Myths About Becoming a Professional Model

There are many myths about the modeling profession that can create confusion for new models which may stop them from pursuing their lifelong dream of becoming a professional model.

Here are 5 of the top myths about becoming a professional model along with real information to help you succeed in your modeling career.

You Have to Be Tall

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While there are certain height requirements for runway models and high-fashion (editorial) models, there is a tremendous amount of work available for models who are under 5' 9". Even the big agencies in New York, Paris and Milan, are willing to make exceptions for a model who is a "complete package."

Supermodel Kate Moss was one of the first to break the height barrier at 5' 6" (some agencies list Kate at between 5' 7" - 5' 8", but most people think that is generous). There are even male models like Aaron Frew who, at just 5' 7", is represented by top fashion agency d'Management in Milan, Italy. Agents have been known to hire models who were 5' 3" and 5' 4" to top agencies Elite Model Management and Ford Models. 

But, don't worry if you can't get signed to a top fashion agency due to a height issue, because there is a substantial commercial market that is always open to models of all heights.

You Have to Be Skinny to Be a Model

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With more women demanding to see models who better represent what "real" women look like, the fashion industry has responded. Over the past ten years, the plus-size modeling market has become one of the fastest growing and most important sectors of the fashion industry. 

Not only are modeling agencies welcoming models who are curvier and more voluptuous than the usual super thin fashion model, but they are turning these girls into superstars! Many of the top modeling agencies in New York, L.A. and even Paris and Milan now have divisions devoted solely to plus-size models.

So, if you are curvy or big, bold and beautiful, and know how to work it, then many of the top agencies will want to see you!

You Have to Be Young

Duyos: Cibeles Madrid Fashion Week S/S 2011
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Just as consumers demanded to see models who better represent the various size categories of real women (see Myth #2), the demand for models who represent a variety of age categories has also become an important part of the modeling industry.  

The baby boomers are aging, and there is a real demand for models who can represent products that are important to this age demographic. There is a wide range of products for which mature models are needed such as the travel industry, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and even high fashion.  

So, if you have always dreamed of becoming a model and you're over 25 don't let age hold you back. Agencies are always looking for mature models of all ages!

You Need Professional Photos

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Professional photographs are never required when you are first starting out. All you need are some simple snapshots for the agents to determine your potential as either a fashion model or commercial model.

Once an agency has determined that it would like to represent you, then you can discuss with the agents what type of photos you'll need for them to promote you to their clients. Depending on the type of agency and the market you are in, the agency may be willing to advance the cost of your first photo shoot. Otherwise, this will be an investment you will have to make.

If an Agency Likes Me It Will Pay for Everything

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One of the areas that can create the most confusion for new models is the area of fees, expenses, and start-up costs. There is a lot of hype and misinformation, particularly online and in modeling forums, surrounding modeling expenses and what a model should and shouldn't pay for, which can bewilder a new model to the point of giving up and never pursuing their dream. 

You've probably heard the phrase "If an agency likes me it will pay for everything." In actuality, this couldn't be farther from the truth. Visit this article on Modeling Expenses, Fees and Start-up Costs for a complete explanation of this topic.

A Place For Everyone In Modeling

When you first think of models, you'll likely think of the supermodels Gisele Bundchen, Coco Rocha, Naomi Campbell, Candice Swanepoel, or Miranda Kerr. However, there are thousands of other models whose names you wouldn't know who are making a substantial income in the industry. The best comparison is to be on a basketball or hockey team. You will always know the names of the superstars like Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky or Magic Johnson, but there are lots of other team members whose names you don't know but who are earning a fantastic living and who are very important to the team. It's very similar in the modeling industry. You will always have the superstars, but the other team members or models in the agency have a very important part to play as well.