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How to Be a Part-Time Model

  • Melissa Keen

Part-time modelling is a great option for many aspiring models. Not only does it help build up experience, but it also allows you to pursue other opportunities and build other skills that you can fall back on if modelling doesn’t turn out to be right for you.

But don’t be mislead; part-time modelling can be just as time-consuming and difficult to break into as full-time modelling. All types of modelling require flexibility and organisation.

What is a Part-Time Model?

A part-time model is a model that likely has another job that helps pay their bills. They may do modelling as a hobby or when they have some spare time. Others do it between school or work.

What to Expect as a Part-Time Model

Part-time modelling requires just as much flexibility as full-time modelling. Finding jobs can be sporadic. In order to be taken seriously, you must try to be available for any casting calls that you are asked to attend. Missing too many will cause agencies and photographers to see you as flaky.

Casting calls can take place in any part of the country, so you must also be willing to travel. And that’s just the interview – if you get the part, you must be available on the day of the shoot.

Some shoots may require you to look a certain way (for example, they may ask you to wear your hair in a specific style). This may conflict with any other job you may have and it is something you need to be aware of.

School-aged models will likely miss some school because of castings and shoots. This has to be ok with the model’s parent and with the model’s school.

Likewise, if you have another job it is likely you may need to miss a day or two to attend shoots. If you work for an inflexible company this may not be possible.

You will have to weigh up the benefits for attending casting calls and shoots; you do not want to miss too much school or work and you do not want to upset photographers and shoot directors, so finding balance is key.

To find out more about casting calls, read our article here.

Where to Find Part-Time Model Jobs

Part-time modelling jobs can be found everywhere. Whilst many are advertised online on job sites or in newspapers, the best way to find work is through a reputable agency.

Joining an agency as a part-time model is the same as joining one as a full-time model. Agencies are always looking for fresh faces. Research some agencies and apply to all of them. Don’t be put off if you’re not accepted at first – many models apply several times before they are accepted.

To give yourself a better chance, it’s a good idea to have a professional modelling portfolio. This is a folder showcasing your work as a model and your potential. If you don’t have any experience, don’t worry – some models simply take professional photos of themselves, or hire a photography studio to do it for them.

If you do decide to take photos of yourself, remember these tips:

  • Wear something simple. A modelling agency wants to see your potential, so try to wear something plain but flattering. A white t-shirt and jeans are always a good choice.
  • Wear minimal make-up. A full face of make-up has a time and a place. Stick to flattering neutral shades and work on accentuating your favourite facial features.
  • Use natural light. Natural lighting is the most flattering, so try to position yourself near a window or outside if possible. The time of day will affect the type of lighting, so you may have to set an alarm to remind yourself to take some photos.
  • Use a good camera. A lot of phone cameras have excellent cameras nowadays but, if possible, it is always best to use a high-quality DSLR camera they will really pick up all your features and details.
  • Don’t forget your background. Agencies don’t want to see multi-coloured, busy backgrounds that detract from the focal point (…you!) Try to find a plain wall or a white backdrop.
  • Take close-ups and wide shots. Agencies will want to see both your face and your body.
  • Practise your posing. Overly-pouty lips may look great on Instagram but they’re not going to cut it in the modelling world. Practise posing in the mirror; agencies will want to see your relaxed face, as well as shots of you smiling.  

When is it OK to Model for Free?

Models with little to no experience in the industry may on occasion be asked to model for free. Whilst no one likes to be taken advantage of, there are a few occasions when working for free may be beneficial to a model.

  1. Some companies may pay all expenses such as travel, food and hotels. This can enable a model to receive some experience in a low-cost way.
  2. Some companies may give the model the shoot photos for free. These can be excellent additions to the model’s portfolio.
  3. You may meet some industry professionals who could take your modelling career to the next level.

No model should do every job for free, but sometimes it is worth doing the odd free job or two for additional perks like the above.

Tips for Part-Time Models

  • Be as flexible as possible. Whilst it won’t always be possible, do try to attend every casting call you get invited to. If you can, try to ensure the job you have that pays your bills is flexible and understands your position.
  • Be organised. Juggling jobs, casting calls and shoots can easily feel overwhelming. Keeping a diary will help you know what is happening when.
  • Be likeable. It’s important to work on your person skills so you come across as polite and easy to work with. Being memorable for all the right reasons will give you a better chance of receiving more job offers.
  • Work hard. A part-time model has to work just as hard as a full-time model.
  • Be travel-friendly. Many castings will take place in larger cities so if you aren’t based in one travel could become a common thing for you. Some big jobs may also require you to travel.
  • Be money smart. You have to be financially savvy in order to ensure you are not spending beyond your means. Modelling may not make enough to pay the rent at first (especially if you’re only doing it part-time), but having some spare cash set aside for emergencies is always a smart move.
  • Read contracts carefully. Just because you’re part-time doesn’t mean you’re not a pro. Read all modelling contracts thoroughly – whether they’re from an agency or from a job.

Facing Rejection

Rejection is a reality for all models – you are not going to be accepted by every agency or casting you attend. It is important to remember that even top models face rejection regularly. You are a mannequin – you may not fit the look a certain brand is going for. Don’t take it personally – no one can replicate every single look! Stay focused and don’t let the knock-backs put you off.

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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.