One of the most common answers to that question is usually: “You have to be really beautiful and really tall.” Eh, not really the truest answer but the physical aspect does account for a lot in the modeling world. But there are many other factors and traits that you must have in order to not only be a model, but to be a good model.
No photographer or client wants to work with someone who has a dull or boring personality–or worse–no personality at all. If you’re not the type of person who can open up and get to know others or if you aren’t excited or enthusiastic about the work you’re doing, modeling is not for you.
The ability to take criticism
If you have soft nerves, you’ll be sorely disappointed if you want a modeling career. Not everyone is going to love your look or your photos. There will be jobs that you just won’t be right for, and they’ll tell you so. Your agent may tell you the things they don’t like and will need you to change. A model is put out there for the world to see and you will be criticized just as much as you’ll be praised and complimented.
Build up nerves of steel and be prepared to be fully inspected, stereotyped, picked at and critiqued. It doesn’t reflect on you as a person so don’t take it as a personal attack. This is a business and criticism is a huge part of the terrority that you agree to take on once you sign a modeling contract.
Nothing happens right away and the modeling world won’t always be so fast-paced. Photo shoots take time, getting the right shot takes time, even getting the right bookings takes time. Time is money but if you aren’t able to handle delays or standing around for periods of time without throwing a fit, then you’ll have a tough time making it in this industry.
There will be other models, crew, clients, photographers, etc. that you may not get along with. No matter what, you have to maintain a high level of tolerance to deal with difficult situations, shooting conditions, and other factors that can come into play that will try your patience. Having a good level of tolerance will help you get through the toughest times and the toughest people.
If you don’t believe in yourself, who will? Wear your confidence on your sleeve and make it be known that you are a person who believes in what you have to offer. Loving yourself and knowing your self-worth is a must-have trait that I can’t stress enough. Having the ability to believe in yourself is half the battle in the modeling world.
While it is important to believe in yourself and your capabilities, it is also essential that you not let your career go to your head. Developing an ego and acting like you’re the best thing on the planet will be your downfall and people won’t want to work with you.
Understand that while you may have it going on now, getting a big head will make you view the world in a distorted way. Don’t treat others as if they’re beneath you. It’s very unbecoming and one of the easiest ways for the most beautiful person to be ugly.
The ability to multitask
There’s more to modeling than just smiling. There will be times when you have to pose awkwardly but still capture the right facial expression, while also keeping in mind lighting, angles, etc. If you already have a keen grasp of how to do more than one thing at a time, modeling will be a breeze.
Be a morning person
Guess what? Photo shoots start early, usually at the crack of dawn, so if you’re not a morning person, you may want to start learning! Not only do you have to be up at a ridiculous hour, but you’ve got to bring your game face and be ready and energized to work as if it was 2:00pm.
The ability to follow directions
I’m not talking about driving directions. Modeling involves taking direction from the photographer, stylist, casting director, etc. They will be telling you how to pose, which way to turn, to smile, to not smile and a whole score of other commands that you need to be ready and able to execute. If you don’t like authority or don’t take orders or follow directions well, you will not be a good model.
Be open-minded/ready to take a risk
Modeling is a world where you’ll be introduced to many things that you may not be comfortable with or used to. And that can include the types of outfits you’ll be required to wear, the types of poses you do, locations and themes. Maybe you’re not used to being dressed so provocatively, or you don’t like to be all touchy feely with the opposite sex.
In modeling, you’re selling an idea, a theme, a product–not your beliefs. You have to be willing to try new things and settle into it as if you’ve been doing it all your life. No one has the time to hear you complain about how you’re showing too much or how you don’t want to pose in a sexually suggestive way with a male model you’ve never met before. If you’re shy, squeamish or have very religious values, modeling will not fit you at all.
Be willing to travel
If you don’t like planes, you’re going to have an awfully hard time getting to another country for a runway show. Travel is a part of a model’s life because you are the employee and your client is paying you a lot to represent them and that involves going to where the action is.
Be prepared to adjust to long plane rides, long drives in a car and other modes of transportation. It’s a hectic lifestyle at times and you’ll need to know how to wake up early to catch a flight or how to pack just the essentials so you don’t cause a delay.
Know how to have fun
Modeling is fun, too! Take the risks and put yourself out there while you’re out on your bookings and shoots. The best model is a happy model so show the world that you love what you do!