13 Must-Have Items for a Professional Model

As a professional model, it is essential that you are always prepared when you are on a booking or going to an audition or go-see.

A good model is a prepared one. Just think how good you will look if you can say to your client – "Don't worry, I have that!" Your client and modeling agents will love you and you will get booked again and again. Here are the basics you should have in your model's bag or kit:

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Your Book (Modeling Portfolio)

A woman taking a photograph
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Professionals in the industry use the term "book" to describe your modeling portfolio. So, if someone asks to see your book that is what they're asking for. 

Always bring your book with you to go-sees, interviews, and bookings, even if you’ve already been hired for the job. Your book should contain your photos and comp cards ONLY - no contact sheets, negatives, notes or junk. Your book should be neat and tidy, not a catch-all for stuff.

If you don't have a book yet, that's alright. Take some ​good snapshots with you and make sure you have copies that you can leave with the client or agent. Remember to put your contact information on the back of every photo in case your photos get separated from your other information. 

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Makeup Kit or Palettes

Mineral makeup cosmetics kit
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Female models should always have a basic makeup kit or palette that includes foundation or BB cream, a concealer, blush, bronzer, translucent powder, eyeshadow, liners, and mascara. 

Male models do not require all the items that women do, but men should carry a good concealer, a bronzer, and translucent powder.  Even male models can use a touch-up every now and then. 

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Skin Toned and Black Undergarments

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Women should have a variety of undergarments in their model's bag, such as a regular and pushup bra, strapless bra, one-piece bodysuit, panties, thong, boy cut underwear, stockings, and socks. Just in case the client would like you to wear their undergarments be sure you have some panty liners. It is polite to use a panty liner when wearing garments that are not your own. Also, remember to have other feminine products with you at all times.

Male models should have a selection of undergarments such as simple boxers, boxer briefs, and low rise briefs that are form fitting to your body. Men should also have clean white and black t-shirts and tanks.

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Flat Shoes, Sneakers and Heels

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A small selection of flats and heels of different heights are very good to have in your bag. Often you will know the type of booking you are going to ahead of time so you can ask your agent or booker what type of shoes to bring so you're not lugging around heavy shoes. Having said that, it is very important for models who are traveling to Asian countries take a good selection of shoes. Finding American or European size shoes can be tricky since most Asian people wear smaller shoe sizes than American's or Europeans.

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Hairspray, Gel & Other Products

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Brush, comb, bobby pins, clips, elastics, hairspray, gel, and other hair products are very important to have in your bag.

If you have a hairstyle that will take hair extensions it is recommended that you also have a few clip in hair extensions. Think how great it would be if you can change your hair from short to long in just a few minutes! Your clients will be impressed!

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Deodorant and Body Products

A woman washing her face.
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Deodorant, moisturizer, makeup remover, hand sanitizer, toothbrush, mouthwash, floss, and mints are an absolute must to have in your model's bag. No gum, though. Chewing gum on a job or casting may be seen as tacky. 

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Small Sewing Kit

A small sewing kit with a needle, thread, extra buttons, pins, and double sided tape can be a real life saver when you need it. 

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Healthy Snacks and Bottled Water

Always plan for your casting, photo shoot, fitting or booking to go on much longer than planned. Don't try to work when you are starving; besides, no one wants to work with a hungry, grumpy model. Be sure to bring bottled water or juice and some healthy snacks. Your snacks should not be smelly, sticky or require a lot of utensils.  Some cut fruit, plain yogurt and nuts can be the perfect thing to get you to your next meal. 

Remember that a professional model will never eat while wearing the client's clothes! If it is absolutely necessary for you to eat or drink in the client's clothes be sure they are covered with a towel or something to protect them.

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Cell Phone Charger

Smartphone being charged
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We know you'll remember your cell phone, but don't forget to take your charger or have a second charger that you always keep in your bag ready to go. Remember to put your cell phone on silent or turn it off while you are working and on the client's time.

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Map or Cell Phone with GPS

Map and GPS system
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Always plot out your route and where you need to be beforehand. Having a cell phone with GPS (Google Maps) or a city map is essential. With today's technology, there is absolutely no excuse for your to be late because you couldn't find the location of your casting or booking.

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Notepad, Pen & Paper

A woman writes jottings in a notebook while conducting ethnography.
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You will most likely type notes and other information directly into your cell phone or tablet, but sometimes you just need a pen and paper.  It's good to carry a small notepad with a pen at all times.

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Modeling Vouchers
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If you are going on an actual booking with a client, you must take your vouchers with you for the client to sign. Without a signed voucher that records the time you worked you may not get paid. Your modeling agency will make sure you have vouchers or some other way to record your jobs.

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Something to Keep You Occupied

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There is often a lot of time during a casting or booking where you will be waiting around for photographers to set up lighting, makeup artists to finish with other models, etc. So, be sure to bring something with you to keep you occupied so you aren't just wondering around looking bored.  Listening to music, playing a game or reading a book on your cell phone or tablet is a great way to pass the time. 

A Prepared Model is a Professional Model

Being prepared for the unexpected makes the difference between an amateur model and a professional model. Remember that it's not always the prettiest or most handsome model who gets the job, but the most professional and prepared model. Modeling agencies and clients want to work with models who take their career seriously, and one way you can show them that you do just that, is to always be prepared.