We all have a different aspect of our body we’re proud of. Is your best asset your feet? If you’ve ever been told you have elegant or photogenic legs, ankles, or toes, a career in foot modeling may be for you.
Having appealing appendages is not enough to score a lucrative print or commercial modeling gig. As with any aspect of modeling, a lot of hard work is required. Photo shoots are no walk in the park, and it can be tough going toe-to-toe with potential modeling agents. But if you’re head over heels in love with your feet and think you’ve got the goods, kick back and learn more about the basics of the feet modeling industry.
A foot model is someone who models their bare feet, footwear, and foot-related items for advertisements. Brands that book foot models are usually shoe, skincare, jewelry, and pharmaceutical companies. If you like the idea of pampering your tootsies and getting paid to sport high-end high heels, then you may have a promising career as a foot model.
1. Do your research
Models of all types have an intimate understanding of their industry. Stay abreast of trends, study how feet are used in print commercials, and follow the kinds of publications or models who do the work you’d like to do. Practice the kinds of poses you frequently see and stretch your toes in poses that might express different emotions or actions. Down the line when you’re at a shoot, your hours of obsessively researching foot models will pay off, as you’ll understand what photographers tend to look for.
2. Protect those feet
If someone wants to pay for pictures of your toes, make sure your toes (and feet and legs) are worth it. Tread carefully—models who work with their feet go to great lengths to protect and preserve their moneymakers. Many walk around in shoes a size or two too big in order to maximize comfort. And although modeling requires you to stay in impeccable physical shape, most foot models avoid soccer or any athletic activities that put their feet in danger.
Remember: moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. If you want to be a foot model, you should be an expert in which lotions and tinctures help your feet stay beautiful. Invest in a sugar scrub in order to regularly exfoliate and remove (dreaded!) calluses.
3. Gather photos of your feet
Like actors and their headshots, it’s a model’s responsibility to take and keep track of their photographs. They are your calling card, so invest in quality shots by hiring a professional photographer—preferably one with experience with feet. Professional photographers generally charge between $75 and $250 per image. Even though this might feel pricey, it’s likely worth it to use a professional, since they have top-of-the-line equipment and know the best poses to showcase your assets. Experiment with different lighting and poses, and avoid too much retouching.
As with any modeling portfolio—even if you’re just in the business of parts modeling—include a photo of your face so you can be recognized. Stay aware of your digital footprint as well. If you have a website that includes photographs of yourself and your body parts, make sure shots of your appendages fit industry standards and look professional. Some working models also include short, simple demo reels demonstrating how their feet move.
4. Promote yourself
It’s useless having the most glorious feet and gams in the biz if nobody ever sees them. Once you have a strong portfolio, do some shameless self-promotion on social media. Instagram is probably the best bet for aspiring models, due to its focus on aesthetics and robust use of hashtags, but it never hurts to cross-post on different platforms. You can also promote yourself through a personal website and to anyone you know in the parts modeling ecosystem. Generate a buzz about your body’s lower extremities, and then use that social capital to propel your modeling career forward.
5. Apply to agencies as often as you can
Parts Models in New York City and Body Parts Models in Los Angeles are the biggest parts modeling agencies, but there are plenty of modeling agencies looking for talent across the nation. Early career models can reach out to work with multiple agencies and begin developing relationships with agents. Some agencies include departments for specific body parts, so don’t be afraid to do lots of research, share your portfolio and résumé, and attend go-sees. Browse Backstage’s modeling listings for ideas. Go for it.
6. Find a pedicurist you trust, and get pedicures before shoots
If you’re interested in a career modeling your feet, chances are you already know the best way to prettify your tootsies. See a trusted pedicurist before you meet with modeling agencies at go-sees or go in for a shoot. If you get to wear polish, pick a color that makes you feel happy and confident.
7. Practice perseverance
In pursuing your career as a foot model, stay focused and don’t get discouraged—it’s a competitive industry and success won’t come from putting your feet up and hoping it comes to you. Be patient and keep at it!
To be good at their job, a professional foot model must have the following qualities:
- Nice feet: For the most part, foot models all have high arches, consistently slender feet, and long, thin toes. Their skin is smooth and of clear complexion, both on their feet and the rest of their (usually long, graceful) legs. A quick online search of what models’ feet look like should give you a good idea of the general requirements. If your feet tend to be covered in marks, blemishes, or varicose veins, sorry—they will likely disqualify you from a foot modeling career.
- Patience: Even though getting paid to wear Jimmy Choos on camera sounds glamorous, your patience is likely to be tested in longer shoots. Brands want to capture the perfect image or video to fit their specific aesthetic, so you might find yourself spending an entire afternoon taking what feels like identical shots.
- Flexibility: This attribute is important both in spirit and in body. Since you may end up with a gig promoting foot fungus cream instead of landing the luxury sneaker shoot of your dreams, openness to change and compromise will help get your (literal and proverbial) foot in the door. Foot models may be required to stretch into strange contortions to create the perfect shot, meaning they should be physically flexible as well.
- Diversity: If an agent loves your style, they’ll want to keep booking you across different types of shoots. It helps to be just as comfortable modeling snow shoes in a blizzard as modeling the daintiest of toe rings. And if your feet have some unique quality, that diversity could help you book certain gigs. For example, Body Parts Models has a section for “Adult Child-Size Feet.” It’s all about finding your niche.
Commercial modeling jobs generally pay between $25 and $175 an hour, while pharmaceutical modeling jobs pay significantly more. You may be able to negotiate overtime pay and a bonus of over $1,000 depending on the ad format, location, and length of time it will run. Of course, it’s important to remember that agents and model management companies usually take a 20% commission.
If you decide to cut out the middleman, you can choose the price per picture yourself. According to Medium, the cost for custom order feet pics range from $5 to $100. You can charge extra for any special requests such as poses and outfits.