Fashion Model




OFO No: 524101




What is a Fashion Model?

  • Are you a bit of show off?
  • Are you tall and good looking? 
  • Do you have a passion for fashion?
  • Do you have a sense of style? 

If you have said yes to all 4 questions, a job as a Fashion Model might just be what you are looking for!


‘A day in the life of a Supermodel, Gigi Hadid’

Fashion Models are divided into 2 main groups:  (some models work in both groups)

  • Models who work on runways, displaying new clothes, trends and accessories at fashion shows.  They work directly with the fashion designer. A fashion designer specifically chooses the model’s look to enhance the look of their range of clothes. The designer and model usually have a good working relationship which might continue for years.
  • Models who work with photographers take fashion-related photographs for magazines, advertising catalogues, calendars, websites and other advertising outlets like billboards etc. Fashion photographers and models may work in a studio or out on location. Fashion Models can, therefore, travel to some very exotic destinations eg: The Namib Desert, the Seychelles, Paris, New York etc.

Fashion modelling is a highly competitive industry full of attractive people. Only a small percentage of them hit the big time as successful models or even supermodels.  

Most Fashion Models hold down another job to substitute their model income.

  • Some top SA Fashion Models: Dominique Piek, Candice Swanepoel, Vukile Zuma etc
  • Some top International Models: Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, David Gandy etc

What does a Fashion Model do?

  • researches, keeps up to date and dresses according to the latest trends
  • shows their portfolio and attends numerous castings
  • follows a strict diet and exercise plan to keep their body in shape
  • keeps a portfolio of photographs depicting their versatility in their work
  • keeps a record of appointments and arrives at assignments on time
  • takes direction from photographers and fashion designers
  • models on the runway or on photographic shoots
  • gets into ‘costume’, gets body painted, has exotic make-up applied etc
  • waits around for long periods of a time – a lot of the time!!!

Are you . . . ?

  • very attractive?
  • a person with good, clear skin?
  • charismatic and photogenic?
  • extremely punctual?
  • responsible?
  • stylish?
  • passionate about fashion?
  • respectful?
  • confident?
  • a person with good posture?
  • willing to work long and unusual hours?
  • willing to work in extreme conditions – eg  modelling a bathing suit in the snow?
  • adaptable?
  • able to take criticism and rejection?
  • a person with a positive personality?
  • able and willing to wear and model items you don’t like or have your hair cut or dyed?
  • able to wait for long periods at a time without getting irritable?

How do I become a Fashion Model?

Being very attractive is not a sure ticket to model stardom. 

Very few beautiful people are successful in the modelling world.  It might seem glamorous, but it’s a lot of hard work!

Once in a while, you may hear of a person being approached in the street by a model agency to become a Fashion Model, but this is extremely rare. 

You could start off working in a department store as a make-up assistant or even as a perfume consultant, or even start by modelling clothes in local small fashion shows at schools and community halls. The more exposure and practice you get, the better you will become. 

No formal education is required to become a Fashion Model. Some modelling agencies may offer runway training as well as hair and makeup techniques. 

Recommended subjects:  dance, drama, design, photography

Courses in dance and drama will help you understand your body.  Your movements and poses will become more fluid and natural. Having a drama background, even at school level, will help you with facial expressions, moods and assist you to ‘get into’ the role. It will also give you experience in stage make-up, dressing up in ‘costume’ and ‘performing’ in front of an audience/camera.   

If you think you are a perfect candidate for modelling – you can approach model agencies yourself or even present a small portfolio to them. 

Audition Tips:

  • Model agencies want to see you with VERY LITTLE, or NO make-up on! 
  • They want to see your natural beauty! Your hair and nails must be clean. 
  • Dress neat and simply with medium heels. 
  • A nice pair of jeans and an ironed t-shirt are perfect. 
  • Dress age-appropriately! 
  • Wear very plain underwear
  • Even your portfolio photographs should be as natural looking as possible.

Modelling Courses

Some places, including some modelling agencies offer short modelling courses to teach you to how to:

  • walk
  • style
  • pose
  • apply make up etc

Look out for theseand they will help you get ahead of the rest.


There are loads of modelling scams. They expect YOU to pay for photographs or auditions. Be careful. Rather walk away from these bogus opportunities.


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER: Clothing Manager or Make up Artist

Is becoming a Fashion Model the right career choice for me?