How Can I Become a High Fashion Model?

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High fashion models need to know how to pose and walk.
High fashion models need to know how to pose and walk. (Image: fashion model in green dress image by Paul Hill from Fotolia.com)

Like any other profession, fashion modeling has basic requirements. Both male and female high fashion models tend to be tall, have striking bone structure, a fit figure and few if any scars or blemishes. A person with all of these physical traits is not, however, guaranteed a job as a high fashion model. An aspiring model must learn about the industry and be proactive about meeting the people who could make her dream career a reality.

Study high fashion models. Peruse fashion magazines, past and present, and take note of how successful and well-known models carry themselves, connect with the camera and interact with other people and objects in the picture. Also, study video footage of runway shows to see how established models walk.

Practice poses and walks. Tyra.com, a beauty and lifestyle website founded by supermodel Tyra Banks, encourages all aspiring models to get in front of a full-length mirror and practice different poses, facial expressions and walks. Perfect your movements so that when you are in front of the camera, you are relaxed and prepared.

Participate in local fashion shows. Audition for fashion shows at local schools, malls and special events. Practice your walk, poses and facial expressions at these events.

Dress everyday as if you will be meeting an agent. Apply minimal make-up, if any, and dress in a stylish, but not over-the-top, fashion. Present yourself as a polished, confident person.

Hire a professional photographer. Pay an experienced photographer to take tasteful photographs of you. Purchase headshots as well as full body photographs in color and black and white. Dress in a stylish, but understated manner, with little to no make-up. Do not take nude or otherwise racy photographs. Use a variety of poses and facial expressions in the pictures.

Create a portfolio. Place the professional photographs into a neatly bound portfolio. Create a digital portfolio as well. A professional photographer can do both tasks. The hard copy and digital versions should be identical and contain your contact information. Include 10 to 12 of the best pictures from your photo shoot. Use a mixture of color and black and white photographs. Include head shots, body shots and a variety of poses and facial expressions that show your range.

Find the official websites of your favorite models and find out which agencies represent them. Mail and e-mail your portfolio to those agencies simultaneously. High end designers typically only select models through agencies, so having an agent is essential. Top agencies receive a high volume of unsolicited requests. Expect to wait anywhere from several days to several weeks or even months.

Attend model agency open calls. A model agency open call is an event where all aspiring models who meet certain criteria--typically height and/or weight requirements--have the opportunity to meet with agency representatives. Dress in a neat, casual fashion with little to no make-up and a simple hairstyle that is not down in your face. Bring high heels in case you have to show your runway walk.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you participate in local fashion shows, ask if you can have copies of photographs taken at the event. Use them for your portfolio.
  • For all appointments, open calls and auditions, arrive flawlessly groomed and with a variety of undergarments as preparation for different styles of clothing.
  • At events, hand out composition cards, also known as comp cards, which are two-sided 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 cards that feature two to four pictures of you, your contact information and your body measurements.
  • The Federal Trade Commission warns aspiring models that some companies present themselves as legitimate modeling agencies, but are not. Such companies just charge for services like hosting websites and taking pictures. Real modeling agencies do not charge upfront fees, they take a percentage of money earned from modeling work.
  • ModelingScams.org, a site devoted to exposing scams in the modeling industry, notes that modeling schools are good places to learn posture, walking and how to apply make-up, but graduating from such a school does not guarantee a job.

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