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Complete Guide to Mature Modelling

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Mature models can be seen pretty much everywhere in advertising yet for some reason, many younger models assume that once you get to a ‘certain age’ your career in front of the camera is finished.

But as you may have guessed by now, we’re here to tell you that this isn’t the case at all. In fact, mature models are very much in demand and the work they do is just as exciting and rewarding as that of a younger model.

So whether you’re a model who is reaching their ‘golden years’ or you’re simply an older adult who might just give this while mature modelling thing a whirl, this is the guide for you. Here at Hunter Talent, we’re firm believers in living out your dream; after all, it’s what we help our talents do each and every day. And because we’re starting to see an increase in demand for older models in recent years, we thought it was about time that there was a free online resource that would help anyone and everyone who wants to become a mature model get off to the best possible start. That’s why we created this guide.

 

In it you’ll find pretty much everything you need to know about the mature modelling industry and what it takes to become a mature model. We’ve even included a few tips from successful mature models that we have worked with in the past and some pointers on how to prepare for your first mature modelling assignment. But before we get started, we’ll just let you know that tired ‘old age’ related puns are banned here at Hunter Talent. For us, age is just a number — it sounds cheesy and a little cliche, but it’s the truth. No matter how old you are, we believe that if you have the hunger to succeed as a mature model, there is nothing stopping you from doing so, and yes, we’re also talking about older male models too.

What is a mature model?

Let’s start off with the basics and it’s a simple definition that you probably think you already know, but we’re guessing that unless you work in the business, you probably don’t know what a mature model actually is.

If you guessed that it’s anyone with grey hair or over the age of 50 then you’re way off the mark. There’s a little confusion about this within the industry itself, but generally speaking, a mature model is someone who is over the age of 40. But believe it or not, some agencies and clients will actually consider anyone aged 30 or older a mature model. Sounds a bit crazy, right? But modelling is predominantly a young person’s industry with many of the world’s top models hitting the peak of their stardom in their mid to late teens.

So let’s just say that if you’re 35-ish or older, you’ll be considered a mature model.

Can anyone be a mature model?

Once you’ve crossed that age threshold then yes, anyone can be a mature model. But, of course, there’s a little more to it than that.

Anyone who has genuine dreams of working as a mature model must have the will to back that up. What we mean by that is that you will need to work hard in order to succeed. That could mean attending quite a few casting calls, spending time working on your skills, and being extremely patient!

So what about your essential stats?

Well, there are some physical requirements for the majority of modelling jobs that include height and weight ranges. However, generally speaking, these requirements aren’t set in stone for mature models. This is because more often than not, mature modelling assignments are looking for older models that look like an average middle-aged (or mature) person.

That said, some mature modelling briefs such as those for runway modelling jobs may have height and weight ranges such as the following:

Female models – 5’8” or taller weighing around 59kg or less

Male models – 6’ or taller weighing around 77kg or less

However, as noted earlier, if you’re outside those ranges you can still try your hand at mature modelling. This is particularly true of older mature models that may be over 60 years of age or those who are considered plus size.

Is mature modelling easy?

Now, before we go any further we just have to get one thing straight — modelling is not an easy job. Regardless of whether it’s hand modelling, runway modelling or mature modelling, it’s hard work and requires a lot of energy.

In some cases, you may have a mature modelling assignment that doesn’t require too much physical movement. But even so, these jobs require a fair amount of time either in a studio or shooting on location. And that’s before we get into the travel requirements and the time you spend at home picking up new modelling skills and brushing up on existing ones.

There’s also the fact that at times you may feel a bit downtrodden and disillusioned. That’s because you will most certainly need to deal with rejection on a regular basis. And when you don’t make the cut for five modelling assignments on the trot, it can be tough to accept. But here’s the thing — rejection is part and parcel of the modelling industry. Even the most famous mature models you can think of will get knocked back when their agency puts them forward for a job. It’s just the way it is and there’s nothing you can do about it but to accept that it happens.

What skills do mature models need?

Looking comfortable in front of the camera and knowing how to smile will only get you so far, but they are a major plus it has to be said. Even so, you will need to master a few more skills if you’re going to make it in the industry. Trust us, if you can’t pick up these skills, working in front of the camera is going to be tough.

 

Mature model poses

If you look at any mature model’s portfolio you’ll see that they have a certain pose that they always bust out. But they’ll also have a whole lot more in their locker besides. As a mature model, you’ll be expected to know how to strike a few poses without the need for the photographer to give you too much direction. This is because no client wants to see the same facial expression in every single shot. This is particularly true if you’re doing a catalogue shoot in multiple outfits. People will start to notice if you have the exact same smile and head tilt in every single image.

So try to create a few different poses. It doesn’t matter if they’re pretty much the same as another model’s poses once they suit your face and body. If you can figure out three or four, you’ll need to practise them every single day until dropping into a pose is effortless. It may even be a good idea to number or name your poses so they are a bit easier for you to remember.

Mature modelling walk

You may never need to use it but just in case you are ever asked to do a runway show, it pays to know how to walk like a model. And we mean really walk like one. Of course, for some mature models, mobility may be a factor and in those cases, no one will expect anything unreasonable of you. Models of advanced years tend to be asked to do more sedentary modelling assignments so if you fall into this category of mature model, please don’t worry about this skill.

For everyone else, you’ll need to learn to walk like you have a little attitude. The best way to learn how to do this is to either take some modelling classes or jump onto YouTube and start mimicking other mature models as they walk on the runway. It’s a good idea to try out your new skill in front of a full length mirror but we think that recording is an even better way to perfect your model stride.

Patience is a virtue

Yep, patience truly is a virtue when it comes to mature modelling. This is because you will spend a great deal of time waiting for your chance to come along. Modelling is a waiting game and success never happens overnight. In fact, we have known mature models who have had to wait for months before getting their first opportunity in front of the camera. And like rejection, that’s just normal.

But that’s not all. When you start working with clients, you will also need to learn the art of being patient when at work. Makeup, hair, changing outfits, setting up the shoot — it all takes time and you may find yourself waiting around more than you’re actually working. You may also be asked to do things again and again as the photographer or client tries out new angles and approaches for the shoot.

We really can’t stress enough the importance of being patient on set. A photographer or client may not notice this but they will certainly notice if you lose your cool because you’re getting impatient. That’s not a good look and will see you miss out on future opportunities with both the client and the photographer.

A friendly manner

Working as a mature model or any model for that matter means that you will meet a lot of people. And more often than not, you’ll need to work with those people. This means that you need to be a team player and have some great people skills first of which is to have a friendly and approachable manner.

We’ve lost count of the number of stories we’ve heard of models who stopped getting work because they were difficult to work with. In those cases, ‘difficult’ could mean anything from being too quiet and withdrawn to being outright rude to those they were working with. Either way, those ‘difficult’ models rarely make it past a certain career threshold.

So if you want to succeed as a mature model, we advise you to be approachable and friendly with everyone you meet. This doesn’t mean that you need to change who you are, it simply means that you should talk to people when they talk to you and treat everyone with respect. We know that this doesn’t sound much like a skill but more like simple politeness, but it’s very important for your continued success so it’s best if we highlight it from the outset.

How much do mature models get paid?

A mature model who is starting out in the industry will be paid the standard going rate for modelling work. This can vary so we won’t give you an exact hourly rate, but we will say that a day’s work could see you earn anywhere from $350 to $600. That’s not bad for a model who is starting out, but you need to realise that you will not be making this every single day. Even successful models don’t always work right through the week so we wouldn’t give up the day job or your part-time gig until regular assignments start to come in.

Once you make a name for yourself and clients start to ask for you by name or based on your reputation, that’s when your agency can start thinking about raising those rates. At this point you could be setting thousand-dollar rates for a day’s work which sounds great, right?

Just remember that it will take hard work and a lot of patience to get to that point.

A mature model’s tips for career success

The team at Hunter Talent has spent quite a bit of time working with mature models and we’ve noted that those who enjoy success generally take the following steps in their career.

Be professional

Mature modelling is a job like any other and that means that you need to treat it like one. You should always be early to every job, always be respectful to those around you, and realise that everything you do reflects on you and your agency. Mature models that take a professional approach to their careers are invariably the ones who succeed.

Ignore the chatter

Haters gonna hate. No matter how great you look in your shots or how well you act in a TV commercial, you’ll always have people that have something negative to say. If you start to pay too much attention to that kind of chatter, you will lose confidence and it will affect your skills and ability to do your job. The really successful models learn very quickly to completely ignore this kind of talk and focus instead on what the client and photographer have to say about their work. After all, they’re the ones that truly matter, right?

Keep studying

Skills pay the bills, but that only works if you keep on top of those skills. There’s no point in learning how to pose in a certain way and then not practising it at all. Do this and you’ll just forget how to do it in no time. While it may feel silly at first, you really need to keep practising any skills that you pick up either in front of the mirror or by recording and watching yourself.

Take good care of your health

Sunscreen and keeping fit — two of the most important things for any Australian. Your skin is incredibly strong but weirdly weak when it comes to the sun so we suggest that you cover up as much as possible when out and about. But this isn’t just about your skin health. Clients will expect you to look the same as you do in your headshots, so try to get your regular exercise in every day so you can maintain your figure or weight. That doesn’t mean that you need to be super fit or thin, it just means that you should try to remain around the same size.

Follow a healthy diet

And speaking of staying healthy, one of the best ways to do so is to follow a healthy diet plan. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and get all of your required vitamins and minerals for each day. Not only will this have a positive effect on your overall health but it will give you all that energy you need to work on tough modelling assignments.

Get to know people

There was a time when the modelling industry was a ‘who you know’ type of world. Thankfully, this has changed, but there is still a lot to be said for getting to know people. That means that you should start networking as soon as you possibly can by speaking with everyone you work with and even with other models. You never know what a chance encounter might result in at some point in the future.

How to get started as a mature model

Find an agency that represents mature models

This is your first step and possibly the most important as it’s your agency that will work hard to promote you throughout your career. Signing with an agency will also expose you to its network of industry professionals and contacts. Believe it or not, this is hugely important as quite often, casting directors, photographers, and clients will come directly to their favourite mature modelling agency when they have open assignments.

Just remember that while it’s a good idea to sign with an agency that has experience working with mature models, you don’t necessarily have to sign with one that exclusively represents mature models. Most modelling agencies will have this experience so it won’t be too hard to find a few to check out. But as we have said before, it’s all about finding the right agency.

Some agencies might take on a lot of models and take a ‘catch-all’ type approach to their business while others might be a bit more selective. It’s up to you to decide which approach best suits you. In our opinion, the latter is a better option as an agency that is selective is much more likely to work super hard to promote you. Kinda like what we do here at Hunter Talent 🙂

You should also be aware that some agencies are just in it for the money. And by that we mean your membership fees. They will try to sign you up without a face-to-face meeting or video call just so they can collect your fees. These are certainly ones to avoid as clients aren’t too keen to work with this type of agency.

Create a mature modelling portfolio

One of the first things that your agency will help you out with is creating your mature modelling portfolio. This is a collection of 5-6 images that showcase your talents and potential. It’s a super important piece of kit that all mature models must have.

Your agency should be able to direct you to an experienced photographer who has a modelling portfolio service. This is crucial as clients will expect to see professionally shot photos so they know what you look like in a studio setting. So no self-portraits or shots taken by your friend who is really good with a smartphone — that just won’t fly.

Stay healthy both mentally and physically

We’ve already reminded you about your physical health so we won’t bang that drum again. However, we will remind you that it’s just as important to take care of your mental health too. Remember what we said about rejection and negative chatter? No matter how thick skinned you may be, they can have a detrimental effect on your mental health. So it’s important to give yourself plenty of credit for staying the course and remind yourself from time to time that you can and will succeed. We can’t guarantee you success, but we can guarantee that if you stay positive, it will have a huge impact on your career.

How to prepare for your first mature model shoot

The day will come and when it does you’ll be excited but probably a bit nervous too. That’s okay, because this is your first assignment after all and we know experienced mature models who still get the jitters before every job!

With this in mind, here are a few tips to help you prepare in the best possible way.

Stick to your normal routine

Whatever your normal everyday routine is, we suggest that you stick to it in the days leading up to your modelling assignment. Unless, that is, bungee jumping is your everyday routine. Then we’d suggest you take it down just a notch or two. What we’re saying here is that there is no point in risking an injury in the days before your shoot. Something like an ankle sprain could mean you need to cancel and that’s the last thing you want to do.

Don’t change your diet

And by that we mean don’t introduce anything out of the ordinary into your diet. Forget trying a new curry recipe or even a new type of ice cream. Instead stick to what you eat each and every day. At least this way you’ll know that you won’t have any tummy trouble during the shoot.

Make a plan

You may know your city like the back of your hand, but do you know where you can park by the photo studio? Do you know the train times for getting there on time? Probably not so it’s a good idea to check out your route and make a plan. Make sure that you get your details and confirm that they are correct with your agency. We also recommend leaving at least 15-20 minutes earlier than you think you need to just in case of any delays along the way.

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