Modeling Schools are a Total Waste of Time and Money

Modeling Schools

I am sure you have all seen those adverts saying, “… become a Top Model, or a Super Model…”. Or “You can become a model in only 6 weeks…” etc.

I find it sad and pathetic that so many kids and parents fall for these kinds of solicitations. I can only imagine how much money is tossed out the window by so many of those hoping to become models via the Modeling Schools, offering fame and fortune in the fashion business.

So for those of you reading this and hoping to become models, let me edify you to the reality of the business.

There is no school out there that can make you that promise and keep it.

Modeling Schools

To become a model the reality is the following:

If you are over 5′-9″ or 1m 75 cm around 14-16 years of age or even younger.

Have a unique look that breaks with convention.

A classic conventional look that is really commercial.

Have been discovered by a credible model agency scout or recognized fashion photographer.

Have been to see the credible model agencies around like Elite, The Society, Ford, Next, IMG, Marilyn, One Model Management, Folio, Select, Premier, Modelwerk, Viva, etc. and they have accepted you to their roster.

A major fashion magazine fashion or beauty editor has discovered you and sent you to one of the above agencies or other credible agencies in the major modeling centers.

All modeling agencies worth their weight, will provide  the models the necessary learning tools to survive in the business. They will warn them against certain career pitfalls, who and what to avoid, teach them how to walk for runway work, as well as some of the more important aspects of posing and attitudes needed to approach a photo and video shoot. Of course there are other types of modeling that I have not mentioned, like hand, leg, body, extra work, glamour, erotic, people, lifestyle, etc. modeling that falls under a very different category and doesn’t really require the above attributes.

Perhaps schools wishing to teach poise, posture, social graces, table manners, walking gracefully etc. should just advertise themselves as Charm Schools. At least then those wishing to learn the above would be well informed. If none of the above situations apply, I suggest that you save your money and invest in other aspects of your capabilities and pass GO and save your $200.00.

One day you might want to pass this on to those seeking your sage advice. Looking forward to your comments.

About Benjamin Kanarek
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Fashion and Beauty Photographer. Some of the magazines I have shot for include: VOGUE (China, Portugal, Brazil, Italia, Paris and South America & Mexico editions), RG VOGUE Brazil, Harper’s BAZAAR (China, en Español & Latin America, Hong Kong, Italy editions), L’Officiel Paris, ELLE (Spain, Portugal and Greece editions), Madame Figaro (France), Cosmopolitan (France and Italy editions), Glamour (France), Votre Beauté, Jardin des Modes, Dépêche Mode, New York Daily News, Fashion District News, New York Times Magazine, W (British edition), WWD, Fashion Magazine (Canada), Flare (Canada), Oyster, Tank, WestEast…

  • Femi Anifalaje

    You complain about the schools Benjamin – what of the agencies that rid off wannabe models day in day out by asking them to pay some ridiculous amount of money (usually in their hundreds) to get them a portfolio with award winning photographer X and then, the work rolls in? I think they are even more cancerous to a model’s career.

    • Which CREDIBLE Model Agencies are you referring to?  Name one that is in the Top 25 World Wide. I know of ZERO Credible Modeling Agencies that practices that which you have described above. Perhaps the same crappy modeling agencies that are doing the same crappy schools, but not the VIVA’s, STORMS’s, IMG’s, NEXT’s, TRUMP’s etc. or any in that category that I have heard of. Sorry, your critique does not apply at all to what I have described in my article. Credible Agencies DO NOT take on Wanabee Models, but Models they are sure will generate an income in the REAL Marketplace. Those agencies you are referring to, do not have a model I would ever consider booking. They make their money in the same way the schools do. In fact, just exchange the word schools to low end model agencies in my article and the same applies. What you are describing is the low end provincial ilk “Modeling/School Agency!

      • Femi Anifalaje

        you are right… credible is the word to note

      • Femi Anifalaje

        you are right… credible is the word to note

      • Femi Anifalaje

        you are right… credible is the word to note

  • Femi Anifalaje

    You complain about the schools Benjamin – what of the agencies that rid off wannabe models day in day out by asking them to pay some ridiculous amount of money (usually in their hundreds) to get them a portfolio with award winning photographer X and then, the work rolls in? I think they are even more cancerous to a model’s career.

  • Femi Anifalaje

    You complain about the schools Benjamin – what of the agencies that rid off wannabe models day in day out by asking them to pay some ridiculous amount of money (usually in their hundreds) to get them a portfolio with award winning photographer X and then, the work rolls in? I think they are even more cancerous to a model’s career.

  • Femi Anifalaje

    You complain about the schools Benjamin – what of the agencies that rid off wannabe models day in day out by asking them to pay some ridiculous amount of money (usually in their hundreds) to get them a portfolio with award winning photographer X and then, the work rolls in? I think they are even more cancerous to a model’s career.

  • Michael

    So the advice for parents who really want to enable their children to reach the magical height requisite for a modeling career:

    Make sure your kids eat a healthy diet rich in calcium, vitamin D, zinc, protein, and other vitamins and minerals.
    Make sure they get plenty of sleep.
    Teach them proper posture.

    • Better yet, limit the height of whom you procreate with to 6’0″. Yes. That’s it. That’s the number that will work.

  • Paco Rosso

    Ben, I have translated your post and published it in a thread about what is and what is not fashion photography in a spanish web about sinergies. This is the link: http://www.fotoplatino.com/blog/fotografia-moda/#comments
    If you disagree with the publishing please tell me it to erase my post.

  • lego

    so ,in this case,fashion design schools are a waste as well
    if you are talented you dont need the diploma either

    • Clothing design is highly technical profession similar to that of Industrial Design: Pattern making, cut, the choice of materials, how they structurally marry together… This knowledge can be acquire by school or apprenticeship. A little bit more difficult and technical than pausing and walking which you learn from 18 months of age…

  • It’s absolutely amazing just how many young girls (and guys too) fall for this, and after they “graduate” they still think they’re done the right thing.  Great advice Benjamin.

  • I totally agree with that even though it also concerns an unlimited number of stuffs which concerns beauty and richness, of course. I’m thinking of the business of photography, journalism and marketing schools in France for instance. What I’m telling is not new and so does your says. The prank is known. We only want to dream but our dreams are made by ’em. 

  • vegasmike433

    This completely accurate, and it is commendable of you to contribute this information so it may be shared in such a way to alert vulnerable young people to the scam artists who are bottom feeders in the Fashion, and modelling business.

    It is extremely unconscionable for the owners of these businesses to exploit the dreams and simple aspirations of young people, through false promises and spurious claims.. 

    The pathways to a viable career as a Fashion model are very clearly marked as you have described. These so called schools will be of no value in in this journey. If there is someone who feels they are drawn to this type of work, the best thing they could possibly do is study hard in school, learn to write well, take photography courses, familiarize themselves with every aspect of the matrix between fashion, advertising, entertainment, magazine publications, and cinema and television production. All of this is always valuable, and will serve as a durable foundation for all employment seeking in this wide ranging and multifaceted field.

    Then, if you find that you are possessed of a certain profile that an Agency feels they can market with you, your super nova career will be augmented for the more varied and often more interesting aspects of “the business”

    Let there be no illusions, this can be a very cut throat and heartless business.

    Thank You for a very honest and sincerely intended post.

  • Martine Dyb

    So true…  🙂

  • Josette Redwolf

    Totally agree. Years ago, I worked at Barbizon to pay the bills and try to be stationary for just a bit rather than galavanting everywhere.. Not sure if they even still exist. Much of the books they provided for us to teach from were not anything close to what the industry wanted the models to know. They taught the basics.Much of the basics they taught weren’t exactly correct either. I would constantly search and search for information to further my knowledge to help my students. The sad thing is most of the students we had never had a chance in the world of becoming models and it got very depressing. I would try to find something they were good at and concentrate on that. Whether they had particular body parts they could model. Help get them jobs outside Barbizon. I couldn’t help give these poor kids hopes that would never come about especially with such a poor casting rate of Barbizon. I was successful in getting a few of my students in films with A level actors. But, after 8 months I was so depressed I moved back to New York and did what I knew best, Runway.