The advertising industry relies on models to help promote a product or service. The most photogenic ones appear in magazines, newspapers and on television commercials. Due to the advent of social media, models are increasingly being hired by online publications and companies that promote their wares digitally. In Los Angeles, these exemplary figures earn an average annual salary of around $44,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is a thrilling profession that will continue to experience rapid growth in the coming years.

Although there are no formal educational requirements, models that are more ambitious attend a reputable academy that teaches them how to pose, walk, apply makeup and speak on camera, among other tasks. Oftentimes, a new model is discovered when an agent visits a modeling school in search of a fresh face.

Most models in L.A. work for clothing stores. Others are landing jobs to promote colleges and universities, modeling schools and employment placement agencies. Electronic shopping is fast depending on models that personify a specific demographic. Casting agents are constantly looking for senior models and those that are living with a physical disability. Models that are Asian, Hispanic and Filipino are also in demand, as well as models that specialize in a particular body part.

Many models work part-time, with schedules that can change on a dime. They must always be ready to handle a last-minute fashion show or photo shoot. The modeling business can be as elegant and exciting as it is demanding and stressful. On their way to compete in a world filled with glamour and fame, most models must deal with periods of unemployment. This is the reason up-and-coming models work at call centers, an environment that allows them to set their own schedules.

As the overall perception of beauty changes, leading clients prefer to collaborate with models that are courteous, disciplined, organized, persistent and quite comfortable in front of a camera. Nowadays, it is not just about being beautiful. It’s about being professional.

Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist. Some news articles she has authored are archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

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