Photographic model

A model (from Middle French modèle//aew),[1] is a person who is employed to promote, display, or advertise commercial products (notably fashion clothing) or to serve as a visual object for people who are creating works of art.

Modelling ("modeling" in American English) is considered to be different from other types of public performance, such as an acting, dancing or being a mime artist. The boundary between modelling and performing is, however, not well defined, although such activities as appearing in a movie or a play are almost never labelled as modelling.

Types of modelling include fashion, glamour, fitness, bikini, fine art, body-part and commercial print models. Models are featured in a variety of media formats including books, magazines, movies, newspapers, and TV. Fashion models are sometimes featured in movies Looker, reality television shows (America's Next Top Model, The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency), or music videos ("Freedom! '90", "Wicked Game", "Daughters").


Early years

The modelling profession was first established in 1853 by Charles Frederick Worth, the "father of haute couture, when he asked his wife, Marie Vernet Worth, to model the clothes he designed.[2][3] The term "house model" was coined to describe the type of work. Eventually, this became a common practice for Parisian fashion houses. There were no model measurement requirements and most designers would use women of varying sizes to demonstrate variety in their designs.

With the development of fashion photography, the modelling profession expanding to photo modelling. Models remained fairly anonymous and relatively poorly paid until the late 1950s, though often marrying well. One of the first well known models was Lisa Fonssagrives who was very popular in the 1930s.[4] Fonssagrives appeared on over 200 Vogue covers and her name recognition led to the importance of Vogue in shaping the careers of fashion models. In 1946, Ford Models was established by Eileen and Gerard Ford in New York; it is one of the oldest model agencies in the world. One of the most prevalent models during the 1940s was Jinx Falkenburg who was paid $25 per hour, a large sum at the time.[5] During the 1940s and 1950s, Wilhelmina Cooper, Jean Patchett, Dovima, Dorian Leigh, Suzy Parker, Evelyn Tripp, Carmen Dell'Orefice, and Lisa Fonssagrives dominated fashion.[6] Also Dorothea Church was among the first black models in the industry who gained notoriety in Paris. However, they were not known outside the fashion community. Compare to today's models, the models of the 1950s were more voluptuous. Wilhelmina Cooper's measurements were 38"-24"-36" whereas Chanel Iman's measurements are 32"-23"-33".[7] It was also during the 1950s that pin-up models originated.

The 1960s and the evolution of the industry

In the 1960s, the modeling world was just starting to establish modeling agencies. Throughout Europe, secretarial services acted as models' agents charging them weekly rates for their messages and bookings. For the most part, models also were responsible for their own billing. In Germany, agents were not allowed to work for a percentage of someone else earnings. As a result, they referred to themselves as secretaries. It was also because of this that most models did not travel. With the exception of a few models traveling to Paris or New York, traveling was relatively unheard of for a model. Most models only worked in one market due to the odd labor laws regarding modeling in different countries. In the 1960s, Italy was in no shortness of fashion houses and fashion magazines but was in dire need of models. Italian agencies would often coerce models to return to Italy without work visas by holding their pay.[8] They would also pay their models in cash in which models would have to hide their money from custom agents. It was not uncommon for models staying in hotels such as La Louisiana in Paris or the Arena in Milan to have their hotel rooms raided by the police looking for models without work visas. It was rumored that competing agencies were behind the raids. This led many agencies to form world-wide chains for example, Marilyn Agency has branches in Paris and New York.[8]

By the late 1960s, London was the best market in Europe due to their more organized approach to modeling, which innovated the modeling industry. It was during this time models became household names. Models like Jean Shrimpton, Joanna Lumley, Tania Mallet, Celia Hammond, Twiggy, Penelope Tree, and Pauline Stone dominated the London fashion scene and were well paid unlike their predecessors.[9] Twiggy became the The Face of '66 at the age of 16.[10] At this time, model agencies were not as restrictive about the models they represented and it was uncommon for them to sign shorter models. Twiggy, who stood at 5'6" with a 32" bust and had boy's haircut, is credited with changing model ideals. At that time, she earned £80 an hour when the average wage was £15 a week.

In 1967 seven of the top model agents in London formed the Association of London Model Agents (ALMA). The formation of this association helped legitimize modeling and changed the fashion industry. Even with a more professional attitude towards modeling, models were still expected to have their hair and makeup done before they arrived at the shoot. However, agencies took the responsibility of a models promotional materials and branding. That same year, former top fashion model Wilhelmina Cooper opened up her own fashion agency with her husband called Wilhelmina Models. By 1968 FM Agency and Models 1 were established and represented models in a similar way they do today.[11][12] By the late 1960s, models were treated better and making better wages. One of the innovators, Ford Models, was the first agency to advance models money they were owed and would often allow teen models who did not live locally to reside in their house, a precursor to model housing.

In February 1968, an article in Glamour described 19 models as "supermodels", of whom were: Cheryl Tiegs, Verushka, Lisa Palmer, Peggy Moffitt, Susan Murray, Twiggy, Susan Harnett, Marisa Berenson, Gretchen Harris, Heide Wiedeck, Irish Bianchi, Hiroko Matsumoto, Anne DeZagher, Kathie Carpenter, Jean Shrimpton, Jean Patchett, Benedetta Barzini, Claudia Duxbury, and Agneta Frieberg.[13][14] That same year, Naomi Sims became the first African American to be featured on the cover of Ladies' Home Journal in 1968.[15]

The 1970s and 1980s

The innovations of the 1960s flowed into the 1970s fashion scene. As a result model industry association and standards,[16] model agencies became more business minded and more thought went into a model's promotional materials. By this time, agencies were starting to pay for as well control a model's publicity.[8] In the early 1970s, Scandinavia had an excess of tall, leggy, blonde-hair, blue-eyed models and not enough clients. It was during this time that Ford Models pioneered scouting.[8] They would spend time working with agencies holding modelling contests. This was the precursor to the Ford Supermodel of the World Competition which was established in 1980. Ford also focused their attentions on Brazil who had a wide array of exotic models which eventually led to establishment of Ford Models Brazil. Also during the 1970s, Janice Dickinson coined the term supermodel and claims to be the first supermodel. It was also during this time that Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue debuted. They set a trend by photographing "bigger and healthier" California models[17] and printing their names by their photos, thus turning many of them into household names and establishing the issue as a cornerstone of supermodel status.[17]

The 1970s marked numerous milestones in fashion. Beverly Johnson was the first African American to appear on the cover of US Vogue in 1974.[18] Models such as Grace Jones, Donyale Luna, Iman, Minah Bird, and Toukie Smith were some of the top black fashion models that paved the way black women in fashion. In 1975 Margaux Hemingway landed a then-unprecedented million-dollar contract as the face of Fabergé's Babe perfume and the same year appeared on the cover of Time magazine, labelled one of the "New Beauties", giving further name recognition to fashion models.[19]

Most of the world's most prominent modelling agencies were established in the 1970s and early 1980s. These agencies created the standard in which agencies now run. In 1974, Nevs Models was established in London with only a men's board, the first of its kind. Elite Models was founded in Paris in 1975 as well as Friday's Models in Japan.[20][21] The next year Cal-Carries was established in Singapore which was one of the first chain agencies in Asia. In 1977, Select Model Management opened its doors as well as Why Not Models in Milan. By the 1980s, agencies such as Premier Model Management, Storm Models, Mikas, Marilyn, and Metropolitan Models were established.

By the 1980s, most models were able to make modelling a full-time profession. It was common for models to travel abroad and work throughout Europe. As modelling became global numerous agencies began to think globally. In 1980 Ford Models, the innovator of scouting, introduced the Ford Super Model of the World contest.[22] That same year, John Casablancas opened Elite Models in New York. In 1981, cosmetics companies began contracting top models to lucrative endorsement deals. By 1983, Elite developed its own contest titled the Elite Model Look Competition. During the 1980s in New York, there were the 'model wars' in which Ford Models and Elite Models fought over models and campaigns. It got so bad the models where jumping back and forth between agencies such Elite, Wilhelmina, and Ford.[23] In New York, the late 1980s trend was the boyish look in which models had short cropped hair and were androgynous. In Europe, the trend was the exact opposite. During this time, a lot of American models who were feminine looking models moved abroad.[24] By the mid-1980s, big hair was made popular by hair bands and the boyish look was out. Curvacious models that were popular in the 1950s and early 1970s were in style again. Models like Patti Hansen earned $200 an hour for print and $2000 for television plus residuals.[25] It was estimated that Hansen earned about $300,000 a year during the 1980s.

The 1990s to present

The early 1990s were dominated by the supermodels of the late 1980s. In 1990, Linda Evangelista said to Vogue that "we don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day." This comment changed the landscape of the modelling industry through a pronounced shift in public perception of attainability. Evangelista and her contemporaries Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington and Stephanie Seymour, became arguably the most recognizable models in the world, earning the moniker of "supermodel", and were boosted to global recognition and new heights of wealth for the industry.[26] In 1991, Turlington signed a contract with Maybelline that paid her $800,000 for twelve days' work each year.

By the mid‑1990s, the new movement "heroin chic" became popular amongst New York and London editorial clients. While the heroin chic movement was inspired by model Jamie King, who suffered from heroin addiction, it was Kate Moss who became its poster child through her ads with Calvin Klein. It was during the heroin chic era that fashion split into two different categories: editorial and commercial. With the popularity of lingerie retailer Victoria's Secret and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, there was a need for healthier supermodels such as Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum to meet the commercial modeling demand. In spite of the heroin chic movement, model Claudia Schiffer earned $12 million. The mid‑1990s also saw many Asian countries establishing modelling agencies.

By the late 1990s, the heroin chic era ran its course. Teen-inspired clothing infiltrated mainstream fashion, pop music was on the rise, and artists like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera popularized pleather and midriffs. As fashion changed to a more youthful demographic, the models that rose to fame had to be sexier for the digital age. Following the breakthrough of Gisele Bundchen, a wave of Brazilian models like Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Ana Beatriz Barros rose to fame on the runways and became popular in commercial modeling throughout the 2000s. However, models still failed to match the influence of the "Big 6" of the early 1990s. Many attribute this to publication decisions to place celebrities on the cover of magazines rather than fashion models.[27]

In the late 2000s, the Brazilians fell out of favor on the runways. Editorial clients were favoring models with a china-doll or alien look to them, such as Gemma Ward and Lily Cole. During the 2000s, Ford Models and NEXT Model Management were in disagreement over models. Both parties alleged the other was stealing their models.[28] However, the biggest controversy of the 2000s was health of high-fashion models participating in fashion week. While the health of models has been a concern since the 1970s, there were several high-profile news stories surrounding the deaths of young fashion models due to eating disorders and drug abuse. The British Fashion Council subsequently asked designers to sign a contract stating they will not use models under the age of 16.[29] On March 3, 2012, Vogue banned models under the age of 16 as well as models who appear to have an eating disorder.[30] Similarly, other countries placed bans on unhealthy and underage models, including Spain, Italy, and Israel, who have all enacted a minimum body mass index (BMI) requirement.[31]

Glamour models

It is widely considered that England created the market for glamour modelling when The Sun established Page 3 in 1969,[32] a section in their newspaper which now features topless models. In the beginning, the newspaper featured sexually suggestive images of Penthouse and Playboy models. It was not until 1970 that models appeared topless. In the 1980s, The Sun's competitors followed suit and produced their own Page 3 sections.[33] It was during this time glamour models first came to prominence with the likes of Samantha Fox. As a result, the United Kingdom has a very large glamour market and has numerous glamour modelling agencies to this day.

It was not until the 1990s that modern glamour modelling was established. During this time, the fashion industry was promoting models with waif bodies and androgynous women, which left a void. Several fashion models who were deemed too commercial and too curvacious were frustrated with industry standard and took a different approach. Models like Victoria Silvstedt left the fashion world began modelling for men's magazines.[34] In the previous decades, posing nude for Playboy' merited in a model losing their agencies and endorsements.[35] Now, Playboy was a stepping stone which catapult the careers of Victoria Silvstedt, Pamela Andersen, and Anna Nicole Smith. Pamela Andersen became so popular from her Playboy spreads that she was able to land roles on Home Improvement and Baywatch.

In the mid-1990s, a series of men's magazines were established such as Maxim, FHM, and Stuff. At the same time, magazines like Sweden's Slitz re-branded themselves as a men's magazine. Pre-internet, these magazines were popular among men in their late teens and early twenties because they were considered to be more tasteful than their predecessors. With glamour market growing, fashion moved away from the waifs and onto the Brazilian bombshells. The glamour market which consisted mostly of commercial fashion models and commercial print models became its own genre due to its popularity. Even with a large market in the United Kingdom, glamour models are not usually exclusively signed to one agency as they can not financially rely on one agency to provide them with enough work. It was and still is a common practice for glamour models to part take in kiss-and-tell interviews about their dalliances with famous men.[36][37] The notoriety of their alleged bed-hopping often propels their popularity and they are often promoted by their current or former fling.[38] With Page 3 models becoming fixtures in the British tabloids, glamour models became household names such Jordan who is now known as Katie Price. By 2004, Page 3 regulars earned anywhere for 30,000 to 40,000,[33] where the average salary of a non-Page 3 model as of 2011 is between 10,000 and 20,000.[39] In the early 2000s, glamour models and aspiring glamour models appeared on reality television shows such as Big Brother to gain fame.[40] Several Big Brother alumni parlayed their 15 minutes of fame into a successful glamour modelling career. However, the glamour market became saturated by the mid-2000s and numerous men's magazines went under including Arena, Stuff in the United States, and FHM in the United States.[41] During this time, there was/is an upward trend of glamour models becoming DJs to supplement their income such as Kellie Acreman and Lauren Pope. In a 2012 interview, Keeley Hazell said that going topless is not the best way achieve success and that, "[she] was lucky to be in that 1% of people that get that, and become really successful."[42]

Types of models

Fashion modelling

Runway modelling

Main articles: Size zero and Female body shape

Runway models showcase clothes from fashion designers, fashion media, and consumers. They are also called "live models" and are self-employed. Runway models work in different locations, constantly traveling between those cities where fashion is well known - London, Milan, New York City, and Paris. Second-tier international fashion center cities includes Rome, Florence, Venice, Brescia, Barcelona, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Moscow. Cities where catalog work comprises the bulk of fashion packaging, merchandising and marketing work includes Miami, San Francisco, Sydney, Chicago, Toronto, Mexico City, Tokyo, Hamburg, London, and Beijing.

The demands for runway models include certain height and weight requirements. During runway shows, models have to constantly change clothes and makeup. The models walk, turn and stand in order to demonstrate the garment's key features. Models also go to interviews (called "go and sees") presenting the absolute requirement of a portfolio.[43] They go to modelling interviews to find more work. The more experience a model has, the more likely she is to be hired for a fashion show. A runway model can also work in other areas, such as department store fashion shows, and the most successful models sometimes create their own product lines, go into acting etc.[44]:191–192

The British Association of Model Agents (AMA) says that female models should be around 34-24-34 in and between 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m) and 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) tall.[45] The average model is very slender. Those who do not meet the weight requirement often try for becoming a Plus-size model.[46] According to the New York Better Business Career Services website, the preferred dimensions for a male model are a height of 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) to 6 ft 2 in (188 cm), a waist of 30–32 in (76.20–81.28 cm) and a chest measurement of 36–40 in (91.44–101.60 cm).[47] Male runway models have been noted as being skinny and well toned.[48]

Male and female models must also possess clear skin, healthy hair, and attractive facial features. Stringent weight and body proportion guidelines form a selective criteria by which established and would‑be models are judged for their placement suitability, on an ongoing basis—with some variation regionally and market tier-level dependent, subject, too, to current prevailing trends at any point, in any era—by agents, agencies and end-clients.

The former requirement measurements for models used to be 35.5-23.5-35.5 in (90-60-90 cm), which were the alleged measurements of Marilyn Monroe. Today's fashion models tend to have measurements closer to the AMA-recommended shape. Although in some fashion centers [regionally speaking, of course], a size 00 is more ideal than a size 0.

The often thin shape of many fashion models has been criticized for warping girls' body image and encouraging eating disorders.[49] Organizers of a fashion show in Madrid in September 2006 turned away models who were judged to be underweight by medical personnel who were on hand.[50] In February 2007, six months after her sister, Luisel Ramos—also a model—died, Uruguayan model Eliana Ramos became the third fashion model to die of malnutrition in six months. The second victim was Ana Carolina Reston.[51] Luisel Ramos died of heart failure caused by anorexia nervosa just after stepping off the catwalk.

In the early 21st century, runway walks became less flamboyant compared to the late 20th century, when Naomi Campbell and other supermodels were known for their distinct struts. Instead, most designers preferred a natural stroll.[52]


Main article: Supermodel

Supermodels are highly paid, high profile fashion models with a great amount of experience. These celebrities appear on top fashion magazine covers, national advertisements such as commercials or spreads and in fashion shows. Much more importantly, in financial terms, their appearance in advertising can amount to an endorsement, attracting far greater rewards, especially when they conclude deals to advertise a brand exclusively, as "the face" of that brand.

Plus-size models

Main article: Plus-size model

Plus-size models are models who generally have larger measurements than editorial fashion models. The primary use of plus-size models is to appear in advertising and runway shows for plus size labels. Plus-size models are also engaged in work that is not strictly related to selling large-sized clothing, e.g., stock photography and advertising photography for cosmetics, household and pharmaceutical products and sunglasses, footwear and watches. Therefore plus-size models do not exclusively wear garments marketed as plus-size clothing. This is especially true when participating in fashion editorials for mainstream fashion magazines. Some plus-size models have appeared in runway shows and campaigns for mainstream retailers and designers such as Gucci, Guess, Jean-Paul Gaulthier, Levi's and Versace Jeans.[56][57][58][59] Some top plus-size models currently working include Ashley Graham, Candice Huffine, Marquita Pring, Robyn Lawley and Tara Lynn.[60][61][62][63]

Glamour models

Glamour modelling focuses solely on sexuality. Therefore, there are no requirements to be a glamour model other than the ability to pose seductively. Glamour models can be any size or shape. There is no industry standard for glamour modelling and varies greatly by country. For the most part, glamour models are limited to modelling in calendars, men's magazines, such as Playboy, lingerie modelling, fetish modelling, music videos, and extra work in movies. However, extremely popular glamour models often transition into commercial print modelling appearing in swimwear and lingerie campaigns.

Gravure idols

A gravure idol (グラビアアイドル gurabia aidoru?), often abbreviated to gradol (グラドル guradoru?),[64] is a Japanese female model who primarily models in magazines, especially men's magazines, photobooks or DVDs. Gravure idols, in most cases, emphasize their sexual attractiveness and often model in swimsuits or lingerie.

"Gravure" (グラビア) is a Wasei-eigo term derived from "Rotogravure", which is a type of intaglio printing process that was once a staple of newspaper photo features. The rotogravure process is still used for commercial printing of magazines, postcards, and cardboard product packaging. When translating into English, terms such as cheesecake photograph or pin-up girl are often employed.

Gravure idols appear in a wide range of photography styles and genres. Their photos are largely aimed at male audiences with poses or activities often intended to be provocative or suggestive, generally accentuated by an air of playfulness and innocence rather than aggressive sexuality. Though gravure models may sometimes wear clothing that exposes most of their body, their nipples and genitals are generally covered and they seldom appear fully nude. It is also common for gravure idols to have very large breasts and in their videos models are often shown performing activities specifically intended to cause their breasts to bounce or shake such as jogging or doing jumping jacks.

Gravure models may be as young as pre-teen age up to early thirties. In addition to appearing in mainstream magazines, gravure idols often release their own professional photobooks and DVDs for their fans. Many popular female idols in Japan launched their careers by starting out as gravure idols.

Gravure models are commonly photographed wearing bikinis or lingerie but may also appear wearing schoolgirl uniforms, Japanese street fashion, and kimonos. Since 2008, zakzak magazine has awarded a Gravure Idol Award.[65]

Alternative models

Main article: Fetish model

An alternative model is any model that does not fit into the conventional model types and may include punk, goth, fetish, tattooed models or models with distinctive attributes. This type of modelling is usually a cross between glamour modelling and art modelling. Not all alternative modelling is overtly sexual and some is considered extremely tasteful and artistic. Publishers such as Goliath Books in Germany introduced alternative models and punk photography to larger audiences. However, alternative modelling has a very small space in the modelling world. Most alternative models are often put on the People boards of agencies or are represented by talent agencies under character actors. Most alternative models are free-lance models who typical do not have representation.

Parts models

Some models are employed for their body parts. For example, hand models may be used to promote products held in the hand and nail-related products. They are frequently part of television commercials.[66] Many parts models have exceptionally attractive body parts, but there is also demand for unattractive or unusual looking body parts for particular campaigns.

Hands are the most demanded body parts. Feet are also one of the most demanded body parts, particularly those that fit sample size shoes.[67] Models are also successful modeling specific parts including abs, arms, back, bust or chest, legs, and lips.[68][69] Petite models (females who are under 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m) and do not qualify as fashion models) have found success in women body part modelling.

Parts model divisions can be found at agencies worldwide. Several agencies solely represent parts models, including Hired Hands in London, Body Parts Models in Los Angeles, Carmen Hand Model Management in New York and Parts Models in New York.[70][71][72] Parts Models is the largest parts agency, representing over 300 parts models.[66][70][73][74][75]

Fitness models

Fitness modeling focuses on displaying a healthy, tone physique. Fitness models usually have defined muscles groups both major and minor groups. The models body weight is heavier due to muscle weighing more than fat however, they have a lower body fat percentage because the muscles are toned and sculpted. Fitness models are advertised in magazines. Sometimes they are certified personal fitness trainers. However, there are a lot of athletes who are fitness models. There are several agencies in large markets such as New York, London, Germany that have fitness modeling agencies. While there is a large market for these models, most of these agencies are a secondary agency promoting these models who typical earn their primary income as commercial models.

Commercial print and on-camera models

Commercial models generally appear in print ads for non-fashion products, and in television commercials. Commercial print models can earn up to $250 an hour.[76] Commercial print models are usually non-exclusive, and primarily work in one location.

There are several large fashion agencies that have commercial print divisions, including Ford Models in the United States, Stockholmsgruppen in Stockholm, Modellink in Goteborg, Metropolitan Models in Paris. There are also numerous smaller agencies that specialize solely in this type of modeling, such as Funny Face Today, in New York.

Promotional models

Main article: Promotional model

A promotional model is a model hired to drive consumer demand for a product, service, brand, or concept by directly interacting with potential consumers. A vast majority of promotional models typically tend to be attractive in physical appearance. They serve to provide information about the product or service and make it appealing to consumers. While the length of interaction may be short, the promotional model delivers a live experience that reflects on the product or service he or she is representing. This form of marketing touches fewer consumers for the cost than traditional advertising media (such as print, radio, and television); however the consumer's perception of a brand, product, service, or company, is often more profoundly affected by a live person-to-person experience.

Marketing campaigns that make use of promotional models may take place in stores or shopping malls, at tradeshows, special promotional events, clubs, or even at outdoor public spaces. They are often planned at high traffic locations to reach as many consumers as possible, or at venues at which a particular type of target consumer is expected to be present.


"Spokesmodel" is a term used for a model who employed to be associated with a specific brand in advertisements. A spokesmodel may be a celebrity used only in advertisements (in contrast to a "brand ambassador", who is also expected to represent the company at various events), but more often the term refers to a model who is not a celebrity in their own right. A classic example of such spokesmodels are the models engaged to be the Marlboro Man between 1954 and 1999.

Trade show models

Trade show models work a trade show floorspace or booth, and represent a company to attendees. Trade show models are typically not regular employees of the company, but are freelancers hired by the company renting the booth space. They are hired for several reasons. Trade show models make a company's booth more visibly distinguishable from the hundreds of other booths with which it competes for attendee attention. Also, trade show models are articulate and quickly learn and explain or disseminate information on the company and its product and service, and can assist a company in handling a large number of attendees which the company might otherwise not have enough employees to accommodate, therefore increasing the number of sales or leads resulting from participation in the show.

Convention models

A convention model is an assistant that works with a company's sales representatives at a trade show exhibit. They are used to draw in attendees and provide them with basic information about product or services. Convention models may be used to distribute marketing materials or gather customer information for future promotions.

Art models

Main article: Model (art)

Art models pose for any visual artist as part of the creative process. Art models are often paid, highly skilled human subjects, who aid in creating any work of art that includes the human figure. The most common types of art created using models are figure drawing, figure painting, sculpture and photography, but almost any medium may be used. Although commercial motives dominate over aesthetics in illustration, its artwork commonly employs models. For example, Norman Rockwell used his friends and neighbors as models for both his commercial and fine art work. Models are most frequently employed for art classes or by informal groups of experienced artists that gather to share the expense of a model. Models are also employed privately by professional artists.

Throughout the history of Western art, drawing the human figure from living models was considered the most useful way to develop the skill of draftsmanship. First, it is best to draw from real objects, rather than copying two dimensional images.[77] Second, an artist has a connection to drawing another human being that cannot exist with any other subject.[78][79] Models for life drawing classes are usually nude, to provide for an unobstructed anatomical study. This may be referred to as being "undraped" or "disrobed". Art models who pose in the nude for life drawing are also called life models or figure models. In the classroom setting, where the purpose is to learn how to draw the human form in all the different shapes, ages and ethnicity, there are no real limitations on who the model can be. In some cases, the model may pose with various props, one or more other models, against real or artificial background, in natural or artificial light and so on.

The role of art models has changed through different eras as the meaning and importance of the human figure in art and society has changed,.[80][81] More than being simply the subject of art, models are often thought of as muses, a source of inspiration without whom a particular work of art might not exist.[82] Many models gain a sense of self-esteem from contributing to the fine arts, something with high cultural capital. At the same time nude models must deal with the larger society's assumptions regarding sexuality and nudity.[83]


Like most jobs, a model's salary is directly proportional to the market in which they work and the level of experience they have. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median model's salary is $32,920 a year.[84] Models employed by electronic shopping and mail-order houses have the highest average salaries of any industry.

Fashion models

Since fashion models are scouted at a very young age, they spend the first couple of years making very little money because they are testing and working for lower echelon clients while developing their portfolios. Once a model makes it to the mainboard, they start earning more due to the diversity of their work.

Fashion print

A model earns different rates for different types of work. For instance, a model will earn his or her day rate for editorial print. For catalog work, a model can earn anywhere from $200 to $300 an hour. Depending on the length of the assignment, a model can earn anywhere from $1,200.00 to $3,500.00 for a day's work.[85] A typical catalog shoot lasts anywhere from 2 to 5 days. Fashion print, otherwise known as print campaigns, can yield $250 per hour. Advertisements for non-fashion related products will earn a model anywhere from $500.00 to $1,200.00 for a day. Swimwear and Lingerie pays the most with an average $400.00 day rate for an editorial. Lingerie and Swimwear catalog can pay $7,000.00 day rate and up. Lifestyle print yields a day rate of $400.00 to $950.00.[85]

Fragrance and exclusive designer advertising campaigns are the most lucrative. For men, high-end catalog photo shoots pay an average of $8,000 to $15,000 per day and typically last one day. For women, models for luxury brand campaigns are paid from $40,000 to $1,000,000 and fragrance campaigns pay from $100,000 to $1,000,000.[86] Contract supermodels for larger cosmetic brands are generally paid $300,000 to $2 million a year, depending on exclusivity and the amount of days the model is expected to work.[87] A multiyear, multimillion dollar contract as a Victoria's Secret "angel" is considered the most prestigious in the industry. The most established and famous print models can make hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, not only from modelling but also from personal appearances and merchandise, such as calenders or exercise videos.[44]:189


A model's rate for commercials can range anywhere from $2000 and up, not including residuals.[85] The amount of money a model can earn off of residuals depends on how long the campaign runs and where it runs.

Runway modelling

Fashion Week happens twice a year in most markets. Each market has their own fashion week. Models can earn $250.00 per hour and up.[85] Runway models are expected to attend fittings as well as the show. Agencies usually limit the amount of shows younger models participate in due to the chaos of fashion week. Established models can walk in up to 20 shows in one fashion week. Top runway models can make $200,000 per season, but often the model will not continue finding work once the season is over.[88] On the other hand, there are models who are paid large sums for exclusives.[89] Exclusives are coveted as they help launch and propel high fashion careers.

Male models

The most famous male models earn from $200,000 to $500,000 per year. Most make a less glamorous living from catalog work.[91] Fragrance and exclusive designer advertising campaigns are the most lucrative. A male model can earn from $8,000 to $15,000 for high-end catalog photo shoots, which last one day.[92] In 1996, the highest-paid male model reportedly made $1 million per year.[93]

Plus size models

Plus size models earn the same as fashion models unless they are a commercial print or glamour model.

Parts models

Since this is a specialty, the rates for parts modelling are significantly higher. A model can earn $300 to $500 an hour.[85]

Fit modelling

Models who meet specific measurement requirements can be a fit model. Fit models can earn $150.00 per hour and up.

Showroom modelling

Showroom modelling can earn a model anywhere from $1,000.00 and up.[85]

Commercial print models

Since commercial print models usually look more or less like an average person, they are not as hard to find. There is a great volume of work done in this field, but there are significantly more commercial print models and actors available than the amount of work that is offered. Commercial print models earn $75.00 to $150.00 per hour with day rate $400.00 to $950.00, but the models do not work as often as the most successful fashion models. Print advertisements for real-people models usually has a day rate of $500.00 to $1,200.00.[85] The median wage for commercial and print models was only $11.22 per hour in 2006 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics .[94] MarketWatch listed modelling as one of the ten worst jobs in America.[94] Print models who work with an agent give 15% to 20% of earnings to the agent. Depending on the market and the agency, a commercial print model can earn $10,000 to $40,000 a year or more depending on how much work they land.

Glamour modelling

As there are so many glamour models, it is incredibly difficult landing enough jobs to earn a steady salary. Many amateur models make the mistake of doing glamour work for TFP or low rates. While the average nude model can earn $600 for an editorial in a men's magazine, the jobs are few and far between. As there are no specific qualifications or other requirements, glamour models are easily replaceable. According to the British press, an average glamour model can earn £10,000. In England, the best paying nude jobs are appearing in Page Three of tabloid newspapers such as The Sun. A Page Three regular can earn £30,000 – as much as the average fashion model.[33] However, very few models regularly work for Page 3. Top glamour models like Lucy Pinder earn a £100,000 a year in comparison to a top fashion model who can earn millions.[33] There are adult lingerie catalogs where a glamour model can earn about $4,000 a day, but there is not enough glamour catalog work to go around. Obtaining that type of work is difficult depending on what market you work in. As many markets do not have glamour modelling agencies a lot of glamour models are freelance, meaning they find work themselves. The lucky ones are represented by commercial print or talent agencies.

Video Vixens, otherwise known hip-hop videos, earn the same as an extra in a movie. A non-union extra earns $64.[95] Principals models earn more but most hip-hop music videos do not feature principal models like pop videos do.

Promotional modelling

Since promotional modelling usually occurs at night or on the weekends, commercial print models usually moonlight as promotional models to help supplement their salary. However, you do not have to be a working model in order to be a promotional model. A promotional model can earn anywhere from $15.00 to $30.00 per hour.[96] Typically, this type of job is found by word of mouth or internet forums such as Craigslist. There are very few promotional modelling agencies in the world. Most of them only represent working models. Aspiring promotional models should be aware of scams. Other forms of promotional model include trade show modelling can merit a day rate of $200. However, it is expected for the model manage the booth which includes answering question about the service or product. Convention modelling is the same as trade show modelling. The only difference is the amount of money spent of the presentation. The models are educated on the product or service and are expected to use presentation aids. Trade show models can earn $1,000 to $4,000. All types of promotional are sporadic and can not be used to earn a living.

Art modelling

Unlike other types of modelling, there are essentially no qualifications for being an art model other than the ability to hold still for a long period of time. As a result, the rate of pay in art schools is low, on average only two or three times the minimum wage in the US. In some countries there are organizations which concern themselves with the competence, conduct and reliability of art models. An example is the Register of Artists' Models (RAM) in the United Kingdom.[97] Some basic training is offered to beginners and membership is by audition – to test competence, not to discriminate on grounds of physical characteristics. RAM also acts as an important employment exchange for models and publishes the 'RAM Guidelines', which are widely referred to by models and employers. A similar organization in the United States, the Bay Area Models Guild in California, was founded in 1947. Groups also exist in Australia,[98] Washington, D.C.,[99] and Sweden.[100] These groups may also attempt to establish minimum rates of pay and working conditions, but only rarely have models been sufficiently organized to go on strike. [101] [102][103]

There is controversy regarding the status of photography as a fine arts medium that is reflected in the unwillingness of most nude models for other media also posing for photography.[83] However fine art nude photography does pay a much higher rate than for other fine art media, sometimes comparable to nude glamor photography. The distinction between Art and Glamor becomes one of marketing, fine art photography being sold as individual, limited edition prints through galleries rather than through mass media. Occasionally this distinction of participating in Fine Art may make a young amateur model willing to pose for a photographer, with unexpected consequences, examples being Vanessa Williams and Madonna. A signed print of one of the nude photographs of Madonna taken by Lee Friedlander in 1979 sold at auction for $37,000 in 2009.[104] Although largely a result of her fame, the model does not share in this increased value of the artwork.

See also

Fashion portal


Further reading

  • Gross, Michael. Model : the Ugly Business of Beautiful Women. New York: IT Books, 2011. ISBN 0-062-06790-7
  • Hix, Charles, and Michael Taylor. Male Model: the World Behind the Camera. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1979. ISBN 0-312-50938-3
  • Mears, Ashley. Pricing Beauty : the Making of a Fashion Model. Berkeley : University of California Press, 2011. ISBN 0-520-26033-3
  • Vogels, Josey, and Smee, Tracy. "Object of Desire: Idealized Male Bodies Sell Everything from Underwear to Appliances; Are We Creating a Male Beauty Myth?" Hour (Montréal), vol. 3, no. 46 (14-20 Dec. 1995), p. [1], 10-11. N.B.: The caption title (on p. 10) is "Male Attention".

External links


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