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What Is The Definition Of Being A Model?

Before you can jumpstart your career as a model, you need to understand exactly what a model is. There are a couple of different ways we can define the term model, so let’s look more closely at each. A model is defined as:

  1. One who is employed to display clothes or other merchandise

  2. A person or thing that serves as a pattern for an artist

  3. To display by wearing, using, or posing with

We could go on here with various definitions of the model, but for our purposes, these three definitions are the most relevant. To sum it up, as a noun, a model is a person who is employed to display, wear, or pose with merchandise (i.e. most commonly clothing).

This can be done in various ways and settings, making the definition of a model open to interpretation. We’ll cover the different types of models in depth down below, but in general, models can display clothing on a runway, they can be photographed for magazines, can be used in advertising campaigns, and can even be used by artists who need a model for a piece of art they are working on. With this in mind, the form, figure, and appearance of a model is the most important factor used when obtaining jobs, which is one of the reasons why this job can be so tough mentally.

Model Meaning While modeling often gets glamorized in the media, when we actually sit down and take a look at what it means to be a model and all that goes into building a modeling career, it becomes clear that the meaning of modeling is quite complex and in-depth. Let’s review.

Modeling requires thick skin/an ability to handle criticism

We already alluded to this, but when you become a model, you need to have thick skin. While the days of handing over your body to a modeling agency are looked down upon, no matter how accepting and body-positive your agency might be, as a model, you will always be using your body and your likeness in some form, whether it be to display clothing, walk down a runway, or sell a new line of swimwear. If you can’t handle criticism or you’re not confident with your figure, it might be best to stay away from modeling. You might find that people look past you or only see your figure without actually paying attention to how you feel or what you think. While we don’t condemn behavior like this, there’s no denying that this often becomes commonplace in the modeling industry. Remember that definition of model: employed to display, pose, or use the merchandise. It doesn’t sound great, but as a model, you almost become an object within a scene, which can be difficult to wrap your head around, especially if you struggle with confidence and body image. Before deciding to become a model, be sure that it is something you think you can handle emotionally and mentally.

Modeling requires focus and stamina

Modeling can also be physically demanding. Sure, modeling might seem as simple as walking down a runway or posing for a couple of pictures, but in reality, modeling requires a great deal of focus and stamina. Long days on your feet, repeating poses over and over again, and an ability to look at ease and comfortable even when you’re exhausted and frustrated are just some of the more draining tasks you’ll have to endure as a model. Not to mention, in many instances, models not only need to go through the actual modeling portion of the job but there’s also often hair and makeup associated with each job. Getting your hair and makeup done might seem exciting now, but after multiple photoshoots and long days, it can become mundane. Depending on the kind of modeling or the location of the job it may also be physically demanding to be posing in a challenging environment (like long hours under the hot sun, or in a cold, snowy tundra) or to hike into a remote location. Don’t be fooled, modeling requires some serious stamina to get through the long days.

Modeling requires an ability to follow direction

While modeling can provide some level of creative freedom, for the most part, you will be following the creative direction of someone else. Whether it be a photographer, a runway director, or an artist, as a model, you’ve been hired to “model” something, which means taking direction to achieve the final vision. As a model, you know your body and you can offer your creative input, try different poses, and work closely with the directors and photographers, but at the end of the day, modeling requires you to give over creative direction to your employer. As a model, you not only need to be okay with this, but you also need to follow directions with ease. Complaining, arguing, and being difficult to work with won’t get you very far as an aspiring model.

Modeling requires a personal grooming regimen

As mentioned, the modeling industry has made great strides to becoming more accepting and inclusive, but at the end of the day, as a model, taking care of your appearance is important, especially if you’ve been hired for your particular look or your figure. Of course, this never gives anyone permission to make you feel poorly about yourself, but if you’re neglecting your personal care regime, finding work as a model might be more complex. A personal care regime might include skincare, exercise, hair care, and even things as simple as nail care if you’re working as a hand model.


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