Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Successful Fashion Model?


Updated by Wilson Moore on 14 February, 2020.

lagos fashion model

Are you interested in being a supermodel?

But did you know that before you can become a supermodel, you have to be a fashion model?

Do all those questions make any sense to you? Why are you interested in being a superstar model?

When you consider the glamour, the travels to global exotic destinations and the dream of living the awesome lifestyle of the rich and famous, you can appreciate why the modelling business is amazingly seductive to many young boys and girls.

Get this: As glamorous as fashion modelling is, it is also an extremely tough business to be successful at.

That is why only very few models are called super models.

Still, while only very few working models actually become stunningly successful, many professional models in other types of modelling business, pull in mind blowing and stupid cash, for real.

Back at you. Candidly and sincerely, between you and me, do you really have what it takes to break into the modelling business?

A more important question is, do you really have what the top modelling, casting, and marketing agencies are looking for in a model?

If you are not willing to be brutally candid with yourself as to whether you've got what it takes to be successful in the modelling business, you will be shamefully disappointed when you finally wake up to the fact that - that your dreams were, well, just fantasies.

Therefore, please use the following tips as a guide to help you check yourself as to whether you've got what it takes to be successful in the modelling business. Keep in mind that 'self delusion is the biggest scam of all.'


In The Fashion Modelling Business, Age Is King

In the modelling world, youth is very much the king.

Aspiring models that want to be in the fashion and runway modelling business should start at an early age. The earlier you start, the more successful you will be. Most agencies look for girls between 14-21, with younger girls being the preference since they have a longer shelf life. Longer shelf life means longer earning power.

For instance, Cindy Crawford's daughter, Kaia, made her modelling debut, for Young Versace, at a tender age of 10. Betty Lowe, the daughter of designer Pearl, has been modelling for her mother's line for Peacocks since the age of five.

On the other hand, there are some super models who continue to work throughout their twenties and even into their forties. Do you remember Canadian super model, Shalom Harlow, who is still getting choice gigs at 34, though most modelling business end at around 30?


Size Matters In Fashion Modelling

 Petite beauties need not apply for fashion modelling.

In the fashion modelling business, you have to be very tall and very thin. Consider this hard truth: The average model is 5'11" tall and weighs just 117 pounds, while the average U.S. woman is 5'4" tall and weighs 140 pounds? Are you still with me?

That is why fashion modelling agencies want tall girls that are at least 5'9. If the girl is stunning, and a few inches below the agency's acceptable height, they may still hire her. For instance, Kate Moss stands at a mere 5'7", but you are not Kate Moss.


A Weighty Issue 

Thin is in. Almost scaringly so. Think between 115-120 lbs on a 5'10" frame. For a fashion designer, a model is like a big hanger, and the thinner she is, the better the clothes hang, and the more effectively they can be shown off.

Many aspiring models are naturally thin. On the other hand, others strictly monitor what they eat in order to fit the requirement. If you fall into the latter camp, please do yourself a solid and skip fashion modelling.

Keep in mind that no career is worth your compromising your health over. Modelling is not for the faint at heart. It is a naturally physically demanding profession. You must have a lot of sustainable energy. The energy required for fashion modelling, is not what you can get by starving yourself.


About Face

In modelling, perfect or near-perfect skin is a must and so are straight teeth. The camera is amazingly good at emphasizing every flaw. Additionally, your friendly makeup artists expect a smooth or clean canvas to work their magic on.

As far as facial features go, the fashion world is notoriously fickle.

For instance, way back in the '70s before you were born, models with thin lips were considered the height of awesomeness. That was the style most models envied. In the 90s, it was the "heroin chic" look.

In other words, looks come and go.

Today, agents prefer girls with full lips, a straight, but distinct nose and wide set of eyes. Bone structure is taken into consideration. High cheekbones, a small chin and a defined jaw line are considered by some agencies as their perfect fit.


Ready For Your Close-Up

Despite what so-called modelling schools and agencies tell you, an aspiring model should not spend any money on a fancy portfolio. That is what a legitimate modelling agency does for their models - craft a portfolio that rocks!

Legitimate modelling agencies want basically a clear picture of what a girl or boy looks like naturally. We're talking a face free from layers of makeup, with no styled hair and flattering clothes.

Agencies are also interested in seeing how photogenic the model is. A girl can be mind blowing and drop-dead gorgeous in person, but if the camera doesn't love her, she won't make it as a model.

Basically all you need are a few quality photos that present you as you really are. Take a close-up shot with your hair pulled back and a couple of full-length shots or 3/4 length shots.

Agents want to get a sense of what your body looks like.


Your Big Moment As A Fashion Model

After you've put together your "wow" pictures, it is time to hit the mean streets of Lagos. Every week, most agencies hold open calls. Open calls are opportunities where aspiring models can meet the agents in person and show off their photos.

The best way to find out about open call days is to either phone the agency directly, or consult their website. All legitimate modelling agencies have helpful websites.

This is your big moment to impress the agents. Dress in simple clothes, wear minimal makeup and leave the high heels at home.

Most importantly, project confidence -- don't be afraid to let your personality shine through. Please, try to relax. Make a stunningly good first impression, and you will get a callback and hopefully get signed on.

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