Complete Guide to Male Modelling
Interested in becoming a male model? This in-depth guide gives you the complete lowdown on male modelling including some tips on getting started in the industry.
As you are no doubt well aware, there’s an automatic assumption that when people speak of modelling, and fashion modelling in particular, it’s in reference to female models. And we totally understand why. After all, fashion ad campaigns always seem to primarily target women, right? But that’s where the misconception lies. If you really think about it, while male models aren’t used as much as female models, there are lots of print campaigns and TV commercials that feature men in all shapes and sizes.
In fact, the male modelling industry is booming like never before and there is huge demand for hard working and reliable male models.
If male modelling is something that you’ve thought about in the past but didn’t have the confidence to try or it’s a career you thought may not offer enough opportunities, we’re here to help you out. Here at Hunter Talent we believe that anyone who dreams of working in the fashion or entertainment industry should have the opportunity to do so. Of course, not everyone can be a success, but everyone can at least give it a try.
And that’s what this guide is all about. In it we’ll explain all there is to know about male modelling such as requirements, work assignments, and pay. We’ll even share a few tips about making it in the industry from some of our successful make models.
So if you want to become a male model, buckle up, grab a coffee and forget everything Zoolander taught you about the industry as we dive into the world of male modelling.
What is a male model?
In this industry we’ve learned that there are no silly questions so yes, we’re going to answer this one. A male model is a man who is hired by brands, companies, and designers to model or promote a product or service through print ad campaigns or TV commercials. Generally speaking, clients will hire men for male modelling roles, but as the industry embraces diversity, it’s not uncommon for non-binary people or those who identify as men to land modelling assignments that are defined as jobs for male models.
A male model will do pretty much everything that a female model will do although assignments may be slightly different, but more on that later.
Can anyone be a male model?
Like we said earlier, Hunter Talent is all about the dream, so yes, anyone can be a male model. This is particularly true in recent years as the fashion and entertainment industries have embraced diversity and moved somewhat away from the typical image of a male model. For example, older male models are much more in vogue now than ever before.
That said, male models who want to work in runway modelling will most likely need to fall within a certain height and weight range. This is simply because runway modelling tends to focus on the classic model figure as it is easier to make clothes for a runway show that will fit multiple models and will require minimal adjustments and alterations on the day of the show. In the past, these requirements extended into all forms of male modelling, and that’s why there tends to be more opportunities for models who fit into that category.
Those general requirements for a male model are
Height – 6’ or taller
Weight – 77kg or less
Waist – 32” or smaller
We really must point out though that these physical requirements are very general and not falling within these ranges usually just means that you may not get any runway opportunities. We know many male models who are smaller or larger and who have forged a successful career.
For example, you could be a plus size model which means that your waist is 34” or greater.
What we’re saying here is that anyone, regardless of shape or size should feel comfortable trying out for male modelling gigs.
Is male modelling easy?
This is a very common question and most people who ask it are usually of the impression that modelling is a walk in the park. After all, it’s just smiling for the cameras, right?
Here’s the thing, if male modelling was really that easy then why hasn’t everyone had a go at it? The truth is that all forms of modelling are pretty tough going. For example, if you’re a fitness model, then you’ll spend a lot of time maintaining your physique and that’s not even counting the actual work of modelling.
Look, we don’t want to scare you, but let’s be honest — male modelling is hard work. A typical shoot could see you in the studio or shooting on location for an entire day and as the model, you and the photographer will likely be the two people that are working non-stop throughout the shoot. You’ll also have to factor in any time spent travelling to and from the job. Then there’s the time you’ll spend at home practising your skills or learning new ones to improve your chances of booking work.
But one of the hardest aspects of male modelling and modelling in general is the fact that you will face tons of rejection in your career. And that’s just as true for successful models as it is for those starting out. If you think about it, it makes absolute sense. If fifty or sixty male models are up for an assignment, 99% of them are going to be left disappointed. But that’s perfectly okay as it’s just part of the industry and something you have to get used to. For most male models starting out, this can be one of the toughest obstacles to overcome, but trust us, it happens to everyone.
What skills do male models need?
If you think it’s just smiling and walking then you’re in for a shock. Do you know how many different ways there are to walk down a runway or how many emotions you can express with just a subtle change in your facial expression? Let’s just say there’s a whole lot you’ll need to learn before you can even think about booking work regularly.
Here are some of the most common skills that every male model must have in his repertoire.
Strike a pose
Take a look at any successful model’s portfolio. People like David Gandy, Jordan Barret, and Tyson Beckford all have their signature looks and that’s great. But you’ll also see how they hold themselves and pose for the camera can vary a great deal depending on the campaign. And those poses are not accidental. They are carefully thought out poses that they practise on a daily basis so they can easily drop into one when needed.
You will need to have a similar ability because you will need to help the photographer out at the shoot. There’s only so much they can do to direct you and models who can easily strike a variety of poses without too much direction are the ones that are requested again by the photographer.
Check out those profiles and try to emulate a few poses. We find that it’s a good idea to name or number them and to practise them for at least 10-15 minutes each and every day.
Walk the walk
Even if runway modelling is not on your radar, it pays to learn how to do the model walk as you never know when you may need it. If a client likes you in their print campaign, they might insist that you’re hired for a live event or fashion show. The last thing you want is to be unprepared for that possibility.
So head over to YouTube and start watching famous male models and their walks. If you’re new to modelling, then you’re not going to enjoy this the first time around and you may even feel silly doing it, but it’s a skill that you’re expected to have so get up and start practising. It’s a good idea to record your walk and rewatch it each time as it will be easier to spot a slouch or an awkward stride when watching on video instead of in the mirror.
An added benefit of learning how to walk and recording yourself doing so is that you’ll become much less self-conscious and you may even get a little confidence boost along the way. Two things that will certainly help you when it comes to actual paid modelling work.
Just a little patience
Well, perhaps more than just a little. A male model needs to be patient for several reasons. The first is the fact that very few models land assignments within the first few months of becoming a model. So you’ll need to be patient and know that your time will come and that you just need to keep those skills sharp.
The second and most important is the fact that a modelling shoot can be anything from tedious and boring to crazy hectic. In the first instance, you’ll spend a lot of time sitting or standing waiting for things to be set up just right or for other models to finish their shoots. Meanwhile, at busy shoots you may be asked to do the same thing again and again and again or you may have to change outfits every few minutes and have your hair and makeup redone. In both cases, you’ll need to be patient and understand that this is just how it is. A model who is impatient will be remembered for all the wrong reasons and you don’t want that.
Okay, so this isn’t necessarily a must have skill, but it is something that will impress and show a client or photographer that you’re serious about your craft. So what do we mean by industry knowhow? We’re talking modelling trends, fashion lingo, and general stuff about poses for certain niches.
Like we said, this is not an essential skill, but having this type of knowledge also makes it easier for the photographer or client to explain things to you while you can also offer some input if you have any. And as you may have guessed, any male model who is easy to work with stands a better chance of booking more work. We’re sounding like a broken record here!
Good people skills
Working at a photo shoot or at a fashion show is all about teamwork. You have the hair and makeup people, the photographer and their assistant, the wardrobe people, other models, and perhaps even the client will be there too. And yes, you’ll likely need to speak with or work closely with each and every one of them.
This is where your awesome people skills will come in handy. Everyone is working hard towards the same goal and if you can show yourself to be a good team player, then it bodes well for your chances of booking work in the future with the same photographer or client. Just remember though that it’s not just the photographer and client that pays attention to how you interact so it pays to be nice to everyone.
There’s also the possibility that you may be asked to do a live event such as an exhibition. In this case the client may actually want you to be able to answer a few basic questions about a product or service or at the very least direct people to someone who can. As you can imagine, good people skills are essential here.
Male model work and assignments
Fashion, catalogues, TV commercials — if there’s one thing we can say with certainty about a male model’s working life it’s that it’s certainly varied.
As a male model you can expect to be hired for all kinds of assignments from the mundane to the bizarre. You could be doing a catalogue shoot for menswear one day and do a shoot for a hotel brochure the next. As with all other types of modelling, no two days are ever the same.
We’ve had male models who have worked on everything from health services to DIY products. To be perfectly honest, the word varied doesn’t even cover it. And that’s what makes it such an interesting career.
Then there are the live events such as exhibitions and fashion shows. These can be a lot of fun and are often great opportunities to network and build relationships with people within the industry.
How much do male models get paid?
Male models get paid the same rates as female models. In other words, the industry standard rates. These rates are a benchmark for model pay and the minimum that your agency should accept for an assignment. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get paid more. This is why it’s difficult to pin down exactly how much you can expect to earn during your time as a male model.
Bigger clients will often pay higher rates for models who will appear in national or international campaigns while smaller companies may pay the basic rate for a quick catalogue shoot. There’s also the possibility that when you make a name for yourself, you can negotiate higher rates — fingers crossed.
Generally speaking, a new male model can expect to earn $350 to $600 for their first assignments. But remember that you won’t make this kind of money every day. Like we said earlier, you’ll need to be patient as the jobs certainly won’t come rolling in at the outset.
It’s also worth remembering that you only get out of modelling what you put into it. That means that the harder you work and the more you practise your modelling skills, the more chance you have of booking work at higher rates.
A male model’s tips for career success
We’ve spent quite a lot of time working with male models here at Hunter Talent and so we asked them for a few tips on working in the industry. Here’s their advice for career success.
Treat modelling like any job
Modelling is a career choice and even if you don’t plan to do it full time, you should always treat it like any other job that you take on. What this means is that you treat those who work within the industry with the respect they deserve, take your responsibilities seriously, and always show up for a job on time. This attitude of professionalism reflects well on you and is actually a great way to keep yourself motivated.
Study all the skills
Remember all those skills we mentioned earlier? Well, you’ll want to learn them all and then learn them again. And keep learning them and relearning them no matter how successful in your career you become. One thing that can ruin a promising career is complacency and the advice of most male models is that thinking you know it all is a surefire way to limit your chances of success.
Don’t listen to the haters
People will always comment on how you look or what you have done or even your poses, that’s just part of being in the limelight. However, it’s important that you learn to tune those comments out especially if they are negative in any way at all. Male modelling is often thought of in a negative light and some people won’t take your career choice seriously. They may even laugh about it, but once again, it’s vital that you focus on yourself and not what others are saying about you. They may even be jealous of your success!
Always wear sunscreen
Baz Luhrmann knew what he was talking about when he said that you should ‘always wear sunscreen.’
As a male model, this is doubly important. Your skin health must be on point and in Australia, that’s only possible if you protect yourself from the sun. Even on an overcast day, we suggest covering yourself up and so your skin is protected at all times.
Cut out the junk
It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise regime you have, if you’re not eating healthy, it’s all for nothing. This means that no matter how much you love those doughnuts, it’s time to cut them out and start eating properly. Of course, you can have a treat every now and then, but for the most part it should be fresh fruit and veggies, along with the right kind of carbs. We won’t get into it too much here, but the right diet will have a major impact on your energy levels and that is hella good for your modelling career.
Modelling is no longer about who you know but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t help to have a few good relationships with industry people. If nothing else, it puts you on first name terms with a photographer and means that shoots are less awkward to get started. Of course, it’s not just about photographers. You should also connect with other industry people including other models too. You never know where a connection with someone might bring you.
How to get started as a male model
Sign up with an agency
This is the absolute first step that we recommend to all potential models whether they are male or female. Finding an agency should be your priority as working without one and representing yourself can be extremely tiring and could see you miss out on a lot of opportunities. This is because casting directors, photographers, and clients will often come directly to an agency before releasing a brief to the public. So yeah, finding an agency is a must.
But don’t sign up with any agency, it has to be the right agency. That means an agency that will work hard for you and will offer you guidance and perhaps some free resources like this guide you’re reading right now. Yes, Hunter Talent would be ideal, but we still think you should do a little homework and make sure that we’re a good fit for each other.
One thing we will tell you to watch out for is an agency that is all about the money. If they simply want to sign you up on the spot with no face-to-face meeting either in person or through video call, we’d recommend that you move along to another option. An agency that does this is just after your membership fee which is certainly a red flag.
Build your portfolio
Building your portfolio might seem like an impossible task given that you have no work experience to put in there yet but you can easily ask a professional photographer to create one for you with 5-6 shots of you in various poses. This will be more than enough for a client to see what you have on offer and decide if you’re suited to the assignment.
Just be sure to get it done by a professional photographer, right? The client will expect to see a professionally shot portfolio and that’s what you should give them. Anything less and you have no chance of landing a job. Your agency should have some recommendations for local photographers with portfolio experience so choose one and go from there.
Look after yourself
And by that we mean both physically and mentally. Like we said earlier, eating healthy and looking after your skin should be a priority but so too should getting enough sleep and relaxing. It’s important that you work hard, but remember that it’s also important not to burn yourself out by pushing yourself too much. Think about your daily regime and try to incorporate plenty of relaxation time along with yo9ur daily exercise. That in itself will do wonders for your mental health and energise you for work.
We keep banging on about those skills but they really are that important. So keep on top of them and look out for anything new that you have yet to learn about being a male model. Continuous practice will also improve your self-confidence and help alleviate any stress you might feel about working on a shoot.
How to prepare for a male model shoot
It’s here at last. You’ve been patient, taken care of yourself, and practised all those skills and your first paid assignment is just around the corner. But once the excitement dies down, the nerves start to kick in and all these doubts cloud your mind. Don’t worry, it’s absolutely normal to feel this way. Don’t stress over it though, once you follow these simple tips, your first male modelling job should go off without a hitch.
Don’t do anything out of the ordinary
Go karting with friends, rock climbing with your brother, or that lion-taming course voucher you were given for your birthday last year — forget them all. In the run up to your modelling assignment, you should stick to your regular routine. The last thing you want is to injure yourself and have to pull out of your shoot.
Eat normal food
Same advice goes for food. Don’t experiment with a new chilli the night before your shoot. Unusual foods could play havoc on your digestion and you really don’t want gas or unexpected toilet breaks during your shoot. We’d also say the same for drinks too, especially alcohol which you really should give a miss before the shoot anyway.
Plan your route
Sounds silly but knowing how to get to the shoot well in advance is just plain common sense. You’ll need to check for parking or public transport access as you may end up having to add another ten minutes to your journey after you park your car or get off the bus or train. Time is money on a shoot and you don’t want to be the cause of any delays.
Work on those modelling skills
Our last tip for getting started is to start working on those modelling skills and to keep it up for as long as you can. It’s a good idea to set yourself a daily practice routine that you can fit into your schedule. For example, work on poses and your walk for 15-20 minutes each and every morning. Once you get used to it, this will become just another thing that you do in the morning but it will have an incredibly positive impact on your fashion modelling career.
That’s all there is to know about male modelling for now. As your career progresses, you’ll pick up a few more tips and perhaps even figure out a few tricks of the trade yourself. For now though, following the tips in this guide will get you started on the front foot. Just remember that patience in this industry is key.
If you’re interested in becoming a male model and you’re looking for professional representation, then why not give us a shout here at Hunter Talent. We’d be more than happy to have a chat with you to see if we’re a good fit for each other. Even if you opt to sign with another agency, we genuinely hope that the advice in this guide helps you along your way.
Want to break into the world of modelling and acting?
Our agency is dedicated to helping aspiring models and actors achieve their dreams. We have a team of experienced industry professionals who will guide you every step of the way, from helping you create a portfolio to finding the right auditions and casting opportunities. With us, you’ll have access to a wide network of industry contacts, and we’ll provide the support and guidance you need to succeed. Don’t miss this opportunity to kickstart your career.