How to Become a Male Model

Becoming a successful male model is not as easy a task as many would imagine. You will need to work hard and be very strategic at it to increase your odds of success. 

The good thing with male modeling is that you can remain in the business for a very long time, which might not be the case with female modeling. 

This post is a comprehensive guide on how to become a male model. We will discuss strategic issues such as how you can effectively get exposure within the industry. 

We will also examine how and why you should sign with a modeling agent. Finally, we will give guidance on how to sustain your modeling career. 

Getting Exposure As A Male Model

Getting exposure in the modeling industry will require you to meet some male modeling standards established in the industry. 

Luckily, male models do enjoy some flexibility with these standards, and you might still make it into the industry even if you do not meet all the industry standards. Some of the physical factors that might be considered by industry participants include 

  • Height – having a height of between 6’0” and 6’3” could give you an edge.
  • Age – the age bracket is quite wide, and can be from 15 to the 50s.
  • Weight – the standards on weight largely depend on body mass index. The typical male model weighs between 140 and 165 lbs. 

Please note that many successful male models don't meet these standards, so if you do not meet some of them, but are still confident about what you can offer, there is no cause for concern. 

Choose the Type of Modeling to Pursue

The kind of modeling you want to pursue will decide your career path. It will influence the type of photos you should take, how you look for modeling jobs and the general approach to starting your modeling career. 

To illustrate, a runway model and a catalog model are expected to meet different standards. There is a wide variety of modeling types to choose from. Let's look at some of the most popular ones 

  • Fashion modeling – this kind involves promoting clothing and outfits. High fashion modeling is a subcategory that involves modeling for top fashion designers or retailers.
  • Editorial modeling – this is modeling for specific publications.
  • Runway modeling is done in fashion shows.
  • Showroom modeling involves displaying outfits at boutiques and organized fashion parties.
  • Commercial print modeling is whereby the model’s photographs appear on print media such as magazines and billboards.
  • Catalog modeling is concerned with appearing in catalogs.
  • Promotional modeling – modeling in trade shows and conferences.
  • Specialty modeling- involves specializing one body part such as hair, hands, and feet, for modeling purposes .

Get some Industry Exposure As Male Model

Before you approach modeling agencies, having some modeling experience wouldn’t hurt your course. It will give you some edge when dealing with the agencies. Appearing in a fashion show or a local newspaper Ad would be great. 

Actually, this kind of exposure can give you direct access into the industry without having to work with an agency. 

However, do not do any modeling that you feel is degrading or unprofessional just to get exposure, because that can destroy your image. 

Only take work that you think is representative of what you want to do in your career. Remember that in modeling, image is everything. 

Have Professional Photos Taken

  • It is advisable to have some professional photos of yourself taken before you approach an agency. 
  • Even if the agency takes professional photos of yourself once they sign you, the ones you have taken can be used to showcase your professionalism. 
  • You might also bump into an established person in the industry and get to showcase your professional photos.
  • Make sure that the photos taken are professional. Work with a seasoned photographer only.
  • Ensure that the photos showcase your body type because the people you work with will want to see this.
  • Include different shots in different kinds of clothing – casual, business casual and official outfit.
  • Also, have some of the photos in black and white, and others in color. 

Avoid Scammers 

  • Like in virtually all industries, the modeling industry is awash with scammers. Here are some traps that you should avoid falling into.
  • Don’t allow shady photographers to overcharge you for your first portfolio. Some photography scammers will claim that their version of portfolio is the only way to the industry, and will try to charge you ridiculous amounts. Don’t fall for it. 
  • Also, avoid agents that charge exorbitant registration fees – if an agent charges ridiculously high up-front fees or portfolio charges, then they are probably trying to have a payday, and they don’t care about your modeling career.  Such agents typically don’t have reliable connections in the industry, and they know that they can't get you any work. 
  • Don’t give out personal information online to people who claim to have connections that can build your modeling career.  Such scammers are merely playing to your desires with the aim of making an identity theft. 

Consider Moving to Other Locations 

  • If you live in a small town or rural area, you might want to move into a bigger city where there are more modeling opportunities. 
  • You, however, don’t have to move immediately; you can start by exploiting the opportunities in your local area and move once your career takes off. 

How to Sign with an Agent

Attend an open call

  • Modeling agencies do sometimes hold open calls where they allow prospects to audition at their offices. 
  • Open calls involve waiting in line, sometimes for many hours, before your turn to audition individually comes. Just be patient with the process. 
  • Make sure that your appearance is superb for the auditions. It is important to note that such auditions are a meritocracy, and you may or may not succeed, so manage your expectations. 

Attend a model search

  • In a model search, modeling agencies travel around to small towns holding modeling auditions. 
  • They are similar to open calls, except that the agency comes to your locality looking for potential models they can sign. 
  • It is not unusual for modeling agencies to charge the auditioners a small fee– they are usually trying to cover their travel expenses.
  • The audition charges shouldn’t be excessive whatsoever; it is mostly about $20. If your town has limited modeling opportunities, you are highly encouraged to attend such model searches.
  • If you are not picked, you might still acquire some valuable industry connections. 

Enter modeling competitions

  • Participating in modeling competitions is a great way to acquire industry exposure. Ensure that the contests you attend are reputable and that the entry fees are not exorbitant. 
  • Modeling competitions are incredibly competitive, but if you win, it can propel your career to unimagined heights. 
  • If you don’t win the modeling competition, you can still get great industry connections. All of these possibilities for a small entry fee sounds like a good bargain.
  • It is essential that you check the requirements for the competition and ensure you meet them. Such competitions can sometimes require you to have a modeling profile at hand. 

Attend modeling conventions 

  • Modeling conventions are a great way to acquire industry leads. They can be quite expensive, so make sure that you are at the top of your game if you decide to pay for one. 
  • At the convention, ensure that you remain as professional as possible and try to make as many connections as you can. 

Approach an agency 

  • You may reach out to an agency via email, present your case, and see whether they might want to sign you. 
  • You can do this by searching for the most reputable agents over the internet. You then send professional emails explaining who you are and what you have to offer. 
  • Also, attach a good variety of professional shots of yourself. If the agency is impressed, they might sign you immediately. They might also put you in their database for future considerations. 

Sign up with a scouting company 

  • Scouting companies help models to develop their careers. They also offer career management services and placements with modeling agencies. 
  • They charge some fees for their services, but it could we worth it because they help you get signed with an agency or get you some work independently. 
  • Once your career picks up, they can also assist with professionally managing your career. 

Sign up with a modeling agency 

  • Once you’ve found an agency that is interested in working with you, ensure that you enter into a fair agreement with them. 
  • ou can hire an attorney to look into the modeling contract. A crucial factor to consider in the deal is how long the contract remains valid, and whether you are allowed to do independent modeling work on the side.
  • It is also essential that you find a means of tracking your income effectively. 

Grow your Modeling Career

Your agent will assist you in building your portfolio and try to get you modeling work. It is important to note that an agent cannot guarantee that they will get you work.

If they claim to guarantee work, that is a red flag. What agencies do is get you modeling interviews with clients, it is up to these clients to hire you or not. 

Always be professional in these interviews, and manage your expectations to avoid frustrations. You can only do your personal best and leave the rest to fate. 

You have to persevere and improve your skills with time. That way, your chances of getting hired will improve. 

Stay professional: Just like with any other profession, success in modeling requires some level of professionalism. 

  • Always keep time when attending meetings and appointments.
  • Observe courtesy and professionalism when dealing with your associates.
  • Stay disciplined with your diet and exercise routine, so that you don’t get out of shape.
  • Take care of your skin and observe high standards of grooming.
  • Always get enough sleep the night before a gig so that you have a healthy appearance .

Keep your day job:  Earning a living solely from modeling takes a lot of success in this career. In fact, only a small proportion of models get there. 

Before you achieve this level of success, we recommend that you keep your day job. You can also try and establish another income source to supplement your modeling earnings. 

Maintain physical and mental health: The importance of physical and mental health in the modeling career cannot be stated enough. Many male models find themselves in predicaments similar to those that affect female models. 

It is mind-boggling that the most beautiful people on earth tend to be the most insecure about their bodies. 

Low self-esteem comes as a result of an unhealthy mind. If you don’t manage your mind, it can ruin your modeling career – you cannot model effectively with esteem issues and mental health problems. 

Ensure that you have healthy eating practices and exercise adequately. Always practice mindfulness – be kind to yourself and acknowledge you are good enough no matter what challenges you face. 

Note that you will face many instances of rejection in your modeling career. It is part of the game. Endeavor to be in harmony with rejection. 

Don’t beat yourself down because you didn’t get a gig. There will always be other opportunities. 

Your modeling career may have you attending parties and all sorts of functions where there could be drugs or alcohol. 

Do not let your job get you into substance addiction. The effects of drugs and alcohol addiction to physical and mental health are dire. They can and have ruined the careers of many models. 

Final Thoughts

Getting into male modeling is a challenging endeavor that requires hard work and strategic thinking. 

The career path is riddled with pitfalls such as scammers and unreliable agents. We have outlined ways to avoid being scammed and how to improve your odds of success.

Perhaps the most critical factors for success in a modeling career are professionalism and maintaining physical and mental health. 

Once you do your personal best to improve your career, the chances of success improve tremendously. The guidelines discussed here will help you establish a successful modeling career. 

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Last updated on January 27, 2020 5:34 am


Fashion allows me to push the limitation of creativity and express myself without saying a word. Semi-Formal Men is my not so formal fashion blog. I’m a very easy person to talk to, so please feel free to contact me anytime. :)

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  • Interesting read and a helpful guide for aspiring male models. I’m not cut out to be a model but it sure is fun reading about how to become one.