What Are Male Models Supposed to Look Like?
There are successful male models in all categories across the industry but the fact that the modeling business revolves around women can make it challenging for newbies to figure out how to pursue their goals of male modeling.
It is important to know that because there are different types of modeling categories out there, that means there are also different types of male models. They aren't all supposed to look alike and what ends up being in demand does change every year.
Let's break down the common attributes that come with male modeling in various popular categories, shall we?
THE MALE FASHION/RUNWAY/EDITORIAL MODEL
These are the typical types of models most of us tend to think of when it comes to men in modeling. What is important to know and understand if you're an aspiring male model is that agencies have all different looks and types on their rosters. It also depends on what market you want to work in. The male models in Los Angeles may not necessarily look the same as the ones working in New York and internationally.
Fashion designers are all so different and eclectic across the board, so it only makes sense that certain designers would want their male models to look a particular way, compared to another designer. That means even if you have a look that wouldn't be of use to a client doesn't mean you wouldn't be the perfect fit for the next one.
Male models in the world of fashion, runway and editorial tend to be tall and leanly built. Not bodybuilder types, either. Some may have the six-pack, washboard abs, while others have an athletic toned body, while still others don't have much of a "physique" at all and are on the slimmer side in terms of body type.
They may have a beard or meticulously groomed facial hair or they may have the clean shaven face of a teenager. Their hair might be short and neatly cut, while other male models are known for their long and wild locks. Some might even be bald or have braids.
Tattoos are generally frowned upon in the modeling industry but male models in the fashion/runway/editorial world are often the exceptions to the rule, as long as their tattoos don't become the sole focus instead of the male model himself.
Remember that the exceptions to the rule are just that--exceptions and not the norm--so there was something about that particular male model that agencies and clients saw that puts them in the exceptional category. I'm not a mind reader so I couldn't tell you exactly why the industry would choose a certain individual as that exception to the rule and it is usually on a case-by-case basis.
THE MALE COMMERCIAL/PRINT/LIFESTYLE MODEL
These are the male models who reflect clients' demographics across the board and encompasses all ages and walks of life.
He can be athletically built, maybe even a bit of a beefcake (not bodybuilder status, however) or he can simply be a regular Joe who may not have washboard abs but maintains his physique in a way that means not sporting a gut.
Male print models can have facial hair or not. His hair may be completely dark, have wisps of gray or be totally salt and pepper.
Height is flexible although as long as the female models he shoots with don't completely tower over him, there isn't a stringent height or weight requirement. Being height/weight proportionate is key, though.
THE MALE TEEN/COLLEGE MODEL
Teen male models are supposed to look their age. The "man child" look likely wouldn't apply here, haha. College aged male models are likewise also supposed to look like they could easily be a student at the college level.
Body types for male models in these categories can vary and they obviously don't have to be beefed up bodybuilders. Hair style can range widely as well. Facial hair isn't always seen on teen male models although that doesn't mean they don't exist or aren't wanted. Same for college aged male models. As long as you still look your age, facial hair won't be a huge issue.
THE MALE FITNESS/BODYBUILDER MODEL
Male models that want to break into this category have to walk the walk and talk the talk when it comes to their physique. While the categories of male models described above don't have stringent requirements for body type, fitness and bodybuilder categories do...and in a big way.
Bodybuilding is all about massive bulk and muscles so it makes sense that male models setting their sights in this direction have to make a dedicated effort to working out, eating right and understanding how to maintain their desired results.
Oftentimes, fitness modeling is used interchangeably with bodybuilding but for this particular post I'm going to talk about fitness modeling as it relates to sports/athletic modeling. While it does require male models to be very fit and in shape, the massive bulk of muscles doesn't have to be quite as large. Being toned, having a nice set of abs to show off and nicely defined arms and legs are ideal.
The modeling world itself is always changing so don't feel the need to compare yourself to other male models or try to change things about yourself if it isn't necessary. It's about finding where you fit in.