A model wears and displays the latest fashion designs and cosmetics. Models may be male or female of any age group including children who are used to advertise products for companies.

Models specialise in live or photographic modelling. Live models appear in front of audiences (potential customers) wearing the latest styles of designers, manufacturers or retail shops while a compère describes the garments. Photographic models work in front of the camera wearing the garments or cosmetics being promoted. Models may also appear in television commercials, demonstrate new products or services at exhibitions or trade shows, or pose for artists making drawings to be used in advertisements. 

Some satisfying aspects of this career include:

  • wearing the latest styles
  • variety of work
  • possibility of earning very high fees
  • opportunities to travel and meet interesting
  • opportunity to purchase clothes at wholesale

Some demanding aspects may include:

  • working under pressure
  • fierce competition
  • having to maintain body in peak condition,
  • including strict diets
  • difficulty in finding employment until established
  • having to change career once you are no longer
    physically at your peak

Personal Requirements

  • photogenic
  • natural attractiveness and charm
  • excellent health and good physical stamina
  • enjoy working together with people
  • imaginative and creative
  • work well under pressure
  • initiative and self-confidence
  • poise and a sense of style
  • meet the required height for female and male models, females should be between 1,7 and 1,82 metres, while male models should not be shorter than 1,75m

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

  • No specific requirements
  • National Senior Certificate is recommended

What to Study

Model Schools and Agencies: Leading mannequin schools and agencies are situated in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria and Durban. The prospective fashion model is required to take both photographic, model and mannequin courses, as versatility is most important in modelling in South Africa.

Training involves deportment, poise, grooming, social etiquette, clothes sense and wardrobe planning, make-up and skin care, as well as modelling (photographic, wholesale, retail and ramp).

No special licensing or certification is required. After a person has been trained as a fashion model, registration as a professional model with an established model agency is recommended.

University of technology and university training in the areas of drama, art and clothing design are helpful in developing poise and a sense of style.


  • modelling agencies
  • clothing manufacturers
  • advertising agencies
  • retail shops
  • public relations firms
  • magazines
  • photographers
  • freelance fashion artists or illustrators
  • self-employment, own business such as a clothing shop or own modelling school or modelling agency

Further Information

The Manager
Heads Model Agency
P O Box 1366
Houghton, 2041
Tel: (011) 442-6020/33

The Manager
Model Management
P O Box 95441
Waterkloof, 0145
Tel: (012) 344-3585

National Association of Model Agencies (NAMA)
The Chairlady
Tel: (011) 486-0565

Getting Started

  • take part in activities that promote self- confidence in front of large audiences
  • practise activities such as dancing, gymnastics or figure skating that teach you to move gracefully
  • try to find work in a departmental store to learn about fashions and retail
  • arrange to speak to models about this type of career and watch them at work

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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