What You Need to Be a Model

Having what it takes to be a model is a lot more complicated than just being physically attractive. While it is important to posses some form of outward beauty, a lot of what you need to be a model comes from within. Modeling is a very rewarding job but it does require a certain work ethic. Not everyone has what it takes to pull of a successful modeling career. Some people are naturals and others just do not have what it takes. The following information contains some guidelines in terms of some of the physical attributes modeling agencies look for. You may be simply beautiful but unless you meet at least most of the following requirements, modeling may not be the best choice for you.

Height Requirements

Most modeling agencies look for women who are anywhere from 5’8 to 6’0. Men should be from 5’10 to 6’2. There are occasions in which these height requirements are deviated from depending on the situation. With that being said there have been successful models who have been significantly shorter or taller than the standard. It really depends on the person’s overall proportions and the look the agency is looking for. There may be times when a shorter model will be accepted if his/her body is proportioned in a way that makes him/her look tall and lithe. However, if you are 5’1, your chances of being a model are low to impossible.

Weight Requirements

For years there has been a massive amount of controversy surrounding the weight requirements for models. Girls who have shown interest in being models, who were already quite healthy, were told they should lose weight if they really wanted to be a successful model. Fortunately, those times have changed and there are many modeling companies who will not allow girls who are considered “too skinny” to get on the cat walk. Weight for models is calculated in BMI rather than pounds per height as it once was. There is no way to determine exactly what a person’s weight should be according to his/her height as people are built so differently. In addition, a person who has more muscle than fat will weight more but look thinner. A good rule of thumb is that anyone who has a total BMI of 17.5 our below is considered overweight. A good target for a model would be about 18.5 BMI.

The Camera Should Like You

There are some people who take better photographs than others. These people are called “photogenic” and can almost never take a bad picture. Then there are others who always look like they are half dead in their photographs. They appear to have huge black rings around their eyes and their noses seem much wider than they do in person. A model should be one from the first group and should always, with or without make-up, take great photos. This is not to say that even the best models will never have one bad shoot but for the most part the camera will emphasize their beauty rather than distort their features. Bones structure is a very important part of being photogenic.

Proper Facial Structure

Most modeling scouts look for people chiseled bone structure and high cheek bones; this is because the camera does tend to do wonders with these types of faces. An oval shaped face is ideal for modeling as it can take just about any hairstyle, short or long, bangs or all one length. This is important when a client is looking for a specific look and diversity is important. Faces that are symmetric are very important when it comes to taking good photos. While small flaws such as one eyebrow seeming to sit higher than the other can make a persons face look simply adorable in real life, there is not much room for this in front of the camera. A model should have evenly distributed facial features.

Body Proportion

Models should have long legs that can pull off any outfit, whether it be a micro mini skirt or a full length formal gown. The reason that models have such long legs in fact is because they are modeling clothing and everyone knows that certain clothes just do not look right on a woman who is short with short legs. A model must be able to wear anything presented to her, and wear it well. Keep in kind that we are not talking about your everyday woman, we are speaking specifically to models and what is required of them in order to be successful.


The stereotypical “diva” attitude that people often associate with super models does not really work all that well for models in the real world. A model must be willing to work very long hours with people they may or may not like. There is no room for bratty in the modeling world and if someone does have that attitude, the chances of that person being around for any length of time are slim. A good model must be able to follow instructions to a tee without continuously arguing with everything she is asked to do. No one has the time or inclination to baby sit a spoiled rotten model who complains about every little thing. A model should be ready and able to take on any challenge no matter how unpleasant it mat seem.

It is important for young girls to remember that not all of us can be models but that does not make us any less beautiful. Many models are gawky and plain looking when you meet them in person. It is possible to be drop dead gorgeous and still not have what it takes to be a model. For this reason, no one should ever feel discouraged if they do not possess the above mentioned attributes. There are a number of other professions such as acting, singing and dancing that can be equally as rewarding as modeling.


  1. "A good rule of thumb is that anyone who has a total BMI of 17.5 our below is considered overweight."

    I believe you meant to say,

    "A good rule of thumb is that anyone who has a total BMI of 17.5 our below is considered UNDERweight."

    You're welcome!

    -A friendly pedant

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