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How to Start Your Career in Modeling

So you’ve watched all 24 seasons of America’s Next Top Model, and now you’re pretty sure you have what it takes. Tyra Banks may have overlooked the important details of where and how to start modeling, but we’ll be sure to fill you in. 

Let’s be honest, modeling is quite literally using your physical appearance to help a company advertise a product or, in some cases, assisting artists as a reference for their work. This means your physical appearance is your selling point, and if you aren’t up for the challenges that come with that then you may need to rethink your strategy. Like model Birgit Kros told Vogue, “Modeling is not just a job, it’s a total lifestyle; if you’re not working you still have to be a model.” 

How to start Modeling Step-by-Step

She went on to explain that you’ll need to take care of your appearance, physical shape, and mental health at all times – there is no off-season. Like a professional athlete, you’ll need to monitor your diet and exercise to maintain industry standard body proportions. But more than that, you’ll have to consider how you appear in public because, like with any job, its important to show an interest in what you do.

If you are not interested in fashion, makeup, etc. then you’ll need to learn enough about them to be taken seriously by the industry professionals working with you. Adaptability will be key to your quest of how to start modeling. As well as handling the ups and downs of a career that has a predicted growth of only 1% for the next 8 years according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Identifying your niche in such a competitive field will require some soul-searching. Evaluate your best characteristics, do you have beautiful hands? An incredible physique? Enviously glossy hair? Leg’s for days? Or the voluptuous proportions of a plus-size hearthrob like Precious Lee? If you look your best in a swimsuit then that’s the market for you! For every asset there’s a demand and recognizing where you have an edge will help you get to the career you want.  

At this point you are ready for the camera, but ease into it – there’s no rush. Feel free to pump yourself up before the camera gets friendly with your best angles; after all, this is hopefully the start of a loving, long-term relationship.

As you work through the shoots with your friends, do your research and become comfortable with a variety of poses, expressions, and shots. Once you’ve got a creative repertoire down, improve yourself by asking for criticism and advice – learning to take direction now is good practice for the future. 

If you feel confident about your photos, then its time to bring in a professional. With a proper photographer behind the wheel, your photos will be more polished and show your skills at their best. Because this portfolio will be sent to modeling agencies, you’ll need to include full-length swimsuit shots, clean straight-faced head-shots from different angles, and a few headshots with smiles for commercial modeling. Tie your portfolio together with a list of your measurements, hair color, and eye color.

Next, compile a list of the best modeling agencies for your niche and learn about their portfolio submission policies. Many have shifted to online forms that require your to upload photos on a database, while others prefer them to be mailed in. Of course casting calls are a prefect opportunity for gaining valuable industry insights because agents can see you in-person.

This is a chance for your own style and personality to become a part of their evaluation. At these calls, always bring a composite card – the modeling equivalent of a business card – which includes your headshot and physical stats in addition to your contact information. 

Be prepared for rejection, but always stay confident. In this industry confidence is the make-it or break-it standard for all models.   

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