What Do Model Agencies Look for in a Male?

  • Claire Louise

What do model agencies look for in a male? Well, unfortunately, the answers are not always so clear cut. In fact, many modelling agencies will have a different criteria in mind. However, we’ll be honest: not everyone is cut out to be agency represented. That doesn’t mean that you can’t  be a successful model – it just means that the blunt truth is that most modelling agencies look for a certain standard.

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What Are Modelling Agencies Looking For?

For example, when directly asked the question many will say that it’s a certain uniqueness. A lot of people walk into their doors for open calls or submit themselves year on year, and yet only a handful will be taken in this way. Normally, they’re setting out to look for a special star quality, and they’ll find it themselves!

However, there are certain attributes that will catch the eye of an agent. Here goes:

  • Tall
  • Slim
  • Handsome good looks or a unique appearance
  • Charming, friendly personality
  • Toned physique
  • A good head of hair


Men Vs Women

The focus of the modelling industry is female models with women typically spending more money on clothes. They buy into the fashion world every season whereas most men just aren’t as interested. Therefore, there is more demand for female models than male models and typically they earn a lot more money too. As result there are less male modelling agencies, so your chances of being discovered may be narrower. However, if this is your dream, you shouldn’t be discouraged because it’s still arguably less competitive than in female modelling!

However, do not be discouraged. There are plenty of opportunities within male modelling. For a start, with London Fashion Week Men’s around male models are going nowhere. With a four day extravaganza of catwalk shows to fill, it is a prime time to get in touch with top modelling agencies. It’s not just London who need professional models, Paris, Milan and New York are full of designers and brands hosting casting calls. The fashion industry works on a global scale and if you are willing to travel and meet their version of good looking you’re in with a shot.

Catalogue/Commercial Modelling

So, what do model agencies look for in a male when it really comes down to things? It depends on the type of client that the agencies work with. For example, if you’ve got commercial appeal – that is, textbook good looks, a charming image, or even that whole ‘boy next door’ thing going for you, you might be perfect for the commercial work they can offer. High street brands such as Gap, Topman and Next are all in need of successful male models for their seasonal campaigns.

High Fashion

However, for editorial, representing the likes of your high end designers and catwalk models; they’re really looking for an angular jaw, higher cheekbones, and strong features. Editorial clients also have the reputation to be more experimental and diverse, pushing boundaries. They’re able to mould and shape a person into what they want them to be for a photoshoot. They also tend to feature skinnier models than your average muscular attractive man, which is perfect for pushing the commercial look instead. Physical requirements are a big deal in male modelling with your body type on show regularly. Especially if you are the next Calvin Klein model.

Does Height Matter?

It certainly does, especially in high fashion. There isn’t much to work with to create the illusion of longer legs. The average height for male models tend to be between 5″11 and 6″2. A lot of models are discovered in their mid to late teens. However, if you don’t meet these height or age criteria points; you won’t be ruled out – commercial modelling really is just looking for a great physique, which isn’t necessarily defined. There is also a need for older models as male buyers tend to be older than female ones.


Fitness Modelling

If you thought physical requirements was important in other sectors. Think again. Fitness modelling takes it to another level. Casting directors will be looking for bulging biceps, a defined six pack and muscular thighs. Sports brands and gyms require an athletic figure to showcase their designs authentically. Maintaining such a sculpted physique demands a dedicated character who is willing to go to the gym most days and eat a diet that compliments their workout.

Signing to an Agency

If you believe that you have the looks and attributes that modelling agencies are looking for, it’s time to look for a few to apply to. If you live in London or close by, you will be spoilt for choice. But make sure you do the research before filling in the application form. We’ve broken it down, step by step of how to find suitable male model agencies.

  • Firstly, do an online search of modelling agencies in your niche.
  • There’s no problem aiming high but do try to be realistic to avoid too much disappointment.
  • Will it be commercial, catalogue, high fashion or fitness modelling?
  • Write a list of the possible ones that are suitable. To avoid contacting an untrustworthy agency do thorough research.
  • Look at their brand connections, give them a call, look at reviews, check if they have a bricks and mortar office, are they well known in the industry and do not hand over large sums of cash. These are just a few examples of how you can check their legitimacy.
  • Once you can trust them, either fill out their application form or arrange to attend one of their open calls.
  • When filling out the application make sure you type everything correctly and attach the image that complies with their requirements. Many will want body shots whereas others will require portfolio images.
  • Make sure they are of high quality and saved in the right format before pressing send. Then the wait is on to see if you get a response.
  • If you choose the open call option, make sure you jot down the right date, time and venue to avoid wasting time. An agent will not be able to see you unless it is at the allocated time slot. You will be told then and there if you have potential.

It’s All in Their Personality

It’s not all about looks. Yes, they play a big part but personality goes a long way too. Be friendly, enthusiastic and positive at a modelling job to make a great first impression. Brands and photographers do not want to work with an over confident, arrogant character. Spending that much time together needs to be enjoyable and you certainly don’t want to irritate the organisers. You might have an incredibly early start and a late finish but it is important to remain upbeat throughout. The long days and irregular hours are part of the job. Studio shoots may be more organised but on location it’s all about the weather and beating the crowds. So expect to be there longer than anticipated and stay patient.

Staying Safe

There is a common misconception that male models are not at risk. However, this could not be further from the truth. Many young teens are hired in the industry who are so grateful of the opportunity that they do not speak out. Therefore, stories of inappropriate behaviour is kept secret. Recently it has been revealed that many are asked to either undress or perform sexual acts at shoots. If this happens make sure that you decline and report the incident. This is should not happen under any circumstances.

The problem is that many believe that asking a guy to go topless or strip down to his boxers is acceptable. However, many boys are self conscious too and should never be asked to do this unless it is an underwear shoot that has been agreed before hand.


Be Cautious Online

Also, there is a huge risk online. With so much of the young generation obsessed with the Internet and social media, it is more important than ever to stay safe. With smart phones, tablets and laptops, online platforms are so accessible. If you receive a message on social media, it is unlikely to be legit. Yes, model agencies do seek talent on Instagram but it is the very rare few. If it is from a well know agency, simply ring them directly to find out. Not on the number that they provide. Instantly, they will be able to tell you if it is legit. Unfortunately, scam artists use recognised names to hide behind and try to trick aspiring models. Don’t let them. Be cautious and watch out for the obvious signs that it is not trustworthy.

  • If they ask for large sums of cash over the Internet – say no.
  • Use inappropriate language such as ‘sexy’, ‘hunky’ etc – you might take it as a compliment but it is unprofessional.
  • Ask for you to send in nude images. Don’t! They could be posted online, which cannot be removed.
  • If you agree to a Skype conversation, do not take any clothes off and terminate straight away if they ask you to do so.
  • If you are considering meeting up with someone you have met online do not go alone. Always take someone with you and meet in a public place.
  • Always tell a parent, friend or relative about the message to see if they think they are trustworthy.

Build Social Media Platforms

Instagram profiles are the new way of doing things and it doesn’t look like its going anywhere anytime soon. Therefore, if you don’t have an account, set it up, pronto. It’s all about the grid these days. Scrolling though the neatly arranged squares filled with campaign shoots, runway appearances, magazine covers, behind the scenes coverage, envious travel shots, the perfect selfie and glamorous events.

On top of this, there are stories, that should document your everyday life. Talking to the screen about your day and snapping where you are, what your eating and who you are seeing. It’s a more informal addition to the grid where followers feel like they get to know you. It’s a full time job but necessary in this technology, social media obsessed world we live in. After a while it will become a natural part of your day. Once you hit a large amount of followers, it will be worthwhile to get someone else to do a lot of the posting to ease the workload.

Gaining Followers on Social Media

To gain the amount of followers that attracts brands, it’s all about the self promotion. Commenting on posts, liking photos, following then unfollowing (the Instagram game) and using the correct hashtags all works towards getting your name out there. Many even pay to have sponsored posts, which will show up in people’s feeds.

Agencies will look at Instagram profiles for talent. Therefore, spending time and money getting this just right is crucial. If you’re new to modelling, it may be worthwhile getting some professional shots done to post to your account. UK Models invites successful candidates to our studios for a photoshoot where a make-up artist (you will need to get used to this working in the modelling industry), hair stylist and photographer will be on hand to create the perfect images. Of course, these will be for your portfolio and your social media accounts that have become just as relevant.

Even though the focus is on Instagram, it is also important to create a Facebook and Twitter page to stay up to date and be available on all channels.

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