The most important thing about becoming a model is determining which type of model you are so you don’t waste your time pursuing the wrong kind of work. If you’re a strapping 6-footer, you may have a difficult time getting hired for the European runway shows; they’re usually looking for thinner, more delicate models. On the other hand, if you’re slender and fragile-looking, you’re probably not going to be modeling too many bathing suits. In this guide, you will learn about what attributes make up each of the seven types of models, and what kinds of work each type does.
You’re an Amazon if …
The Amazon’s universal appeal adds up to a lot of modeling opportunities. Amazons often do editorial work, primarily because their image is very distinctive and compelling. They project a strong sense of personality that’s hard to miss, even on a crowded newsstand.
If you’re an Amazon, some of the modeling jobs you may be best suited for (but are by no means limited to) include bathing suit, lingerie, and sportswear modeling; product endorsements; and beauty stories in magazines.
Many celebrities also fit into the Amazon category. Heidi Klum, Beyoncé , Grace Jones, Uma Thurman, and Brooke Shields come to mind. Their strong features and bodies make them stand out as much on the pages of magazines as they do on movie and TV screens.
You’re a Classic Beauty if …
Classic Beauties are the envy of other models because they can do almost any kind of work. Magazines editors adore them and are constantly putting them on the covers and in the pages of their publications. Their beauty can make any product look good, so they’re also hired for advertising campaigns. They get many of the lucrative beauty contracts. Even as they age and other models their age have long since taken their last walk down the runway, Classic Beauties continue to work.
In smaller cities, Classic Beauties are in demand for all kinds of work: catalog, advertisements, TV commercials, and runway.
Famous Classic Beauties include Molly Sims, Halle Berry, Christy Turlington, Elizabeth Hurley, and Christie Brinkley.
You’re a Barbie if …
The Barbie look goes in and out of fashion. But when it’s hot, you’ll see the Barbie on magazine covers and in lots of beauty and fashion advertisements. This type also does a lot of lingerie and swimsuit modeling. Top Barbies appear in men’s magazines, the Victoria’s Secret catalog, and the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. Many also have their own pinup calendars.
Barbie types include Adriana Lima, Pamela Anderson, Stephanie Seymour, Brooke Burke, and Carmen Electra.
You’re a Chameleon if …
Chameleons do a lot of editorial work, mainly in the fashion capitals, which allows them the freedom they need for creative expression. They often team up with the most famous photographers. (Some Chameleons become muses to certain photographers because they work so often and so closely together.) You may also be hired for runway work, creative ad campaigns, and art photography. Because of their high level of creativity, Chameleons can have a tough time in smaller markets, where most of the work is doing catalog. The best bet for a Chameleon in a smaller market is to find a look that appeals to the local clients and stick with it. Avoid the outrageous—bright orange hair, radical haircuts, and strange outfits.
Famous Chameleons include Linda Evangelista, Charlize Theron, Naomi Campbell, Carolyn Murphy, and, of course, the most famous Chameleon of all, Madonna (who did some modeling early in her career).
You’re an Exotic Beauty if …
Exotic models are often very much in demand when they first hit the fashion scene. They’re promoted as the “It” Girl of the moment, and they get all the prized modeling jobs—magazine work, runway jobs, and even advertising. Because they can easily become a passing trend, Exotics must be very clever, hard working, and lucky to maintain a lasting career. They may come in with a big bang, but they can disappear just as quickly when the initial fascination is over. Some, however, manage to be continually alluring and captivating.
It can be tough for an Exotic Beauty to find a lot of work in a smaller market, where clients tend to want to hire models who appeal to (and look like) their customers. The exception is cities with a large local population of people of the Exotic model’s background—for instance, a Latin model in Miami.
Exotic models include Iman, Eva Longoria, Yamila Diaz, Salma Hayek, and Lucy Liu.
You’re an Oddball if …
Right now, Oddball models are especially in demand for editorial work in the big fashion capitals—New York, Paris, and Milan. Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way because your career as a model may be very limited (for instance, working for only one client) or short lived.
In a smaller market, the Oddball’s best bet is to try to maximize her commercial appeal with a classic haircut and makeup that makes her best features stand out and her “oddball” features less noticeable.
Keep a positive attitude. Sometimes when your looks are out of the ordinary (especially when you’re surrounded by Classic Beauties all day), you might start to feel bad about yourself. But remember, other models may have great careers because their looks are more conventional, but your odd qualities are the secrets to your success. Work to improve yourself as a talent and a person. Surround yourself with agents and managers who can help you make the most of your 15 minutes of fame and hopefully further your career.
Oddballs include Kate Moss, Sarah Jessica Parker, Twiggy, Lauren Hutton, and Gemma Ward.
You’re an Athletic Girl Next Door if …
If you’re an Athletic Girl Next Door, you may be best suited for (but not limited to) modeling bathing suits, athletic clothes, sportswear, and other athletic products, in both editorial and advertisements. Magazines and advertisers use Athletic Girls Next Door when they want to project a healthy, natural appeal, or just want a more sporty look. Catalogs are another potential lucrative source of work, although athletic models aren’t usually found on the fashion runways because their bodies can be too muscular for the clothes.
In smaller markets, the Athletic Girl Next Door type is one of the most popular types of models. Her healthy and wholesome looks appeal to just about everyone, so clients such as catalogs and local advertisers love to hire her.
Famous Athletic Girls Next Door include Elle Macpherson, Anny Kournikova, Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, Cameron Diaz, and Gabrielle Reese.
Once you know which model type you are, you’ll have a better idea of the best strategy for pursuing a career, whether it’s modeling in a local market or in one of the fashion capitals. Good luck!
From The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Being a Model, Second Edition, by Roshumba Williams with Anne Marie O'Connor