Is modelling a viable career opportunity?

When it comes to exploring modelling as a career there are many different types to choose from – catwalk, catalogue, commercial, fitness and sports, underwear, promotional and so on. Clearly becoming a model offers lots of opportunities and avenues to explore, but is modelling a viable career and easy to get into?

Social media sites like Instagram show how much money can be made from the modelling industry, but can often project a false representation of how that’s achievable for anyone wanting to become an internet or TV star in the modelling world.

How to get into modelling 

Creating a successful career from modelling will take a lot of time, hard work and dedication – and having all these qualities still may not mean you are going to be successful. Being selected to model for any company is extremely subjective as it all depends on what they are looking for, what they expect, what they are selling, and who their customers are. Ultimately you will need to have something special and unique to stand out from the crowd and get noticed, and this is not something that can always be achieved no matter how much work is applied.

The skills required to become a professional model will also be very different from the typical skills you would obtain when completing an apprenticeship, college or university course for say plumbing, construction, accountancy, and so on. Finding any type of course for modelling can be extremely difficult, and may not even be beneficial to you or an employer.

Every model requires a portfolio, and this would usually be the first place for anyone to start. A modelling agency or potential employer will always ask to see a portfolio so they can get a better understanding of what you have to offer. Creating a fantastic portfolio can unfortunately be quite difficult, especially if you are on your own or have little support. Having an online portfolio is also important nowadays, and having a popular, presentable and professional social media portfolio and platform is a must when competing with so many thousands of other hopefuls.

As a self employed model you can however get help from websites like* who can not only help you with your portfolio, but can also provide advice on how to get into the industry and what it takes.

What it takes to become a model

The types of skills required to become a model are very different to what you’d expect to see from other professions. Along with the expected hard work and dedication you will be required to look after your complexion and body shape. Depending on the type of modelling you are looking to get into, you may be required to regularly visit the gym and eat healthily in order to satisfy the requirements of the modelling agency or employer who requires your services.

You will also be expected to take an interest in fashion and keep up to date with the current trends in fashion, hair and make-up. Modelling will often mean working very long hours in busy environments, so being able to cope with this type of busy atmosphere and keeping your composure for long periods of time can be difficult.

Being able to work well with others is an absolute must as you will be required to perform to the employers liking and in keeping with their product and demands. Models will work with photographers, fashion designers, make-up artists and so on, so will need to remain professional and patient for many hours of the day when working closely with lots of different people all working towards the same goal but in very different ways.

Confidence is a huge part of being a successful model, whether you are taking part in a photo shoot, TV commercial or catwalk event. A certain amount of acting ability may also be needed on request, which could be in a speaking capacity or often in the way that you project yourself – the way you stand, walk and your overall image and the emotions you give off.

Models will often be criticised and rejected on a daily basis, which will take a certain amount of determination and resilience in order to battle on through and past any negative comments, setbacks or hurdles which are always present with this type of career.

These are just some of the difficult skills and traits required in order to stand a good chance of becoming a successful model, and you can clearly see that they are very different from what would be expected from the average job.

The types of modelling jobs 

Typically when you think about modelling you often imagine someone walking down a catwalk or posing in a clothing magazine, however there are a lot more opportunities available nowadays allowing a model to be versatile and adapt to whatever becomes available. You don’t necessarily have to be slim and over six foot to become a model, and more and more modelling opportunities are becoming available to all ages and sizes.

Plus size models for instance are gaining in popularity due to the ‘body positive’ movement of recent times – especially with the available access everyone now has to social media and the ability this forum has to advertise and share information on what consumers want to see in the market.


  • National Careers Service – covers how to become a model, what it takes, what you’ll do, your career path and progression. and training opportunities.

* has no relationship with or personal experience of the suggested website and it should not be treated as a recommendation.

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