Modeling Jobs

An aspiring model's initial interest in starting a modeling career can be based largely on the presupposition there is a lot of work available for models in general.

The decision to try and seek work as a model in one city can be based on the assumption there is a lot of work available for models in the city.

And then the decision to sign with one modeling agency can be based on the assumption the agency is able to get a lot of work for models in their city.

All these fundamental assumptions must be scrutinized to avoid becoming the victim of modeling scams, because one of the most significant claims made or impressions given by perpetrators of modeling scams is that there is a lot of modeling work out there, and they have the ability to get models a lot of modeling jobs.

Typically bogus modeling agencies suggest or even promise there are a lot of modeling jobs available, modeling jobs are easy to get, the models can expect to make large amounts of money, and they can get them modeling jobs, when in reality, there are few modeling jobs available, modeling jobs are difficult to get, the models make little money, and the agency is not very adept at getting them modeling jobs.

Arguably the most critical comment made by a President of a Better Business Bureau against a company targeting aspiring models to help them get modeling jobs was made by Bill Mitchell, President of the Better Business Bureau in Los Angeles:

The whole thing, fundamentally, from beginning to end, is a scam. There really isn't that much work that's going to be obtained by signing up with this company.1

The company was signing up aspiring models at great speed, recruiting thousands of new faces every month, charging them hundreds of dollars and extra monthly fees, as if there was a lot of work out there, or they would be able to help a lot of aspiring models get work, as if the demand for models had suddenly increased by extreme amounts, exponentially.

How many models get work in America? It is difficult to track the number of models in the modeling industry as a whole to know who gets modeling jobs, and who gets paid, and also how much they get paid, because there is no central industry organization.

In the American entertainment industry, there is SAG, the Screen Actors Guild. SAG membership makes it simple to find out basic statistics. You can learn how many people are SAG members, and how many get paid, and how much they get paid (general numbers, not specific actors).

SAG has made its statistics available to the public. You can find out how many joined SAG, how many got acting jobs, some earnings information, and how many quit SAG.

On July 1, 2002, for instance, SAG issued a press release entitled, "Screen Actors Guild Employment Statistics Reveal Decrease in Total Number of TV/Theatrical Roles; Decline in Roles for Minorities."2

SAG can provide more practical statistics to help aspiring talent see the big picture through statistics for the industry as a whole:

About 90% of our membership must rely on income outside of the acting profession for food and shelter. This means two things to aspiring actors: (1) they must understand that rejection in this business is normal, regardless of their talent; and (2) they must be trained in another line of work and gain experience in that work. While seven-digit movie deals make headlines for some stars, creating a false impression that all actors are highly paid, the reality is far less glamorous.3

In the modeling industry, however, there is no guild like SAG. You do not have to join a guild or pay membership fees, so you do not know how many aspiring models there are, how many work, nor how much they earn.

Modeling agencies are privately owned, independent businesses, and they do not release much information if anything.

While they cannot be expected to provide much information, the lack of statistics tends to perpetuate myths and hype about the modeling industry and make many people more vulnerable to modeling scams.

But it is still possible to get a general idea and see how much modeling work there is currently available in high-end modeling and project the growth rate and the demand for top models, as aspiring models consider mapping out their future potential.

Take fashion, for instance. There is a limited number of major fashion shows every year, in a limited number of cities, and there are a limited number of fashion designers who require models for these fashion shows.

There has not been a lot of change in these numbers for several years and there is no reason to believe there will be an increase or a significant increase in the future. You will likely still have the major fashion houses producing catwalk shows, and even if a few of the fashion designers change, from time to time, the total number remains about the same, year after year.

Besides the fashion shows, fashion models also appear in fashion magazines. There is a limited number of fashion magazines, a limited number of fashion magazine issues each year, and a limited size of each issue of the fashion magazines.

These numbers can be expected to remain about the same for a long time. Not many new fashion magazines start every year, and the ones which have existed for many years produce them at about the same size and the exact same number of issues each year. Nobody expects Vogue or Allure, for example, to start publishing their magazines every two weeks instead of every month.

Beyond fashion magazines, you also have catalogs. It is a very similar situation compared to major brand magazines. There are a limited number of brands which publish catalogs, and those who do publish catalogs publish a limited number every year; for example, one for each of the four seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter.

Nobody really expects the brands to start publishing many more catalogs in addition to the number they currently publish each year. And the number of large new fashion firms which enter the picture every year and publish catalogs is between extremely low and zero.

The point is there is a limited amount of modeling jobs available for high-end modeling (runway, magazines, catalogs). And while it is mostly fixed, the number of models and aspiring models only increases year after year, increasing the competition, making it more and more difficult to get high-end modeling jobs.

Since there is so much competition for those who have been modeling for some time, be very careful not to blindly accept the hype and be flattered into believing that you as a new and untested model can easily and quickly get high-end, high-paying modeling jobs.