The modeling profession is one of the only places where men make less than women. While most ordinary people know the names Cindy Crawford, Gisele Bundchen or Kendall Jenner, many would be hard-pressed to produce the name of a famous male model. The rise of the male fashion industry may change that. Expected to reach $33 billion by 2020, the menswear market hit $29 billion in 2015 and is growing faster than women's wear and the luxury market.
Models are used to advertise a variety of products, including clothing, cosmetics, food and appliances. There are runway models who wear designer's clothes and model them in front of clients on a runway. There are print models whose photos are taken for magazines and other advertising material and fit or fitting models who enable the manufacturer or fashion designer to achieve the best fit for new styles.
There is no formal education required in order to become a model. Many models leave school to travel the world and model while they are still teenagers. There are, however, guidelines when it comes to height. The majority of agencies that sign on fashion/runway male models require a height of 5-feet-10-inches-to-6-feet-2-inches tall. And you can be too tall to be a male model. Anyone over 6-feet-3-inches tall may have a hard time finding work.
In May of 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the median hourly wage for models at $10.51. While the lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.29, the highest 10 percent earned more than $25.19. These numbers apply to all models, men and women, and the amount doesn't sound very glamorous. But this is the median where half earn more and half earn less than $10.51. It's the models who get big contracts whose earnings begin to skyrocket. Still, women models earn a great deal more than men, even at the top. In 2013, the top-earning male model had an annual estimated salary of $1.5 million. That's not too shabby, but the highest-earning female model that same year, Gisele Bundchen, had an estimated salary of $42 million.
From 2016 to 2026, employment of all models is projected to show little or no change. With businesses shifting away from print, online advertising will have to replace some of those lucrative magazine shoots. Traditional models are also being crowded out by well know film stars and Instagram and YouTube personalities. It's no longer always enough to have a pretty face. Advertisers want you to have a following, too.
Being a model sounds exciting and glamorous, but it often entails long hours of holding uncomfortable positions in all kinds of environments, and only a few models make it into the highest-paying echelon. And if you're a male model, your odds are even slimmer of earning a high salary.