A Peek Behind Commercial Modelling

The modelling industry is often synonymous with the world of glitz and glamour. But behind the curtain is it really so? Follow me as we take a peek behind the curtain of this often misunderstood industry. Hi, I am Nicole Erza you probably know me from Myths Vs Facts Of The Modelling Industry. Let me be your tour guide into the exotic world of commercial modelling industry.

The Author looking elegant in a long black dress leaning at the corner of sofa whilst holding a pair of sunglasses.
Nicole Erza here. Let me bring you along on a guided tour to the commercial modelling industry.
Image by Author

Who Or What Is A Model?

Well, we all think that the modelling industry is full of glitz and glamour. But is it really so? There are many segments in this industry. They are fashion modelling, parts modelling, editorial modelling, runway modelling, promotional modelling, event modelling, petite modelling, etc. Whilst it is true that most models share similar prerequisites, different specialisation do require different kind of skills and physical traits. Let’s start with an area that I am personally familiar with, that is commercial modelling.

The Author as a commercial model holding the JBL speaker showing how portable it is in reality.
An example of bringing the product to life in commercial modelling. Humanising the portable speaker with a relatable touch and showing how easy it is to handle it.
Image by Author

So Who Or What Is A Commercial Model?

Companies and brand owners want consumers to relate to their products. They demonstrate their products with live models. What can a model actually bring to the table? When a model interacts with a product, he/she has to relate to it. In this case, the right commercial model plays an important role by bringing the product to life by just interacting with it.

Female commercial model having headphones on, with her hair sweeping across her face.
An example of humanising a pair of headphones. Seeing the model enjoying music makes me wanna listen to my music, too.
Image by whoalice-moore of Pixabay

What Does It Take To Be A Commercial Model?

Have you ever thought of becoming a model yourself? In order for you to promote a certain product or service you need to be able to relate to the clients’ products or services. Example, a cosmetic company wanting to promote their lipstick. A coloured piece of wax on a stick is worthless. But the very same lipstick on a pair of luscious lips is very sexy, don’t you think so? That is why companies often use models to promote their products like the lipstick example discussed above.

A female commercial model with full makeup on, displaying a pair of burgundy-coloured sensual, luscious lips
A visual example of a pair of luscious lips, would you even think of the lipstick?
Image by Gromovataya of Pixabay

Two Sides Of A Model’s Life

There are two sides to a model’s life. The front end is directly related to the client, director or producer and product placement. Whether it’s makeup or hairdo, the model has to project a professional image. Although the model is not involved in creatives and productions, he/she still has to continue to project a professional image. Everything from maintaining a healthy diet to fitness routines, and from skin care regiment to off-cameo attitude which include maintaining a positive social presence wherever and whenever.

Makeup artist applying makeup on the Author whilst on set, prepping up for a shoot.
Here’s me getting ready for a shoot, you will never know when there are eyes on you.
Image by Author

For instance, if a female model is engaged by a fashion designer to showcase an elegant ballgown certainly there is an expectation for elegance of her social life. She mustn’t be seen on her social media with torn jeans and street style wear, which contradicts her client’s image. It will risk reputational damage to the client. In fact, the behind-the-scenes of a model’s social life carries more weight than preparations, image damage control, negotiations and overall presentation processes.

So What Is Next?

Let’s say you have been engaged for a fashion designer specialising in luxury ballgowns, whether on or off camera, you have to project poise and elegance, including on social media.

In fact, there’s even more pressure to maintain that kind of stature and image off camera. Projecting the very same professional image throughout all the preparations, negotiation, and heaven forbid, damage control, is certainly not something built in a day.

A commercial female model wearing blue and black outfit holding a bottle of Pepsi in her hand in a lifestyle setting
A commercial lifestyle model posing with the Pepsi bottle in a jovial yet sexy posture.
Certainly does entice you for a bottle of Pepsi, doesn’t it?
Photo by Ismael Abdal Naby studio from Pexels

If you like a particular product and have a strong advocation for it, does it mean you can model for it? If you love drinking Pepsi, but does it mean you can model for Pepsi? How does one even dip one’s toes into the world of modelling? Generally there are several ways to get started in the modelling industry. Let’s explore some examples below :-

(1) Modelling Agencies

A modelling agency is a place for brands and companies to go to when they need a model. A brand might need a model for advertising, runway or publishing purposes. An agency can provide the brand with a catalogue of models that might suit the brand’s needs. All the brand has to do is choose their favourite. 

Just because a model is signed to an agency, it doesn’t mean he/she doesn’t have to audition for the job. A model still needs to audition to ensure that the brand has chosen correctly.

 A group of male and female models waiting for audition in a studio setting. In the foreground is a table with a cup, pens and a score card.
This is an example of an audition where commercial models have to undergo selection for the client by the agency.
Image by Author

(2) Modelling Schools

Modelling schools are a great way to start your career as a model. No harm learning a good set of skills after all. A modelling school is certainly a good platform to boost your confidence, posture, catwalk fundamentals and overall professionalism.

Three full-dressed models doing rehearsals with fruit baskets on their heads.
Catwalks with full-dress rehearsals are essential in modelling schools. Not only do they inculcate professionalism in the model wannabes, but also build their confidence as well.
Photo by cottonbro studio from Pexels

(3) Freelance Agents

Freelance agents scout for models only when there is a job, on a part-time or short-term basis. Typically, they look for models who prefer a freedom of choice. This is a non-traditional way of modelling, and it varies from individual to individual’s preference.

This list never ends, these are just some common examples that are around in the market.

A production team working together at a indoor building setting preparing for a shoot with two talents and a production director holding the script.
A production team working on a freelance basis for commercial shoots. Working on a freelance basis enables flexibility to work with a wonderful team of production experts.
Image by Ron Lach from Pexels

Is That All To Commercial Modelling?

We have touched on commercial modelling but there is more to it than what is shared here. In fact, this specialty is always evolving as the marketing trends are forever changing. Now that we’ve briefly learnt what commercial modelling is about, we’ll expand on other types of modelling in future episodes.

Do you think there is a stereotype of who or what a model is? Do you believe that all models have to be tall? Stay tuned for the next episode where we will bust the myth of the model’s minimum height requirement stereotype.

About Nicole ERZA

A business marketing graduate, who's a professional model, an actor, and an all round entertainment industry expert. Nicole is a living proof that beauty and brains can and do go together.

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