Do You Have to be a Famous Celebrity to Make Money in Modelling?

  • Amy Bebbington

In a world where everyone craves to be famous becoming a celebrity through reality TV shows, social media or the usual pop star, acting route, the modelling industry does react.

Brands and magazine publications do use celebrities and reality stars to front campaigns and grace covers yet a model who is not famous can make money. It may be considerably lower than a high profile, celebrity model but the opportunities do exist.

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Click a section below to be taken right to one of our discussions about celebrity modelling and whether non-celebs can make it too – spoiler alert – yes they can:

Why do Magazines and Brands Hire Celebrities?

Models Who Have Become Celebrities

How to Make Money as a Model if You Are Not Famous

How Much Money Do Non-Celeb Models Earn

Why do Magazines and Brands Hire Celebrities?

Sales. It’s as simple as that. If a magazine cover or brand uses a celebrity image, there will be a much greater exposure than with an unknown.

Fans will buy the mag simply for the famous face on the front (and most likely inside). Similarly, followers of the icon will buy into the label as they want to be just like their favourite figure. The Kardashian’s for example have graced many covers as their fans are fiercely loyal especially Kim Kardashian. Only the celebs of the moment will be used and those that represent the look and style of the publication and label.

Editors and designers work hard to ensure that the reputation of the brand and magazine remain in tact yet if a face sells it will more than likely grace high profile publications.

Models Who Have Become Celebrities

It’s part of the culture. Supermodels have become celebs in their own right with the likes of Kendal Jenner, Kate Moss, Karlie Kloss and Gigi Hadid making a huge name for themselves.

With social media platforms, especially Instagram accounts, models can become huge overnight. Fans become enthralled by their lifestyle living in awe of the parties, career and love lives. Every Instagram post is eagerly awaited by followers of their lifestyle.

It is worthwhile as a model to create a strong social media presence as brands do look at followers when hiring models. Becoming a brand representative can be very lucrative as you will be paid to post the campaign image on your profile. Instagram users will buy into your lifestyle making more money for the brand.

Do make sure that you understand the terms fully as some brands give out free products whereas others pay too. If you’re savvy and know your worth you can make a full time career through ads.

Therefore, designers will look for model accounts and instagrammers that have a huge following to reach a wider audience. Brands will pay a lot just for a single post if the following is right.

Social media plays a big part as a celeb will also post the cover shoot to their followers too resulting in more sales for the magazine. Instagram can easily turn an unknown model into a celebrity overnight with hard work and a bit of luck thrown in. Instagram models are creating a very lucrative career for themselves.

How to Make Money as a Model if You Are Not Famous


Every model whether famous or not has to start somewhere. A few are lucky enough to be scouted at music festivals or airports however, most apply to agencies to start their modelling career.

Once signed to a modelling agency you will go to casting after casting to secure roles. No one will know your name yet it is up to you to keep working through rejection to become a success. Some models will make good money in modelling without ever being famous. It just demands persistence, hard work and the ability to deal with rejection

Fit Model

Designers require fit models to make sure that the garment fits beautifully. You will attend a few meetings where the pattern cutter and designer alter the design to make it beautiful.

Runway Shows

Lots of models that walk at fashion week are ‘ordinary people’ unknown to the public. New faces are chosen for their striking looks, height and waiflike physique.

Over the week so many models are required to fill the shows. Not all of them can be famous. Each will include a famous face or two but most of the girls are not in the public eye.

Fashion weeks in London, New York, Paris and Milan are where many get spotted launching their famous career.

Commercial Modelling

From ad campaigns to product shots, commercial brands will use non-celebs to promote their designs.

Lots of brands do like to keep accessibility in mind and want to reflect their audience. Therefore, a famous person might be captured on the odd occasion. Also, they have budgets to think about.


The same applies to catalogues. The amount of images required usually require an unknown model as again the budget will not cover the expense of a celeb.

Some brands that the catalogue stocks may hire a minor celeb and these images will be used but on the whole non-celebs are used.

Body Part Modelling

There is no need for a famous figure in body part modelling. The name suggests that only certain areas of the body are focused on such as the hands or feet.

If anything body part models may stand in as a double for a celeb if that area is not so photogenic.


Again, the fitness industry will have a mixture where famous athletes will model for sports brands. However, fitness models who are not athletic stars will be needed to model apparel and equipment. It all depends on the budget.

Make sure you work out at the gym to create a toned, muscular physique suitable for the niche. You might want to hire a personal trainer to help you achieve your goal.

How Much Money Do Non-Celeb Models Earn

It is difficult to predict with brands and designers all charging various amounts. It falls upon the model or the agency to negotiate the correct deal for the work in mind.

Remember that your agency will take a percent of your wage for their role in finding you the job. It is important for you to be clued up when reading contracts to ensure that you are being paid a fair amount.

Also, it does depend on the amount of roles that you work and the effort put in. If you don’t attend a lot of castings and connect with new people you will find it difficult to earn a good wage.


Unfortunately, it is known in the fashion industry that models get little money for a lot of work. Everyone thinks that models at fashion weeks are getting paid the big bucks when in reality they could be just getting designer clothes.

Also, models sometimes do not read the contract, which results in the expenses coming out of your wage. Eager hopefuls jump at the chance to work in New York but don’t check the small print. The expensive flight, hotel and meals might just be coming out of your pay packet leaving you with practically nothing.

Check before you agree to the job. It is also well known the male models do not get paid as much as females due to the industry not being as popular. It is unfair yet a reality.

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Posted by Amy Bebbington

I express my love of fashion through writing, blogging and styling. My creative personality ensures that I produce unique and original work. I am a keen knitter and enthusiatic dancer.