How to become a model?

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Having an incredible gait, look and style, this is a life project that more than one dreams of.  Yet becoming a model often seems inaccessible.  Industry professionals answered our questions on how to infiltrate the modeling world and become a model.

Thursday, October 4, at the Pavillon Ledoyen in Paris, took place the grand final of the Elite Model Look France 2018 competition. After several weeks of competition and intensive training, the 14 budding models will finally be able to make their last lap of the podium and  show that they have everything to become the Alessandra Ambrosio, Jordan Barrett and Bella Hadid of tomorrow.  The stress is at its height because the stakes are high.  Indeed, the young shoots of French modeling have the opportunity to land a modeling contract with the prestigious Elite agency.  The candidates, boys and girls aged 14 to 21, parade before knowing the verdict that can change their lives.  Jimmy Nogues and Margaux Courrèges, 17 and 18, are elected big winners and win a contract with the Elite agency.

The Elite Model Look competition is a once in a lifetime chance to be successful in modeling, but there are more traditional voices to access it.  Here is everything you need to know before embarking on this fascinating and demanding environment.


First of all, a modeling career cannot begin before the age of 16.  Elite agency casters opened their doors to 14-year-old models, but didn’t sign them until two years later at 16.  To start a modeling career, Sami Sabbarini, Executive Men’s Board Agent at Elite explains that you have to be between 14 and 22 years old.  Then all you have to do is send your photo to a modeling agency.  There are several in France, mainly in the big cities, but the main ones are based in Paris.  And yes, the capital of fashion.  While some misconceptions say that it is better to go to a casting or a spontaneous application equipped with a book or a portfolio, the casters prefer that top apprentices simply come in jeans and white t-shirts, without artifice.  Rather than showing more or less professional photos that could do them a disservice, they want to build the book themselves.


Clichés and stereotypes are tough in the modeling world.  Too big, too small, not pretty enough?  If the last few years have seen the advent of models who break the standards and play on their atypical side, one is entitled to wonder what really are the criteria to become a model, in 2018.

 Sami Sabbarini, executive agent on the men’s board of the Elite agency assures us, these ultra-restrictive criteria are preconceived ideas: “We never talk about size when we cast someone.  We’re talking about height and age.  We are looking for young people between 14 and 22 years old.  The height is 1.72m minimum for girls and 1.83m minimum for boys.  “

If these stated sizes are even below the actual criteria required, Sami claims the non-existence of weight parameters: “Anything that is a morphological criterion, we don’t care, we can have a billion different profiles, and we can  have peculiarities.  We like to get off the beaten track a bit ”.  Indeed, in recent times, fashion and buyers have been seduced by a new wave of models with luscious shapes, breaking the codes of extreme thinness with Ashley Graham at the head of the line: plus-size or plus-size models.  Now considered the same as their Size 34 counterparts, plus-size models have opened the way and the doors of model agencies to a greater number of girls and boys.


“You can recruit a boy under six feet tall, but he has to have something special.  »Says Sami Sabbarini.  And this is indeed the observation that can be made in the current modeling landscape.

 It is for this reason that Julia Haart, recently head of the creative department of Elite World, is trying to develop two axes within the agency: “I want there to be two paths: one  on the side the classic catwalk top model with the required size and weight, on the other side, atypical profiles such as skaters, basketball players, someone interesting with a personality ”.  The former artistic director of the La Perla lingerie house tells us that more and more clients are looking for new profiles: “You have to be yourself, have potential, have presence […  ] I don’t want to see only Barbie dolls on the catwalk, I want difference, ethnicity, shapes ”.

Are we witnessing a fall in the codes established for so many years in modeling?  Could the environment be open to everyone?  “It’s the diversity that makes the beauty […] we look for the difference in everyone, we are not looking for clones, we are not looking for robots,” explains Sabbarini.

 However, modeling agencies respond to customer requests.  It’s the fashion houses, editorial writers or photographers who demand this or that type of model: “I’m not going to send a Saint Laurent model to Versace” laughs Sami Sabbarini.  We must therefore be aware of the difficulty of the environment and the rather trying daily life that a model will experience.


While becoming a model is a dream for many young girls and boys, don’t forget that it is a real job with the stress and challenges that come with it.

 For models still in their studies, the agencies that sign them ask to have a right to oversee their education.  Their priority is to ensure a future for these young shoots, most of whom have not yet graduated.  “It’s important to know that this is a job that can end overnight, you can’t afford to take education away from them,” said the head of the Elite Male board.  Once the baccalaureate is in your pocket, you have to know whether the model wants to devote herself full time to modeling, what is called “full time” or only during weekends or school holidays.  Here again, a study project is required so as not to end up with nothing in the event of failure.

Because failures exist.  The world is competitive, trying, and the doors may not open as easily as you think.  While agents best prepare young models for the boldness of this world, sometimes failure hurts.  Margot Baget, finalist 4 years ago in the Elite Model Look competition is a regular at Saint Laurent, but when she tried to export abroad, the story was quite different: “I tried Milan  but it didn’t work too much.  I was motivated, it put my morale down […] I still don’t have an explanation.  “The young woman, barely 18 years old, talks about this very exciting job with stars in her eyes but with, however, a certain lucidity:” We send you the night before what you will do the next morning.  This is the downside of modeling: not knowing what’s going on the next day.  “

Even if it’s a complicated, time-consuming and exhausting profession, in particular due to the rhythm of Fashion Weeks, Julia Haart has only one piece of advice to give to all those who wish to be destined for modeling:  want to succeed, never give up.  It’s tough, you go from audition to audition, you fail, but you are going to become so determined that no one can stop you. “

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