Average Income for Models and Actors

by Christian Lange

Pretty Older Woman

What type of modeling and acting jobs are available and how much can you make.

A question I frequently get from young models is: What kind of earnings can I expect from my modeling career? The short answer is zero to 30 million. It depends on the area you live in, the type of modeling you do, your talent, looks, and personality.

One day you might make $100 modeling for a small retailer ad. Another day you could make $1,500 (as talent) doing a commercial plus get residuals from it. The next month you might make nothing.

Each type of modeling has different pros and cons with regards to income. For example successful fashion models are the best paid making between $4,000 to $15,000 a day when shooting for a Macy's or Bloomingdales catalog. To say nothing of doing a high profile ad campaign for Prada or Louis Vitton which could run into six figures. But fashion is also the hardest segment to break into.

On the other hand, shooting a big spread in Vogue, Elle or Marie Claire -to be seen and admired by a million readers would get you $100 to $200 and a lunch. Surprised? That's supply and demand for you! The editors of Vogue know every model would kill to be in their magazine because it's the best exposure a model can get and will cause his/her career to blossom.

Also, runway models in New York are sadly underpaid before they achieve notoriety. So while fashion modeling is the biggest prize, models work extremely hard to achieve a level where they are well compensated. Of course one might argue that any field is like that!

While major markets like New York an Los Angeles offer abundant opportunities, there is also something to be said for working in a smaller city. Springfield or Des Moines might not have the fashion giants, but any city over half million offers plenty of commercial print work. It's easier to get in and you make money from the get go. Open your local newspaper or city magazine and you will see dozens of models in a variety of ads -each of them making $40 to $50 an hour. Smaller markets are also more versatile and models frequently double as actors for locally produced commercials.

Smaller cities will also sometimes have locally based catalog companies or department stores who have a constant demand for models. Depending on the size of the company the pay scale could vary from $400 to $3,000 a day. Of course your name recognition has a bearing on the rate. If you are a local celebrity, for example, that makes you a more valuable commodity in a print or TV ad.

Finally, there are three other types of modeling work which you should be aware of. Hair shows which are generally sponsored by local hair salons or a product manufacturer pay between $100-$300 a day. Glamour modeling (swimwear. lingerie, etc) pays $75-100 an hour. Last of all, if you have an athletic build there's sports and fitness modeling... $40-50 an hour. Much more if you are a sports celebrity!
Christian Lange is a fashion Photographer in Knoxville, TN. He also directs and shoots music videos. You can view his work at www.christianlange.com.

Copyright © Christian Lange. Used with permission of the author. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or distributed.
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Reader Comments

Good morning
I am Marc and are interest in becoming a model. I was just selected as Mr Tulbagh Highscool. I am competing in athletics and rugby.

Posted by Marc RaĆ¹l McClune (2022-08-22) 13838

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Posted by Gladness (2020-07-07) 13226

I have passion for model and ignorant on how to go about it

Posted by Osho (2019-02-28) 13076

Hi, my name is Shania Mitchell and I wanna be a Macy’s model. I been modeling since I was 9, I love modeling I wish to model for Macy’s if so I’d be more than happy to, when I was growing up people always told me that I should model .. even now I still get a lot of compliments saying that I look like a model. People that doesn’t even know me stopped me this one time and said “Are u a model?” just by they way I look and how my hair and body is I really wasn’t focused on modeling but since a lot of people came to me and said that I should be one now I’m really interested I was so focused on singer I was blinded by how good I look as a model I also have been told that I’m very short cause I am 4’11 and I was wondering if I could still be a modeler I also was told that the pics i took in my phone and on my instagram a lot of people say I be looking like a famous modeler and that they wanna take pics like me and sometimes they ask for advice so I’m thinking this would be a really good opportunity for me

Posted by Shania (2017-11-02) 12857


Posted by EMILY GALVEZ MATHERS (2012-01-10) 5369


Posted by Emily Galvez (2012-01-10) 5367

awe I always wanted to be a model I am model material . :)

Posted by Cashmere Kimbrough (2011-12-14) 5285

Hi, My name is samantha i am currently going to be starting Tv Print classes to get some experience to model. I am 21 and have been told i am very attractive and have a unique look. I was wondering what is the average pay for tv print models? Or does it all just depends on who notices you? I always wanted to be a model but was so skeptical on scams. That is why i am starting modeling at 21 and not 16 but i have been told my lots of people i should be a model but i just dont what the income would be like . This article gave me alittle idea of how the business is but i was just curious of how much someone can make in tv print because i may be very beautiful as im told but i am also 5'4 and that gives me a disavantage i asume.

Posted by samantha (2009-10-22) 2153

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