Types of Modeling – Modeling Industry Genres and Categories

by Sarah McDowd on October 25, 2012

Here we will describe the many types of modeling you will find in the modeling industry. Some models only fit into one category, while another model may fit into multiple. With that in mind, here are the modeling categories at a glance:

FASHION MODEL: This category is the most exclusive and most difficult of all categories for a model to get into, much less succeed in. As a whole, a fashion model MUST be tall, young, and thin. In addition, there are fashion model “size requirements”, and hardly any exceptions made in terms of that. While there is no universally-agreed upon, OFFICIAL “fashion-industry size-standard”, the size requirements in fashion modeling are TYPICALLY as follows:

  • Female Fashion Models:
  • Model Height Requirement: 5’9” to 6”.
  • Model Measurement Requirement: 34-24-34. (There are exceptions within one inch, and MAYBE two, of this standard. Anything beyond that is extremely unlikely to be considered.)
  • Model Age Requirement: 16-21 years old.
  • Model Size Requirement: 0-4.
  • Model Weight Requirement: 105-130 lbs, directly proportional to height
  • Male Fashion Models
  • Model Height Requirement: 5’11” to 6’2”.
  • Model Weight Requirement: 140-165 lbs, directly proportional to height.
  • Model Measurement Requirement: Waist between 29” and 32”. Shirt size between 15-15 ½ neck, sleeve size between 32 and 34. Jacket size between 40 and 42.
  • Model Age Requirement: 18-25 years old.

EDITORIAL FASHION MODEL: These models are the ones you find in the editorial spreads of pages like Elle, Vogue, Glamour, etc. You MUST fit the modeling requirements for a “Fashion Model” (listed above) in order to be considered for this category. Almost all editorial fashion agencies in the US are based in New York, but agencies/jobs can be found in other major cities (LA, Chicago) and overseas.

FASHION CATALOG MODEL: Slightly less restrictive than fashion modeling in terms of requirements, but catalog modeling still has rigid standards nonetheless, and is also difficult to get into. Catalog models are the ones you see in the clothing catalogs, posing in a variety of outfits. Typically, only female models between 5’8” and 6’1” will find work here. Male models should be between 5’10” and 6’2”.

RUNWAY MODEL: Models that walk the catwalk or runway; a “live model.” Runway models are hired to use their bodies as a mechanism to display the fashion garments of a specific clothing designer. They MUST be tall (5’9” and up for females, 5’11” and up for males), slender, have measurements that fit the standard clothing size, and know how to walk the runway.

COMMERCIAL MODEL: Most agency models work in this category. Commercial models work MANY different jobs, including: print advertisements, catalogs, campaigns, television shows, magazines, trade shows, and much more. There are no height or size requirements to be a commercial model. So even if you are DYING to be a fashion model, but simply do not fit the size requirements for mainstream “fashion modeling”, you can still find work and book great jobs as a “COMMERCIAL fashion model”, doing fashion print and things of that nature. Not interested in being a commercial fashion model? No problem. This category of modeling accommodates MANY types of looks: from the girl-next-door, to middle-aged men, to those with very “unique/interesting” faces.

PRINT MODEL: Print models are used for many different types of publications, such as: magazines, print advertisements, billboards, posters, calendars, campaigns, booklets, flyers, banners. Print models must have an attractive face, good skin, a nice body, and a pretty smile. Print models can find modeling work in one of two ways: through a modeling agency, or by freelance modeling.

GLAMOUR MODEL: Glamour modeling focuses much more on the model’s appeal, beauty, and body than it does anything else. Models in this category are considered very pretty; able to book work simply by being attractive, a nice body, and having a sort of “sex appeal”. While there are no height or size requirements, glamour models DO have to be at least 18 years old. Glamour models can work as non-nude models, or as nude models.

  • Non-nude glamour models are typically hired to appear in swimsuit, bikini, lingerie, and form-fitting attire. Often times they will find work in magazines, music videos, calendars, etc. They can find work as a freelance model, and they can also find other work through modeling agencies as a print model, commercial model, or promo model.
  • Nude glamour models are almost never represented by a mainstream modeling agency, and most always they will find modeling work through their own means (internet, friends, referrals, casting calls, networking, etc.)

PROMO MODEL / PROMOTIONAL MODEL: A promotional model, also known as a promo model, is a model that is hired to represent a brand, product, or service. This category of modeling does not have a height or weight requirement; thus making it much easier to get into promo modeling than it is to get into many other types of modeling. While there are no height/weight requirements, there are other general requirements for booking paid promo work: a great attitude, outgoing nature, a nice smile, and the ability to easily adapt/learn.

  • SPOKESMODEL: A spokesmodel is a more lucrative form of promo modeling. These models tend to have signed contracts with a specific company; acting as the face of the brand, being paid to attend events and make special appearances, appearing in advertisements, and traveling the country.
  • TRADE SHOW MODEL, OR CONVENTION MODEL: Tradeshow or convention modeling is another form of promo modeling. These models are hired by a company to represent their brand, product, or service specifically at a trade show or convention. There are no height/size requirements, but these models need to be outgoing, reliable, work well with others, and take direction well. They also will be expected to work long hours, readily engage with other people, to quickly learn/accurately relay the company’s mission (or products or talking points) to consumers.

CATALOG MODEL: A catalog model has the same job description as a “fashion catalog model”, yet none of the same size requirements. General catalog models are needed in all shapes and sizes. There are tons of clothing designers in the world offering a variety of options, many of which cater to petite, plus-size, or alternative buyers. These designers need models of the same variety to pose for their catalogs. Almost any category of model can be used as a (general) “catalog model.”

PETITE MODEL: These are models that are on the shorter side- typically 5’4” and under. While they will not be able to find work as a fashion model, petite models can still find work in other categories, such as a print, commercial, glamour, or promotional modeling. Petite models can be sought after for their small hands/feet for print work as well.

FREELANCE MODEL: A freelance model is one that is self-represented: they are not signed exclusively to any one modeling agency, they do not have an agent or a manager, and they are responsible for finding their own work. In addition, they are responsible for their own marketing, promoting, networking, and branding. This might all sound overwhelming, but in this day and age, freelance models have many avenues to get a career started. The internet is their main weapon/source; if properly harnessed, freelance models can still make a name for themselves without an agency.

FITNESS MODEL: Fitness models are toned, in-shape, healthy, and have good muscle tone. There are no size/height requirements, but you MUST be in shape! There are modeling agencies with “fitness modeling” departments. Fitness models seeking representation should focus on these first, but fitness models can also be self-represented.

PARTS MODEL: These models typically model their “parts”, such as their hands, legs, feet, stomach, etc. There are modeling agencies that represent parts models, and the best way to get started in this modeling category is by finding an agent rather than attempting to freelance.

PLUS-SIZE MODEL: These models, also known as “Full figured models”, are models that do not fit the size requirements for mainstream modeling. They weigh more, have fuller figures, and have pretty faces. They can be hired as catalog models for plus-sized clothing brands, among many other job opportunities. Plus-sized models are able to achieve representation with modeling agencies that have a “Plus-Size” division.

ART MODEL:  Art models work with visual artists. The model is the subject of the intended art piece, usually being required to pose while the artist interprets and creates a piece of art. They are able to use the model as a real-life visual aid. There are many mediums an art model can be asked to participate in. Some of the more common include paintings, illustrations, sculpture, and photography.

NUDE MODEL: Nude models typically only find work in photoshoots. Occasionally they will do videos/films, but the most common medium they work with is photography. They can pose topless or fully nude. Nude models rarely have modeling agencies. There are no height or weight requirements.

PINUP MODEL: Pin-up models first gained notoriety in the 1940’s and 50’s, with the term “pin-up” referring to a physical photo of an attractive model, which could be “pinned up” on the wall. In the past, pinup models were more risqué than their current era. Today, modern pinup models (posing in the same manner and outfits of the 40’s and 50’s), seem to be less risqué than their current era, as times have changed and so have social standards. To explain: modern pinup models can be seen wearing classic 1-piece swimsuits, while modern glamour models can be seen wearing barely-there string bikinis.

ALT MODEL, or ALTERNATIVE MODEL: This genre of modeling does not conform to “typical” modeling standards. The models used in this genre are not the mainstream, cookie-cutter models. Many of them have tattoos, piercings, unusual hairstyles, etc. They can work in this industry with the help of internet websites, networking, and niche magazines.

FETISH MODEL: A fetish model will be hired to model/display various fetishes. For example, latex clothing, bondage, foot photoshoots, etc. Almost always, these models are self-represented.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Teen Glamour Girls November 11, 2012 at 11:25 am

Very nice.. good post.

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admin February 24, 2013 at 8:50 am

Yay!! Thank you kindly!
xoxo
-The ModelMentors.com Team

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Jim Grady December 2, 2012 at 5:50 am

Great explanation, many congratulations!

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admin February 24, 2013 at 8:51 am

Very much appreciated! Feel free to share/link this post to anybody you think would benefit from it.
Thanks so much!
xoxo
-The ModelMentors Team

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Chet Nichols April 1, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Post this more often, good info for those that are up and coming having no clue where they are going. Some are totally lost, as I guess we all are, at one time or the other…..

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admin April 6, 2013 at 4:02 am

Thank you for the kind words! We are happy to help! Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when new articles and blogs are posted. Thanks so much!
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-The ModelMentors Team

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