5 Qualities to Succeed as a Model

  • Melissa Keen

When beginning their journey in the modelling industry, many begin to wonder if they have the qualities and traits suited for the fiercely competitive world. It takes a specific type of character to survive and succeed in this challenging yet incredible industry.

Many traits do come naturally, but some are gained through overcoming obstacles and through experience. Every fashion model learns over time to deal with each scenario in front of them.

And it’s not just traits; models must also follow some key advice to give themselves the best chances of success.

Before we delve into that further, let’s take a look at the traits that will help an aspiring model.


Here are 5 qualities that a model must develop when navigating through the industry.

Are You Determined?

A hopeful with a determined character will have a fighting chance of becoming a successful model. It is not an easy career to choose; it demands for individuals to be committed. Not giving up is a key trait all models must have.

There may be times when opportunities do not present themselves and models are rejected. It is important to remember all models go through this; no one is ideal for every opportunity. Have faith in your talent and don’t give up hope.

Do You Have Confidence?

Professional models are expected to possess self-confidence and self-assurance when arriving at a photoshoot or catwalk show. This level of confidence is also ideal for modelling jobs as shy and timid characters will likely not be remembered.

It is normal to feel nervous especially at your first fashion show, but use these feelings to your advantage and allow them to help with your performance on the day. As your modelling career progresses, new experiences will make you feel more confident naturally.

If you don’t feel confident, fake it! Photographers and show producers want to see a confident person who looks like they know what they’re doing – even if they’re a bundle of nerves inside. ‘Fake it ’til you make it’ is a good mantra.

Each ad campaign secured by your modelling agency will add to your experience, making you feel established and allowing you to understand the industry much better. It’s a good idea to post these images to social media (with the photographers & brands consent); Instagram in particular is a great playform to showcase your portfolio of work. Do be wary of scam artists who may message you on social media. Read our blog on avoiding scammers as a model here.

Some hopefuls attend modelling school to build up their experience and to learn skills in posing and walking. While not necessary, modelling schools are great for boosting your confidence.

Are You Prepared to Put in the Hard Work?

The modelling industry demands individuals who have a strong work ethic; this means understanding that early starts, late finishes, exhaustion and travelling are all part of the job.

An ambitious character who is determined to succeed through sheer hard work will be well-suited to the modelling world. It is certainly not an easy profession – laziness will not be welcomed!

Imagine working for New York or London Fashion Week. It may look like fun, but high-fashion models are expected to work extremely hard. Models will most likely be walking in quite a few runway shows and will therefore be working for multiple fashion designers. This means models will be juggling a lot of commitments; failing someone will not be good for your reputation in the industry. Runway models are expected to attend fittings in advance and be on time for the makeup artist, which may involve dashing across town in a frenzy from the last venue. Stylists do not have the time to wait for you.

Is Modelling Your Passion?

Models who succeed in the modelling industry need to be passionate about their career and enjoy the world of style and fashion. An enthusiastic and energetic individual will have the instinct to naturally locate opportunities and embrace new interactions. Their passion and interest for the industry will allow them to enjoy each role and live their life to the fullest. A negative and disinterested attitude will hinder a career, rather than progress it further.

If you’re in it just for the money, you are unlikely to succeed. Modelling is incredibly competitive, cut-throat and difficult to get into. On the surface it can look glamorous, but behind the scenes a lot of sweat and tears can be shed. If you’re not truly passionate about the job, you won’t enjoy it and you won’t get far.

Are You Persistent?

It is a known fact that most models face rejection and closed doors on many occasions. It is easy to feel deflated and upset, but for a model it is a part of everyday life. Every successful model has had to go through times of upset and failure.

Remember, you’re about one in a million hopefuls trying to make it as a model. Passion and hard work are essential to making sure you stand out from the crowd.

There are many different types of modelling, so make sure you choose the one that suits your look. Commercial models have a very different style to high fashion. Being realistic is a huge part of it as persistence will only get you so far. If you’re trying to make it in the wrong field, you will find it even harder. Each modelling agency specialises in different areas having the skills and connections to help you succeed. Be honest with yourself about your abilities and suitability and ensure you give yourself the best chance of success.

The Strategy to Help a Model Succeed

Having a strategy rather than winging it is a good way to help save time and improve a model’s chances of success.

Know Your Strengths

The first step is ensuring you are showcasing your strongest attributes. Having something to make you stand out is a great way of getting noticed. Ellen Macpherson was known as ‘The Body’ for her killer bod, Kate Moss was known for her heroin-chic appearance and Bella Hadid is known for her ‘foxy eyes’. Knowing your strengths and promoting them is a good way to get noticed for all the right reasons.

Know How to Promote Your Best Features

Once you’ve decided what separates you from everyone else, it’s time to showcase them adequately. A portfolio is a great way to showcase your skills in a professional manner and show potential agents and brands your skills.

A portfolio is a bit like a model’s CV; it shows her experience, her range and her ‘look’. It’s the most vital tool a model can have to create opportunities for herself. It’s therefore a good idea to spend some time getting it right.

Find a Great Agency

Finding a good, supportive agency that meets your criteria is vitally important. There are many great agencies out there (and some not-so-great ones); it’s your job to do the research and apply to the ones who suit you most.

Some agencies specialise in certain areas of modelling. If you want to be a glamour model or a part model, it’s worth finding these agencies as they are likely to book jobs that are more in your field.

Don’t be disheartened if you get rejected from your dream agency. There’s no limit to the amount of agencies you can apply to, and being rejected does not mean you can’t re-apply in a couple of months. An agency may choose to reject you for a number of reasons; perhaps they have no spaces available, or maybe they already have a model who looks similar to you. Whatever the reason, don’t give up.

Look After Yourself

Your health (both physically and mentally) are hughly important to your success as a model. Ensuring you have a healthy lifestyle (not just when a job is coming up or when you are getting ready for an interview) is really important. This means eating well, exercising regularly and looking after your mental health.


Practice everything; your poses in the mirror, your catwalk, how you interview, everything. Practice will help you become more comfortable and overall better at modelling.

Pay particular attention to what you’re not as good at – these are the areas you should spend most time trying to improve.

What qualities do you think help a model? Comment below with your thoughts. 

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Posted by Melissa Keen

Melissa's experience in the beauty and fashion world as a writer and blogger spans over five years. Her other interests include reading, yoga and music.