Something I find really annoying with individuals who want to model but then think they aren’t qualified say, “I’d love to but…” Complete the sentence with “too thick”, “too old”, “too pale”, or “too” whatever. The reason for these comments is that they automatically think that they have to be the picture perfect size and measure that a fashion model needs to be. In reality, there is other modeling than fashion modeling. The most common is lifestyle or commercial modeling where people are cast based on roles they can be. So, why don’t you model?
Let us start with the most frequent reason why I hear: weight. The weight requirement for fashion models is incredibly thin. Outside of the major fashion centers, this requirement is a little more flexible. What is important is that you are in good proportions and fulfill the requirements that need to be portrayed. Even in fashion outside the major fashion cities, there are boutiques and designers who cater to plus size models. Look for them. They are fewer and further between, but they are out there. And, if there are art centers or collectives, ask around there if they need models. Frequently I find many artists wanting a more Rubenesque look for the models they work and hate dealing with thin as rail models all the time – they want more variety and real people to use as models.
Another reason I hear is age. While fashion models tend to be 16 to 22 years of age, outside of fashion modeling there is no age limit. I know several models who are over 22 years old, and I am frequently looking for models who are in the 65 and older range. The reason: companies and services market their products to many different people and demographics. Frequently, they need to market to a specific group. For instance, if there were an age limit, can you see advertisements for Ensure with models who are 20-22 year olds? Nope. Neither can I.
Yet another reason: height. As has been mentioned before, there are no requirements for height outside of fashion modeling. Again, being in good proportions is more important and being able to fit more lifestyle roles with the images you have in your book. But, even if you are shooting for fashion, 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet is common in New York and very few people are outside this. In smaller local markets and secondary cities, there is wiggle room for smaller people and it is common to see models who are shorter – sometimes as small as 5 ft 7 inches. Looking at some of the boutique and smaller designers, you can even find needs for people who are shorter. And don’t forget, there is a “petite” class of models that are from 4 feet 10 inches to 5 feet 2 inches, too.
Hopefully, if you have read this and want to be a model, you know that there are many things you can do in modeling, and it isn’t just the “fashion” requirements that dictate if you are a model. More important is fitting lifestyle rolls that are marketable demographics to people in general. Roles include being a bank teller, grocery clerk, mechanic, general business person, father, mother, school teacher, etc. The key is to portray who someone in that role would be. And, if you are really good, you might land a TV commercial or role in a movie, too. Outside of lifestyle, there are needs to present “real” people in works of art. There is a lot more than just fashion modeling. And besides, lifestyle modeling is a lot less competitive, too!