Thursday, 24 May 2012

Modelling: From Model to Actor

Many people see modelling as a way of getting into acting – particularly on the television or in film. Is this a feasible career path, or do only the supermodels make it? To find out more visit

Halle Berry and Cameron Diaz are successful examples of how someone can change from a high flying career in fashion modelling to a money-spinning Hollywood actress. Opportunities or indeed talents like these don’t come around too often, but if you’re thinking about making the switch, here are some things to consider:

  1. Work hard at the modelling first: A lot of modelling is also acting – creating different expressions and moods to communicate with the audience. You also have to be comfortable in front of the camera. Once you are being truly natural as a model, have mastered your poses, and have grace and poise, you will find it easier to start looking for non-modelling work.

  1. Look for TV and film extra opportunities: Some modelling agencies, and certainly many online agencies, are used by TV and film casting people to spot and hire people as extras for their programmes. As a model, you may have a certain look that will fit into a scene and may get asked to take part. This is an excellent chance to see how TV and film production work, and get used to being on a set.

  1. Ask about advertising opportunities: Commercial modelling is a big part of the industry, and it often includes TV advertising. In many adverts, you may not need to speak, but you will be working with the camera, and learning how to perform for a television or film audience. This is great experience, and also gives you the opportunity to network in a different environment.

  1. Take lessons: If you have the time, take some acting lessons. This will help to enhance your modelling skills by learning to speak and move in ways which communicate with your viewers. You may need to have voice lessons, to modulate your voice, or to teach you to slow your speech, which may help with auditions.

  1. Look for speaking parts: If your agent covers this sort of work, tell them you are interested in small speaking parts in TV, film or commercials. If they can’t help you get this work, they will probably have a contact at an acting agency who can help.

  1. Work hard and study hard: If you have the talent and you feel you could succeed, then you must work hard and study the profession. You will often be auditioning against theatre-school trained actors, and you will want to give the very best you can in order to secure a part. If anything, acting is more competitive than modelling, and unless you are willing to put in the effort to succeed, the likelihood is that you won’t.

21st Century Modelling

The huge changes in fashion over the past century, together with the revolution in technology, means that the fashion world and its models have a global reach and worldwide influence. Everything from televisions to clothing and Burns Jewellers Ice Watches are modelled by individuals with the right look for the brand.


The personnel changes in the big design houses over recent years, combined with the emergence of new designers around the world, and particularly in China, have affected the fashion and modelling industries. Fashion houses have diversified their business, producing clothing lines for men and women, launching accessory ranges, bringing out new fragrances and even moving into designing homeware and luggage. They want the models who promote their key clothing collections to promote their other ranges – creating an association in the mind of the consumer.

This means that whilst the modelling opportunities have increased for most models, particularly in the commercial and fashion catalogue sections of the industry, the top models are working harder, and have also moved into super-celebrity status. They have to work hard and earn millions of pounds, but are hounded by journalists and photographers outside work.

Technology and New Markets

The internet has been the technology success of the last 10 years, and online modelling agencies are now commonplace. These agencies widen the opportunities available to models of all shapes and sizes, who may be contracted not just for straight modelling work but also for music videos and TV work, as non-speaking actors, or extras.

The creation of the “tweenie” market; 8-12 year olds, has prompted a rise in the need for models of this age, and so many more children than before are contracted to model agencies. The age for spotting a model who may progress to super-stardom is now around 14, when she has just finished pre-teen modelling.

24 hour television and dedicated fashion channels, together with online versions of the traditional fashion magazines has increased the exposure for models of all types. Models appear at a whole range of celebrity and charity events, but are also subject to the most demanding levels of scrutiny from the public and the press.

All these fashion and modelling trends have really emerged in the last 60 years, when, in the aftermath of the Second World War, fashion was one of the bright spots. What will happen to the modelling industry in the next 10 years?