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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