the excellent book How to Become a Successful Commercial Model by Aaron Marcus, a very successful commercial model.

Two books worth checking out, though you don't NEED them:


For those interested in fashion modeling:

  • Break into Modeling for Under $20 by Judy Goss

Not all modeling is fashion modeling! There are less stringent height and weight restrictions in commercial modeling, which is an equally fun career:

  • How to Become a Successful Commercial Model by Aaron Marcus
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Well, that's about it, really! See, it's simple! Good luck! : )



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