How to Start Modeling

Figuring out how to start modeling isn't that easy, no matter how beautiful you are. You may be familiar with the incredible stories of top models who were discovered in malls or on park benches, but those stories are few and far between. The vast majority of models become successful through actively pursuing representation from an agency. Representation is not the only ingredient to success. To be a top model, you must have "the look," which is a set of specific physical qualities that match up with a client's desires.

Types Of Modeling
After you've decided to be a model, you must determine which type of modeling is best for you. Most people immediately associate the term "model" with "supermodel." A supermodel is a person who does fashion, runway and commercials. This type of triple threat is not the normal experience. Most models excel in one type of modeling. For example, a fashion model must be extremely photogenic. A runway model must have a demanding presence and strong walk. A commercial model doesn't need to be particularly strong in photos or walking, but she must have a congenial and infectious personality.

The main types of modeling are fashion, glamour, commercial and body part. A fashion model can work in artsy editorials within a magazine, or print photography in ads or billboards. Fashion modeling also includes runway, catalog and fitness. Some confuse fashion modeling with glamour, but they are two separate genres. Glamour modeling is more sensual in nature. These are the types of models you may see in "Maxim" or "Playboy." Although not all glamour models are required to be nude, there is a definite emphasis on sexuality. Glamour modeling includes pin-up, boudoir and lingerie.

Unlike a fashion model, a commercial model does not adhere to strict physical standards. A commercial model is selected for her ability to convey a specific personality type, such as busy mom, professional athlete or seasoned cook. A body part model has one or more features that are particularly photogenic. If a cosmetics company needs to showcase a new nail polish, only a model's hands may be necessary. In this case, the cosmetics company would specifically recruit models with attractive hands.

Getting Started
Two paths exist to becoming a model. The first path requires agency representation. If you choose this route, you will need to contact the agencies about representation. You may visit the agency in person or contact them through their Web sites. If you initiate contact through a Web site, you will be asked to submit photographs of yourself. Be sure to know the physical requirements for each agency. The standard height requirements for modeling are between 5-foot-8 and 6-foot-1. Maximum weight is restricted to 130 lbs, but that varies based on height. The dress size also varies between sizes 0 to 8. Plus-size models also adhere to the same height requirements, but they should wear either a size 12 or 14 in dress.

After signing with an agency, you will be given the opportunity to create a portfolio, which is a collection of your photos. The agency will then book you to certain jobs, or they will inform you of open modeling calls in your area.

The second way to become a model is to represent yourself. You will still need to create your own portfolio. You then attend open modeling calls and hope to get work as a freelancer. It's more difficult to get work as a free agent because many companies prefer to work with agencies than with models directly. It is possible to become a successful model this way, but it takes perseverance.

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