How to Improve Your Self-Esteem as a Model

  • Melissa Keen

Supermodel Miranda Kerr once famously said that the most insecure people she knows are models. With a career that is focused solely on looks, how is it that the world’s most beautiful people are also the ones with such low self-esteem?

Why Do Models Have Low Self-Esteem?

When you break down the job role, it’s easy to understand why models would be so insecure about themselves. They are judged each day purely on their looks. They must compete with other stunning people. They are regularly rejected and turned down from jobs because they don’t physically fit the bill.

And it’s not just at work. Nowadays, the rise of social media means that models face scrutiny from their own homes. This type of negativity is difficult to ignore, especially when it is constant.

Models are just like everyone else – their feelings can be hurt and they can take things just as personally as the rest of us. And when their career rests solely on their looks, it’s understandable that criticism can be taken hard.


No one is perfect – but that’s a difficult fact to face when your job is to appear flawless. Models have more pressure on them to look great at all times which can affect their self-esteem. They don’t have the luxury of taking risks with haircuts or gaining a few pounds on holiday. They have to look perfect constantly – even during normal days to the shops, in case they’re photographed by paparazzi.

Fortunately, models do have a team of beauty experts at their disposal to help them look their best and take some of the work off. Hairdressers, pro make-up artists, dermatologists, dieticians and fitness trainers are all regularly brought in to help models look flawless.

However, having a team of beauty professionals will only add to insecurities in the long run. The smallest blemish or weight gain will be enough to cause anxiety for many models. The pressure of having to look good will make many feel insecure.


Models have the same insecurities as the rest of us

Believe it or not, models have the same insecurities as the rest of us. Body shape, wrinkles, blemishes, stretch marks – we all have them and they’re all completely normal.

Unfortunately, the media is constantly showing us highly-edited images that have warped our sense of reality. We forget that everyone has flaws because we are constantly shown images of immaculate people. But these images are not real. No one has perfectly smooth, blemish-free skin. No one has perfectly styled hair all the time. There is no such thing as the perfect body.

This is what we see as the general public, and just viewing these types of images has affected our confidence as consumers. But imagine if it was you in the photo. Seeing highly-edited images of yourself would make you far more aware of any real-life imperfections. Having someone else view things on your face and body as “flaws” and electronically removing them would make anyone self-conscious.

It’s natural to have insecurities, but models are shown the things that make them insecure every day. They are told daily what is wrong with their faces and bodies, and how to change them. They are made to notice their flaws all the time. They are constantly told by many people what and how they can “improve” their looks.

This build-up of negativity is impossible to ignore and leads to feelings of insecurity and self-doubt. If left unchecked, feelings can further escalate to anxiety and depression.

Overcoming Insecurities

Overcoming insecurities is not impossible, but it is difficult

Overcoming insecurities is not an overnight thing – it takes time and patience. There is also no one-fix-all solution.

One of the best ways to overcome insecurity is to prevent yourself from feeling too badly in the first place. Having a positive outlook will help you maintain a healthy mindset, which is particularly important in the fashion industry which is known to be brutal.

Growing a Thick Skin

Many top models talk of growing a thick skin. This can be difficult for sensitive people to do, but it really is important if you wish to be successful as a model and have good self-esteem.

Having a thick skin is handy to have not only at work but in all aspects of life. Learning to take criticism and use it constructively will only help you grow as a model.

Growing a thick skin involves the following:

  • Learning to not take comments too personally
  • Stand up for yourself
  • Putting things in perspective
  • Understanding that not everyone will like you
  • Knowing that an opinion is not a fact

Health and Happiness

Focus on your mental and physical health to improve your self-esteem

Understanding your own mind and body is vital. You know yourself better than anyone else – so when someone tells you something about yourself that upsets you, remember that their opinion doesn’t mean it’s true. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – that means we all perceive beauty differently. While one brand may not like your height, another brand may think it is perfect for their next campaign.

Another thing to remember is that it’s ok to say no. If a brand or potential client asks you to lose weight past what you know is healthy or comfortable for you, it’s far healthier both physically and mentally to turn them down.

Social Media

People in the public eye can help boost a model’s exposure and connect with fans via social media. But while there are many positive aspects to social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, there are also many negatives.

Being in constant connection with the public means celebrities are constantly opening themselves up to negative comments. No one likes to be constantly criticised, especially by strangers who don’t know us. Comments can be particularly hurtful because they are often said by people who a) don’t give a thought to the consequences of their words and b) are usually said by anonymous people who would not dare say anything so hurtful in-person. The internet gives people an anonymity that makes them say far worse things than they would in real life.

While some models hire social media marketers to manage their pages and content for them, others choose to take regular breaks from their social media accounts. While avoiding all negativity is impossible with such a public career, models should take action to protect themselves where possible from cruel and unnecessary criticism.

Therapy and Meditation

Be kind to yourself

A lot of models choose to attend therapy or work on their mental health via mindfulness and meditation. Yoga is a popular practice because it combines both physical and mental exercises to connect the two and create a stronger bond.


Exercise is a well-known practice to help strengthen mental health. Exercise releases endorphins and other feel-good hormones. A lot of people with depression are advised to take up some form of exercise as it is so well-known for its healing properties.

Exercise also has a way of making us feel better about ourselves – ideal if you are suffering with low self-esteem.

Be Kind

Have you ever found yourself thinking critically or judgementally about someone else? Imagine how you would feel if someone thought of you that way. By learning how to be kind to others, we can learn how to be kind to ourselves.

A good rule of thumb is to never say anything about yourself that you wouldn’t say about your best friend. We often find we treat our closest friends better than we do ourselves.


Improving your self-esteem is not something that can be quickly fixed. It is something that needs to be maintained and constantly worked on.

Practicing self-approval is a way of learning to accept ourselves as we are. It’s ok to want to work on ourselves, but we must also learn to love ourselves – flaws and all.

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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.