Modelling – pay and conditions.

Modelling – pay and conditions

Very few models make it to the top echelons of the modelling world where the big money is made – as high fashion magazines and catwalk supermodels. What can you expect to earn in a career in modelling then? Read on to find out.

In reality, most models make a living as self-employed contractors, charging a fee for every assignment they work on. Often they’re registered with a modelling agency, which helps find work for them and takes a cut of their payment for each job as a fee. The average fee charged by most agencies is around one-fifth of what the model is paid.

Because modelling is essentially a freelance job, it doesn’t offer a great deal of job security and it can be difficult to remain constantly in work. The ideal situation would be to jump directly from one assignment to the next, but models often find themselves with gaps in their diaries. This is where a modelling agency can come in very handy. A professional and experienced agency will do a good job of promoting all of its models and searching for work for them. It can be a stressful and time-consuming task for a model trying to hunt for a job, especially if they’re not yet very familiar with the industry and don’t have many contacts in the field, and it also requires a great deal of self-confidence and good negotiation skills, so registering with an agency can relieve a lot of the pressure from what can already be a pressured job.

It’s crucial to check the terms and conditions of the agency’s contract before signing up, though, to understand exactly what they will charge and what the model will have to pay themselves. Models should expect to cover their own travel expenses for auditions and assignments. If they are successful in obtaining the assignment, they can claim back their expenses as part of their fee to the client. Models also normally have to pay for their own training, even if it’s organised by the agency. However, the agency may pay up front for the training and expect repayment at a later date once the model is established or completes their first assignment.

For almost every assignment, the client will hold auditions to find the model who’s right for them. This means that many models spend much of their time rushing from one audition to the next, often without success. It’s therefore important for models to take care of their body and image all the time, even when really busy, so that they look their best for prospective clients. This means creating a strict beauty regime and adhering to it religiously.

Models starting out can expect to earn as low as £50 per assignment and may need to supplement their income with other work. As they progress, modelling has the potential to earn them £100 to £500 or even £1,000 per assignment.

Career progression in modelling is based on experience of assignments, which helps the model to build up a varied portfolio as a sales pitch for potential clients and agencies as well as getting their name known. Experience also helps to build a network of contacts – it’s always easier to get work if you know the right people. As models become more experienced and more well known, they can command higher fees and more prestigious jobs.

Modelling is rarely a life-long career. As it’s based mainly on image, youth is important and many models find their careers starting to wane from as young as their mid 20s to early 30s. In fact, the prime age for female models is as young as 16 to 18. So, it helps to have a fall-back career for when the modelling work starts to dry up. Some young models get swept up in the glamour and excitement of their first few modelling assignments as teenagers and misguidedly let their education slip, leaving them with nothing to fall back on when their modelling days are over, which could be as young as their mid 20s. By this time it may be more difficult to recover their education and/or vocational training in order to change career.

In fact, for many models, their career in modelling is very short-lived as it takes a great deal of courage, commitment, stamina, self-confidence and resilience to cope with the highly pressured, extremely competitive, unpredictable and often critical environment. It’s essential to be mentally tough in order to deal with the rejection that models often face, and to cope with being frequently in and out of work. Many models become disillusioned with the industry and leave after only a few months.