The Untold Story of the Modeling Industry

The Untold Story of the Modeling Industry
The Untold Story of the Modeling Industry

Many people believe that the life of a model is ideal. You get to travel around the world and dress up while earning a lot of money. A model's life, however, is not all glitz and glam. When the cameras aren't rolling, there's a lot going on behind the scenes that may surprise newcomers to the modeling industry. Here are a few modeling facts you may not be aware of. While it mostly affects female models some male models with tattoos had some difficulties as well.

models hair and beauty
models hair and beauty

While it may appear that models lead glamorous and fast-paced lives, this is not always the case. The Model's Guide is written by model Rachel Woods. According to Marie Claire, models require a lot of patience. A substantial amount of time is spent "waiting." "There's a lot of downtime," she said, "whether it's waiting for your hair or makeup to be done, waiting for the photographer to set up, waiting to receive your images back, waiting for runway shows to start, or waiting to be seen at auditions."

If you want to break into modeling in order to make a lot of money, you'll most likely be disappointed. According to Jessica Schiffer, a former model and contributing editor at Who What Wear, most models make a pittance. "The only models who truly make money are supermodels," Schiffer says, "because you're in debt to your agency, which fronts the fees for test shots, casting clothing, model residences, and everyday spending money, then deducts it from whatever ludicrous income you get." Earnings in this "cutthroat market" are frequently insufficient to cover basic needs, according to CNNMoney, and "many aspiring and working models earn unlivable pay and end up in debt to their agencies." One of the models interviewed, Emily Fox, has modeled all over the world but still earns less than $20,000 per year on average.

If you're a man looking to break into the modeling industry, your chances are significantly worse. Modeling is one of the few industries where women earn more than men on average. Elizabeth Rose, a modeling agent, told the BBC that the wage disparity between men and women is significant and "unfair." According to Rose, male models make a fraction of what women do, earning up to 75% less. "All ten female models are millionaires," Rose pointed out. "Only the top three male models earn more than $1 million." She claims that, while this trend is starting to change, it has persisted for so long because advertisements claim that "women spend more money on female products," making the industry more profitable for female models.

Not only is it difficult to make a living as a model, but getting started often necessitates a significant initial investment. Adding test shoots to your portfolio can be costly, according to model Melinda Parrish of HuffPost, with each one costing "anywhere from $200 to upwards of $1,000." While some agencies may pay for these test shots up front, you will still be responsible for reimbursing them once you begin booking real jobs. She recommends that aspiring models save at least $10,000 before beginning their careers.

Because it is difficult to make consistent money as a model, many models have other jobs. According to Parrish, "most models do not actually pay all of their expenses through modeling," and many of them "have their living expenses covered in other ways while also modeling." She advises anyone thinking about a career in modeling to make sure they're "set up to take care of yourself financially before you start."

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