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Becoming a Model

By: Britney Wittes


Thinking about getting into modeling but don’t know where to start? Answer these 5 questions before jumping into the industry:


  1. Why do you want to model?

  2. Can you say no and do you have a flexible schedule?

  3. Are you a people pleaser?

  4. Do you have a thick backbone that can handle rejection?

  5. Are you comfortable with periods of inconsistent or no income?


Many people want to become models because they think that the lifestyle is glamorous and that models make a lot of money while “doing nothing.” While there is truth to some of that, there is so much that happens behind the magazine cover, the runway walk, or the smile on the red carpet.


  1. Why do you want to model?

    1. While there's no "right" answer to this question, consider if you're interested in modeling because you truly love the work. Careers in the arts are difficult to maintain -- and at times, discouraging -- if your reasons for doing it aren't based on a passion. This industry is particularly challenging, with high standards and sometimes long periods without pay, and many people don't realize how taxing this work can be. I don't mean to discourage anyone who is genuinely interested in the artistry of fashion and modeling, Photographer: AC Photography but it is wise to look behind the curtain before making a big decision. At some point you will inevitably struggle – to find work, to get paid well, to have the drive or passion to push through when it’s hard. You have to want it badly enough and be willing to work for free sometimes in order to build a career.

    2. If you want to become a model because you think it’s glamorous, you are also in the wrong industry. Many days you might be on set all day long, having woken up at dawn for hair and makeup. You might have to be outdoors – I have had to shoot in a sundress outside while it was raining and 30 degrees. I have also had to shoot in a bathing suit in an unheated pool in February (you always shoot one or two seasons ahead so there is time to create advertising).. You might go through slow seasons and have to adjust your lifestyle and budget. You will put your body and mind through a lot, and you have to make it look effortless.

    3. If you want to be a model because you love the artistry behind it, love the fashion industry, or any reason truly I do not want to discourage anyone from pursuing a career in modeling, I just want to give an insight as to what being a model really looks like, because most people don’t realize how exhausting and taxing it can really be.

  2. Can you say no and do you have a flexible schedule?

    1. You have to be able to say no in this industry. If you can’t, get good at it before you start modeling. Now, there are different circumstances about saying no. I personally hate saying no when it has to do with a job; I will always move my schedule around, skip a vacation, change a flight, etc. to make it to a set. However, if a job goes against something you do not believe in or involves something that makes you uncomfortable (wearing intimates or swim, for example), make sure to notify your agent when you are signing with them, so they don’t send you for jobs that would make you feel compromised in any way. Worst case, you can say you aren’t available for a shoot if you don’t feel like you morally align. With that being said, be very careful how many things you say no to. Agents put themselves and the agency on the line every time they send you out for a job, and everyone (including you) looks bad if you say no “just because” or too often. In this industry, the more you say no, the fewer auditions you will be sent because you are no longer seen as reliable.

  3. Are you a people pleaser?

    1. If you are a people pleaser, get that out of your system and stop caring what other people think, otherwise this industry will tear you apart. It’s okay to want to please a client while you are on set – it is your job to make sure they are happy and want to hire you again! But, you shouldn’t take what people say to heart, a lot of people say things to you to be mean or to bring you down because they see you as a threat or competition – and sometimes, simply because they can. Don’t let that affect you.This industry can be wonderful but don’t forget about the harshness that can come with it when you least expect it, don’t let it change you or how you view yourself.

  4. Do you have a thick backbone that can handle rejection?

    1. Ah rejection, how we all hate you so when you are interviewing for a job, you have an interest in someone and they tell you they aren’t interested in you, you try to buy your dream house and find out they accepted a different offer... Rejection always hurts, but usually in life it doesn’t happen every day. But when you become a model, get used to hearing no, or being told what is wrong about you constantly. Most models have something about them that is constantly criticized. Mine? My height –shocking I know. I love when casting directors say, “you’re really short.” All I can ever think is, “Oh gosh I hadn’t noticed! I just woke up this morning and shrunk like 6 inches, super weird.” You have to let each no roll off your back and not affect you. Trust me, I know it’s hard. I used to agonize over each and every no I would get, but I was only hurting myself. Instead, think of it as a learning opportunity and ask yourself, “What could I have changed or done better?” And honestly, sometimes there isn’t anything you could have changed, sometimes they absolutely loved you but they just had a campaign with someone who looked similar to you but they wanted someone with different colored eyes. You have to be able to shrug it off and focus on the next one.

  5. Are you comfortable with periods of inconsistent or no income?

    1. Do you have another (flexible) source of income, or are you comfortable dipping into savings to make it through slow periods? Consider your lifestyle -- if you like to plan ahead several weeks or even months, you may find it challenging to keep a consistent budget, especially if you get offered a big job on the weekend of that super cool vacation. You get a call from McDonald’s that you booked a job, great! You then go to set, have a great time, leave, and have no other bookings lined up afterwards. Sometimes modeling is fun, but sometimes it can be very stressful – like when you won’t get paid for 90-120 days after each job.

Many people want to become models because they think that the lifestyle is glamorous and that models make a lot of money while “doing nothing.” While there is truth to some of that, there is so much that happens behind the magazine cover, the runway walk, or the smile on the red carpet.

It’s ok if any of that scares you – it should (any career leap does!), but I still encourage you to try modeling. Your experience might be very different and you could be that lucky girl that gets discovered and shoots to the top overnight, or you could burn out so fast you don’t even know what happened to you.


Each person's journey is going to be different. I started in this industry when I was 10 years old and had absolutely no clue what I was getting myself into. I even took a break because I was having such a hard time with the no’s and critics while I was in high school. But, I love this industry and everything it has offered me, so I came back when I found my passion again.


We are always rooting for you and good luck on your journey!



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