How do I Become a Runway Model?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
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  • Last Modified Date: 16 August 2019
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There are many requirements to become a runway model, and even if people meet all of them, they may not find success. Modeling is a competitive business to enter, has a notoriously short career life, and it can depend upon fitting certain set industry standards that are outside of a person’s control. Nevertheless, those passionate about this career choice can follow a few tips that might help a model achieve success.

The first requirement to become a runway model is the one people may be able to influence the least. The standard runway model must meet a certain physical type. In height, women should be 5’7” (1.7 m) or taller, and taller is typically preferred. Men usually need to be at least 6’0” (1.83 m).

Weight may vary slightly, and could be calculated by clothing size. Women usually need to wear a size 2 or less, and men should be evenly proportioned with a well-built, but not overbuilt, physique. Plus-size models usually are a women’s size 12 or 14 at most, while meeting the height requirements.

Some other requirements to become a runway model that have to do with appearance include clear skin, good teeth, and regular facial features. Some of the best models in this industry do have small idiosyncrasies in facial appearances like a large nose or a large forehead. Such differences may or may not be useful in a career.


To become a runway model, models need to have some sense of how to walk in different ways. Some people learn this on the job and other people head to modeling or acting schools.

Any school attached to a modeling agency may represent one of the many modeling scams that exist. Schools should not have this affiliation with representation promised after a person spends huge amounts of money attending it. Instead, it may be wise to ask local agents what modeling schools they recommend. It’s a good idea to take classes that also teach print modeling skills.

After attending school to become a runway model, people will need to secure representation from an agent. This is usually the most reliable method to obtain work. Models will need headshots to secure an agent, and they may need a “book” of photographs to show to those who are casting for runway shows. It can be difficult obtaining an agent, and it may take some time to accomplish this. People may be best off looking for agents in urban areas that are known as fashion centers.

A model should be professional and flexible the first few runway shows she books. Getting a reputation for being adaptable is exceptionally important, as it may influence how much work a person gets in the future. It’s equally important to perform the actual job with skill so that designers or clothing manufacturers are eager to offer other opportunities for employment.


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Post 4

@clintflint - Just be very careful you aren't going to end up falling for modeling scams. Photographers in particular tend to lure young, impressionable people into these, promising them prints for their portfolio and then taking advantage either sexually or financially.

In particular, make sure you know all the legalese surrounding what photos they are taking of you and are comfortable with any poses and so forth. There have been plenty of cases where a young model thought they were posing for photos that would never see the light of day, which then resurfaced in ways they didn't expect.

And I'm not just talking about nude photos. An aspiring fashion model isn't exactly going to be pleased if a photo of her was used in advertising an STD campaign but that could happen if she signs away all the rights to an image.

Post 3

@irontoenail - Alternatively you can just go straight into the agency and give them a portfolio. If you know any photographers they will know how to take the kinds of photos that you need for a proper portfolio and being able to present one of those that fit industry standard is what the agencies will look for initially.

If you can put together a good portfolio and you have the kind of looks they are going for, then you should be able to sign up. That doesn't guarantee that you will continue to get gigs or anything, but at that point it's up to you.

Post 2

One way to try and get into modelling is to take a course in it, as long as that course is actually attached to an agency or otherwise involved in the industry. My sister did a modelling course and picked up several gigs from it, but she didn't really like it and didn't want a modeling career so she never pursued anything after that.

It's not like she was instantly discovered or anything, but you definitely get the chance to network and pick up tips at a good course and they will prepare you so that you can be professional when you do have a job. First impressions are very important because they influence how often you get called back.

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