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Physical requirements for modelling

Modelling Advice JobsModelling is all about the face and body, and there are rules of thumb when it comes to what sort of shapes and sizes will be suitable for modelling.

Keep in mind that there are lots of different types of models, and if you want to be one, you must be open minded, flexible and realistic about what type of modelling you might be suited to. The vast majority of people will not have the strict requirements required for a catwalk model in Paris or Milan, but that is only a tiny fraction of the modelling work available.

What height is required for modelling?

As you might expect, taller is better. The minimum requirement for top fashion models is usually 5’8”, and supermodels are often 6’ of taller. This may seem unfair, but the reason for this is that taller bodies tend to display clothes better than shorter ones.

What body type does the modelling industry prefer?

Models need to be slim in order to make the clothes look good, but that does not mean skeletal. How slim depends on the kind of modelling – catwalk models (who are also very tall) are usually thinner in comparison to their height than catalogue models, who need to look more natural.

For adult female models, small breasts are usually preferred, unless the type of modelling specifically requires as larger bust.

For some time, ultra-skinny, gaunt models could be seen walking the catwalk, some little more than skeletons, but attitudes seem to be changing. ‘The skinnier, the better’ is no longer an acceptable mantra, following the high levels of extreme dieting, bulimia and anorexia that were dangering the health of models across the world.

In 2006 Spain led the way by banning overly skinny models from the catwalk, and in 2012 Isreali lawmakers followed. And in May this year Vogue declared it would no longer allow skinny and / or underage models.

Hopefully this is a sign that the tide is turning, and beautiful will no longer need to be synonymous with skinny.

Models age range

Obviously there are opportunities for models of pretty much any age, from babies to senior citizens, but the vast majority of fashion models tend to be aged 12 – 22. High fashion will not use models under 16 years old, but it’s a good idea to have some teen work under your belt by then if you are aiming for the big time.

Model hair and skin

It’s hard to emphasise enough, how important hair and skin are to a model. The most beautiful, tall and slender woman will not be a model if her hair and skin are not up to scratch – and the same for male models!

Hair should be strong, shiny and not too long. Skin should be flawless and even in tone. There is no preferred skin colour of type of hair, only that they are healthy.