Types of Modeling – Modeling 101 with Jamila Jay

Written by | B-Roll

There is more out there for models than runway fashion! Jamila Jay shares all of the opportunities models have!

Hi Jamila! I’m curious about modeling but don’t know much about the industry. I know there are fashion models for fashion runways, but what else do models do? –  Sarah M., Louisville, KY

Hello Sarah,

This is a great question to start my column off with. Honestly, the diversity of modeling duties, sizes, and shapes have exploded in the last 5 years. The runway is only one aspect of modeling.  Models change their posture and facial expressions to capture the look the client wants. The photographer usually takes hundreds of photos of the model in different poses and expressions during a photo shoot.

Models appear in different types of media to promote a product or service.   In addition, Models advertise products and merchandise in magazine or newspaper advertisements, department store catalogs, or television commercials. Increasingly, models are appearing in online ads or on retail websites

There are countless types of modeling, but here are a few types and their duties:

High Fashion/Runway Models:  Models often display clothes and merchandise live in fashion shows. Models must stand, turn, and walk to show off clothing to an audience of photographers, journalists, designers, and garment buyers.

These models are tall and lean with an average height of 5′ 9″ to 6’0 sizes 0 to 6. Runway models must have precise measurements so they are able to fit the clothes that designers are going to be showing to their clients. Their measurements are usually no greater than 34″ – 23″ – 34″.

Plus Size Models:  The modeling industry has changed, because women all over the world are loving their curves, and being curvaceous is synonymous with being sexy and beautiful.  Voluptuous, Curvy, Hourglass, Normal or Regular are adjectives that describe Plus Size Women. In the Fashion Industry, Plus Size Models are sizes 8 to 24. Several of the top fashion agencies now have plus size divisions and we’ve seen many plus supermodels over the past few years.

Petite Models:   If your height is 5′ 7″ and under, you fit into the petite model arena.  While petite models do not generally do runway work, they are often booked for swimsuit, lingerie, and parts modeling. Since petite models usually have smaller shoe and glove sizes, they are popular as foot and hand models.

Editorial Models: Models may appear on fashion magazine covers or in photographs accompanying magazine articles. These models typically participate in photo shoots and pose for photographers to show off the features of clothing and other products.   “Editorial models” are the high fashion models that you see in fashion magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Elle, and who work for top fashion designers such as Giorgio Armani, Prada, Marc Jacobs, Gucci, Valentino, and St. Laurent..

Commercial Models:  Commercial models are the “girl next door” type who are easily relatable to the average American homemaker.  Clothing catalogs, newspapers advertisements, and websites are where you will locate commercials models.

Moreover, commercial models can be cast everywhere that is not considered high-fashion.  Any product ad that has a beautiful male or female is classified as commercial modeling.  It could be a photo in your local bank branch, hair dye products, housewares, food products, travel industry, tech devices, and the list goes on.

Promotional Models: Clients may cast models to interact directly with customers. In retail establishments and department stores.Models display clothing directly to shoppers and describe the features and prices of the merchandise.

For example, trade and car shows, conventions, and other live events, models exhibit a business’ products and provide information to consumers.

Fit Models:  Fit models are models who work directly with designers and manufacturers to determine the perfect fit for each garment size.  Fit models work behind the scenes in fashion houses and with garment manufacturers to make sure that sizing and fit are maintained in the clothing manufacturing process. Garment manufacturers require a variety of shapes and sizes of fit models in order to fit their garments properly before they are shipped to the consumer.

Mature Models:  Let face it, the good news is that we are living longer and the modeling market for mature models has increased tremendously. The baby boomers are entering their 60’s and beyond. Mature models are generally 30 years of age and over and work well into their 80’s and 90’s!  

Mature models are actually considered commercial models and can do everything a commercial model can do.

– Jamila Jay

Esteemed African-American Plus Size Entrepreneur, Jamila Jay is the owner of Choyce International Plus Size Model Management, which is the first licensed and bonded agency geared toward Plus Size Talent in California.  In 2010, after being laid off as an elementary school teacher, she embarked upon the world of acting and eventually plus size modeling.  As a journalist, she has published over 300 articles from plus size fashions, domestic violence, to celebrity interviews worldwide including Canada, Africa, and the Caribbean.   In 2017, Choyce has been appointed as Editor-In-Chief, as Courbee’ Revolucion’ Magazine (means curvy revolution in Italian) which showcases and celebrates women with curvy bodies from all over the world.  Jamila also runs PlusSizeCasting.com, a casting website geared towards plus size talent. 

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Last modified: April 12, 2018

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