How to Become a Parts Model

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Though it might seem like something Buffalo Bill from “The Silence of the Lambs” would be a little too interested in, body parts modeling is actually a legitimate modeling genre that involves nary a scary basement (albeit certainly involving copious amounts of lotioning the skin). If you’re interested in becoming a parts model, this no-fear guide is for you.

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What is a parts model?

Leg model

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Parts models advertise products and services using specific body parts rather than their entire face and body. While not a comprehensive list, this modeling genre includes:

What are the differences between parts modeling and traditional modeling?

  • Less focus on height and weight: Unlike many forms of traditional modeling, parts modeling doesn’t need to take the model’s full body size into account, as long as the parts fit what the client is looking for. 
  • More localized upkeep: A hangnail for a traditional model doesn’t mean the need to reschedule a shoot, but it does for a hand model. Since parts modeling highlights specific body parts, it’s imperative that these parts be kept in great condition.
  • Different poses and positions: The ability to smize or hit traditional modeling poses is less important in parts modeling; however, you’ll need to be able to pose your parts in a variety of lesser-known positions.

How much do parts models earn?

Hand model

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Body part model salary can vary greatly depending on the body part, location, and job scope. According to ZipRecruiter, leg and foot models can expect to earn just above $65,000 per year; hand models just under $57,000; and hair models just under $38,000.

How to become a parts model

Hair model

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1. Research. Although many models showcase multiple parts, it’s best to research industry trends, commercials, and publications to determine what part you’d like to emphasize and the kind of work you’d like to do. Study poses that other prominent parts models hold so you know what photographers and clients will look for.

2. Protect your parts. This is where that lotion comes in—it’s imperative that you ensure your hands, feet, or any other parts you’re modeling are as moisturized, luscious, and impeccable as possible. You’ll often find hand models wearing gloves, foot models walking around in shoes a size or two too large, and hair models using silk pillows for protection from wear and tear.

3. Take photos. Parts models must take high-quality photos of their money-makers to create a modeling portfolio. It’s usually best to hire a professional parts photographer—who may charge $75 to $250 per image—since they’ll know how best to capture your assets. Include at least one picture of your face so that you’ll be recognized at the go-see

4. Promote yourself. When you have a robust portfolio of images of your best part(s), start promoting yourself across social media platforms and on your professional website. Post quality pics on platforms like Instagram and TikTok, using relevant hashtags such as #legmodel, #footmodel, #handmodel, or #hairmodel. Follow other models doing the work you aspire to, as well as parts modeling groups and agency pages, and engage with the community as much as possible.

5. Apply to gigs. Browse our comprehensive modeling listing database to find gigs that let you get paid for your parts and grow your portfolio. 

6. Seek representation. Submit to agencies like Parts Models in New York City and Body Parts Models in Los Angeles, the two biggest names in parts modeling, to get support starting your parts-specific career.

7. Persevere. Parts modeling is competitive, and rejection is commonplace. Remain flexible, keep seeking work, and you may just see your body in the limelight.

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