So You Want to be a Fitness Model

For those of you who may not know, my big girl job is as a booking agent for one of the top sports + lifestyle modeling agencies in the country.

I constantly get asked: What does a fitness model really do and how should one get started? So, I've given you my top tips to becoming a fitness model and actually be successful at it! Get your pen ready.


You type in 'fitness modeling' on google and you will most likely find a few agency websites mixed with a LOT of body building and physique competitors sites. That isn't the type of fitness modeling I'm talking about. I'm talking about the striking model or the strong, beautiful babe you see in an Athleta catalog. Believe it or not, generally those models aren't just a pretty face. These companies have sought out models that have true skills behind their great look. This is because when they don't have those skills, a real athletic person would easily be able to spot that. We've all seen those models with terrible running form or holding yoga poses incorrectly!

So, let me first say this: These are all general tips. There are unique situations where these tips might not apply. But, with that said, as the former model scout turned booking agent, there is very straightforward criteria to what we look for when it comes to new models. So, follow these tips below and stay optimistic and I just might be seeing YOU in the next New Balance campaign!

1. Lean + tone: There is really no better way to describe the type of shape to be in. Being lean, but having definition is what we hope to see. In other words- eating well, taking care of your body and being strong is SEXY. You will find our most successful models truly walk their talk.

2. Take some great digitals: Most modeling agencies will want to help guide you to get the right photos for your portfolio. The best way for you to get noticed at a modeling agency is for you to be as naturally yourself as possible. This means: light makeup and natural hair. Then, have a friend take some great images of you with a good camera or even an iPhone. Digitals should be full body images of you showing your front, side and back view in a bikini or sports bra and shorts. I highly suggest taking these just before dusk in your house with a plain wall as the backdrop or outside. Good lighting will be your best friend!

3. Flaunt your skills: Former college athletes are some of the most successful fitness models. Why? Because they have a lifetime of skills and these fitness brands LOVE that. Are you an advanced surfer? Or an advanced yogi? Make sure to mention that, or even better - send a video or image of you showing off your skill!

4. Gain some experience: This is not to say you should have a modeling background, but more so, practice! Ask your photographer friends (or heck- even your best friend) to take some photos of you. Getting comfortable in front of the camera takes time, so the more you can practice, the better!

5. Sign with a reputable agency: Doing your homework on an agency is always important. If you question the legitimacy of one, I would always refer to their social pages to do some more research. Working as a freelance model can be tough, and I see time and time again models having more success when they find the right agency to work with.

6. Let your personality shine: Looks mean a lot in this business, but personality means just as much. There are a lot of good looking people out there, but there are many great looking models who end up unsuccessful in this business because they have a poor attitude. Be someone an agency and your dream client would want to work with. Being professional, hardworking and having a humble, easy going personality will take you further than looks, even in the world of modeling!

Remember to be realistic about modeling. Due to the fit of sample sizes, generally agencies won't accept women under 5'6 (or men under 5'10). Also, keep in mind the sweet spot  for most fitness modeling agencies are men and women ages 18-25. 

Photo credit: Zach Ancell 
Model: Elsa Couvelier
Agency: SLU 

Good luck!

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