Modeling: The statistics

Posted on December 12, 2012


A lot of people think that models all make large amounts of money and that they will always be “the one” who will be chosen above all others to be that model who makes a lot doing modeling. Many think that they only work for a brief amount of time – maybe a few hours a week. This post is to let people know that only a very few make a lot of money, and modeling is a lot more than just the time they spend in front of the camera. Instead, it is more likely to be someone who makes a small amount of money every year, and that you have another job on top of modeling that you do to create a consistent income. Many models spend more money maintaining themselves, traveling, their makeup, and their clothing.

These statistics are for 2010:

Average Pay:  $32,920 per year or $15.83 per hour

Number of Jobs (for 2010): 1,400 (about)

[Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Models,
on the Internet at (visited December 12, 2012).]

Keep in mind that the hours a model works is unpredictable and are often part-time hours. Frequently, a model must be ready at a moments notice to modeling assignments and will have many segments of time where they don’t have any work.  Many models tell me it is a feast or famine environment. When they get jobs, they are often all together and then there won’t be a job for a while. Conditions vary depending on the assignment but can be outside in any weather condition, inside on the runway, at hotels, and studio environments. People are often demanding around them and the work is typically very stressful. Models who work full time spend the time traveling from city to city.

The key qualities of a  model are being courteous, disciplined, organized, persistent, photogenic, and have style. Because a model is around people and interacts with people all the time, it is important to be professional and courteous all the time. Remember, most models are hired for their image that the create for the products and services they represent. Models are also very disciplined because they must spend time exercising, eating right for them, able to maintain their proper weight, get enough sleep, and frequently regiment their schedules. Contrary to the public opinion, very few models are out partying the nights away and drinking. As you can see from this, you can also see that they are organized to keep everything straight. It isn’t easy keeping all the information of where you need to be managing their time schedules and travel schedules. Persistence is also key, as there are many people who want to be “that model” who is doing the work. There are always new models who are fighting to be in that one position. Because of the competition and few positions available, models must be aggressive and persistent. They must also deal with a lot of people saying “no” or turning them down. As they may be required to do any of their hair, clothing, makeup, and hair styling, they must have some sense of style and a basic knowledge of makeup and hair styling. While some assignments will provide this for the model, it is far more common for the model to be responsible for her own makeup, hair styling, and clothing. Finally, a model needs to be photogenic and comfortable in front of a camera because a good portion of their time is spent being photographed in some way.

What is a model expected to do? They will frequently do the following:

– pose for photographers, designers, and other people for photographic or other artistic medium for advertising, creating paintings, or possibly sculptures. This means displaying clothing, undergarments, dresses, suits, and maybe wearing nothing at all.

– must promote products in advertisements and commercials. Most paid modeling work comes from promoting products and services. A limited amount of paid work comes from editorial modeling work.

– Model various things from accessories, shoes, clothing, beauty products, and the like. Modeling is about something other than you. This may mean the focus is something you are wearing.

– Travel from city to city, meeting people and interviewing for potential clients and future work. Many models use e-mail and various web sites to promote themselves for the modeling work that they do. In order to have a more consistent income, models often travel from city to city doing their modeling work. The best prospects for a model is in larger cities.



Posted in: Modeling