Note: Before reading about positioning, please read the blog “The Genres of Modeling”.

It doesn’t need to be said that only a handful of aspiring models ever become truly successful professional models, it’s a low percentage. However, one of the reasons so many fail isn’t that they aren’t qualified. It’s that they fail to position themselves correctly.

Positioning means identifying the type of model you are, or can be, and then putting your book and experience together accordingly. From there you need to approach appropriate agencies to your genre.

Each genre of modeling has different requirements, some you need to be born with, and others you can work on. And with some genres, particularly fashion or commercial, you can find yourself very disadvantaged if you’ve engaged in things like shooting nudity, or even getting too involved in amateur modeling. Positioning is as much about not doing some things, sometimes less is more.

Ask yourself these questions

  • How old and tall are you?
  • How big are you and what’s your cup size?
  • What kind of smile do you have?
  • How talented are you?
  • Have you done nudity that can be found publicly?
  • What comes up when you Google your name?

Some required qualifications

Fashion models:

  • Unless transferring from another agency, it’s helpful to still be in your teens. You can work as a fashion model until much older, but top agencies will start losing interest in you as a new unsigned model as you get into further into your 20’s.
  • In theory you need to be 5’9”, but a solid 5’8″ works in most markets other than NYC. 5’10” – 5’11” is ideal.
  • Your hips should be 33-34”, and no bigger than 35”. Some markets will stretch to 36”.
  • There’s no exact maximum, but much bigger than a C cup will make things more challenging.
  • You need to move and pose fluidly.
  • Mild nudity can sometimes be overlooked, but if a slew of nude images, or associations with controversial brands popup when Googled, things are going to be more difficult.

Commercial models:

Commercial models come in all ages and demos, but here we’re primarily talking about females 18 – 35 years of age.

  • Your height should be average to above average. Your weight should be proportional to your height.
  • A beautiful smile is very helpful. Giant implants are not.
  • Many commercial agencies book television commercials as well as commercial print. Talent is important; a demo reel can be very helpful.
  • Almost any nudity will set you back. Commercial agencies deal with large clients; often multi-nationals with many brands. Their job is to protect the client from potential embarrassment.

If you were not born with the build or look of a fashion model, don’t waste your time or money trying to become one, or visiting agencies that only have a fashion board. The saying “you can do anything you set your mind to” doesn’t apply.

So then, is it easier to become a commercial model? Yes and no. Yes because you don’t have the same stringent physical requirements. No because being a commercial model can take more work, and often times requires a different set of skills.

We’ll add some blogs about things you can do to help you further your career as a fashion or commercial models soon. For now, here’s a chart you can follow to help you find where you best fit.

Are all these conditions absolute? No, some things are subjective. But here are a few that are not: Fashion models are always 5’8” or taller. Fashion models are always thin, and with narrow hips. Fashion models don’t have huge breasts.

We’ll explain more about becoming successful in your qualified genre soon.