HomeCasting CallsPlus Size Model AdviceModelling NewsNewsletterBasketCheckoutOrder StatusSitemap
Print-friendly version

Modelling as a Career

modelling as a career
So you're thinking of doing modelling as a career?   Have you done your homework yet and toured the rest of our site for all the modelling FAQs and figures? It's a really good idea to do some research and find out about all the different types of modelling available to the budding poseur - that's you! We've listed some items below which give you a good, solid and basic outline. The pay can vary a lot, depending on what type of modelling job you take on, or how you want to develop your path and cut a career out of modelling. You need to think seriously, if you'll allow us to give you some model advice.

Do you want to be a part time model whilst holding down another job, or are you really sure you want to take up modelling as a full time career? If the answer to the last question is yes, then congratulations, it's a brave and exciting decision you have already made. Now's the time to think about all the pros and cons. A successful model must be outgoing and not at all shy. They must be able to act, to move fluidly and be fit and healthy - stamina is key.

 A model need to have a thick skin as rejection could be around every corner until you make your mark. It's a really tough world where beauty is often skin deep. You could be rejected before you even open your mouth, so your portfolio must be seriously good and up to date, to get you in the door. Be professional at all times and be good to your peers. A model with friends is an enviable person to be and you could make contacts for future modelling jobs and leave a lasting impression for all the right reasons.

Modelling as a career means considering  yourself as self employed, whether you're with a model agency or not. It's a career fraught with uncertainty, just like acting, with no guarantee of continual work. Can you cope being unemployed for weeks at a time- have you the finances in place to carry you through the bad times until the good times come along once more? Maybe you may have to consider taking on other jobs to pay the mortgage but it will be worth it. Modelling is rewarding, enjoyable and a fantastic way to earn a living if you possibly can. You'll meet new people every day and make lots of new friends. And it's fun - let's be honest! Who wouldn't want a job that's fun?


Income for models varies dramatically, and is very dependent on location, experience and the demands of a particular job. Most models work on a freelance basis through an agent and are paid for each job. Rates can vary from around £50 to £1,000 a booking. Agents usually take 20% of the earnings. Models working exclusively for fashion houses may earn between around £10,000 to over £40,000 a year.

Nature of Modelling Work

Working as a model is not a typical 9-5 . Your working hours as a model can be very long and irregular, and may include early starts and late finishes. Where you work depends on what kind of model you are. In house models working for fashion companies will spend their time in design studios, showrooms, stores and fashion show venues. In photographic modelling the location of the work is entirely dependent on the requirements of the photo shoot. You could work indoors in studios and other venues, or outdoors in all weather conditions, depending on the needs of the shoot. Modelling involves a lot of travel (sometimes overseas) to attend castings, fashion shows and photo shoots, which may mean having to stay away from home for anything from a day to a few weeks at a time.

Skills and Interests

To be a model you need:
  • the desire to take care of yourself to maintain your look and cope with the demands of the job.
  • fashion sense, style and an interest in current trends
  • the ability to move well
  • confidence, self-reliance and discipline
  • a pleasant, professional attitude and the ability to work with others
  • good time-keeping
  • patience, stamina and fitness to cope with long, tiring days and travelling
  • the ability to cope with criticism and rejection
  • business skills for self-employment.


Modelling agencies will usually give training to all new models in skills such as:
  • Moving as a model, including posing and catwalk work.
  • Photographic modelling techniques and tips
  • Diet and health advice to ensure you stay healthy
  • Skin care and grooming
Some courses also provide you with a few professional photographs (known as ‘test shots’) to get your portfolio started to show to agents and employers.
Most agencies will not charge you up-front for training and test shots if they believe you have potential, although they may deduct a fee from your earnings when you first find paid assignments.
Some independent modelling schools provide similar courses, but they can be expensive and offer no guarantee of work.

Career Opportunities

Most models are self-employed and obtain work through a modelling agency. The majority of modelling work is based in and around London, although there are also agencies in other major cities in the UK.
The modelling industry is very competitive, and being accepted on an agency’s books is no guarantee of regular modelling work. Some models do in fact take on other types of work between assignments to earn a living. There are some opportunities for permanent full- or part-time house models with wholesale or retail fashion businesses. A good portfolio to demonstrate your experience and a network of contacts is essential if you are wanting to make a career from modelling. As your career progresses and as you age, you could become a booker for a model agency, set up your own agency, or move into other areas of the fashion industry, such as styling or fashion journalism. Some models branch out into the entertainment industry, for example TV presenting or acting.