Deciding What Type of Modelling to Do

Types of modelling


Deciding What Type of Modelling to Do


 One thing you need to consider is the environment you wish to work in. Think clearly about the area you pick. An image can last far longer than you can live and what type of work you pick can mean you get excluded from doing other forms of modelling or even jobs outside of modelling, if you choose unwisely. In the extreme, it can even affect your ability to travel, your social connections and even your family life!  If you go into the fashion side, you can be asked to go for radical changes to your appearance, with the likes of plastic surgery. You must remember, what is in fashion now might not be in next season! Modelling is full of pitfalls, but it is not all doom and gloom. Therefore keep your eye on the ball and remember, this is a job that, like any other, will reflect on you throughout your life, but unlike most, it also reflects on the people around you and can, in some cases, have even longer lasting consequences. As we have said, the most important thing about becoming a model is taking time to determine what type of model you want to be and what kind of work is available to you.

The following is a basic guide to the terms that are frequently used in the modelling industry.  However, we do not recommend you to fully rely on these terms and urge you to always find out exactly what the photographer wants from you, in order to avoid any misunderstandings.   We would like to remind you that even though we do list some adult the modelling types do not allow any sexual explicit posts or images on our site. We have listed them, so if you ever get ask, you know what it is that you are being asked to do.  We would also recommend you look at our Basic Modelling Glossary of Terms as a guide when booking shoots.

Below we outline several examples of different Model Types that might give you a better understanding of Modelling:-


FASHION MODEL:- Fashion models are the ones who promote clothing or accessories. Female fashion models are generally tall (5'9" to 6") and young (16 to 21 years old). Male fashion models are generally 5'11" or taller and also are young (18 to 25 years old).



EDITORIAL FASHION MODEL:- These models are the ones you find in the editorial spreads of pages like Elle, Vogue, Glamour, etc. You MUST fit the modelling requirements for a "Fashion Model" (listed above) in order to be considered for this category.



FASHION CATALOGUE MODEL:- Catalogue models are the ones you see in the clothing catalogues, posing in a variety of outfits. Slightly less restrictive than fashion modelling in terms of requirements, but a beautiful face with great personality is a must. Typically, only female models between 5'8" and 6'1" will find work here. Male models should be between 5'10" and 6'2".



RUNWAY MODEL:- Models that walk the catwalk or runway; a "live model." Runway models are hired to use their bodies as a mechanism to display the fashion garments of a specific clothing designer. They traditionally MUST be tall (5'9" and up for females, 5'11" and up for males), slender, have measurements that fit the standard clothing size, and know how to walk the runway.



COMMERCIAL MODEL:- Most agency models work in this category. Commercial models work MANY different jobs, including:- print advertisements, catalogues, campaigns, television shows, magazines, trade shows, and much more. There are no height or size requirements to be a commercial model. So even if you are DYING to be a fashion model, but simply do not fit the size requirements for mainstream "fashion modelling", you can still find work and book great jobs as a "COMMERCIAL fashion model", doing fashion print and things of that nature. This category of modelling accommodates MANY types of looks:- from the girl-next-door, to middle-aged men, to those with very "unique/interesting" faces.



PRINT MODEL:- Print models are used for many different types of publications, such as:- magazines, print advertisements, billboards, posters, calendars, campaigns, booklets, flyers, banners. Print models must have an attractive face, good skin, a nice body, and a pretty smile. Print models can find modelling work in one of two ways:- through a modelling agency, or by freelance modelling.



GLAMOUR MODEL:- Glamour modelling focuses much more on the model's appeal, beauty, and body than it does anything else. Models in this category are considered very pretty; able to book work simply by being attractive, a nice body, and having a sort of "sex appeal". While there are no height or size requirements, glamour models DO have to be at least 18 years old. Glamour models can work as non-nude models, or as nude models.


                     Non-nude glamour models are typically hired to appear in swimsuit, bikini, lingerie, and form fitting attire. Often times they will find work in magazines, music videos, calendars, etc. They can find work as a freelance model, and they can also find other work through modelling agencies as a print model, commercial model, or promo model.   Also see:- Adult.


                     Nude glamour models are almost never represented by a mainstream modelling agency, and most always they will find modelling work through their own means (internet, friends, referrals, casting calls, networking, etc.)   Also see:- Adult.



PROMO MODEL / PROMOTIONAL MODEL:- A promotional model, also known as a promo model, is a model that is hired to represent a brand, product or service. This category of modelling does not have a height or weight requirement; thus making it much easier to get into promo modelling than it is to get into many other types of modelling. While there are no height / weight requirements, there are other general requirements for booking paid promo work:- a great attitude, outgoing nature, a nice smile, and the ability to easily adapt/learn.



SPOKESMODEL:- A spokesmodel is a more lucrative form of promo modelling. These models tend to have signed contracts with a specific company; acting as the face of the brand, being paid to attend events and make special appearances, appearing in advertisements, and travelling the country.



TRADE SHOW MODEL, OR CONVENTION MODEL:- Tradeshow or convention modelling is another form of promo modelling. These models are hired by a company to represent their brand, product, or service specifically at a trade show or convention. There are no height/size requirements, but these models need to be outgoing, reliable, work well with others, and take direction well. They also will be expected to work long hours, readily engage with other people, to quickly learn/accurately relay the company's mission (or products or talking points) to consumers.



CATALOGUE MODEL:- A catalogue model has the same job description as a "fashion catalogue model", yet none of the same size requirements. General catalogue models are needed in all shapes and sizes. There are tons of clothing designers in the world offering a variety of options, many of which cater to petite, plus size, or alternative buyers. These designers need models of the same variety to pose for their catalogues. Almost any category of model can be used as a (general) "catalogue model."



PETITE MODEL:- These are models that are on the shorter side typically 5'4" and under. While they will not be able to find work as a fashion model, petite models can still find work in other categories, such as a print, commercial, glamour, or promotional modelling. Petite models can be sought after for their small hands/feet for print work as well.



FREELANCE MODEL:- A freelance model is one that is self represented:- they are not signed exclusively to any one modelling agency, they do not have an agent or a manager, and they are responsible for finding their own work. In addition, they are responsible for their own marketing, promoting, networking, and branding. This might all sound overwhelming, but in this day and age, freelance models have many avenues to get a career started. The internet is their main weapon/source; if properly harnessed, freelance models can still make a name for themselves without an agency.



FITNESS MODEL:- Fitness models are toned, in shape, healthy, and have good muscle tone. There are often no size / height requirements, but you MUST be in shape! There are modelling agencies with "fitness modelling" departments. Fitness models seeking representation should focus on these first, but fitness models can also be self represented.



PARTS MODEL:- These models typically model their "parts", such as their hands, legs, feet, stomach, etc. There are modelling agencies that represent parts models, and the best way to get started in this modelling category is by finding an agent rather than attempting to freelance.



PLUS-SIZE MODEL:- These models, also known as "Full figured models", are models that do not fit the size requirements for mainstream modelling. They weigh more, have fuller figures, and have pretty faces. They can be hired as catalogue models for plus-sized clothing brands, among many other job opportunities. Plus-sized models are able to achieve representation with modelling agencies that have a "Plus-Size" division.



ART MODEL:-  Art models can also be called "Life Models" and they work with visual artists.  The model is the subject of the intended art piece, usually being required to pose while the artist interprets and creates a piece of art. They are able to use the model as a real life visual aid. There are many mediums an art model can be asked to participate in. Some of the more common include paintings, illustrations, sculpture, and photography.



NUDE MODEL:- Nude models typically only find work in photo shoots. Occasionally they will do videos/films, but the most common medium they work with is photography. They can pose topless or fully nude. Nude models rarely have modelling agencies. There are no height or weight requirements.



PINUP MODEL:- Pin-up models first gained notoriety in the 1940's and 50's, with the term "pin-up" referring to a physical photo of an attractive model, which could be "pinned up" on the wall. In the past, pinup models were more risqué than their current era. Today, modern pinup models (posing in the same manner and outfits of the 40's and 50's), seem to be less risqué than their current era, as times have changed and so have social standards. To explain:- modern pinup models can be seen wearing classic 1 piece swimsuits, while modern glamour models can be seen wearing barely there string bikinis.



ALT MODEL, or ALTERNATIVE MODEL:- This genre of modelling does not conform to "typical" modelling standards. The models used in this genre are not the mainstream, cookie cutter models. Many of them have tattoos, piercings, unusual hairstyles, etc. They can work in this industry with the help of internet websites, networking, and niche magazines.  Also see:- Cosplay, Steampunk, Cyberpunk, Gothic.



FETISH MODEL:- A fetish model will be hired to model/display various fetishes. For example, latex clothing, bondage, foot photo shoots, etc. Almost always, these models are self represented.



PAGEANT:- A pageant model has traditionally focused on judging beauty, but that is not always the case. Often with most beauty pageants, winning won't lead to any success within the modelling world, but properly run and backed pageants can help you, should you get through.  These events are the likes of Miss World and Mr World, also the likes of Miss Universe... Probably the most important part of the 'pageant' modelling is that it is a competitive event that often sees the event organisers having very complicated rules, so always check them out in full!  They are not the runway / editorial models that we tend to think of.  Check to see what the event offers you in the way of exposure. 


COSPLAY MODEL:- A cosplay model portrays a fictional character from likes of computer games, TV programs and films.  Models are expected to act the part of the character they are dressed as and is a kind of theatrical side of modelling.  Good examples can be seen in likes of Disney World and events such as San Diego Comic-Con International.


STEAMPUNK:- Steampunk is the most famous new trend that you've never heard of.  Steampunk design incorporating pseudo-Victorian style era  with science fiction elements, inspired by 19th Century industrial steam powered machinery.



CYBERPUNK:- A  sub-genre of both Cosplay and Steampunk that has clothing that blends human with machine.



MAGICIANS ASSISTANT:- A magician's assistant is both a model and a performer within a magic act. Often the assistant is not billed, unlike the magician. Assistants must be able to keep secrets and expect to sign many forms throughout their careers. Assistants are often extremely talented performers themselves, but despite them often having a crucial role within magic acts they are often over looked. This is also often required to make the illusions work. Magician's assistant are a cross between actors and models. You can't be afraid to break a nail or get scratched up and you definitely have to be comfortable in small spaces. The figure of the glamorous female assistant has become a stereotype or icon in art, popular media and fiction, but in reality this is not always the case. Those interested should have good self control and confidence, level headed and able to think quickly. Due to the nature of this work, most performers are older that 18 or 21. Like "Spokemodel," "Tradeshow Model," "Catwalk Model," "Glamour," "Shibari," "Cosplay," "Alternative," "Cyberpunk" and also "Bondage Modelling."  If this is an area you want to do, it's a good idea to get insurance for this type of work!



SHIBARI MODEL:-  In Japanese, "Shibari" simply means "to tie." Models who do this are often very specialised due to the nature of the work and can be extremely well paid and are often well trained, due to the dangers that can be involved in this type of modelling. Often this is classed as "Adult" work, as most shoots require you to be over 18 or 21, depending on the place you live and what is required.  Models have to be fit, comfortable being restrained, able to withstand mental and physical positioning, able to clearly communicate and have a lot of patience and self confidence. This area of modelling is very dangerous if done wrong and also is often seen by main stream media as part of BDSM play. "Shibari" if done correctly is not about an enhancement in sexual activities, but is a real art form that is extremely common, yet overlooked part of the TV, film and theatre industry. From Horror shows to Magic shows you often see "Shibari" being used, especially in escapology (escape) and suspension magic tricks. A real Shibari artist, also known as a "rigger," uses rope creates beautifully geometric patterns and shapes that provide contrast with a human body’s natural curves. In Shibari, the model is the canvas, the rope is the paint and brush, and the rigger is the rope artist. For magic, it is used as a distraction and also to make the tie look more impressive and dangerous. The most easily recognised part of the art are the ladder ties and rope corsets. Models are quite often referred to as rope bunnies, as a reference to a bunny rabbit in the hat and not in connection to Play Boy Bunnies, as most now think. But models who do "Shibari" can expect to be asked to do other adult related activities in connection to the BDSM field. This area of modelling the "rigger" is often referred to as the "Top" and the model as "Submissive," "Sub," or "Bottom" also the term "rope play" is often more commonly used than the word "Shibari." If you look at doing this, check the rigger does risk assessments and is fully insured. Also do not be worried about saying "no" or "stop." We would not recommended this to inexperienced models as even very basic rope play can result is extremely serious injuries...  (Also see magicians assistant and adult.)



BONDAGE MODELLING:-  Often this is classed as "Adult" work, as most shoots require you to be over 18 or 21, depending on the place you live and what is required. Models who do this work can get lots of work around Halloween, when the likes of haunted house attractions use them. Bondage modelling is not just about the BDSM world (Bondage and Discipline, Sadism and Masochism) it is very heavily connected within the theatre, film and stage industry as a stand alone discipline. Think of magic shows and stage illusions like cutting a girl in half and joining them back up... Also think of films, like many Word War 2 Films when the Gestapo torture a spy, or medieval films that require a dungeon set.  When it comes to horror think of tiles, think of films like:- Saw, Hostel or Paranormal Activity.  Oddly bondage even is found in kids cartoons... For example the character 'Penelope Pitstop' being tied to train tracks within "Catch The Pigeon." Bondage itself is not always sex related and models who do this work can do many other things other than sex related shoots. Some bondage models are even paid as stunt artists due to the risks' they undertake. But for most models, you will find bondage in the 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' style on offer, but even this can be very dangerous, so we would say keep a distance.  We would not recommend this type of modelling to any inexperienced models.  (Also see magicians assistant and adult.)



ADULT:-  Adult models can be over 18 or 21 depending on the laws in the area you live in.  This is more often a reference to sex related modelling, but can involve any form of modelling that is nude or requires you to be over the age of 18 or 21. Adult models who work within the sex industry, that require a model to have sex or come into contact with sexual fluids and / or blood etc, in most countries will require models have to have regular Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) tests. For example in the US Adult Industry, the current testing policy requires that performers are tested every 14 days. The test includes screening for HIV, Trich, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and Hepatitis A & B. Laws regarding this depends on where the photo shoots or films are being made. Also beware that many amateur or black market producers may not adhere to the laws. Even if this is not law in the country you are in, you should also ways ask for Certification to check that the others taking part in the shoot with you are STI free, but you must also take note that it is known for some participants to have use fake test Certifications to get on to shoots.





      Think wise before choosing type of modelling you want to do and always remember about consequences.


      Know your limits on style and nudity. If you don't want to do glamour work or are uncomfortable doing full nudity, speak up and don't let people push you past those limits.


      Consider where you want your career to go in the future. Sure, you may be comfortable doing glamour now, but what if you decide you want to do fashion or catalogue work in the future? You might be discriminated against if they know you have done this line of work.


Other pages you should look at on

Modelling Terms

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