How to Become a Women's Catwalk Model

by Al Stewart
A successful catwalk model has the versatility to work in any area of fashion.

A successful catwalk model has the versatility to work in any area of fashion.

For many women, the road to becoming a successful model begins on a long, narrow runway known as the catwalk. It's a staple of fashion shows, used by designers to showcase their creations. Although models seldom spend more than 30 seconds on each trip up and down the catwalk, this demanding job requires versatility, poise and commitment. Competition is fierce, but the job can be highly rewarding. Rates vary depending on a model's experience and stature in the business, but pay usually ranges from $250 to $1,200 an hour.

Make a commitment to becoming a fashion model and understand the physical requirements demanded of women in this line of work. Runway models typically have a minimum height of 5 feet 8 inches, breasts that have a minimum cup size of C and measurements that are close to 34 bust, 24 waist and 34 hips. They must follow a strict regimen of diet and exercise that maintains a toned, lean body.

Familiarize yourself with the professional aspects of being a catwalk model as well as the agencies and designers prominent in the fashion business. The trade publication Women's Wear Daily, for example, is a good place to track trends in the industry and learn about coming fashion events such as Fashion Week in New York or Los Angeles.

Create a portfolio of professional photographs along with a resume. Include a variety of poses and wardrobe selections as well as close-up head shots and full body shots. In addition to a hard-copy version of the portfolio photos, establish a website or blog that includes the portfolio and video of you on a catwalk.

Apply to modeling agencies that specialize in catwalk work. Agencies typically operate websites that explain the scope of their work and how to apply. Be prepared to submit your portfolio and visit the agency for an interview.

Attend meetings with casting agents, usually referred to as "go-sees." These involve brief interviews and reviews of your portfolio. If they like your look, questions will focus on your availability and expected fees.

Specialize in an area of fashion such as swimwear, lingerie or seasonal wardrobes. While versatility is an asset on the catwalk, many models develop successful careers based on their focus on a niche area.


About the Author

Al Stewart's 30-year background as a writer/editor includes staff positions at "Adweek," "Billboard," "Chain Drug Review," "Cable World," "DNR" (men's fashion), "National Floor Trends," and "Variety." A native New Yorker, he is now a writer/editor living in Los Angeles. He has a BA in political science from Wagner College.

Photo Credits

  • John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images