How to be a model

To work as a model you must know some basic terminology. Here is a short list of modeling lingo.

Become a Model

Modeling terminology

Booking- Getting the modeling job or assignment

The models portfolio.

Book Out
Days that you are unable to work or get booked for

A second interview with the model. Normally happens after an initial meeting or audition. At the callback the client narrows down the list of models he is interested in.

Catalog Models
Commercial models that are used to model clothing, accessories or anything else that will be printed in a manufacturers / distributors / retail catalog.

Commercial Modeling
The most used type of modeling. Just about every manufacturer, distributor and retailer of clothing and accessories needs models to show off their clothes. Unlike High Fashion models that have strict height and weight requirements, commercial models do not. Commercial modeling is much more lenient and is geared more towards what “real” people look like. Obviously, you still must be fit, but not a size 0. Every year companies use thousands of commercial models to fill their catalogs, mailers, ads and promo pieces.

Comp Card / Zed Card
A post card size card that has photos of the model and all info such as height, weight, size. Normally given out to perspective employers.

Fashion Modeling
Fashion modeling is the runway and magazine print modeling. Normally fashion models must be 5’8″ and above for women and 6’0″ and above for men. For most high fashion models being extremely lean is important and size 0 – 2 fashion models are fairly standard.

Fetish modeling
Also called alternative modeling. This type of modeling uses people that fit a certain genre such as covered in tattoos, gothic looking, punk rock, trashy pin-up, etc.

Prior to actually shooting a campaign, a model attends a fitting to see how the clothing will work on her and what needs to be fixed prior to the shoot. The designer gets to see what the garment looks like on the model and has a chance to change his mind and use someone else if the garment does not sem like it would work on that particular model.

Fit models
Used by designers as a live mannequin, so to speak, to check their sample sizes. Model must be the sample size.

Fitness Models
Models that have a very sporty physique. Fitness models are used in diet, health, fitness and other products that promote exercise and health. Fitness models should look lean, toned and healthy.

A modeling audition where the designer looks at the model. The designer may ask the model questions, ask her to walk or even ask her to try something on.

Glamour modeling
Modeling that is much more seductive looking. Normally curvy girls are used. Body type is not as important as looking very feminine, seductive and proportional. Big busts, Big hips and tiny waist lines are popular in this type of modeling… think Playboy. Women looking into this type of modeling should be prepared to do nudes. A Glamour model that refuses to do nudity will really limit herself and probably not get much work. Much of the work for glamour models is the adult industry, men’s magazines, international magazines and private collectors of erotic images.

Junior Modeling
A model that can pass for a teenager to model junior lines of clothing.

Model Agency
Represents the model and attempts to connect her with clients that will book her. Model Agents receive a percentage of the models pay.

Mother Agency
A modeling agency that gets the model ready to work and on the right path. May connect the model to a modeling agency or a management company. Will also get a cut of the models jobs.

Model Management
A company that manages the models career. Many times the model agency and model management company are one in the same.

Model Release
A model release is a form the model will sign allowing the photographer / company use of her image in the photos.

Modeling Scam
A scheme devised to separate the model from her money or her families money. Normally a model gets seduced by the promise of high paying jobs and fame. The modeling scam plays on her ego and desire to be famous telling her all this will happen if you did so and so. The so and so may be un-needed high priced photos, high priced schools and classes, contests, casting calls she must pay to attend, membership fees or anything else they can charge for. They get very creative. More recently the Nigerian scam was also tailored to fit for modeling. Scammers contacted models through forums, chat rooms or online portfolios. Told the model they want to book them for a very high paying job and sent a cashiers check to them. They ask the model to cash the check and send them a portion to cover something. A week later the model finds out the check was fake and she is now out the money she sent back to the scammer client.
Read more about How to Spot a Modeling / Acting Scam and Child Acting Scams

Open Call
a casting call that is open to the public and anyone may attend. Appointments and pre-approval are not necessary.

Parts Modeling
A model that is only used for certain body parts. For example a dishwashing liquid company uses models for hands only or a shoe company only needs her feet in the shoes. Most often the models face is not shown.

Portfolio (also called a model’s book)
The collection of the models best work and what she uses to get more work. Normally a collection of photos but sometimes magazine tearsheets may also be used.

Print Work or Print
Photos that will be used in printed publications such as magazines, catalogs, papers, etc.

Promo Models
Promo models are models that work promotional or sales events. The word modeling is used a bit loose here since the models do not really model anything. What they do is try to attract new customers or new sales and engage with people. An example of promo modeling are the girls that go bar to bar handing out coupons, key chains, etc. or the ladies that work the tradeshow booths trying to get passers by to come in. These jobs are normally paid at an hourly wage.

Runway Modeling (also called catwalk)
This could be high fashion or local but normally involves a live event such as a fashion show.

A model that will also have to do some speaking. An example would be a model doing a television commercial where she not only models the product but also comments about it.

Test Photographer or Test Shots
This is the photographer that the agency may send you to to do a “test”. There is no product being photographed, just the model to see how she looks in the pictures and to help in making a decision about her portfolio and look.

Tradeshow models
Another type of promo model. A model that normally is not modeling a product, but is used to attract attention to a tradeshow display. Usually goes along with wearing either very skimpy clothes or very elegant. Since tradeshows vary so much, a tradeshow model at the L.A. Auto show working for Ford may be wearing an evening gown while the same model may be asked to wear a thong bikini at the Vegas Poker convention. Trade show models normally make a daily rate.