It’s often said that – All that glitters is not gold. It’s a saying that applies really well to a career in the modelling industry.
Most young boys and girls are attracted to this career mainly because of the money, fame and popularity that comes along with being a successful model.
But not many are aware that all this comes at a cost.
Starting a successful modelling career often takes years of struggle in this highly competitive industry. The working hours are often long and unpredictable – you may be expected to get ready for an ad shoot at a moment’s notice.
It also involves frequent travelling, which may seem like a perk at first but gets tedious soon enough. Also, scam agencies and agents looking to take advantage of your naivety are commonplace. Hence you need to be extra careful and on your guard always.
Youngsters are planning to take a plunge in this glamorous but unpredictable domain often need proper guidance on how to get into modelling.
Below you will find a complete set of guidelines explaining how to start modelling career – to help you avoid the usual pitfalls and common mistakes that many wannabe models tend to make.
How To Become A Model in India
1. Primary Qualification for Modelling
Let’s start with the basics. Modelling is all about using your LOOKS and PERSONALITY to sell and market products and services.
So you need to be in prime condition, with a face and personality to match.
Great skin is a crucial prerequisite – no acne or blemishes – if you have them start a treatment to get rid of them. Healthy and lustrous hair is also equally important for both boys and girls.
Haven’t been going to the gym lately?
Then you need to. Being in prime physical condition means having a lean and well-toned body to flaunt – but please don’t overdo the muscle building – that’s for a career in body-building.
Getting a personal trainer (who has worked with models before) is usually a great idea to get into the proper shape. All you need to do is tell him about your aspirations to be a model, and he should be able to take it from there.
2. Choose the kind of Model You Want to be
On the face of it, anybody fulfilling the necessary criteria as defined above can become a supermodel.
But it’s not all that simple. In this industry one size does not fit all. You need to first decide on what kind of model you want to be.
Some of the popular options to do modelling which will be available to you include;
a) A Lingerie (Underwear) Model
This option is open to both men and women. However, the criteria for both are a little different.
Besides being good looking which is a standard requirement for both, men need to have broad shoulders complemented by a slim waist generally.
Women, on the other hand, need to be curvy with a slim enough waistline to accentuate the lingerie they will be wearing.
b) A Runway/Catwalk Model
Being tall is the main criteria if you aspire to become a model flaunting your stuff live on the catwalk.
Female models need to be tall (5’8), skinny and a little flat-chested. Men need to be tall (5’10-plus) and in excellent physical condition.
c) A Print Model
A print model poses for the advertisements you see in newspapers, magazines and marketing-driven supplements.
Some of the Essential print modelling requirements-
- Aspiring models need to be about 5’7+
- blessed with a good looks
- photogenic face
- A strong personality that shines through.
d) A Plus-Size Model
This is a more recent category – which is best suited for modelling aspirants with fuller and well-rounded bodies, who won’t fit into any of the conventional types.
A Plus-size model works for advertisements and campaigns that target plus-sized people – a new but growing category of potential customers that companies and agencies are actively targeting.
e) A Promotional Model
Companies frequently need a glamorous link between their product and the customer. This is where a promotional model steps in.
They are frequently spotted at promotional events, posing with the product for the flashbulbs and work as brand ambassadors for the product/company.
3. Do your Due Diligence
Before beginning your career in any domain, it is always advisable to do your homework and find out all you can about it – like you’re doing right now by reading this article.
Modelling is no exception. Make an effort to find out all you can about the pros and cons of this career by reading articles & books, researching online and talking to people in the trade (if you know any).
Doing your due diligence will not only equip you with a better understanding of the industry that you’re planning of getting into but also allow you to plan your approach in advance.
4. Get Your Portfolio Done
The most important aspect of becoming a model is to get your Portfolio done quickly.
Much like actors, modelling aspirants also need to get their portfolios done prior to making the rounds of studios and creative agencies for finding work.
While you can opt to get your pictures in your neighbourhood studio – to save a few bucks – it’s always better to spend a little more and get them shot by a professional shutterbug.
The cost? Anywhere from INR 15,000-75,000 – depending on the photographer/agency you choose.
Yes, it will be expensive – but worth every penny that you spend on it. Think of it as an initial investment which will pay off handsomely in the long run.
Get the best pictures enlarged (8×10 preferably) and multiple copies made – in case you need to leave prints with an agency or a model coordinator.
5. Know Your Vital Stats & Measurements.
Do you know the colour of your eyes and your hair?
Do you know your exact height and weight?
What are your skin tone and waist size?
Would you describe your complexion as whitish or fair?
Don’t be alarmed, this is not an interrogation – but information that you need to have ready with you beforehand – when you start dropping in on agencies with your portfolio.
6. Visiting Modelling Agencies/Model Coordinators
This brings us to the next step – and a vital one at that – which is visiting agencies and coordinators with your portfolio as you begin your quest for assignments.
Luckily for you, leading model agencies and coordinators have their offices in most major cities today, which should not be too difficult for you to locate.
Some of the more prominent agencies include-
- Gladrags Career Academy
- Frankfinn Institute of Modelling & Acting (FIMA)
- Inega Model Management
- Talent Next
They also host frequent walk-ins – to discover fresh modelling talent – which is where you need to be armed with your confidence and portfolio of professionally-shot pictures.
You may be asked to pose or walk by the agency people. They may even ask you for a headshot or take your physical measurements – to check if you fit the bill. Don’t hesitate or look nervous.
7. Don’t Fear Rejection
If you end up getting rejected – don’t think of it as the end of your career – even leading models have to face rejection nearly 70% of the time.
Just think of it as a stepping stone to the next opportunity that comes your way and there will be many more.
Registering online is also a great way of getting yourself noticed and finding work – and there are several agencies which encourage fresh talent to upload their details & portfolios online.
Things to do When You Bag Your First Assignment
Congratulations – on bagging your first professional assignment/campaign. You have successfully crossed the first hurdle, and these are some of the things that you need to do.
- Whatever the provocation, always be polite and courteous. Remember you may be the face of the campaign, but you’re still a newcomer with a long way to go.
- Always be on time for work. Nobody likes a habitual latecomer.
- Let your creativity flow and your personality shine. People shooting the campaign need you to be at your creative best working the angles and the camera all the time.
- Make it a point to organise your appointments, meetings and other professional commitments for the day. It will help you to get through your day a lot faster and also create a great first impression about you.
- Be honest. Lying about your measurements and physical attributes may get you in the door, but once you are caught lying, you could be blacklisted forever.
- Refrain from getting careless. Modelling is a severe business like any other, and you need to treat it with the respect it deserves. The first hint of taking things lightly or getting casual about your work commitments and you could find yourself exiting the industry faster than a pooch on a skateboard.
Other Important Points About Modelling
- Get your parent’s permission if you are a minor, prior to pursuing a career in modelling.
- You can try entering local modelling contests to fast track your career – but make sure it is a genuine event and there is a reputable agency involved.
- Another great way to get off to a flying start is to get your own website made – complete with your details, measurement and portfolio of pictures.
- Always check the work reputation of a modelling agency/coordinator before agreeing to work with them or signing a contract.
- If your uncomfortable doing nudity or intimate shoots – make it clear beforehand – lest it becomes an issue at the very last minute.
- Always take stock of your career regularly and decide on a corrective course of action as and when needed.
- Exercise extreme caution when signing a contract or a release. Read the terms and conditions carefully and get legal advice (if needed) for added clarity.
- Avoid agencies that ask you for money upfront. Most genuine agencies get paid directly by the clients and never ask models for cash.
- If you need to go abroad for a shoot, make sure you are carrying enough money to buy a return ticket – just in case the assignment is a scam with dubious objectives.
However glamorous it may seem from the outside, the fact remains that modelling is a very tough industry, where only the toughest survive.
Just because you are good looking with a great personality does not imply that success will be served to you on a platter.
Moreover, it’s not about only about looking good or having a great personality. The most important part is you have to fit the requirements of the advertisement/campaign to get cast in it.
It’s a demanding career that also requires tons of patience, self-discipline, perseverance and dedication.
But for the few who manage to pull it off, it can also mark the beginning of a brand new journey – with all the fame, money and glamour that comes with it.