The Different Kinds of Male Models

Although they may not be household names like the women in the industry, male models like Tyson Beckford, David Gandy, Marcus Schenkenberg, Gabriel Aubry and Sean O'Pry have all carved a name for themselves in the modeling world. However, there are many other types of models whose names you wouldn't know that are earning a lucrative income working as commercial, fitness and parts models. 

Male models work with commercial clients, manufacturers, suppliers, pharmaceutical companies, airlines, automobile manufacturers, fitness companies and much more. The odds of becoming the next big supermodel are slim, but you may fit into one of these categories of male models.

Fashion (Editorial) Model

Male model posing in front of stone wall
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Male fashion models, or what those in the modeling business call "editorial models" are the high fashion models you see in fashion magazines like Men's Vogue, GQ, Details, and Numero. These models wear clothes well and work for top fashion designers like Giorgio Armani, Prada, Calvin Klein, Gucci, Hugo Boss, Burberry, and others.

These models try to brand themselves—making sure they become a household name. That's why there are certain requirements to become an editorial model. 

Male editorial models are generally 72 to 75 inches tall, wear a 40 to 42 jacket have and a 32-inch waist. Asian markets will represent male models from 70 inches and up.

There are always exceptions to these requirements and agencies like to look at the "complete package," so if you are a little outside of the required stats, don't give up.

In fact, top editorial agency d' Management in Milan, Italy represents 67-inch male model Aaron Frew who has booked numerous high fashion jobs and has worked for Calvin Klein.

In order to become an editorial model, it's important to get some great photos of yourself—both in and out of makeup. And you'll need to find an agency that will represent you. 

Commercial Model

Romantic couple at a dinner party
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Commercial models can be any age, size, and height. Commercial models do everything not normally associated with high-fashion such as product ads for houseware appliances, food products, the travel industry, tech devices and so on. Before his acting career launched, Tatum Channing modeled for the J. Crew catalog.

Unlike editorial models, commercial models don't necessarily concentrate on becoming a worldwide name. The purpose of commercial modeling is to work for multiple clients through print ads, magazines, billboards, and television ads. 

To start a career in commercial modeling, you'll need some polaroids or digital photos of you with little or no makeup, and you'll need an agency to represent you. Although most clients still prefer taller men, the requirements aren't nearly as rigid as the editorial side. Most men are about 70 inches tall in commercial modeling. 

Runway/Catwalk Model

Male runway catwalk models
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Male runway/catwalk models have done some type of editorial or commercial work. They are a minimum of 72 to 75 inches tall, wear a 40 to 42 jacket and have a 32-inch waist.

Runway models must have precise measurements so they are able to fit the clothes designers will ​be showing to their clients.

Designers hire models to fit the clothes made for their collections, they don't make the clothes to fit the model—unless you reach supermodel fame.

In order to become a successful runway model, you should have a great walk—one that can be tailored to the client and the type of runway show.

It also requires a lot of tenacity, as models may go to multiple castings a day without getting paid in order to get booked. 

Fitness Model

Three people exercising on bikes
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Male fitness models are models that represent two different body types—those who are very lean, fit and toned, and those who are very athletic and well-built. Many fitness models start out as athletes or trainers and then venture into fitness modeling. 

In addition to working for fitness companies, fitness and exercise magazines, supplement manufacturers and athletic wear companies, fitness models are often commercial models.

Regardless of what kind of body fitness models have, they tend to represent themselves or may find representation with niche agencies that cater to sports modeling. 

Underwear/Swimsuit Model

G-III Apparel Group
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Male underwear and swimsuit models, like fitness models, must be very athletic, fit and toned. 

Many of the male underwear and swimsuit models started out as athletes, fitness trainers or bodybuilders.

They can also be slightly larger than male editorial models because they are usually not required to fit into a standard size 40 jacket. Something else to keep in mind is that your face may not be part of a marketing campaign.

The best way to get noticed is to submit your photos to different agencies. And because this type of modeling is for men with a very specific body type and physique, your competition will tough—you will have to be tenacious. 

Fit Model

Tailor adjusting suit on dressmakers model in menswear shop
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Not to be confused with fitness models, fit models are models who work behind the scenes in fashion houses with garment manufacturers to make sure the sizing and fit of garments are maintained during the manufacturing process. 

Garment manufacturers require a variety of shapes and sizes of fit models in order to fit their garments properly before they are shipped to the consumer. 

You may not have the look to be a print model or the height of a runway model, but if you can consistently maintain your measurements a career as a fit model may be right for you.

Parts Model

Male adjusting watch
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Parts models specialize in modeling specific body parts such as hands, feet, legs, and eyes.

A hand model can book jobs for jewelry, watches, health and beauty products, and anywhere else a client requires a perfect hand. 

A foot model can book jobs with shoe companies, health and beauty products and anywhere else a client requires perfect feet in print or on film.

Clients look for well-proportioned body parts and those who can fit sample shoes, gloves and jewelry sizes.

Promotional Model

Man on the airport opening car door

Male promotional models are not as common as female promotional models, but there can a need for this type of male model. 

Promotional models often book jobs to promote products or services at trade shows, conventions, and live events. 

Promotional models must be very outgoing, friendly and have a good understanding of the client's product. They may be required to talk about it or answer questions from potential buyers.

Plus-Size Model

African-American man jogging or power walking
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Traditionally, plus-size or full-figure models have been women while men have remained underrepresented in this category. 

But as more body types are being recognized and showcased in print, on television and on the runway, men with larger body types are finding more work in the industry. 

These men are generally heavier than average models, with chests larger than 42 inches. The height requirements may also vary by client and agency. 

Mature Model

Mature businessman looking at tablet in office
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The market for mature models has increased tremendously as baby boomers enter their later years.

Mature models are generally 30 years of age or over and work well into their 80's.  

Mature models are actually considered commercial models and are used for everything commercial models are used for.

Child Model

Male Child Modeling
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The age range for a child model is generally 12 years and under. Child models can be any size and height. 

Agents that represent child models want children with personalities who work well with strangers and feel comfortable on set.

Bookings for child models are usually more commercial in nature such as print work in catalogs, flyers and magazine ads. However, there are several top designers with children's clothing lines such as Calvin Klein, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Guess.

A Place for Everyone

No matter what your height, age or size, there is a place for everyone in the modeling business. All you need to do is determine what type of modeling you're best suited for, have a portfolio of professional photographs geared to your niche, and then go for it.