The names that cross our minds when we hear the word ‘model’ or ‘modeling’ are Gigi Hadid, Cara Delevingne, Kendall Jenner and other models who are considered as the top models. Models usually advertise products of clothing brands or work for model agencies. The fashion industry, predominantly occupied by female models, has now seen an increase in the number of male models, thus breaking the stereotypical notions perceived by the society and establishing the industry to be gender-neutral as well.

(Representative Image)

History of Modeling

The first models introduced to the world were considered to be the ones who posed for artists, typically for a portrait or painting. In the past, mannequins were used to display clothing in stores. Modeling, as a profession, was established in 1853 by Charles Frederick Worth, who made his wife ‘model’ to the clothes he designed. Initially, there were no standard physical requirements or measurements that were endorsed to become a model.

The advent of photography in the early 1880s introduced the industry to fashion photography resulting in the onset of ‘photo modeling’. Modeling agencies were established in the 1960s. London became the heart of fashion modeling, impelled by the popularity of idols such as Twiggy and Joanna Lumpy.     

Charles Fredericks Wife As a Model
Charles Frederick’s wife posing as a model

The following two decades rewarded models with better pay and working conditions, as well as the birth of more diversity into the industry.

The 1990’s saw the rise of figures such as Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford as “Supermodels”. Models were regarded as the new celebrities. Teen pop music in the 90s also had a big influence on fashion and modeling, with stars like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera popularizing their own fashion looks and appealing to a younger audience.

The modeling industry has evolved from a small, underrepresented job to a massive global phenomenon. This generation models such as Cara Delevingne and Kendall Jenner use social media as a platform for both working and interacting with fans. Models are not just walking fashion elements anymore. They are activists, public speakers, media personalities, business people and many more.

Let’s take a look at the 15 types of female models in the fashion industry.

1Fashion (Editorial) Model

Editorial Fashion Model (Photo credits: Flaunter/Unsplash)

These models are usually featured in fashion magazines such as Vogue, Elle, Glamour and they work for leading fashion brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Armani, Prada and others. Models like Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Karlie Kloss are some of the popular editorial models.

Female editorial models are typically at least 5 feet, 9 inches tall and very slim, with bust measurements of 33 inches, waist measurements of 23 inches, and hip measurements of 33 inches.

2Fashion (Catalog) Model

Catalog Model (Photo credits: Marcelo Chagas / Pexels)

Catalog models are now taking the digital world by storm by setting new fashion trends in print catalogs. Unlike the editorial models, catalog models look like common people but will have to possess certain physical attributes such as glowing skin, healthy hair and a perfect smile. They are commonly used to demonstrate a product by using or wearing it.

3Fitness Model

Fitness Model (Photo credits:

Athletic, fit and toned models have become the most sought after because health and fitness has become a strong interest and due to celebrity culture. The majority of fitness models are health-conscious. These models are in tall request for athletic wear as well as commercial services.

4Glamour Model

Glamour Model (Photo credits: Владимир Васильев / Pexels)

The word ‘glamour’ refers to alluring beauty or charm, often very appealing. Glamours models usually work for swimsuit and lingerie brands by cause of their physique. Models posing in adult magazines could also be considered as glamour models. Models need to be a minimum of 18 years of age and they must meet the strict requirements of the agency they choose to work with.

5 Parts Model

Parts Model (Photo credits: Deanna Alys /Unsplash)

Modeling exclusively for specific parts of the body such as hand, leg, feet, eyes and other parts. These models work on editorial, catalog and advertising domain. Models are expected to have flawless skin, well-proportioned body parts, and ensure that the body part they specialize in advertising remains unblemished.   

6Commercial Model

Commercial Model (Representative Image, Photo credits: Averie Woodard)

Unlike other kinds of models, commercial models can be of any age, height, and shape depending upon the preference of the clients. These models work in advertisements that promotes certain brand products, or promotional events for housewares, travel, food, etc.

7Mature Model

Mature Modeling (Representative Image, Photo credits: Cottonbro/Pexels)

Age is no more a limit in the modeling industry. Mature models should be healthy and physically fit usually above the age group 30-45. They can also be commercial models since they are capable of performing all of the functions of a commercial model. In recent times, mature models are even being featured in sports magazines. Several high end fashion magazines and brands use mature models to feature in their digital or print medium as part of their campaigns, commercials and catalog.

8Child Model

Child Model (Representative Image, Photo credits: Misha Voguel/Pexels)

Majority of editorial models started their career at an early age being featured as child models. Child models or Kid models are in high demand, currently, to advertise in magazines, commercials as well as social media. Kids below the age of 13, with a doe eyed killer smile, preferably friendly and fast learners are sought out by agencies.

9Promotional Model

Promotional Models (Photo credits: The Mancunion)

These model book jobs that aid in the sale or promotion of a specific commodity. Promotional events and trade shows often feature promotional models. These models must be sociable, unreserved, and knowledgeable about the product they are representing. This is an attractive method of brand advertising or marketing. Promotional models are also known as brand ambassadors or promo models. They typically work on consumer-driven brand assignments.

10Petite Model

Petite Models (Photo credit: Petite Studio)

Modeling is no more limited to long legs. Petite models do not meet the standard modeling criteria of height, weight, and body shape. This modeling does not require you to be 6-foot tall in order to take the industry by storm. Petite models are needed for brands that cater to shorter people. Again, there are constraints; most brands will not work with someone under 5’6″.

11Plus Size Model

Plus Size Model (Photo credits: Glamour)

In recent times, there is a growing demand for plus- seize models in the commercial as well as fashion industries. Most industries and agencies have a separate plus-size division, which is expanding the modeling industry. Fashion agencies have started presenting a new perspective on modeling by redefining set standards of ‘beauty’ which differ from established mainstream modeling, like tall, skinny, and flawless. A plus-size model can walk the runway, work on assignments for major fashion brands, and do commercial modeling for a variety of magazines and media outlets.

12Swimsuit And Lingerie Model

Swimsuit and lingerie model
Swimsuit and Lingerie Model (Photo credits: Christopher Campbell/Unsplash)

Swimsuit and lingerie models are typically more appealing than editorial models. These models can also feature as showroom and fit models. These models can take part in fashion runway shows, appear in fashion editorials, and even commercial catalogs for various brands, designers, and stores. These models must constantly monitor their diet in order to maintain proper shape and size.

13Runway Model

Runway models (Photo: Apparel Magazine)

Female runway or catwalk models should be at least 5 feet, 9 inches tall, but taller is preferred. Runway models must have accurate measurements so as to suit the garments that designers are going to be presenting to their clients. Their bust measurements are typically no more than 34 inches, waist measurements are no more than 23 inches, and hip measurements are no more than 34 inches.

14 Freelance Model

Freelance Model at Car Show
Luxury Car Maker Hires a Freelance Model, Dubai (File Photo)

Freelance models do not work full-time. They work on shoots based on project or requirement. They are not generally represented by a modeling agency or an agent. As a result, they must effectively market themselves in order to attract potential clients. They receive fewer gigs than other models, since they are not represented by an agent or agency.

15Social Media Model

Social Media Model (Alexander Krivitskiy /Unsplash)

Influencer models make a living by modeling on social media platforms such as Instagram. Influencer models are in charge of their own image and are typically content creators. To be considered an influencer model, a model must have a large number of followers and content interaction on their preferred social media platform. They must capture the attention of brands and businesses with a similar target audience. Influencer modeling can earn a lot of money, but it is a difficult and time-consuming job that requires many hours of work and dedication to succeed. Influencers are also more likely to face criticism and backlash than other types of models.

How to determine your niche:

Determining Your Own Niche In Modeling (Representative Image)

A model must decide which niche they are best suited for in order to have the best chance of success as a model. Instead of attempting to break into the niche you want to be a part of, think more pragmatically and determine which niche your appearance best suits. If you do not meet the stringent requirements of high-fashion modeling, consider commercial modeling. Consider petite modeling if you are on the shorter side. Try plus-size if you are naturally curvy. Many cater to a specific modeling niche. To increase your chances of being signed by an agency, do your research on which agencies specialize in your chosen modeling niche.

Modeling is becoming a more diverse and accessible career option. Anyone with a camera and an Instagram following can now be classified as a model. The model industry has now evolved from the established convention set by the ‘traditional’ models and are now looking for models who defy those set expectations. As a results of this influence, the modeling industry is now trying to find faces and body types that defy the expectations of ‘traditional’ models.

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