what do modeling agencies look for in a model

When beginning to seriously consider pursuing a modeling career, female models need to be aware of the prerequisites modeling agencies look for in potential talent. Ultimately, agencies have an idea of what they look for in a model based on the area of talent they promote. The height, measurement, and skill set requirements will differ drastically from a runway model compared to a lifestyle model.

For individuals just starting out in their modeling career, we’ve made a short “cheat sheet” for the general appearance and skill set requirements for some of the major branches of the modeling industry.

Promotional Modeling

The promotional niche of modeling consists of models advertising a product in person at a trade show or company event. Due to the live nature of the event, individuals are most likely to flourish in this industry if they are friendly, approachable, and comfortable discussing the product they’re promoting to customers in a professional manner. In regards to physical appearance, there are no requirements, although agencies do always look for attractive, clean faces.

Fashion Modeling- Runways and Editorials


Runway modeling is an intense and competitive branch of the fashion industry with strict expectations in regards to appearance and body shape. For runway models to even be considered by an agency, they must stand, preferably, 5’9 or taller, with a petite build. A striking facial structure is also sought, however overall success in the runway modeling depends on maintaining an excellent complexion, as well as a thin well-proportioned figure.


Editorial models photograph for extremely high end fashion designers and magazines to promote contemporary and edgy styles are currently in style. Models photographing for editorial work with names like Vogue and Glamour, setting the standard very high for top quality models in a similar height and build to a runway model. Unlike catwalk modeling, however, editorial modeling does not require the ability to strut down a slippery stage in heels- an excellent choice for ladies who love designer fashion but aren’t looking for the physical demands of the runway.

Commercial Print- Lifestyle, Corporate, and Swimwear Models

Lifestyle Models

A lifestyle model is an individual who models as a college student in an ad, or a father in a father’s day promotion. Essentially, a lifestyle model is an attractive generalization of the common stereotype their client is targeting. Lifestyle modeling does not have any set requirements, although agencies do look for well proportioned and attractive individuals who’s overall look matches the project’s targeted look.

Corporate Models

Corporate models pose for print advertisements in the theme of a business environment. It is common for models to pose as corporate professionals, doctors, teachers, or other career types in order to promote the company or product the ad is linked to. Models in this field also have no specific appearance requirements, however it is recommended that models attempting to enter this field have a clean, professional appearance.

Swimwear & Lingerie Modeling

The swimwear and lingerie niche in the commercial print industry is likely the most fierce aspect of this branch of modeling. Although there is no specific height or measurement requirements, swimwear and lingerie models are sought in a standard sized figure, with clear skin, and should always be extremely well groomed from head to tie.

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