Models display a wide variety of products and services in print, such as magazines and newspapers; televi­sion; and live marketing. Industrial models are used in all advertising media to sell every kind of product or service imaginable. Fashion models display clothing and fashion accessories in fashion shows, apparel cata­logs, and retail stores. A small segment of the model­ing field is devoted to posing for commercial and fine artists.

Model Career History

As long as there have been artists, there have been mod­els who posed for them. In earlier times, many of these models were the friends or relatives of the artist. Wealthy patrons also posed for artists to have their portraits painted. Actresses, actors, society personalities, and other celebrities were among the first models.

In 1858, Charles Frederick Worth, an English tailor, opened a salon, or fashion house, in Paris and became the first dressmaker to display his designs on live models.

The history of the photographic model is compara­tively recent. Although the modern camera was invented by George Eastman in 1889, its possible uses in commer­cial advertising were not realized for more than 20 years. Shortly after the turn of the century, when the ready-to-wear clothing industry began to grow rapidly, businesses discovered that a picture could sell more products than text, and fashion professionals realized that live models boosted clothing sales more than mannequins. Con­sequently, advertisements began to feature pictures of young women who seemed to endorse a manufactur­er’s product. As commercial photography continued to grow and develop, so did the career of the photographic model. Today these models can be male or female, and of every age, race, and color, depending on the wishes of the advertiser.

Model Career Requirements

High School

There are no standard educational requirements for models. Most employers of photographic models prefer at least a high school education. Courses such as sewing, home economics, and photography are helpful. Classes in dance, fencing, Asian arts such as tai chi, and other studies that focus on body and movement control pro­vide a good foundation for modeling. Public speaking and business courses are helpful since models often work as freelancers.

Work Environment

Modeling can be exciting, challenging, glamorous, and rewarding, but also very stressful. Modeling is not a rou­tine job and to be successful, models must have the drive, patience, and self-confidence to adjust and meet new challenges. They also must be able to accept rejection, since many assignments require auditions where many qualified applicants compete.

Models work under a variety of conditions. The art­ist’s model usually works indoors in a loft, a studio, or a classroom. These rooms may be large and drafty with high ceilings and inadequate heating or cooling facilities. The more modern art schools, however, will be com­fortably heated, ventilated, and lighted. This model may pose in ordinary street clothing, in exotic costumes, or in body-revealing attire.

Photographic models may work either indoors or outdoors. There may be times when models are asked to pose in bathing suits while standing outside in chilly weather. At other times, they may model wool clothing in midsummer on hot city pavements. In photographers’ studios, models often are asked to hold a pose for a long period of time while lights and background details are adjusted. Models need patience to wait while problems are solved and many different people offer opinions about any one shot.

Model Career Outlook

The U.S. Department of Labor predicts employment for models to grow about as fast as the average through 2014, but job competition will be fierce because this career is attractive to so many people. The number of fashion models seeking jobs is far greater than the number of openings. A greater number of openings exist for art­ists’ models, but their income almost never is enough to live on. Part-time work is easier to find than full-time work. The number of models working should increase as the economy becomes more global. Models from the United States are in demand around the world. Opportu­nities for male models should also increase as the public becomes more open to the marketing of men’s fashions. Most openings will occur as models quit or retire to pur­sue other employment or interests.

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