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Complete Guide to Male Modelling

Interested in becoming a male model? This in-depth guide gives you the complete lowdown on male modelling including some tips on getting started in the industry.

While fashion modeling often conjures images of female models, the male modeling sector is thriving with demand for diverse men in print campaigns and commercials. If you’ve hesitated to pursue male modeling due to doubts about opportunities or confidence, Hunter Talent encourages giving it a shot. This guide aims to demystify male modeling by covering requirements, assignments, compensation, and insider tips from successful models. Forget the stereotypes—real insights into male modeling await anyone ready to explore this dynamic industry.

What is a male model?

In this industry we’ve learned that there are no silly questions so yes, we’re going to answer this one. A male model is a man who is hired by brands, companies, and designers to model or promote a product or service through print ad campaigns or TV commercials. Generally speaking, clients will hire men for male modelling roles, but as the industry embraces diversity, it’s not uncommon for non-binary people or those who identify as men to land modelling assignments that are defined as jobs for male models.

A male model will do pretty much everything that a female model will do although assignments may be slightly different, but more on that later.

Can anyone be a male model?

Like we said earlier, Hunter Talent is all about the dream, so yes, anyone can be a male model. This is particularly true in recent years as the fashion and entertainment industries have embraced diversity and moved somewhat away from the typical image of a male model. For example, older male models are much more in vogue now than ever before.

That said, male models who want to work in runway modelling will most likely need to fall within a certain height and weight range. This is simply because runway modelling tends to focus on the classic model figure as it is easier to make clothes for a runway show that will fit multiple models and will require minimal adjustments and alterations on the day of the show. In the past, these requirements extended into all forms of male modelling, and that’s why there tends to be more opportunities for models who fit into that category.

Those general requirements for a male model are

  • Height – 6’ or taller
  • Weight – 77kg or less
  • Waist – 32” or smaller


We really must point out though that these physical requirements are very general and not falling within these ranges usually just means that you may not get any runway opportunities. We know many male models who are smaller or larger and who have forged a successful career.

For example, you could be a plus size model which means that your waist is 34” or greater. What we’re saying here is that anyone, regardless of shape or size should feel comfortable trying out for male modelling gigs.

Is male modelling easy?

This is a very common question and most people who ask it are usually of the impression that modelling is a walk in the park. After all, it’s just smiling for the cameras, right? Here’s the thing, if male modelling was really that easy then why hasn’t everyone had a go at it? The truth is that all forms of modelling are pretty tough going. For example, if you’re a fitness model, then you’ll spend a lot of time maintaining your physique and that’s not even counting the actual work of modelling.

Look, we don’t want to scare you, but let’s be honest — male modelling is hard work. A typical shoot could see you in the studio or shooting on location for an entire day and as the model, you and the photographer will likely be the two people that are working non-stop throughout the shoot. You’ll also have to factor in any time spent travelling to and from the job. Then there’s the time you’ll spend at home practising your skills or learning new ones to improve your chances of booking work.

But one of the hardest aspects of male modelling and modelling in general is the fact that you will face tons of rejection in your career. And that’s just as true for successful models as it is for those starting out. If you think about it, it makes absolute sense. If fifty or sixty male models are up for an assignment, 99% of them are going to be left disappointed. But that’s perfectly okay as it’s just part of the industry and something you have to get used to. For most male models starting out, this can be one of the toughest obstacles to overcome, but trust us, it happens to everyone.

What skills do male models need?

If you think it’s just smiling and walking then you’re in for a shock. Do you know how many different ways there are to walk down a runway or how many emotions you can express with just a subtle change in your facial expression? Let’s just say there’s a whole lot you’ll need to learn before you can even think about booking work regularly.

Here are some of the most common skills that every male model must have in his repertoire.

Strike a pose

Successful models like David Gandy and Tyson Beckford excel because they master a variety of poses that suit different campaigns, not just because of their signature looks. These poses, a result of daily practice, enable them to adapt quickly during shoots, aiding photographers by requiring minimal direction. To enhance your modeling skills, study the poses of these professionals, emulate them, and consider naming or numbering them for easy recall. Practice these poses daily for 10-15 minutes to become versatile and in-demand for a range of shoots.

Walk the walk

Mastering the model walk is essential, even if you’re not initially interested in runway modeling. Being adept at the walk can open doors to live events or fashion shows if a client from a print campaign wants you for other roles. Start by watching tutorials of famous male models on YouTube. Practicing may feel awkward initially, but it’s a critical skill. Recording and reviewing your walk can help identify and correct any issues, such as slouching or awkward strides. This practice not only improves your walk but also boosts confidence and reduces self-consciousness, valuable traits for any modeling work.

Just a little patience

Patience is crucial for male models for two main reasons. Firstly, securing assignments often takes time, requiring perseverance and continual skill refinement. Secondly, modeling shoots can range from slow and tedious to extremely busy, involving long waits or repetitive tasks. Whether waiting for setups, repeating actions for the perfect shot, or undergoing frequent outfit and makeup changes, maintaining patience is vital. An impatient model can leave a negative impression, underscoring the importance of understanding and adapting to the varied pace of modeling work.

Industry knowhow

Okay, so this isn’t necessarily a must have skill, but it is something that will impress and show a client or photographer that you’re serious about your craft. So what do we mean by industry knowhow? We’re talking modelling trends, fashion lingo, and general stuff about poses for certain niches. Like we said, this is not an essential skill, but having this type of knowledge also makes it easier for the photographer or client to explain things to you while you can also offer some input if you have any. And as you may have guessed, any male model who is easy to work with stands a better chance of booking more work. We’re sounding like a broken record here!

Good people skills

Success in photo shoots and fashion shows hinges on effective teamwork, involving interaction with hair and makeup artists, photographers, wardrobe staff, other models, and possibly clients. Demonstrating excellent people skills and being a good team player are critical for fostering positive relationships and increasing the likelihood of future bookings with the same team. Being courteous and professional with everyone, not just the photographer and client, is essential. Additionally, for live events like exhibitions, the ability to engage with attendees and knowledgeably discuss products or services, or direct queries appropriately, showcases the importance of good communication and people skills in the modeling industry.

Male model work and assignments

Fashion, catalogues, TV commercials — if there’s one thing we can say with certainty about a male model’s working life it’s that it’s certainly varied. As a male model you can expect to be hired for all kinds of assignments from the mundane to the bizarre. You could be doing a catalogue shoot for menswear one day and do a shoot for a hotel brochure the next. As with all other types of modelling, no two days are ever the same.

 

We’ve had male models who have worked on everything from health services to DIY products. To be perfectly honest, the word varied doesn’t even cover it. And that’s what makes it such an interesting career.

 

Then there are the live events such as exhibitions and fashion shows. These can be a lot of fun and are often great opportunities to network and build relationships with people within the industry.

How much do male models get paid?

Male models get paid the same rates as female models. In other words, the industry standard rates. These rates are a benchmark for model pay and the minimum that your agency should accept for an assignment. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get paid more. This is why it’s difficult to pin down exactly how much you can expect to earn during your time as a male model.

Bigger clients will often pay higher rates for models who will appear in national or international campaigns while smaller companies may pay the basic rate for a quick catalogue shoot. There’s also the possibility that when you make a name for yourself, you can negotiate higher rates — fingers crossed.

Generally speaking, a new male model can expect to earn $350 to $600 for their first assignments. But remember that you won’t make this kind of money every day. Like we said earlier, you’ll need to be patient as the jobs certainly won’t come rolling in at the outset.

It’s also worth remembering that you only get out of modelling what you put into it. That means that the harder you work and the more you practise your modelling skills, the more chance you have of booking work at higher rates.

A male model’s tips for career success

We’ve spent quite a lot of time working with male models here at Hunter Talent and so we asked them for a few tips on working in the industry. Here’s their advice for career success.

Treat modelling like any job

Modelling is a career choice and even if you don’t plan to do it full time, you should always treat it like any other job that you take on. What this means is that you treat those who work within the industry with the respect they deserve, take your responsibilities seriously, and always show up for a job on time. This attitude of professionalism reflects well on you and is actually a great way to keep yourself motivated.

Study all the skills

Remember all those skills we mentioned earlier? Well, you’ll want to learn them all and then learn them again. And keep learning them and relearning them no matter how successful in your career you become. One thing that can ruin a promising career is complacency and the advice of most male models is that thinking you know it all is a surefire way to limit your chances of success.

Don’t listen to the haters

People will always comment on how you look or what you have done or even your poses, that’s just part of being in the limelight. However, it’s important that you learn to tune those comments out especially if they are negative in any way at all. Male modelling is often thought of in a negative light and some people won’t take your career choice seriously. They may even laugh about it, but once again, it’s vital that you focus on yourself and not what others are saying about you. They may even be jealous of your success!

Always wear sunscreen

Baz Luhrmann knew what he was talking about when he said that you should ‘always wear sunscreen.’

As a male model, this is doubly important. Your skin health must be on point and in Australia, that’s only possible if you protect yourself from the sun. Even on an overcast day, we suggest covering yourself up and so your skin is protected at all times.

Cut out the junk

It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise regime you have, if you’re not eating healthy, it’s all for nothing. This means that no matter how much you love those doughnuts, it’s time to cut them out and start eating properly. Of course, you can have a treat every now and then, but for the most part it should be fresh fruit and veggies, along with the right kind of carbs. We won’t get into it too much here, but the right diet will have a major impact on your energy levels and that is hella good for your modelling career.

Get networking

Modelling is no longer about who you know but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t help to have a few good relationships with industry people. If nothing else, it puts you on first name terms with a photographer and means that shoots are less awkward to get started. Of course, it’s not just about photographers. You should also connect with other industry people including other models too. You never know where a connection with someone might bring you.

How to get started as a male model

This introduction will guide aspiring male models through the essential steps to kickstart their modeling journey, from building a professional presence to navigating the complexities of the modeling world.

Sign up with an agency

Securing an agency is a crucial first step for aspiring models, as it opens doors to opportunities not always available to those who self-represent. Agencies have direct access to casting calls and clients, making them indispensable. However, choose an agency that aligns with your goals, offers support, and possibly resources like guides. Be cautious of agencies too eager to sign you without a personal meeting, as they may prioritize fees over your career development. Doing your research to find an agency that genuinely invests in your success is essential.

Build your portfolio

Creating a portfolio without work experience may seem daunting, but it’s manageable by hiring a professional photographer for 5-6 shots showcasing various poses. A professional portfolio is crucial for making a strong impression on clients, demonstrating your potential for assignments. Opt for a photographer experienced in portfolio work, often recommended by your agency, to ensure quality that meets industry expectations. This initial investment is key to opening doors in the modeling world.

Look after yourself

And by that we mean both physically and mentally. Like we said earlier, eating healthy and looking after your skin should be a priority but so too should getting enough sleep and relaxing. It’s important that you work hard, but remember that it’s also important not to burn yourself out by pushing yourself too much. Think about your daily regime and try to incorporate plenty of relaxation time along with yo9ur daily exercise. That in itself will do wonders for your mental health and energise you for work.

Keep practising

We keep banging on about those skills but they really are that important. So keep on top of them and look out for anything new that you have yet to learn about being a male model. Continuous practice will also improve your self-confidence and help alleviate any stress you might feel about working on a shoot.

How to prepare for a male model shoot

It’s here at last. You’ve been patient, taken care of yourself, and practised all those skills and your first paid assignment is just around the corner. But once the excitement dies down, the nerves start to kick in and all these doubts cloud your mind. Don’t worry, it’s absolutely normal to feel this way. Don’t stress over it though, once you follow these simple tips, your first male modelling job should go off without a hitch.

Don’t do anything out of the ordinary

Go karting with friends, rock climbing with your brother, or that lion-taming course voucher you were given for your birthday last year — forget them all. In the run up to your modelling assignment, you should stick to your regular routine. The last thing you want is to injure yourself and have to pull out of your shoot.

Eat normal food

Same advice goes for food. Don’t experiment with a new chilli the night before your shoot. Unusual foods could play havoc on your digestion and you really don’t want gas or unexpected toilet breaks during your shoot. We’d also say the same for drinks too, especially alcohol which you really should give a miss before the shoot anyway.

Plan your route

Sounds silly but knowing how to get to the shoot well in advance is just plain common sense. You’ll need to check for parking or public transport access as you may end up having to add another ten minutes to your journey after you park your car or get off the bus or train. Time is money on a shoot and you don’t want to be the cause of any delays.

Work on those modelling skills

Our last tip for getting started is to start working on those modelling skills and to keep it up for as long as you can. It’s a good idea to set yourself a daily practice routine that you can fit into your schedule. For example, work on poses and your walk for 15-20 minutes each and every morning. Once you get used to it, this will become just another thing that you do in the morning but it will have an incredibly positive impact on your fashion modelling career.

Join Us

That’s all there is to know about male modelling for now. As your career progresses, you’ll pick up a few more tips and perhaps even figure out a few tricks of the trade yourself. For now though, following the tips in this guide will get you started on the front foot. Just remember that patience in this industry is key.

 

If you’re interested in becoming a male model and you’re looking for professional representation, then why not give us a shout here at Hunter Talent. We’d be more than happy to have a chat with you to see if we’re a good fit for each other. Even if you opt to sign with another agency, we genuinely hope that the advice in this guide helps you along your way.

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