The cost of being a model | UK models

If you succeed in the modelling industry, you can expect to earn quite a bit; whilst only the top UK models make millions each year, there are plenty of other, less well-known models who make a comfortable living from their work. However, there are some expenses associated with this type of career.

UK ModelsThe vast majority of models spend a considerable amount of money on gym memberships, grooming, cosmetics and designer clothing. Although these things might be thought of as unnecessary expenses by non-models, they are important for those in the modelling industry, as it is a model’s job to look good at all times. They need to invest in their appearance, in order to ensure that they continue to secure work. This means that they must spend money on things like manicures, facials, haircuts, exercise classes and clothes.

Marketing materials are another expense which virtually all UK models incur; these are essential, as they help them to promote themselves and become known within the industry. Some examples would include printing portfolios and comp cards, hiring a photographer and renting out a studio for photo shoots, and posting promotional materials to prospective clients. On a similar note, you can also expect to spend money on admin costs; things like postage, stationary, legal fees, accounting, courier and telephone bills can all add up.

Modelling usually involves a lot of travel, which can end up being very costly. Although some of the top modelling agencies will cover the travel expenses incurred by their models, you shouldn’t expect this to be the case. Make sure that you have enough money set aside for things like flight tickets, taxi and train fares, as well as accommodation and meals, when you book modelling work.

At the start of your career, you may also have to spend some money on modelling courses; whilst going to classes and attending modelling school certainly isn’t a requirement, these things can provide you with insight into the industry, and help you to fine tune your skills. They can also boost your confidence and allow you to make contact with photographers, designers and agents from within the modelling industry; particularly when you’re just starting out, these contacts can be invaluable, as they may be able to help you get your foot in the door, and get your first modelling job.

Modelling agency contracts | UK models

Getting a contract with a modelling agency is something which many aspiring UK models dream about. However, if you are offered one, it’s important not to rush into signing it. You must read it very carefully, and make sure that you know exactly what you are agreeing to. Contracts created by modelling agencies are often long and quite complex, and if you’re not familiar with these type of legal documents, you might find it difficult to grasp the details.

UK ModelsMoreover, some modelling agencies try to pressurise people into signing these contracts on the spot, telling them that their offer will be taken off the table, if they don’t immediately agree to it. However, if you find yourself in this situation, it’s vital to resist this pressure; take the contract away with you, so that you can read it in your own time. If you’re finding it hard to understand, you may even want to enrol the help of a legal expert. Should you spot any clauses which you are not happy with, you can then bring the contract back to the modelling agency, and ask them to amend it.

In terms of what you can expect to find in a modelling agency contract, this will vary from one company to another. However, generally speaking, a contract of this kind will never promise UK models a steady stream of work; although the agency will do their best to secure modelling jobs for you, their contracts almost always state that they cannot guarantee work; this clause is included to protect the agency from legal action in the future.

Almost all modelling agency contracts will specify whether or not the agency requires exclusivity. If your contract does include a clause of this kind, this will mean that you will not be allowed to work with any other agency. The more well-known and successful an agency is, the more likely they are to demand total exclusivity.

The term of most modelling contracts range between one and five years; however, the term is not always fixed, and in some cases, it may be possible for either the model, or the agency, to cancel the agreement after a ‘probationary’ period has passed. It’s generally best to opt for a short contract when you join a modelling agency, as this will allow you to move on, should you find yourself unhappy with any aspects of your first contract.

 

Must-have items for models | UK models

Whether a model is heading to a go-see (i.e. a casting), a meeting with their agent, or a photo shoot, they must always be prepared. In this article, we list the items which UK models should always bring with them for modelling meetings and events.

UK ModelsThe first item is a phone; you have to make sure that agents, photographers and clients can get in touch with you, whenever they need to. The photographer might need you to tell you to arrive on set a little earlier than planned, or the location of your meeting with a modelling agent might change at the last minute. If your car doesn’t have a sat nav, or if you’re using public transport to get to your castings, it’s also vital to bring along a street map. This is especially important if you’re unfamiliar with the local area, as you don’t want to miss out on being hired for a modelling job, just because you can’t find the venue!

In addition to these items, you should bring along something to keep you occupied. As a model, you can expect to spend a lot of time waiting around; you’ll have to stand in line at open castings, and wait for the photographer to get the shot set up at photo shoots. If you’re easily bored, remember to bring along a book, a magazine, or an mp3 player, which will keep you entertained until it’s time to work.

Two essential items that UK models always bring to meetings and casting calls, are their portfolio and their comp card. Whilst the former can be a bit cumbersome to carry around, it’s something which every potential client will want to see when they meet you. Your comp card should be handed out to anyone that you meet at networking events, photo shoots and fashion shows. If someone asks you for one, and you have left them at home, this will not only make you seem unprofessional, but will also potentially deprive you of a modelling opportunity, as the agent or client will have no way of remembering your contact details.

Lastly, it’s a good idea to bring along a few basic grooming items, such as hair-ties, a nail file, a hairbrush and some make-up. As a model, you have to look your best at all times; you don’t want to run into a prospective client looking dishevelled.

 

A guide to becoming a fashion model | UK models

Having a career as a famous model is something which many young people dream about, but it does require a great deal of effort, talent and perseverance. Rejection is part and parcel of being a model; no matter how attractive you might be, there will be times where an agent or a client decides that you don’t have the right look for their particular project. This can be hurtful, but all professional UK models have experienced this at some point during the course of their careers. When this happens, you must be willing to take the constructive criticism on board, and forget about the rejection itself.

UK ModelsAt the beginning of your career, it’s also vital to study fashion magazines, and practice your modelling skills. You will probably feel a bit silly practicing your poses at home in front of a mirror, but the reality is that when you arrive on set at your first modelling shoot, the crew, and the photographer will expect you to know what to do. You should have an understanding of which facial expressions, poses and angles are most flattering for your face and body.

Confidence is essential if you want to make it as a model; if you are too shy to chat to agents, clients, photographers and make-up artists, you will find it very difficult to establish professional relationships and make the connections which will help your modelling career. Moreover, you mustn’t be self-conscious in front of the camera; having a wide range of expressions, moving freely and exuding confidence are all vital.

In addition to this, you must take care of your health and your general appearance. As a model, you will be expected to look slim and toned, with shiny hair, a clear complexion, and manicured nails. Sticking to a regular exercise routine, getting enough sleep every night, and eating a healthy diet, with plenty of fruits and vegetables, will ensure that you always look your best, and moreover, that you have enough energy to keep up with a hectic modelling schedule.

Lastly, a good attitude is vital; the top UK models are successful, not only because of their looks, but also because they are fun to work with. Having a professional work ethic, and being friendly and polite with your colleagues on photo shoots and at fashion shows, will have a tremendously positive impact on your career.

How to perform well at a photo shoot | UK models

If you’re new to the world of modelling, the first photo shoot you do can be quite nerve-wracking. A lot of novice UK models worry that they’ll run out of ideas for poses, or that they won’t come across well on camera. However, we have some advice which should help you to perform perfectly during your first modelling assignment.

The most important thing is to remain relaxed and confident; if you’re too tense or self-conscious when the photographer starts snapping, this will show in the final images. Take a deep breath, and try to enjoy yourself. When it comes to the poses, your photographer will probably provide you with some direction, but you should have a few of your own ideas as well.

Experiment with different facial expressions, body positions and angles, and try looking away from the camera sometimes. Ideally, you should change your poses every ten to twenty seconds; however, the change doesn’t have to be dramatic. You could, for example, alter the angle at which you hold your arms, smile more widely, or just put one of your legs in front of the other. These little differences can have a surprisingly big impact on the overall look of a photograph.

Lighting will also play a role in how well the images turn out; it’s important for you, as the model, to understand how the studio lights fall on your face and body. If you don’t maintain an awareness of the light, you might end up positioning yourself in such a way that unflattering shadows are cast on your face, or too much light is focused on one part of your body, which could create an over-exposed look.

UK ModelsIt’s important to ask your agency, or the client themselves, what they expect you to have when you arrive on set. If the photo shoot involves modelling a brand’s clothing line, then you won’t need to bring along your own outfits. However, some UK models like to take accessories and footwear; two pairs of heels (black and nude coloured) and some statement jewellery should suffice. In addition to this, some basic items, such as a plain white vest top, and a pair of skinny jeans, may come in handy. Although there will most likely be a make-up artist there, it can also be helpful to bring some face powder and lipstick for touch-ups throughout the shoot.

Promoting yourself as a model | UK models

Once you have signed with a modelling agency, it will be their job to make sure that you get a steady stream of work. However, provided you have non-exclusive contract with them, there is no reason why you should stop seeking out work yourself. There are plenty of things for to be able promote yourself and build your network.

For instance, you might want to get in touch with local photographers and advertising agencies in your city or town, to see if they are interested in working with you. Even if they don’t have an immediate need for your modelling skills, give them your comp card (a model’s version of a business card), so that they can contact you if any work comes up.

UK ModelsIt may also be worth your while introducing yourself to your local newspaper’s fashion editor. He or she will be able to tell you if they know of any modelling shoots or casting calls which require UK models. If you are just starting out, you may want to offer to work for free; whilst you shouldn’t do this on a regular basis, it’s a great way to gain some exposure, and get some photographs for your portfolio.

In addition to this, try introducing yourself to the managers of some bridal shops and clothing boutiques around your town or city; again, they might be interested in using you for a local fashion show, or for a photo shoot for their latest collection. The pay for this type of modelling work will probably be quite low, but the experience you will gain, and the photographs you will be able to use in your portfolio, will do wonders for your career.

You might also want to consider uploading your images to a modelling portfolio site; many UK models do this. These websites are usually free to use, and allow you to add your own collection of photographs to your profile. Essentially, these sites provide you with the opportunity to advertise your modelling work for free. This is a fantastic way to gain international exposure, as anyone with an internet connection will be able to view your work. Although the process of filling out the profile and uploading the images might be time-consuming, once you’re done, you’ll have a promotional source which will benefit you for years to come.

Common mistakes made by aspiring models | UK models

Any aspiring model that is unfamiliar with the industry is bound to make a few mistakes as they attempt to establish a career for themselves. However, there are some errors which are quite common, and are easily avoided, so long as you are aware of them. The first is taking the wrong approach to modelling agency applications.

A lot of new UK models fail to carry out any research, and just end up applying to as many agencies as they can, without considering whether or not those agencies actually work in the same area of modelling that they are interested in. If, for instance, you are hoping to become a fashion model, then it follows that you should only get in contact with agencies that working in fashion modelling. With a little help from the search engines, it should be very easy to find agencies that are a good match for your interests. Once you have compiled a list of suitable agencies, make sure that you read through each one’s submission guidelines.

UK ModelsAnother mistake often made by aspiring models is believing only what they want to hear, and refusing to accept any type of criticism, even if it is constructive. They end up getting scammed by con artists who claim to be professional modelling agents or photographers, because they allow themselves to be reeled in by flattery. Moreover, when an actual modelling agency gives them advice – about their appearance, or the type of modelling they should be doing, for instance – they fail to take it on board. It’s important to be wary of those who are overly flattering, regarding your potential as a model, and to accept advice and criticism, if it is helpful.

A lot of those who want to be models also make the mistake of giving up on this career path too quickly. Rejection is something which even the most famous of UK models have had to deal with at some point in their lives; it’s very common in this industry, as modelling agencies and clients are often very particular about the type of person they want to hire. However, just because you’re not a good fit for one agent or client, does not mean that you won’t secure work with other companies later down the line. You shouldn’t assume that being rejected by one agency means that you don’t have what it takes to be a model.

An introduction to freelance modelling | UK models

When a model says that they work on a freelance basis, this simply means that they do their own promotional work, and look for modelling jobs by themselves, without the help of a modelling agency.

The main advantage of being a freelance model, is that you won’t have to adhere to the strict requirements that agencies usually place on their models. This means that if your height or body types don’t meet their standards, you can still apply for modelling jobs. In addition to this, you will also get to keep all of your earnings (minus taxes and expenses), as you won’t incur the usual 20% commission fee charged by agencies.

UK ModelsHowever, freelance modelling is not for everyone; a lot of UK models start out their careers on a freelance basis, only to eventually sign with agency, after realising how much hard work it is. You have to do all of the legwork yourself, including developing and regularly revamping your portfolio, getting in touch with clients, going to networking events and promoting your work online. Moreover, if a client becomes problematic or refuses to pay, you will have to handle this matter by yourself.

If you decide to become a freelance model, it’s important to realise that you will be less likely to secure editorial or runway work, as most designers and fashion magazine editors tend to find models through agencies. However, you should have no issue finding work within your local town or city; clothing stores, photographers and other small businesses are always looking for models to advertise their products and services.

To kick start your modelling career, freelance UK models will need to create a portfolio, and perhaps set up a website on which you can display it. If the latter doesn’t appeal to you, you could upload your photos to an online modelling portfolio site. There are lots of these types of sites to be found, and most of them are either free, or charge a very small fee to use.

Once you register, you can add your images and write a short bio, explaining the type of modelling work you have done in the past. As well as doing this, you will need to print up some comp cards, which are much like a business card. These cards should include a selection of your photos (usually around four or five), as well as your contact details and physical statistics.

Physical requirements for modelling | UK models

Fashion modelling is the most well known form of modelling; it tends to get the most press and it commands the highest fees, with some of the world’s top fashion models earning thousands of pounds per day. For this type of modelling you do need to be of a certain height and size. If you’re a female, and are dreaming of walking the runways of Paris and Milan, you will need to be at least 5’9.

UK ModelsIn addition to this, your bust, waist and hip stats will need to be around 34-25-34, as these are the measurements which fit most designer sample sizes. Having said of this, there is a rising demand for models whose body types are a more accurate depiction of the general population, and as a result of this, many fashion shows are now including plus size models. But even full-figured models will need to meet the height requirements for runway and editorial work. There are of course, exceptions to this; Kate Moss, for instance, is just 5’7, but has gone on to become one of the world’s most famous UK models in the fashion industry.

However, if you’re an aspiring model who is less than 5’9, don’t despair; whilst you might not be suited to fashion modelling, there are other genres in which you can work. If, for example, you have quite a muscular, toned physique, you could do well as a fitness model, or if you have quite a curvy figure, you might want to consider glamour and pin-up work. There is also plenty of work for petite models (those between 5’1 and 5’6). Generally speaking, your proportions are more important than your height for these types of modelling. You will also need to have healthy, shiny hair, a blemish-free, smooth complexion and a polished appearance.

Age is another factor which concerns many new models; in the fashion industry, most UK models are aged between eighteen and twenty five, whilst in other modelling genres, you may find women and men aged up to thirty five. This is not to say that there is no place for mature models though; there are in fact plenty of opportunities for older people in catalogue and print advertisement work, as many companies have mature target demographics and want relatable models to showcase their products and services.

Tips for runway models | UK models

For UK models who are new to the industry, walking the runway can be quite a daunting task; whilst it seems like quite an easy thing to do, it’s trickier than it looks. Trying to walk steadily in high heels, as the cameras flash and everyone in the audience judges your appearance, can be both exhilarating and hugely intimidating, even for those who have been in lots of fashion shows. Here, we go through the key things which models need to keep in mind when they’re strutting their stuff on the runway.

uk modelsIt’s important to remember that these shows are all about the clothing and so, the way in which you walk should show off the garments that you’re wearing. Simple gestures like swinging your arms as you walk will ‘swish’ the skirt or dress you’re wearing, thereby helping to draw people’s attention to it. Likewise, unbuttoning a jacket as you near the end of the runway will highlight the cut of the garment, and will also show off the t-shirt or blouse underneath it. It’s worth giving some thought to the type of pose you will do when you reach the end; try to choose one which accentuates the item you’re wearing.

Although the way in which you walk is important, you should also be aware of your facial expressions. Whilst you might be focusing on not falling over, this concern shouldn’t register on your face. Most UK models who do fashion shows like to keep their faces quite neutral and relaxed; they tend to look quite serious, and will rarely show more than a hint of a smile. Remember, photographers will be snapping away throughout the entirety of the show, and you don’t want them to catch you looking nervous or bored.

Like it or not, you will probably have a runway mishap at some point during your career; even famous UK models have experienced the embarrassment that comes with tripping over their dress, or stumbling as they turn. The extravagant clothing and high heels that are worn during fashion shows means that these mistakes are quite common, even amongst professionals who have been modelling for years. However, the key is to recover quickly from whatever has happened; smile and continue walking up the runway in a confident manner, and try to not let the incident to fluster you.