4 Qualities Agencies Look for in Models

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In the modeling industry, looks are important—but they’re not everything. Beyond being, in the words of Derek Zoolander, “really, really, ridiculously good-looking,” models also must be versatile, professional, and charismatic to succeed. The industry is embracing a broader spectrum of looks and body types, reflecting the diversity of today’s society. Let’s dive into what agencies really want across various modeling types.

What do modeling agencies look for physically?

Although the fashion industry has become more inclusive, body type and facial features still hold significance, especially for runway and high-fashion modeling.

What body type do modeling agencies look for?

Fashion modeling agencies typically seek female models who stand between 5 feet 8 inches and 6 feet tall, as this height range allows garments to hang well and creates a visually appealing silhouette on the runway. Additionally, they prefer models with well-proportioned bodies, meaning balanced measurements between bust, waist, and hips.

Physical requirements for male models are generally more flexible than for female models, but agencies still tend to prefer individuals who are taller than average. The ideal height for male models typically ranges from 5 feet 11 inches to 6 feet 3 inches, allowing them to effectively showcase clothing on the runway and in print campaigns. Additionally, agencies often look for male models with a lean and toned physique, characterized by well-defined muscles and proportionate measurements.

Although height and build requirements vary more for gender nonconforming models, taller, leaner models tend to find success on the runway.

What facial features do modeling agencies look for?

Symmetry, clear skin, and distinctive facial features continue to be key factors in model selection. High cheekbones, full lips, and captivating eyes are coveted attributes that can elevate a model’s appeal in both print and runway campaigns.

What other attributes do modeling agencies look for?


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The criteria for what agents look for in models extends far beyond physical appearance alone. While certain standards may still prevail, female, male, and gender nonconforming models are increasingly being valued for these qualities:

Versatility: The ability to express different emotions and adapt to various fashion styles and concepts is essential for success in the industry. Whether it’s embodying elegance on the runway, portraying a character in a commercial shoot, or showcasing lifestyle products in print advertisements, being versatile allows models to thrive across diverse opportunities. 

Professionalism: In an industry known for its fast-paced environment and demanding schedules, competence and reliability are non-negotiable qualities. This includes being prepared for auditions and photo shoots, collaborating effectively with photographers and stylists, and maintaining a positive attitude even in challenging situations.

Authenticity: Agencies value individuals who are confident in their identity and unapologetically embrace their singular self-expression. Whether it’s through fashion choices, hairstyle, or body language, models who exude authenticity and genuine confidence can captivate audiences and challenge societal norms. A willingness to push boundaries, challenge conventions, and inspire positive change increases a model’s chances of finding a modeling agency to support their journey.

Diversity: In recent years, there has been a notable shift within the modeling industry, with agencies increasingly embracing models who challenge traditional notions of beauty. Agencies today seek models of various sizes, shapes, ethnicities, abilities, and genders in a new push toward diversity and inclusivity. Representation matters, and models who embrace their uniqueness have the opportunity to inspire and empower others who may not see themselves depicted in mainstream media.

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