14 Common Misconceptions About Modelling

For some people, modelling can be almost a thing of myth. This is in the sense that those on the outside have a lot of misconceptions about how it all works, and may even believe rumours and urban legends that have no foundation in truth. We’re going to debunk fourteen of the most common misconceptions here, so that you can understand a little better about what models do and who they might be.

Clothes Show Live 2012

14 - All models have to do catwalk shows
When you think about the famous supermodels, you will always have heard of them doing catwalks for big designer names. This must mean that all models need to walk at fashion shows in order to make it, right? Not at all - a lot of models just do print or editorial modelling, meaning that their images appear in magazines or advertising. You can also do catwalk modelling without doing any print.

13 - Models are stupid airheads
This is a damaging cliche, and one that has very little foundation in truth. It may well be that models who start young end up missing school, and of course there can be models who are not as clever as others. This does not apply to everyone, however. Some models can be very intelligent indeed, and this can be a great boost to their careers. Not only that, but it can mean that they create another career after they are no longer viable as a model.

12 - You can get rich really easily with modelling
The problem with starting any career is that you have to start at the bottom. Many models simply do it part time as a hobby, and only make enough to supplement a normal income - if that. To really be making a lot of money you have to make it in print. Catwalk models do not usually make much money either - perhaps a lot less than you would expect.

11 - You have to be prepared to do anything with your hair and body
Many people imagine that models have to change their hair every five minutes and go through anything that is expected of them. Like in many areas of modelling, you can set your own limits here. If someone asks to change your hair, you can always just turn down the job.

10 - Models are vain and full of themselves
Just like in any other profession, you fill find a full range of personalities in modelling. While there may be some vain and egotistical models, there are also shy models, humble and down to earth models, and models who are still surprised that people keep paying them to do it! You also don’t have to have a personality transplant as soon as you start modelling - just be yourself.

9 - All you need to be a model is a pretty face/body.
This is not true. Even the most beautiful model can look wooden and lifeless in front of the lens. You have to understand posing and facial expressions, and there is a bit of acting involved too. You need to follow instructions, be able to work as a team, endure long hours of work - and be dedicated to your job.

8 - All models are anorexic/bullimic
It’s not as easy to lose weight the healthy way, but it has benefits that cannot be replicated any other way. Keeping to a healthy and balanced diet, working out regularly, and taking care of yourself can really help you to get the perfect modelling look. Not only that, but models are not as thin or tall as they look in most photographs - they will have been streamlined in Photoshop to exaggerate a particular look.

7 - All you need to make it as a model is an agency.
For starters, not all agencies out there are the real deal. Not all of them will work well for you at all, and some may be scams set up to take money from you. Moreover, when you get picked up by a great agency, they will have a lot of other models on their books too. You still need to work hard and put the effort in - don’t just sit at home waiting for the phone to ring.

6 - All models are fake anyway - most of them have had plastic surgery!
Not necessarily true. While I’m sure there are models out there who have had some work done, natural beauty is much more favourable to photographers. Having a unique look is often more important than having a classic beauty, and unfortunately, all plastic surgery will get you is looking like everyone else. Plus, unless the work is done to a very high quality, it is often obvious under examination, which is not something that will be appreciated in ad campaigns or editorials.

5 - Models don’t even have to be pretty - it’s all make up and Photoshop!
This isn’t always true. Sure, we can do a lot these days in post production - but that doesn’t mean that we want to. A model with great skin, a fantastic natural beauty, and a good figure to match is a dream come true for photographers, make up artists, and bookers alike. What’s more, you can be sure that there are enough models out there with these attributes to go round. Don’t neglect your skincare routine or turn up looking tired after a hard night out if you want to be a successful model!

4 - Modelling is easy and anyone can do it
Again, this is not the case for everyone. Some people really do find it very easy to look natural and shine in front of the lens, but for others it requires a lot more work. In fact, you should always be working hard for your career if you want to be a model. Even if you’re a natural on camera, you should be keeping fit, looking after your skin, getting the right contacts, and looking for more work at all times. It takes commitment and dedication, and even those who seem born to it don’t always make it.

3 - You have to get naked to model
You only have to model to the levels that you are comfortable with. Not everyone wants to be a page three model! All you have to do is to make sure that you are applying to the right casting calls, and make it clear to photographers that you are not willing to shoot naked. You can avoid lingerie, swimwear, and implied nude (where you look naked but everything is covered) too, if you want to.

2 - You have to be 6 foot tall to be a model
Not at all! Petite models can get plenty of work, and particularly so if you manage to occupy a particular niche. For example, burlesque models can be really quite petite, and brands which are styled for the shorter customers will want models who represent their target audience. If you’re very tall you have a good chance of getting spotted, but if you are not, this does not mean that there are no opportunities out there for you.

1 - You have to be a size 0 to be a model

Absolutely not true. The backlash against “size 0” culture within the modelling industry means that those who are too skinny can now be banned from taking part in shows, and there is editorial and print room for any model of any size. It’s important to be fit and healthy, and many brands will prefer to standard measurements for their promotional shoots, but remember that there are plus sized brands out there as well as petite and “normal”. There is room for any size in the modern modelling world.

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