Modelling: A Brief Career Survival Guide


Congratulations! You’ve booked a few modelling gigs, and you think you’re ready to take your career to the next level. Things are great now: you’re young, you’re beautiful, you’re having fun… but, what happens when the jobs start to become few and far in between?


The average length of a model’s career is five years. That’s a really short “shelf life” so to speak. To have any degree of longevity or security in the industry, you have to become a Supermodel.


Left to Right: Linda Evangelista for Vogue Spain (2012), Naomi Campbell for the EDIT (2014), Kate Moss for Vogue UK (2016)


Easy enough, right? It is possible! A supermodel, by definition, is a successful fashion model who’s risen to the status of a celebrity. After all, your looks are not everything you need to book a job. Your professionalism, resume, and brains will carry your career further than your face will.


In the peak years of your career, you’ll be traveling the world and meeting people who work in nearly every capacity in the entertainment world. Career-orientated models can use these years of consistent work to build a network that will prove invaluable in the next stage of your career.

Here are some of the Keys for Modeling Success, according to Mark Summers

  1. Understand what the client wants

The smartest, most consistently employed models in the industry get how to interpret the client’s directions at the gig. They understand that they are putting on a performance to help sell the client’s product. Your performance as a model should not be about yourself.


Essentially, the client is paying you for your brand, which is the image or trademark that’s unique to you, that sets you apart from your competition in the industry. Take Cara Delevingne, for example.

Cara Delevingne_model

Cara serving #brows for days

Cara is known for her bushy eyebrows and her fun, goofy personality. With 51 million followers between her Twitter and her Instagram, Cara successfully converted her brand of “Embrace your Weirdness” into real, tangible social media influence. It’s no wonder brands are willing to pay her millions per campaign – people love her for her looks, for her style, and for her brand.

  1. Make learning the business part of your beauty regimine.

beauty regimine

Make learning a part of your beauty regimine.

It’s amazing what information is out there

It pays (pun intended) to be well versed in the entertainment industry, even if you’re relatively new to it. The truth of the matter is, you’ll never be just a model. A model is a business person and a performer. Even something as simple as listening to a podcast or scrolling through a trade publication’s twitter feed, while you’re waiting for a face mask to dry, adds up. You’ll be amazed at how much there is to learn about different facets of the entertainment industry.


“All the successful models I know hustle for themselves”


Additionally, knowing a thing or ten about how the industry operates will give you the opportunity to weigh in on your own career path. After all, your agency is here to guide you, not control you. If you want to pursue a particular type of gig or brand, speak up for yourself and have those informed conversations with your agent.

  1. Know How to Deliver

BTS _modeling

Behind the scenes of Vogue Italia, Feb 2010

As stated above, recognizing your role in branding is part of the battle, but the more challenging part is actually working the gig and feeling as glamourous and as comfortable as the client wants you to look. There is no easy, quick fix to that problem; however there is a relatively simple solution: work on some different or new skills.


Take this as an example. When models come in for castings, they often get in front of the camera and do their first take. When the camera-man gives them some direction, they will typically freeze up and declare “Oh, I’m just a model” – they use that as a shield, or an excuse to avoid direction and risk taking.

improv class

Improv Class

Improv classes are a great way to start.


So, if you want to be a dependable, working model, you need to be able to deliver under a variety of circumstances. If you don’t have rhythm or don’t know how to move, take a few dance or movement classes. If acting in an audition gives you butterflies in your stomach, take an improv or a basic acting class. Even if they’re not your strongest suit, these types of skills can help you remain consistently employed throughout your career, or if you’re a hard worker, even longer.


“A model who can act is worth their weight in gold”


Still not convinced those movement or acting classes are worth it? Most editorial shoots and runways, on average pay less than half of what commercial work will pay. A model who can act is easily on any casting director’s shortlist. And if you’re a model who can move and act – you’re every client’s dream. You have to invest in yourself – by going to class, by trying something new, by learning different skills – in order to open doors for your career.


This could be you!

This could be you!

So what are you waiting for? Checkout some of our previous blog entries on performance classes and dive right in!

Written by Hannah Paquette, current Casting Intern at Mark Summers

Follow Mark Summers Casting and Management

Instagram: @marksummerscasting_mgt

Facebook: @MarkSummersCM

Twitter: @MSArtists



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