Christoph Marti / How to become a model

How to become a model

Blog – 17.06.2022 – Christoph Marti

The profession of modelling is often ridiculed these days. Many people have the feeling that you only stand in front of the camera, walk down the catwalk a few times and earn the big money. But many don’t know what goes on in the background.

Due to many of the same requests via Instagram and email asking how to become a model and what to consider, I thought I would publish this detailed post here. I really hope that it answers a few questions and helps you.

How To Become A Model & Succeed As The New Face Of The Industry

If the mare thought of having back-to-back fashion photoshoots, all-expenses-paid trips to the biggest fashion capitals of the world, and dressing in head-to-toe designer fashion makes you quiver with excitement, then you are that you are ready to become a model. But glitz and glamour aside, there are certain misconceptions about the modeling industry. And finding the right agency is only the first step to your long-term success plan.

Finding the right agency & building your portfolio

While it would be a fantastic scenario, applying to an agency does not automatically help you land directly on the cover of Vogue or ELLE, or make the big money from the get-go. In reality, becoming the New Face of fashion requires a lot of work, effort, and patience.

The first steps in an agency are all about building a model portfolio from scratch. Even though exciting, it also means that you want to do long-hour photo shoots, adorn yourself with 20+ different looks and be on top of your posing, facial expressions, and gestures. Quality always beats quantity. Thus, it would be best to have 5-6 killer shots than 10+ mediocre photos in your portfolio.

It is also important to know at the beginning that you start at the bottom as a model on the set. It sounds brutal, but as a new face you are not yet a top model and don’t have much say on the set. You have to prove yourself on set and gradually work your way up.

The prerequisites

The requirements for models are very different. Especially because nowadays we fortunately also have plus-size and inbetween models. Nevertheless, I will now go into the “main” area, which you know from the runways etc. and the “normal” model listings from the main boards. The more international the agency, the narrower the scope for body mass. Especially in model agencies, the requirements are very high. It depends on a few centimetres. Female models should pay attention to a slim figure, beautiful skin, teeth, the hair, every detail. For men, the criteria are just a little easier. As a male model, you should pay just as much attention to a well-groomed appearance, from the hairstyle to the nails. Why all this? Because the runway collections are usually also financially tailored to a “measure”. I don’t want to go into the question of whether this is fair or “normal” – each person has their own opinion.

Listen to feedback

You will also be required to listen to constructive criticism and feedback from photographers and experts alike. This is the only way to score some fantastic test shoots with photographers that will set you on a path to landing your first jobs through casting.

Book your first model photoshoot

Online store and social media photoshoots are a great starting point for aspiring models. Model agencies will work you through the process of working with different clients but you will have to perfect your ability to slip into different roles as the New Face of a brand and showcase the products/clothing in the best way possible.

As you grow and evolve, your agency will acquire new customers for you, and when you prove yourself worthy, your manager will start booking you for jobs abroad – in New York, Paris, and Milan just to name a few.

Your first agency

If you want to become a model, sooner or later you will start looking for a reputable modelling agency. However, you hear more and more about model agencies sprouting from the ground. We give you a few tips on what to look out for to avoid falling into the trap of dubious model agencies. First of all, you have to look at the requirements to realistically assess whether you can work as a model and get jobs. As a New Face, the most important thing is your height. Then you send your model application to a good model agency, usually via an online form with the most important data and measurements. You simply take photos with your smartphone in daylight. If the agency scout likes your photos, you will receive an invitation to a casting at the model agency for a personal introduction. After the appointment, it will be decided whether you get a modeling contract or not. After that you can start!

Christoph Marti in Paris

“Dubious model agencies know exactly how to make money out of your dreams.”

Dubious model agencies know exactly how to make money out of your dreams. Never pay anything – especially not in advance to be included in a file or database. Neither for a shooting nor for a running training or the like. You often hear that models apply to an agency and end up spending hundreds of francs or euros – for nothing. If a model agency is really interested in you, then you will be photographed by the in-house photographer and a sedcard will be created for you. Of course, paid photo shoots are possible or even useful – but not mandatory. In the course of your “new face” phase, you will get many opportunities to prove yourself in test shoots. If an agency really wants you, they will recognise you and your potential and be willing to invest in you – not the other way around.

You never have to pay to be included in a model register. Contributions from agencies are deducted from the amount you are entitled to when you complete an assignment.

Don’t be blinded by promises

Also important: Basically, no one can promise you anything, because the client decides in the end whether he wants to book you or not. So the agency can only “market” you – but not promise you a top model career. Unfortunately, too often young models are promised great careers if they do this and that. Don’t get sucked in and only do what you feel comfortable with.

Keep the agency in mind

Many agencies have many models and until you have built a name for yourself, you are quickly one of many. It is important that you are not forgotten and that you stay in the agency’s head. Be it that you stay in contact with them, are attentive, show your motivation and simply understand that there are many other New Faces who are in the same situation as you. But if the agency recognises that you are really highly motivated and shows it to them – then they will help you step by step up the career ladder. But don’t forget – everything takes time. You go on castings, do your first test shootings and build up your portfolio until you get your first jobs.

Get informed – there are plenty of opportunities

Our tip: Ask models about their experience at the modelling agency they are with. Social media like Facebook and Instagram give you the opportunity to network with models from all walks of life. Another important point is: Does the website of the model agency look professional or rather unserious? A serious model agency has professional clients. Such clients expect a top web presence! This includes high-quality pictures, a model index with various sedcards, an address, a telephone number of the agency and an imprint with a legally registered company. If no telephone number or only a mobile phone number is given, you already have to be careful. Pay attention to these few points, they can save you a lot of trouble. Be brave!

Listen and learn from your modeling agency

At the end of the day, finding the right modeling agency is the most important step toward becoming a successful model. Despite all the hard work and time, if you work collaboratively with your model manager, your career will flourish and tons of new opportunities will be presented to you – if you are ready to listen, work and commit to the industry.

Being rejected but not giving up

Every beginning is hard and therefore it is also a learning phase which every job brings with it. When you go to castings and you have your 20 seconds of auditioning, you have to steel yourself, but it’s not bad not to get booked – because you always have to expect rejection. But the rejection is not because of you personally, but because they are looking for another face for this campaign or collection. You have to learn to deal with rejection and remember to stay motivated. There are models who go to a casting for the first time and get booked. But there are also models who are booked for the first time after a year.

Become a model when I’m young?

You are young and want to become a model? The priority is certainly that your school comes first – nevertheless, the time from the age of 15 is a good preparation. Until you graduate from school, it’s all about good grades and your education. Very important: your education. Why? You will meet a lot of interesting people, with big goals, you will encounter many languages, international photographers, casting directors and models. The more you know, the better. The school actually gives you all the important basics.

What is the customer looking for

There are an incredible number of areas in the modelling industry. Be it the commercial model who is booked for advertisements to present products. A curvy model who radiates body positivity, the fitness model who shines with her athletic body or a main model who walks the catwalk in Paris. For model agencies and model agents it is therefore very important that women’s and men’s models feel comfortable in their bodies. Only those who live out the job of a model with joy and conviction can deliver the corresponding performance. Clients and partners of modelling agencies look for an expressive face, convincing looks, good posture and coordination. Self-confidence, reliability and the ability to slip into different roles without any problems are three important skills to assert oneself in the modelling industry.

Someone who stands behind you

Especially for newcomer models, young or old, it is important to have a serious model management behind you. They not only provide you with initial contacts to good photographers who will help you build up your model portfolio, they also show you the first steps. With a serious model management, you will find the way into the industry much easier. Here you also have the chance to travel later and get your first jobs abroad “Paris I’m coming! But this also takes time!

So once again as a summary

So again as a summary. First of all, you have to be aware of what you want. Where do you see yourself and where do you feel comfortable. I would limit the selection in this article to commercial and main models, although there are of course many other areas. After that, it certainly makes sense to look for a suitable agency and find out what is required from the agency on their website. There it also makes sense to see what models the agency has and which clients. I always say that you have to feel at home on an agency website and have a good feeling. The feeling is very important: you also have to feel the sympathy during conversations.The important thing is that you feel comfortable in everything you do. That you only do what you want and are yourself. Because it’s your life and your body.