So fellas, you think you want to be a male model? Just as I tell my female aspiring models, it is important to do research and get familiar with what you could be doing as a male model. Most men think, “All right, I get to look all sexy and chiseled, show off my muscles and pose with hot women!”
Ummm, yeah, sure but there is so much more to being a male model than that. Along with perks come the other things that you may not like but come with the territory. For example, most female models dread having to wear next to nothing in freezing temperatures but pretend like they are on a beach in 90 degree weather. For male models, the following are some aspects of the job that you’ll have to be cool with if you want to seriously pursue a career in the modeling industry:
– Makeup: You better believe it! Just as women need to wear makeup, male models wear make up – not all the time and not as much as the female counterparts – but makeup all the same. Now, guys, before you stop reading and throw your idea of being a male model into the trash, give me a chance to clarify. Makeup is a must for both male and female models because it helps you photograph better. Plain and simple. Powder and foundation serve to give your complexion a more uniform appearance and also cuts down on shine, which photographs terribly. It is supposed to make you look better, not like a clown.
Additionally, you’ll be working with professional makeup artists that know what they are doing so you’re in good hands. So it is a good idea to be comfortable with wearing makeup and not let it make you self conscious. I’m sure you’ve seen ads where the men even wore eyeliner and maybe even eye shadow and blush but they still looked sexy and masculine. Trust me, if you can pull off the manly look while wearing makeup, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
– Questionable outfits: If your idea of masculinity is the Marlboro Man, then you’ll be sorely disappointed in the outfits you may be asked to wear on your modelling jobs . While some gigs and fashion shows will let you sport jeans, comfy shoes and tank tops (or shirtless) and other everyday types of clothes, you may also be asked to wear outfits that you would normally never touch with a 10-foot pole.
This could include fishnet shirts, long wraps/skirts (believe me, I’ve seen it on runways!), speedo type underwear, jewelry, plastic, etc. Whatever the designer or client wants, you’ll have to do it if you want to work and get paid. Sometimes male models are required to look slightly feminine in appearance. If this makes you really uncomfortable, then chances are you may not be cut out to do high fashion modeling.
– Having people within your comfort zone: Models are commodities…that means you are basically told what to do, when to do it and how to do it. Have problems with authority or don’t like following rules? Then sadly, male modeling is not for you. Being in this industry is all about working with different types of people, from your agent/booker and other models to the client, photographer, wardrobe stylist and other crew members. You’ll have to take direction, criticism and everything in between.
Not only that, while on shoots, you’ll have to get used to people fussing over you: doing your hair, putting makeup on, helping you get dressed, etc. During fashion shows, you’ll have to deal with the same thing but also the insane rush to dress and get undressed–additionally, you’ll have to be comfortable with changing and oftentimes being naked at some point in front of other male models and even female models. Shyness is not a requirement in the industry.
– Living in model dorms: High fashion and editorial male models are required to travel for work, both locally, nationally and internationally. This involves living in model dorms with other male models. The facilities can range from a comfortable apartment or loft to teeny tiny living spaces. When traveling internationally, it isn’t uncommon for a group of male models to share a living space with only 2 beds.
When you are working in your local market, you may be required to live full time in model housing where you are responsible for cleaning up, maintaining the facilities, grocery shopping, etc. while going to and from castings and jobs. Like the reality shows, sometimes things can get ugly when you’re cramped into a space with a bunch of people you don’t know. Some male models end up making lasting friendships with their follow coworkers, while others would rather leave and never look back.
If your first thought was, “I would never be caught dead in that/posing like that” or the more crude response, “That’s so gay,” then I would say you probably don’t want to be a male model in the high fashion/editorial market, nor would I recommend it for you.
Regardless of whether you go for it or not, remember that modeling (no matter the gender) is easier than it looks. Don’t judge unfairly and be respectful of the time, dedication and hard work it takes to make it to the top as a male model. Remember, male supermodels are small in number and the grind it takes to be successful is a difficult one.
Oh, and before you think that a male model looks “so gay” in a magazine or strutting down the catwalk in a questionable outfit, they make a pretty nice paycheck at the end of the day – that should put things in perspective for you.
A Model’s Diary – Modeling 101
By Dania Denise