When you are trying to get into the modelling world, it is important to have an idea of what area of modelling you would like to get into, what this brings with it, and any physical restrictions there may be on the category. Depending on the area of modelling you end up getting into, your experience within the industry can be very different, and in an industry as turbulent and unpredictable as modelling, having an understanding of what you will be getting into before you do will make the experience overall better for you.

Fashion Modelling

The type of modelling that most people would immediately think of just happens to be the most restrictive and exclusive one. Generally speaking, there are certain size requirements that are usually strict in nature. Within this area of modelling, it is important to remember that the clothes worn by the model are the focus rather than the model themselves, and so these size requirements are in place in order to show off the garment in the best way possible and to standardise the production of the runway garments.

For female fashion models, being over 5’9” is a must, rarely over 6’0” with a slim figure of size 0-4 usually required. The British AMA lists 34-24-34 as the ideal measurements for a model, but there is some more flexibility here.

For male fashion models, the height requirement is from 5’11” to 6’2”, with a waist measurement between 29” and 32”. If you fit into a size 38-42 jacket, your measurements will likely be acceptable.

Obviously there are exceptions to these rules, but these are very rare and usually very slight exceptions.

Within fashion modelling, there are different sub-types and categories that have their own slightly different requirements. For example, runway models will be required to have a good walk for fashion shows and catwalks as well as fitting these strict physical requirements. For catalogue modelling, and “fast fashion” outlets, the restrictions are slightly looser as the outlets want more realistic, everyday models for their brand. Editorial models, which appear in high fashion magazines, are more artistically based and will tend to have more unconventional looking models for their shoots. There is some crossover between editorial and runway modelling which is becoming more and more evident with runway shows such as the Gucci AW18 show in which they sent their models down with models of their own severed heads.

Commercial Modelling

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Commercial modelling is the most versatile area of modelling, for which there are no height or size requirements. Commercial models are used in many forms of advertising, still or video, for a wide range of lifestyle and product advertisement. This accommodates for many looks and ages, as it is important to remember that every print advertisement, television advertisement, catalog or campaign with a person in it uses a model. Acting skills are also very beneficial for this sort of modelling, as this will help you in any video commercial modelling that you may do.

As with fashion modelling, there are different sub-categories of commercial models.

Casual or lifestyle models portray a distinctive part of life, such as a middle aged man playing a father in a family holiday campaign, or an older woman in a life insurance advert. There is no need to be an exceptional looking person for this, but models within this category tend to be approachable looking people of their respective stereotype.

Corporate models are involved with print or video modelling centred around business or commerce. This could be portraying doctors or executives in a professional environment promoting either a brand, business or product.

Fitness models are always toned, healthy, and muscular. While there are no specific height or size requirements, being in great physical condition is an absolute must. Modelling for fitness normally goes hand in hand with a fitness lifestyle, and it is common for fitness models to be athletes, personal trainers, or professional bodybuilders alongside their modelling careers.

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Glamour modelling is sexualized modelling that focuses on the model’s sex appeal, often having a playful tone and a slim figure. Conventional good looks and prettiness tend to be very much the focus here rather than the more unconventional faces often found in editorial or high fashion modelling, but this is no set rule for this and models with more striking looks could find glamour modelling work in more alternative media and avenues. It is important that anyone wanting to be a glamour model is over the age of 18, as sexualized topless shoots can be expected when working in this niche of the industry. Magazines such as Maxim and Playboy are examples of glamour modelling.

Swimwear models generally have a figure that is somewhere between that of a fitness model and an underwear/glamour model, balancing overall sex appeal with physical fitness. They are often toned rather than muscular, particularly women, while men can be bulkier. Good skin is essential for this kind of modelling, and as a man you can be expected to be asked to have that all-over wax!

Alternative models tend to have very striking looks and often include body modifications. This can include tattoos, piercings, extreme hairstyles, and general personas. While this type of modelling has been very niche until recently due to its association with underground subcultures, the way the modelling industry currently revolves around the internet means that these unconventional aesthetics are receiving a lot more exposure and there is a fairly big market for alternative models. Ruby Rose is a great example of this.

Despite widespread belief that models need to be tall and slim, this is not always necessary. Petite and plus-size modelling are great examples of how the industry is not always as exclusive as it has been in the past. Petite models tend to be on the short side, with women below 5’5”, and can be featured within the other categories of the industry. Their small hands and petite builds work particularly well for certain publications depending on the client or product. Plus-size models on the other hand tend to have more curvy and full figures than typical models. Plus-size is a broad category and can scope from average to larger builds. This sort of modelling is becoming very recognizable with many brands as well as major agencies adopting plus-size divisions. In the past, it has been difficult to succeed as a model if you don’t conform to the typical physical stereotypes, but success stories such as Ashley Graham are proving that this era is well and truly over.

A particularly niche area of modelling is body parts modelling. This can include hair, legs, feet, and hands, and require incredibly photogenic body parts. This area of modelling can be extremely lucrative, as some of the clients include large corporations. Cleaning products, for example, will always need beautiful hands to demonstrate their product.

If you’re having difficulty figuring out what area of modelling would be best for you, then sign up for your free consultation today and we’ll help put you in the right direction!


Aaron Jackson