When the word ‘model’ is mentioned, people often think of the tall, skinny runway models that catwalk down the runway in several fashion shows.
Or, the gorgeous women spread across magazine covers all over the world. In reality, these are just a fraction of the different model types in the industry.
A large number of models have successful careers, and many of them don’t even show their faces or appear in fashion photos! There are 12 popular types of female models. Which one are you?
1. EDITORIAL MODEL
Editorial models or fashion models are high-fashion models that work with the biggest names in the fashion industry. You know, the Gigi Hadid’s and Bella Hadid’s of the fashion industry.
You must have also heard the older names like Naomi Campbell, Karlie Kloss, Giselle Bundchen, and Cindy Crawford, who were all named supermodels. They typically work with high-fashion names from Gucci, Balmain, and Armani, to Valentino and Versace, and you see them appear in the glossy pages of Vogue, Elle, and Marie Claire.
Editorial models are called that because of the type of photography these magazines use. The point of an editorial is to tell a story using pictures to illustrate. Most of these magazines showcase the latest trends in fashion, makeup, and skincare.
They also put up the works of the upcoming designers, and getting your work as a designer on those pages is considered an achievement. So, these high-fashion models work with the biggest and trendiest names in the business.
To meet the required measurements, you have to be between 5’9” and 6’, with a 23-inch waist and 33-inch hips and bust.
Although, in some cases, the magazines may pick someone who doesn’t quite fit the exact requirements if they have the look they need.
To maintain strict weight standards, you have to maintain a healthy diet and keep up with your fitness. Editorial models typically double as runway models, although they may dabble in many other modeling types.
2. RUNWAY MODEL
Runway models, also known as catwalk models, are the universally recognized models that come to everyone’s mind when they think of models.
They walk the runways at the biggest fashion events, wearing the creations of prominent designers and the latest fashion trends.
If you’re familiar with the New York, Paris, and Milan Fashion Week events, then you should be familiar with the big-name runway models and designers.
Runway models basically showcase the new designs and trends of the upcoming seasons, and they dress up in a lot of couture designs and dress samples.
So, runway models are to fit into the dresses that the designers make for these shows, meaning they have to maintain precise measurements to fit into these dresses.
The clothes the designers make are produced in small sample sizes that can be modified to fit other sizes.
Runway models must be at least 5 feet 9 inches, and taller models are preferred. They should also have at least a 34-inch bust, 23-inch waist, and 34-inch hips.
3. PARTS MODEL
Adele Uddo and Kimbra Hickey are highly successful models that you probably have never heard of before. But, you’ve most likely seen their hands or feet several times without knowing.
Parts models are slightly different from other models because they only use certain parts of their bodies. If you’ve ever seen a commercial featuring only hands or legs, then you’ve seen parts models at work.
Parts models are classified based on the part of their body they use, and the requirements are different for each one. The most popular parts used in modeling are the hands, feet, and legs.
There is also a demand for teeth, face, hair, and even back models. Their job description involves posing with the advertised products, and sometimes they also act as hand or leg doubles for other models or actors.
Hand models usually do jobs showcasing jewelry, nails, or any type of modeling requiring perfectly kept hands to display cosmetic products. Legs and feet models showcase shoes, ankle bracelets, and even nail polish.
Hair models are hired for their luxurious and healthy hair, and you may find a teeth model on toothpaste advertisements.
4. GLAMOUR MODEL
Glamour models are a curvier and more voluptuous version of editorial models, and they do very similar kinds of work.
They typically appear in high-fashion magazines and commercial pictures, but the difference in their type of work is in the type of posing, which is kind of more suggestive or sexual than regular editorial work.
Glamour models can also work as lingerie models and swimsuit models, as well as fashion models. They can also work as commercial or promotional models.
The requirements for glamour models are not as strict as other high-fashion model types, but they still need to maintain strict body measurements and figures.
If you’ve seen the models on the covers of glamorous magazines, those are glamour models. Victoria’s Secret models are popular examples of glamour models.
5. MATURE MODEL
Mature models are proof that it is never too late to make it as a model. Mature models are typically aged 35 to 45, but some women work even at age 60 to 80.
Mature models also have to maintain healthy figures and beautiful skin, but they are also expected to feel at home in front of a camera.
Thus, many mature models today have experience from being models in their younger years.
Cindy Crawford made the smooth transition into mature modeling after years of working as a younger supermodel, but names like Nicola Griffin only got into the industry at age 53.
Nowadays, you can find mature models on the pages of the high-fashion magazines, and in their campaigns, but they mostly work as commercial models.
It is not uncommon to see older women with perfect skin, photographed as the face of certain beauty and skincare brands showcasing anti-aging products.
6. COMMERCIAL MODEL
Commercial models come in every shape, size, and body shape. They are more involved in product advertising, rather than high-fashion modeling.
Commercial models take any form the clients want them to take, and they work in every industry that involves sales of products and services. They can be hired to model and advertise retail clothes, but they can also work as marketers for the companies and even influencers.
Typically, retail marketers hire commercial models with varying sizes and body shapes, depending on what image they want to portray. Commercial modeling is one of the most inclusive modeling areas, and the major requirement is to be fit and look healthy.
Although, a majority of the commercial models employed tend to fall into the height range of 5‘6” to 5’11”, it really depends on the direction the art director wants the photoshoot to go.
7. PROMOTIONAL MODEL
Promotional models are brand ambassadors for brands and companies that are involved in providing products and services to customers in different fields.
You will see them in big events, trade shows, press conferences, and even conventions hosted by the brand to market their products to a broader audience.
Because of the nature of their work, promotional models have to cultivate a certain image to portray the brand they work for in the best possible light.
Promotional modeling is more about your personality, confidence, and ability to articulate than body measurements.
Of course, promotional models have to take care of their bodies and have a healthy and attractive look, but the right personality and charisma are more important when they are hired. Because of this, there are hardly any strict body requirements to be a promo model.
A promotional model should have adequate knowledge of the brand they represent, whether short-term or long-term.
They should be able to answer any questions the potential customers may have, and they should be engaging and charismatic enough to market the products effectively.
Promotional models may sometimes work with brands on one-day trips, or they can be retained on more long-term contracts.
8. PLUS-SIZE MODEL
Over the years, since the growth of the fashion industry, the world of modeling was dominated by the skinny, tall, and slender models that commonly appear on the runway.
But, nowadays, the fashion industry has evolved into a more inclusive community, and the recent popularity of plus-size models, like Ashley Graham and Hayley Hasselhoff, is a testament to that fact. Plus-size models are now a big part of the modeling industry, especially for commercial modeling.
Due to the increased demand for more representation, many fashion companies now have a plus-size department that employs several women of different sizes.
Plus-size models are important because they represent more realistic bodies, giving more room for regular women to have access to couture. Despite their bigger sizes, plus-size models are still expected to promote healthy living and confidence.
Plus-size runway models are usually not as curvy or voluptuous as commercial models or even editorial models, so they are not exactly representative of the real world.
For example, a size 12 may not be considered big or plus-size, but in the fashion industry, it is deemed to be plus-size. Plus-size models are not usually held to precise measurements; rather, they are grouped by their dress sizes.
To be considered plus-size, you need to be within size 12 to 14 for the runway, and size 18 to 22 for print media. Also, you need to be between 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet.
9. PETITE MODEL
Kate Moss is one famous example of a successful petite model that has made a name for herself in that modeling field. Petite models are generally shorter than 5 feet 7 inches, but taller than 5 feet 1 inch, to be considered petite.
They can fall under several modeling sectors from glamour to commercial, depending on their employers and the direction of the photoshoot. Usually, getting into other modeling sectors apart from the runway is easier because the height requirements are stricter there.
Apart from the height requirements, to be a petite model, you have to exude a confident and self-assured sense of style and flair that sets you apart.
Nowadays, recruiters and employers are more interested in your complete package, instead of focusing too much on height.
Also, when you get work advertising products and clothes, your height isn’t important. You can even become a highly successful parts model!
10. FITNESS MODEL
As the name implies, fitness models are very toned, athletic, and fit with well-developed muscles and healthy lifestyles. A lot of fitness models used to be physical trainers or professional athletes, so they have the bodies to show for it.
The world of fitness modeling is very demanding and competitive, and it takes a lot to maintain that level of commitment it takes to look like them.
Fitness modeling is kind of a niche community because they only work for certain fitness companies, usually commercially. They primarily sell fitness clothing, equipment, and even healthy diets.
You also tend to see them involved in workout videos or selling workout gear for specific brands.
So, they can do both commercial and promotional modeling. If you love working out and maintaining a fit and athletic body and a positive and health-conscious lifestyle, you could work as a fitness model.
11. LINGERIE AND SWIMSUIT MODEL
To be a swimsuit model, you not only have to be curvaceous and shapely, but you also have to be comfortable enough to show off your body because you will almost always be dressed in revealing clothing. Although swimsuit models are generally curvier than editorial models, they do similar jobs.
The only difference is that swimsuit models are mostly photographed in bikinis, lingerie, sleepwear, and even summer clothes.
It is also easy to confuse swimsuit models with glamour models because they pose similarly, but they are also different.
Based on how versatile they are, swimsuit models can model for various brands, and even cross over into editorial, runway, and commercial modeling.
Swimsuit models are expected to be more athletic than other models types – except fitness models – but they still need to retain their feminine looks.
These models are usually pictured showcasing a new swimsuit line and in suggestive poses. Even swimsuit modeling is opening up to plus-size bodies more recently, and some of them have been featured on popular lingerie magazines.
12. FIT MODEL
A fit model shouldn’t be confused with a fitness model because they have very different jobs.
Fit models are basically living mannequins that the designers of clothes test out the samples and see how they work on a person before they are released into the public markets.
It isn’t the most glamorous of the modeling options, and they are hardly ever photographed, but fit models are integral to the development and design of clothes, especially for couture designs.
To be a fit model, you need to have the standard measurements and size requirements of the industry.
These requirements are stringent because they are the base dimensions the sample clothes are made in before they can be modified into other sizes.
For women, the height should range from 5 feet 4 inches to 5 feet 9 inches, with a 34-inch bust, 26-inch waist, and 37-inch hips. These dimensions may differ depending on the designer’s preference.
Fit models work in shifts, and they don’t usually have rigid schedules because they work round the clock depending on the season and how many clients they have to test for. They also have to stand for long periods while the clothes are fitted and amended.
Sometimes the model has to move around and mimic regular actions that a buyer would do, to see how the clothes will work, so they need a lot of physical strength and patience.
HOW TO CRAFT THE PERFECT MODELING PORTFOLIO
When you first start as a model, there are some things you need to put together that basically serve as your resume, and the most important amongst them is your modeling portfolio.
Your modeling portfolio shows how versatile you are, and it is what will get agencies interested in representing you. To create a well-rounded modeling portfolio, you need to get the following essentials
- Headshot. You need two good and clear headshots. One smiling and one not smiling. These should be the first pictures in the book, and they are supposed to show the model in her most natural state.
- Editorial shot. Your editorial shot is where you can get creative. It should show your artistic and expressive side.
- Commercial shot. Your commercial shot should show your range and ability to express different emotions through photography. Feel free to add different photos showing yourself in different situations
- Full-length body shot. You need a full body shot in jeans and a tight-fitting shirt so the recruiters can see your body type and proportions. Avoid draping materials that can hide areas of your body.
- Swimsuit shot. A swimsuit shot is not necessary, except to show your versatility. Try to project a sexy but not blatantly sexual image.
- Closing shot. Your closing shot is the last photo in your book, and it should leave a lasting impression on the judges. Pick a photo that showcases your best features and puts you in the best light.
Promotional models, commercial models, mature models, and fit models.
These are different model types that have produced beautiful and successful women despite not ever walking a runway.
There are no limits to making a name for yourself as a model, as shown by the increasing variety in the modeling industry. There are several types of models in the world today – which one are you?