The glamourous world of modelling, one which most of us secretly envy. Even though few people would actually admit to it, we all have, at one time or the other, put on our highest heels, our most glittery eyeshadows, our reddest lipstick, and strut down our bedrooms or hallways, pretending to be a top model. We imagine it to be a completely different world out there- a world filled with new clothes, the best designer shoes, makeup always on point, and paparazzi.
While being a professional model certainly does have its own advantages and disadvantages, it is not all glamour and glitter as you would imagine it to be. Modelling, like any other profession, requires hard work, dedication, and an immense amount of strength (mental as well as physical). Modelling too, like other professions, has a dark side.
In this article, you will read about some of the biggest myths of being a professional model, and whether they are true or not. Just as every coin has two sides, being a professional model has its pros and cons, myths and truths.
Being a Model – Biggest Myths:
Myth 1- You have to be tall to be a professional model:
This is one of the biggest myths almost everyone heard while growing up. If you were a particularly tall individual, people would tell you how fantastic you would be as a model. On the other hand, if you showed your own interest in being a model but were only of average, or even short height, people would tell you there is no way you could be a model with that height.
Let us debunk this myth.
Yes, while it is preferable that you have a height above 5’10”, it is also possible for you to become a professional model with a height less than that. One of the biggest examples we can see of this, is Kate Moss, who is only 5’6”, and is right now one of the biggest professional models in the industry.
A catwalk model has to fit into certain requirements of height and weight, but there are various other fields of professional modelling, such as photoshoot modelling, or modelling for clothes or magazines, commercial models, etc, where height is not considered such a big factor.
Myth 2- You have to be Skinny:
When you think of the words “Professional Model”, you instantly picture a tall, skinny (read: size 0) woman in your head, covered head to toe in glamour. While most of us tend to believe that you need to be a bag of bones in order to be a professional model, this is a myth which should be debunked as soon as possible.
If you look back at some of the biggest style icons and models, you will realize that none of them actually fit into the ‘requirements’ of being a professional model. Take into account Marylin Monroe; she was a vivacious and extremely curvaceous woman! And she was loved and envied for those curves.
The world is now speaking up- they want to see “real women” as models, and they are getting exactly what they want. More and more women who are not seen as the typical size 0 models are coming up and gaining a lot of popularity. The modelling industry is welcoming the curvier, more voluptuous models with open arms, and turning them into superstars!
Myth 3- You have to be young to be a model:
Another myth you will find yourself coming across is- if you have reached the age of 19, you are basically useless to the modelling agencies. The fashion industry is always looking for younger models, around the age of 14-19, and once they are older than that, it’s time to bring in the new models!
This is a completely false thing to say. Just as the world is now demanding to see models of all sizes, they are also looking for models who will appeal to all demographics. There is adequate demand for older models in fashion industries such as healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and even high fashion. So even if you have hit the age of 25 and are looking to step into the modelling world but were swayed away, you can always give it another chance!
Myth 4- You can barely eat proper food:
One of the negative sides of being a professional model is that you don’t get to eat anything you want. You have to follow a strict diet, can’t eat carbs, have to completely say bye to bread, potatoes, and soft drinks. You have to follow a strict and regimented timing to keep that perfect hourglass ratio everyone drools over.
False! Modelling is a profession which requires long hours of standing, sitting, posing in gruelling positions, working under bright spotlights, and staying in the same pose for hours on end! There are no working hours, and this schedule is bound to make even the strongest person feel a little weak and tired.
Professional models, like all other human beings, have a normal body and end up feeling dizzy or even passing out at photo shoots sometimes if they don’t maintain a proper nutrition. So professional models too eat food like every other normal person, they just maintain a more healthy diet due to the requirements of their work.
Myth 5- You have to be prepared with a professional portfolio:
If you are new to the world of professional modelling, and want to apply to an agency, the most common assumption is that you need to have a portfolio of very professional looking photographs of yourself.
This is not entirely true. All you need to have in hand is a portfolio of clear pictures of yourself, which will help the agency determine your features and ratio to find out if you would make a good model or not. You do not need to be worried about spending a ton of money immediately and hire a professional photographer to have an impromptu modelling session at home for your portfolio. Depending on the agency which decides to hire you, it is possible that in some cases the agency would be willing to take upon them the cost of your first photoshoot.
Myth 6- You must have a “Perfect” face:
When you see a professional model on screen, you tend to notice their perfect eyebrows, high cheekbones, full eyes and lips, a perfect nose, basically all the features of a Greek God. Then you turn to look at yourself in the mirror, and find all your little ‘flaws’ magnified. Everyone is under the impression that to be a professional model, you have to have perfect features, or else you have no place in the fashion industry.
In reality, if you look around, you will notice how some of the top models are coming into the limelight because of their ‘flaws’. For example- Tyra Banks is known for her high forehead, Cara Delevigne for her thick eyebrows, Kate Moss for her far apart eyes, Cindy Crawford’s mole. The fashion industry is notorious for its ability to make anything look glamourous and enviable.
There is no such thing as the ‘perfect face’ in professional modelling. You have to have confidence in yourself to show off your natural features and just make it work!
Myth 7- Professional Modelling is a glamorous Profession:
It would be incorrect to say that professional modelling is a job filled with extreme hard work with no benefits, i.e its not a glamourous industry. But it is. Modelling is not all about glamour. It is an extremely difficult profession. It requires hard work and years of dedication, a strong will (since you basically have to say good bye to all your favourite junk food), you have to be extremely physically fit as your profession calls for it.
Professional modelling is built up of hours of heavy duty makeup on your face every day, hours of sitting still as professional artists work on your hair, poke and prod you with needles to get that perfect fit on your outfit, and sacrificing your free hours. It’s not that professional models get no free time; it’s just that they don’t have a basic 9 to 5 job, their hours aren’t dictated by them, as many tend to believe. The end result is the glamour that you get to see on stage or in the pictures.
Myth 8- Plus size models can eat whatever they want:
It is a basic response of a person when they see a plus size model to think that since their job profile calls for it (being curvaceous), they can get away with eating whatever they want.
This is completely false. Even plus size models have to follow a strict regimen in order to maintain this figure. They were hired by their agencies for their measurements, and by eating whatever they wish to, they might ruin these exact measurements they were hired for. Plus size models might have that perfect hourglass figure, but they aren’t allowed to add extra minutes on the hourglass!
Myth 9- Models make a lot of money as soon as they start:
When you heard the word professional model, you will basically assume that these models roll around in their money, like some commercials would have us believe. Like any other profession, professional modelling has a tough start, you aren’t paid as extravagantly as you would want to be, sometimes you even have to do free photoshoots just to get a kick start into the industry. There are times when the models are not even paid, they are just given the designer clothes they have modelled for.
While this might seem like a lucrative offer, clothes will not pay for your food or rent at the end of the month. Professional models also have hard sometimes.
Myth 10- You get to keep all the clothes you model:
On screen, we get the take an inside look into the fabulous life of a professional model. Living in huge houses is just the start. A sneak peek into their closet is enough to make any women green with jealousy. Closets filled with Vera Wang, Jimmy Choo’s, Prada, Gucci, Chanel, you name it, they have it!
In reality, the professional models don’t always get to keep all the clothes they model. As soon as the models present the clothes or shoes on the runway, they are immediately stripped off them and packed off. The clothes they do get to keep are often old, damaged, or even not to their liking.
Only once a professional model has built her standing in the industry, is she given gifts from designers every once in a while, since it can mean publicity for the brand.
Myth 11- All beauty, no brains:
It is a common misconception that in order to be a professional model, you have to score high points on the beauty scale, but can lack on the brains scale. This is really something that depends on person to person. While some models might be the regular party girls, some have not even finished school, some models might be professional doctors, housewives, moms, or even grandmothers. No two people are the same, this goes for models as well. They are not all generically beauties with no personality.
Myth 12- All models have an eating disorder or are drug addicts:
Along with the glamour side of modelling, we all seem to be aware of the darker side of professional modelling- they suffer from anorexia, bulimia, or take drugs on the side.
This again, depends from model to model. While some models do suffer from eating disorders and are into drugs, most models have to keep really fit and have good skin, which would not be possible with unhealthy eating habits or drug intake.
All in all, modelling is not for everyone, but you can make it work for yourself. You just need to be yourself, because you are a diva!