How to Become a Hand Model

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Photo Source: Chaadaeva /

If you’ve ever looked down at your hands and thought, “These things were made for modeling,” or had someone tell you, “Your hands are so soft and pretty!” you could have a hand modeling career on your...hands.

Make no mistake: Modeling is harder than it looks. It can be tough work, involving exhausting photo shoots and the utmost care of the product you’re selling (yourself). The same is true for hand modeling; having a photogenic quality may not be enough. But if you’re curious about a potentially lucrative career and are willing to put in the work, brush up on the basics of the hand modeling industry below.

Moles, blemishes, or irregularly shaped fingers and nails may disqualify you.
Hand models tend to have narrow, slender fingers and a smooth complexion. Fear not, freckled models; it is still possible, albeit more challenging, to make a career with spotted hands. But the most elegant hands with the clearest skin—especially when it comes to thumbs, the most important element—tend to book the most jobs.

Study and practice.
Take a look at traditional print and television commercials involving hand modeling. Study and imitate the most common hand poses. Practice holding different objects. Like any modeling or even acting job, your job is to express different thoughts or emotions—with only your hands. This takes practice in front of a camera. Do you know how to display your fingers in a way that indicates strength? Seduction? Joy?

Assemble photographs of your hands.
If you’re just starting out as a hand model, you need the equivalent of an actor’s headshots. Hire a professional photographer—or friend who knows their way around a camera—to take shots of your hands in those traditional poses. Print the photos on professional paper and assemble a portfolio to submit to modeling agencies. Tip: include one shot that includes your beautiful face so you’ll be recognized at go-sees.

Apply to modeling agencies.
Browse Backstage’s listings for models to get a sense of which agencies are legitimate. Get in touch using whatever method they prefer and send in that portfolio! If you’re serious about putting in the work, you could eventually score a modeling agent who can help you open even more doors.

Always get a manicure prior to shooting.
Before any shoot, make sure those hands are in tip-top shape. Find a manicurist you trust who makes you feel confident in your hands’ appeal. Later in your hand modeling career, you’ll have people begging to give you manicures!

Keep those hands steady.
Can you keep perfectly still for an extended period of time? What about doing so while holding an object? What about a heavy object? Some shoots can last hours, even if they’re for a 30-second commercial. Directors are going to want a model who can hold their hands still for a long time, as any tiny movement can blur or throw off a shot.

Take care of your hands!
Did you know some hand models sleep in gloves to preserve their hands’ moisture? Like models of any sort, they also eat and sleep healthily, take vitamins, and moisturize regularly. Keep your nails trimmed by filing rather than clipping them, and avoid activities that may put your hands in danger. (Maybe have someone else chop your veggies!)

Have patience and persevere.
Any acting advice you read on also applies to models. The industry can be as challenging as it can be rewarding, so keep at it. Take your career into your own hands!

Check out Backstage’s modeling listings!

Author Headshot
Jack Smart
Jack Smart is the awards editor at Backstage, where he covers all things Emmy, SAG, Oscar, and Tony Awards. He also produces and hosts Backstage’s awards podcast “In the Envelope” and has interviewed some of the biggest stars of stage and screen.
See full bio and articles here!

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