What are the basic must have traits for any mainstream model?
It all sounds pretty shallow because it is. In the end models are clothes hangers and their role in the fashion industry is to make clothes look good so that they will sell. It is an industry heavily influenced by physical appearances. making it as a model requires the following traits and skills:
- A slim build
- A height somewhere between 5’8″ and 5’11” (there are exceptions)
- Good bone structure with a symmetrical and angular face
- Being naturally photogenic and/or a good knowledge of ones “angles”
- Good posture and a strong runway walk (learned or natural)
What do modeling agents look for when signing a new model?
When agents look for new models to sign they look for a very specific set of physical criteria. How you look is definitely the first thing agents see. First and foremost models need to be tall and slim; for the most part they need to be slimmer than the average girl. This is the reason that the modeling industry gets such a bad rap, because the call for slim models could be seen as promoting an unrealistic body image. While this is a valid criticism there are some equally valid reasons that models need to be slender. Clothes hang better on a smaller body and the fashion industry is essentially about selling clothes and other trappings of style like cosmetics, skin care, accessories, and perfumes.
The fashion industry’s love-affair with skinny girls is not part of a conspiracy against average sized bodies. Slimmer figures are important on the runway but they also photograph better. Why? Pictures are two dimensional and for this reason the body loses some of its angles in photographs. Without the proper angles even slender girls can appear heavy in pictures. Lighting plays an important role in counteracting the flattening effects of photography but it can’t correct for all the effects of transferring a three dimensional object on to a two dimensional piece of paper. Using a slim model also helps eliminate the problems associated with losing the all important angles.
What is meant by “having good angles” or “knowing your angles?”
Often you’ll hear agents and photographers talking about “knowing your angles” and this is something that contributes to the next important trait that models must have; models must be photogenic. They must take a good picture. Even the prettiest girls can take terrible pictures and the reasons are simple. Some elements of being photogenic can be learned but many of them are at the mercy of genetics.
Knowing your angles, knowing how to pose and knowing how to hold a pose convincingly without looking strained are important and can all be learned. What can’t be learned is bone structure. Models almost always have very angular faces with strong yet balanced features. Symmetry is also important; most models have very symmetrical faces meaning one eye is not bigger or lower on the face than the other, the nose is centered on the face, the cheekbones are high and level and the jaw line is even. Ironically, angular faces are often considered odd looking in real life. In a three dimensional world angles create shadowing which can look strange at times.
So do you have what it takes to be a model?