How to Become a Black Beauty Model

Capitalize on good looks, determination and patience to become a black beauty model.
Capitalize on good looks, determination and patience to become a black beauty model. (Image: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

The prevalence of black beauty models in the modeling industry has happened over a short period of time; perhaps the first well-known African American model, Vanessa Williams, was crowned Miss America in 1984. Other internationally known black models include Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell and Selita Ebanks. Many world-class companies celebrate the beauty of black men and women by incorporating African American models into their advertising campaigns. Becoming a black beauty model takes hard work, research and perseverance.

Things You'll Need

  • Beauty magazines
  • Internet access
  • Photography portfolio
  • Social networking accounts
  • Industry contacts

Visit websites, read industry magazines and talk with representatives for modeling agencies in your area. Researching the modeling market to identify potential entry points remains a vital step in becoming a model. You may want to target modeling agencies specializing in promoting black models or models of different ethnic backgrounds, or choose to venture into traditional modeling agencies that work with models of all different backgrounds.

Rehearse potential interview questions, talk with models represented by the agency and research the agency’s past prior to meeting for an interview. Try to learn if the agency you’re interviewing with has worked with black beauty models before; they may be able to link you with photographers, makeup artists or hairstylists familiar with the nuances of preparing African American models for photo shoots. Some models choose to enroll in modeling classes at this point to learn basic modeling and marketing skills.

Build your modeling portfolio. Agencies review modeling portfolios as a resume, so include standout shots that exemplify a broad range of beauty modeling skills. Go for quality over quantity; a sampling of shots showcasing the beauty of your skin, eyes, hair and body coupled with demonstrated modeling expertise will impress modeling agency panels. Include photos that spotlight your assets, whether it’s physical strength, rich skin tones, exuberantly healthy hair or warm, expressive eyes.

Sign up for social networking sites to meet movers and shakers in the modeling industry. You’ll connect with other black modeling professionals to learn more about the industry, but you’ll also build a fan base as you post photographs and updates from your career.

Tips & Warnings

  • Black beauty models, and all models, must be vigilant about physical upkeep to beat out competition when trying to land jobs. Take extra care to protect your skin from dryness or sun damage, maintain a healthy diet and stay physically fit with regular exercise.
  • Develop relationships with professionals known for working with black beauty models; they’ll help you shine in photo shoots, fashion shows and ad filming. Expert knowledge of cosmetics specially designed for black models can transform appearances.
  • Don’t blindly sign the first contract that comes your way; beauty models can lose important rights, money privileges or other benefits by signing unread contracts containing unacceptable stipulations. Read the fine print closely and, if possible, ask a professional to review its contents before signing.

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