November 3, 2008

Spotlight on the Modeling Industry

Is your favorite TV show America’s Next Top Model? Did you dream about being a supermodel when you were a little girl?

I know we spend a lot of time here on JobMonkey talking about traditional jobs — from teachers and truck drivers to government employees and veterinarians.

This week, however, we’re talking about a job field a little less traditional … and a little more glamorous: Modeling.

While the modeling industry is rife with potential scam artists, it also offers an abundance of opportunities — and not all of them require you to be a 6 foot tall, 115 pound, size 2 runway walker. In addition to ramp modeling and photographic models, there are jobs for hand models, foot models and any other kind of body model imaginable. There is also plus-size modeling. Plus, the modeling industry also has jobs on the other side of the camera, including photographer, agent and stylist.

Here’s a rundown on the various jobs in the industry — maybe one is right for you:

A modeling agent is responsible for booking shoots, fashion shows and photographic work for his or her clients (AKA models).  You must also be able to find and train new models and take responsibility for their livelihood.  Your paycheck is typically a percentage of the pay earned by your clients.  To be an agent, you need experience in the modeling industry and contacts among fashion buyers, stylists, photographers, designers, etc.

Most modeling photographers get their start freelancing for agencies, magazines or catalog companies. In-house photographers take head shots and help new models put their portfolios together.  Freelancers take shots for fashion catalogs, media shoots, print ads, billboards and other ad campaigns.

Hair Models
Hair models have gorgeous, shiny hair –Pantene commercial hair.  Ad campaigns, both print and TV, often use hair models. Unlike full body models, hair models can be any weight, height, shape or age. In fact, senior hair models are often in demand!

Ramp Model Jobs
The top modeling gig, ramp models are tall and thin — model thin. Slots to work for major designers can earn top dollars, but there are less cut-throat  opportunities, too, including local and regional work. 

Unfortunately, most of these jobs won’t amount to a full-time salary.  They will, however, let you get your feet wet in the modeling industry.

Photographic Models
Like ramp models, photographic models can earn top dollars when their shots grace the cover of major magazines or top-selling catalogs.  But also like ramp model jobs, there are opportunities for less high-earning (and less high-pressured) gigs including local catalog work and regional magazines.

Body Modeling Jobs
Jewelry campaigns need the perfect pair of earlobes to showcase their newest diamond earrings; shower gels need gorgeous shoulders to lather up on.  Great hands, fingers, feet, legs, back, neck, earns, arms and shoulders are all specific body parts that can earn you the title of body model.

Child Model Jobs
Child modeling can be fun for kids and a great way to pad the college fund from an early age.  On the other hand, it can be demanding and take children away from the business of being a kid — climbing trees, building castles, playing with friends and, even, attending school.  Of course, child models do get plenty of opportunities to play dress-up.  While regulations are in place to protect child models, parents must be vigilant that the work does not over take their child’s childhood.

Male Modeling
Opportunities for male models are as varied as those for female models — although the total number of jobs, and the paychecks, will not be as expansive.  The ideal start age for male models is 17-18 years of age, a few years older than for women.  Male models should have lean, strong, athletic bodies.

Hair and Make Up Artists
Here’s another opportunity to work “behind the scenes”.  Most model shoots have at least one make-up artist and hair professional on set at all times.  At runway shows, each model may be assigned her (or his) own artist.

If you want to learn more about modeling, start by visiting the Modeling Career pages of JobMonkey and conducting a thorough Google search, too.  Before signing with an agency, be sure to investigate them thoroughly. A good place to start is the Better Business Bureau.

And one final tip: Never pay someone to represent you.  If it sounds like a scam, then it probably is one.  You will need to exercise good caution along a healthy dose of optimism if you want to earn your salary as a professional model.

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