How to Become a Runway Model

Most of us in the industry have watched a handful of runway shows. Watching the models grace the catwalk with poise and elegance can be mesmerizing. On this age we will help give you the low down on how to become a runway model, the best ways to break into the industry, and other typical requirements and best practices for up and coming runway models.

What is Runway Modeling?

First off this is someone who models clothing and accessories, typically while walking down a runway or catwalk in front of fashion processionals.

This is quite different from commercial and editorial models in that the model to these live audiences, often working with specific designers, brands and apparel companies.

What is the best way to get into runway modeling?

People ask us on the regular how to get into runway modeling.

Have a phenomenal photo portfolio! Studio1 Modeling Photography can help make sure you have put your best foot forward with a physical and/or online portfolio of your best modeling photos. Ensure you have high resolution photos (600DPI or more), headshots, full body shots, show your personal stats such as height, weight, ethnicity, coloring, body measurements and professional summary.

• While many extremely high fashion, high end brand runway models are typically very tall and thin, this is not the case anymore for most of the mainstream fashion houses.

Make sure you know how to walk down the runway. Strut your stuff, give yourself a whirl and a twirl at the end of the catwalk. Take time practicing how you will walk down the runway before going to auditions and casting calls. Watch YouTube videos and practice in front of friends and family.

Be sure you keep up with your appearance – this means hair, skin, nails and teeth always on point. This can be what makes or breaks you getting that audition.

Start attending casting calls. Look at sites such as Backstage, as around, post on social media that you are available for bookings. Always make the best impression you can, no gig is too large or too small.

Eventually you will want to find proper representation. Modeling agencies can be find on Yelp, The Better Business Bureau, and more – always do your research. Once you are happy with a modeling agency, be sure to follow their guidelines on how to submit your application.

What are the requirements to become a runway model?

While there are no official requirements, there are a few best practices we can suggest.

Always be willing to work with others as a team player. No matter what you look like, everyone working the event wants someone with a positive outlook who is happy to be there.

While many feel that ‘traditional’ female runway models are at least 5’9” and male models are at least 6’0”, there are many notable examples where this is not the case. Even Kate Moss started as a runway model and is only 5’7”. Things are continuing to change, and really any look has opportunities as a runway model.

Always be flexible. Be open to travel, try looks that are not as typical, and understand you may need to work long days.

Always cross promote. Everyone knows there are some models (such as Naomi Campbell) who can be hard to work with. Always promote photographers, makeup artists, hair stylings and more on social media and blogs, thank and tag them where posted.

How much can runway models make?

Runway models today make a range of incomes based on the brand and experience. Smaller designers may pay from $200 to $1000 per show, and let the models keep the clothing or accessories. There is often a compensation package negotiated before the event. More experienced models and larger brands may pay up to $2,500 per show. The top models make in the $20,000 area per show.

Famous runway models

Below is a small sample of runway models you may be familiar with. These models have walked the runway for brands such as Valentino, Versace, Chanel, Moschino, and many more.

What other tips can you offer an upcoming inspiring runway model?

Remember that your schedule will vary greatly. You are a freelancer, and you may have a busy week one week, and then have few to no gigs after for weeks or months.
Be as flexible as you can.

Don’t get discouraged! Consider the audition as the gig itself. Always try your best and keep trying! Finding your niche isn’t always easy.

Remember to always be kind, and build up a positive reputation. Treat others at the event with humility, kindness and respect. You neve know who will give you the next lead on a great project.

Modeling school is not necessary! While some schools say they are required, they are businesses as well. It can help of course – however would not make or break your modeling career.

Keep working hard, and getting back in the saddle. This industry requires A LOT of hard work and dedication. Modeling scouts are always looking at fashion events, social media, Instagram and Tiktok, and much more. You never know where you will be noticed so always be at the top of your game.