With the prevalence of reality shows focusing on male models, it's now increasingly common for men to consider modeling as a long-term career or at the very least, a fun part-time job to earn some serious cash. These days, the elusive modeling industry isn't as hard to break into as you might think. There is an increasing number of opportunities for male models, and a career path in modeling is definitely a very realistic possibility if you're willing to put in the time and effort.
Although, don't strike that Zoolander-worthy pose just yet. Be warned, being a male model doesn't always equate to a 24/7 party lifestyle with a gaggle of leggy blondes in tow. Just like in any other cutthroat industry, it takes real hard work, long hours, and frequent rejections before you get any traction. In addition to that, if you are just dipping your big toe into modeling industry, it usually doesn't pay as well as you think, at first. It will take a while before you can command a coveted five-figure salary.
On the other hand, there are definitely advantages to male modeling. When compared to female models, males usually enjoy a longer stint in the modeling circuit. The average age for male models starting out is usually from 18-25 since male brands usually want to attract a more mature customer, which affects their choice of who will be representing their brand. In fact, there are a number of men nearing their fifties who are still at the peak of their career. Aside from this, male models usually don't have to adhere to the same stringent requirements as females. Depending on the type of job, there's a bit of leeway for men when it comes to weight and vital statistics.
If you're just starting out, there are a few general requirements you should keep in mind. The average height for a typical male model is from 5'11 to 6'2, weight usually ranges from 140 - 165 pounds, although these can go up or down depending on the type of modeling you want to specialize in. Clear smooth skin is usually non-negotiable, after all there is only so much that concealer and airbrushing can do.
Still think you have what it takes? Read on for some beginner tips that can help give your career an early boost.
Modeling Agency, should you or shouldn't you?
If you're planning to buckle down and get serious about modeling, being part of an agency is one of the best ways to cement your commitment to the craft. While agents are known for taking huge percentages (anywhere from 10% to 33% is considered standard) they can do wonders in furthering your exposure. They have insider connections and they can pull strings to get you in casting calls that weren't even advertised. However, exercise a degree of caution, beware of agents who ask for upfront payments for representation. Remember, agents only collect money when they've successfully booked you for a job. If they're asking for any fees in advance, just walk away.
If you're also part of the modeling roster of an agency, this also adds a premium to your image that would make clients more likely to book you. And the more jobs you have under your belt, the wider your exposure is. This would mean there's a bigger chance for you to catch the eye of designers and fashion industry bigwigs, who have the power to make or break an aspiring model's career.
Incompetent agents won't be your first problem tough, getting an agency to place their bets on you is no walk in the park either. There are lucky models who are approached by scouts while they're scarfing down a burger in a Mcdonalds, but this doesn't happen as often anymore. You have to rely on bravado and sheer hard work to get these agencies to take notice.
Keep your eyes peeled for open calls held by modeling agencies, these usually happen a couple of times a year. You can check out sites like http://www.onemodelplace.com for announcements on casting schedules. You can also be pro-active and submit your portfolio to agencies, and hope someone picks it up and would be intrigued. Your portfolio doesn't have to be filled with attention grabbing shots, what most agencies would want to see are usually just well-photographed close-up and full body shots of you. A good mix of colored, black and white and art directed photographs usually constitute a good book. Remember if you have the certain X factor that catapults models into fame, it will definitely show even in the simplest pictures.
Other creative ways to get agencies to take notice is to join in modeling competitions. While winners are usually awarded a modeling contact, if you place close enough, your chances of being signed are also significantly improved. In the age of the internet, you can also take to social media to post particularly flattering selfies, and hope that it catches the attention of an agency head honcho. If you're thinking of this path though, it would be better if you have a great online personality to complement your flattering shots, so you attract a strong social media following. If there's something that is time and tested to be attractive to these agencies, its for aspiring models who have already established a significant fan base.
Don't hand in that resignation letter yet.
Modeling, while lucrative, is also one of the most unstable professions. If it's possible, keep your day job as a back-up plan. And if you're flush from a particularly good show, make sure you put away some savings because you never know when you will book your next show or if you'll have a modeling dry spell. As a model, elementary personal finance know how is a must. If you're signed under an agency, they might take care of the nitty gritty accounting details, but always make sure you have a basic understanding of it so you won't be duped so easily.
Always remain professional - There will come a time when it will be the booking agencies and designers who would call you to be part of their shows, but remember never to get cocky. You might be a big-shot now, but models with attitude are easily replaced. Always remember to show up on time, be courteous to everyone, including the production staff, and don't ever think to show up reeking from last night's debaucheries. While it's great if you’re the it model of the moment, remember it's the models that the creative team enjoys working with that would get rebooked often.
Part of remaining professional is also to maintain your physique. Remember, when you are hired to model, there is a certain physical expectation for you to meet. Don't pig out to celebrate nabbing a job, you have to maintain the discipline to eat well and exercise regularly to be able to book a steady stream of jobs. Now that you've got the basics down pat, it's time to learn about how to accelerate a fledgling career. One way to ensure a long-term career is to specialize in one kind of modeling, before tackling all mediums. The logic behind this, is that it's better if you become top of mind for a specific niche before dabbling in all forms of modeling and becoming mediocre. There are different types of modeling jobs, and once you've established a name, its pretty easy to cut across different niches. But the best way to ingrain yourself into the public's consciousness is to focus and excel in one type of modeling first, and think of crossing over as a second phase to your career. Here's a quick rundown of modeling jobs that you can consider specializing in.
High Fashion Modeling - if you have towering height cheekbones sharp enough to cut steel, high fashion modeling might be your calling. These are usually the models that make the rounds during fashion week and get to work closely with designers. Male models who walk the runway usually have a lean body type and height ranging from 5'11 - 6'2. While it might seem glamourous to be strutting in klieg lights, beginner models still have to endure countless of go-sees to be able to book a single show. Your goal when you book a show is to stand out well enough that designers will be booking you for next season's show.
Commercial Modeling - for those who are permanently pegged as the boy next door, your dimples and old-fashioned charm would definitely suit commercial modeling. The requirements for commercial modeling are so much broader than high fashion modeling. And jobs for fresh-faced, wide eyed definitely abound. Try your hand at go-sees for popular brands in personal care or clothing. If you could pass off as a husband or dad figure (or if you are a husband or dad in real life!), you can also try to score parts in print and TV ads for popular household brands.
Parts Modeling - There are men who are always complimented for a certain body type, whether it's your rock-hard abs, your muscled legs or your shapely shoulders, if you feel like a certain body part stands out from all the rest, Parts Modeling might be your key into the industry. Don't be fooled, it's not as easy as it looks. To be a parts model, you have to endure shooting for long periods of time while holding certain, straining poses. Parts models are usually utilized for pint advertising or for stock photos, and parts modeling can be regular enough to make a decent living.
Fitness Modeling - If the gym is your second home and the idea of benchpresses make you grin, fitness modeling might be your niche. Bulky, ripped muscles aren't so popular on runways, but you can specialize in editorial work for fitness magazines, or represent gym and fitness brands. You can also explore seasonal work such as posing for calendars and joining body building competitions that can lead to long term modeling contracts.