How to Become a Model in Australia?

How to become a model in Australia

So, you’ve decided that you want to become a model – congratulations! Now, you’re in the right place and it’s time to start researching and taking the first steps towards launching your modelling career.

Famous Australian models that have made it as international superstars include Elle MacPherson, Miranda Kerr, Gemma Ward and Jemma Hawkins, and with the “Aussie look” in high demand in the fashion and beauty industry, now is the perfect time to start your modelling career. There are thousands of models in Australia so there is tough competition and standing out from the crowd is imperative.

For many aspiring models, their burning question is “What do I need to do to get started in the industry and actually become a model?” and while there is no easy, quick fix way to overnight success (as contrary to the popular image, the modelling life isn’t easy and requires a lot of determination!) there are some simple, proactive steps that you can take.

The great thing about modelling is that even though it’s very rare to be discovered and make it big as an overnight success, you can work your way up the ladder and with the right look, a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck on your side, you may find yourself booking great jobs, earning well and meeting lots of interesting people.

What does being a model involve?

As a model, depending on the niche that you enter you can expect to find yourself in runway shows, shooting for print and TV campaigns, promoting products and services and being in editorials.

There are many different niches of modelling that you may wish to enter, including:

… and these are just a few examples!

What training do I need?

The modelling industry in Australia – and indeed globally – is largely unregulated and as such, no formal qualification is required. However, you may want to attend modelling classes or acting classes if you want advance your skills, get better at posing for photographs or if you want to learn how your body moves and how to use this to your advantage in the modelling industry.

Ready to take the plunge?

When you know for sure that you want to become a model, it’s now time to get stuck into the hard work! In the early stages of your modelling career, you’ll need to firstly focus on developing a strong portfolio. Although having expensive photoshoots taken isn’t necessary in the early days, you’ll still want to showcase a diverse variety of looks including editorial, swimsuit, commercial and more.

Next, you must then make the important decision as to whether be freelance (self-represented) or represented by an agency. If you choose to be self-represented, you’ll take on the responsibility of marketing yourself as a model. If you choose to be agency represented, you’ll need to do your research and audition with several agencies in order to find the best agency to represent you. Your agency and booker will be managing your entire modelling career, so it’s important to choose carefully!

In the early stages of your modelling career, your income will likely be sporadic, and you may need to keep a second job to make ends meet. As your career grows, your income may become more stable and you may even book some very high paying jobs!

In Summary

Step One: Make sure you do your research about the industry, what’s expected of you, finding the right agency, how to book jobs and how to pick your niche.

Step Two: Make the appropriate preparations to put yourself out there – put together a portfolio, take some courses to further your skills and start networking!

Step Three: Put yourself out there, either self-represented or by getting signed to an agency. Now you’re ready to start booking jobs!

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How to become a model in Australia


Advance – An advance can sometimes be given to in-demand models to secure their acceptance for a booking, similar to a deposit or down payment. However lesser known models generally do not receive advances.

Advertorial – Created and paid for by an advertiser, but has the appearance of an editorial.

Agency – See Modeling Agency

Art director The art director is the person who is responsible for visual style and images of an ad or editorial presentation at a magazine, photo shoot and the like.  The art director’s decisions will determine the overall design and the kind of models used in the production, they may even be involved in selecting specific models.

Audition – Auditions are also often referred to as open calls, go sees or castings. These auditions are held so that agencies can find fresh new models that they may book for modelling jobs. These open calls allow will usually last a few hours. Clients may also hold auditions with models from different agencies in attendance.


Book – Refer to Portfolio

Booker A Booker is an employee of the model agency who acts as a middleman between the client and the model. As the name suggests the booker negotiates the modelling jobs with their clients.

Bookout – A bookout is simply a period of time that you are unable to work be it for professional or personal reasons. As you are not available no clients will be able to book you in for that period.

Buyouts – A buyout refers to the purchase by a client to the rights to a model’s image for a designated period of time, there will also be conditions such as type of media and geographic region.


Call Time – The time at which a model should be at the specified location, however as with any new job being around 15 minutes early is recommended.

Call Back / Recall – A call back refers to a model being asked back for another viewing to help narrow down the agency or clients selections. Receiving a call back may or may not result in a model being selected.

Call Sheet –  Call sheets are used throughout multiple industry’s to detail the specifics such as the where and when associated with the project. They can include, but are not limited to information such as the location and directions to the shoot, hair and makeup requirements, direction of the campaign etc. However sometimes the agency will simply provide the model with a phone call or email with his or her particulars.

Casting – A casting is a notice sent out to models, agencies and sometimes modeling websites advising of the details required for upcoming productions. These can range from a call where everyone and anyone can apply to advising specific or predetermined models to introduce themselves to the client.

Casting Agency – See Modeling Agency

Casting Detail Sheet – See Call sheet

Cattle Call –  See Audition

Catwalk – A catwalk, or sometimes referred to as a runway, is an area or space used by models during a fashion show to show off the clothing and accessories to the audience. A catwalk is usually a long and narrow elevated platform, however in more recent times there has been a shift to same level runways.

Close Up – A close up is an image or video of a model taken a close range. It provides a more detailed image than regular shots.

Commission – Commission when relating to modeling is the fee you pay to your manager or agency. This will usually be a percentage of the amount your receive for completing your modeling job.

Composite Card – Composite cards can have multiple names such as comp card, sedcard or zedcard, either way they are a models business card. The composite card consists of a piece of card on which at least two of your images are placed preferably in various outfits, poses and settings. The card should include your name, statistics and contact information, it should also show your agency’s information. A good agency will compile and print your comp cards for you.

Cover Shooting – A cover shoot is a photo shoot designed to be placed on the cover of a magazine , a cover shoot can be a huge deal for an aspiring model.


Editorial – Editorial images or photographs are created to illustrate a story or idea within the context of the subject, they cannot be used for commercial purposes. Editorial works most commonly appear in magazines, newspapers, on the internet and sometimes can appear on television.


Fitting – A fitting is where the clothes to be modelled are fit onto the model in a session before the actual photo shoot. They clothes may be altered to fit the particular model so there may be a fair amount of standing around while items are made to measure.

Freelance – A  freelancer is a model who is not exclusively represented by any one agency.


Go&See – The term go&see quite literally means to go and see someone, in a commercial environment the model will meet up with a casting person about a particular job, however with fashion it usually means to see someone who will keep you in mind for future jobs.


Lingerie – Lingerie is a word used to describe sexy or appealing underwear.

Location – Location refers to where a photo shot or job takes place. If you are booked for an on location job it is recommenced that you prepare yourself accordingly for the advised environment.


Modeling Agency – A modeling agency is a company or business that matched models to clients. Agencies usually earn their income via commission paid from the client to the model.  The agency represents the models and works to actively promotes them.

Model Release – A Model Release is a legal document releasing the rights to the images taken by the photographer at a particular session. Should the images be used without the release or in a way not documented in the the release the model and grounds to sue for breach of contract.


New Faces – As the term suggests new faces refers to models who are new to the modeling world and usually do not have a professional book or portfolio yet.


Plus Size – A plus size model is the term used to describe models who primarily model plus-size clothing. They are becoming increasingly popular in recent years.


Runway – See Catwalk.


Sedcard – See Composite Card.

Senior model – A senior or mature age model is a professional forty plus model. Mature models are used to target particular demographics.

Set – See Location.


Tearsheet – A tearsheet is a page that has been ripped out our removed from a publication to show physical evidence to a client that their advertisement was published.


Usage – Also see Model Release – Models get paid for their time on set as well as the right for the client to use the images from that photo shoot to advertise. A model will receive additional payment for each usage purchased by the client. However sometimes the fee will be a flat fee which means the on set time and usage are combined.



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How Much do Models Earn?

How to become a model in Australia

From the outside, a model’s life looks very glamourous with expensive clothes, makeup artists, jet setting across the globe, beautiful photoshoots and parties every week.

The reality can often be different, though.. and it’s a reality that you need to be prepared for if you wish to break into the modelling industry! This article is not to discourage you but instead to make sure that you’re prepared for the work ethic that you need, as many potentially great models have been discouraged and given up when they realised that “the model life” wasn’t as instantly abundant as they thought it would be.

In reality, modelling is hard work and long hours and especially for aspiring models, the pay isn’t always as high as you might assume.

So, how much do models earn in Australia?
Working on an editorial shoot, models are paid a day rate. The average day rate for an editorial shoot in Australia is $180. If you’re a self-represented model this goes entirely to you however if you are represented by an agency, they will take a commission (which can vary) for referring the job to you. An average agency commission can be around $80 out of a $180 day rate in Australia, which leaves you with $100 for 6-8 hours of work.

This seems very little… however, the day price of an editorial shoot is the same regardless of whether you’re a rookie model on her first shoot or a seasoned pro like Miranda Kerr.

As most experienced models will tell you, models take on editorial work cheaply at the start of their career as that’s one of the easiest and fastest ways to build up a portfolio (which you’ll need to get you most other forms of modelling work). For models who set their sights on advertising jobs as the end goal, establishing a quality portfolio through editorial shoots is a great way to build up their portfolios quickly and then book some advertising jobs, where real money can be made.

For an advertising campaign, a model in Australia may be earning anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 a day – depending on the model.  And that’s for a lesser known model… those who make it into the big time earn significantly more.
In 2017, Kendall Jenner was the highest earning model at $22 million, followed by Giselle Bundchen who earned $17.5 million. Prior to 2017, Giselle had been the top earning model since 2002 however, with social media influencer popularity rising, stars like Kendall Jenner are now overtaking. For many aspiring models who take to Instagram to rapidly build up a following, they may find their incomes rising along with their follower count (much like Kendall!

Other high income earning models are Adriana Lima ($10.5 million), Kate Moss ($5 million) and Taylor Hill ($4 million). Gigi Hadad earned $9 million and with 22.2 million followers on Instagram, her bank account and exposure grows each day. It was also reported in InStyle UK that Karlie Kloss at just 23 years old was earning roughly $300 for a single step on a catwalk.

Alongside earning big money by being booked for jobs, models can also earn a significant amount of money through endorsements. Aspiring models will need to work their way up by endorsing smaller brands first – but work hard, build your portfolio and you might just be discovered by a big brand!

And, interestingly, child models can also earn a considerable amount! In 2014 Fairfax Media reported that child models in Australia can earn up to $50,000 per year or up to $10,000 for a single job.

The opportunities and prospects are great, but it’s important to be aware of the pitfalls of the industry. Realistically, not every aspiring model makes it. Some never go as far as they’d hoped, others struggle to book jobs and for others, the pressure of long hours gets too much. Many aspiring models who struggle to make it may find themselves giving up on their dreams to pursue a day job with greater financial stability while for others, the thrill of competition and not knowing how great their next earning may be excites them.

Some models are also paid in “trade”, whereby they accept free clothes, jewellery and products as payment for their services whilst they build up a portfolio.

There are very few models who earn the big bucks – and although models can make a decent living, it’s crucial to make sure you’re getting into the industry for the right reasons and not solely chasing millions. Models are not on a salary or a regular wage and in Australia (and abroad), modelling is a largely unregulated industry. Being paid per job often means that you won’t be paid the big bucks until you make it big so if you’re expecting to get rich quick, you’re ultimately setting yourself up for disappointment.

It’s well known that at Fashion Week, unknown models can barely break even… however, if they have the right look that a brand is looking for, the exposure can be enough to skyrocket their profile and land them some very well paying jobs. Models looking to make some quick money will often book jobs directly with designers in the lead up to Fashion Week testing looks for the upcoming shows. For jobs like this, some models can make up to $1,000.

Models must also be friendly and personable – the industry can get a bad reputation as being catty, however many models will tell you that other models are lovely people. In fact, to save money, many models choose to live together in “model houses” where they split the rent and bills and can all share the experience of chasing their dreams whilst sharing advice with each other.

Of course, modelling is still a competitive environment though as everyone wants to book the best jobs!

To be successful, models must be hard workers, perfectionists and flexible to the needs to their directors/casting agents, as well as open to taking feedback to help them grow and improve (so that ultimately, they can book bigger and better jobs).

Ultimately, how much models earn will vary on the specific model type, the agent and the job itself… so models must be prepared for not every job to be the same.


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Agency Directory

How to become a model in Australia

In the modelling industry location is critical, so being situated near a major city is a huge advantage. Once you sign up with an agency you will be required to attend modelling jobs sometimes at very short notice so being close to the action is a definite must.

Most of the top international agencies are based overseas in London, New York and Paris which isn’t exactly a stone through away when you live down under in Australia. But we do have some highly regarded modelling agencies here, so you should start by signing up with your closest big city.

To get you started we have put together a list of our recommendations of the best modelling agencies in Australia.

New South Wales
Chadwick Models
Royalle Modelling
Wink Models

Chadwick Models
Giant Management
Pride Models
Wink Models

Chic Management

Western Australia
Chadwick Models
Bella Management

Haus Models
Victorias Models

South Australia
Pride Models
Azalea Models

Tas Talent

If you are not keen to sign with an agency just yet, check out our article on becoming an Instagram model.

We would love to hear from you so if you have had a great experience at an agency please leave us a comment with your recommendations.

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Modelling FAQs

How to become a model in Australia


How do I become a model?
There is more than one way to break into the world of modelling, from signing your self up to a reputable agency to starting your career off as an Instagram Model, ensure you thoroughly research your option by starting right here!

How tall do you have to be to be a model?
Assuming you are looking to get into high fashion modelling, agents will be looking for models around the 5’9 to 6’0 feet height, that is around 1.79 metres! Pretty tall huh! But don’t fret if you’re not towering above your friends and family, there are plenty of other careers you can forge in the modelling world, read more about your options here

How to become a model at 13, 14, 15, 16 etc? 
Regardless of whether you are starting your child’s career at 6 or interested in becoming a mature age model at 60 research is the key to ensure you are appropriately informed about the industry, ensure your expectations are realistic, read more about how to get started in our article on How to Become a Model in Australia.

How do I get scouted or discovered by a modelling agency?
In the past most people were discovered by modelling scouts travelling far and beyond on the look out for fresh and unique faces Airports, schools and shopping centres were hotbeds for the next face of Gucci or LV. These days talent agents don’t have to leave the comfort of their office, they simply have to open Snap-chat, Instagram or Youtube to find beautiful faces from all around the world. So its imperative that you get creating your online portfolio.



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