Books for Models

Here I have gathered a list books that I think will be useful for up and coming models. Some are out of print but are available used. Check your local library for these books. 

Books About Modeling 

The books listed here link to where you can find more reviews and can purchase the book. You may also want to check with your school or local library to see what they have.

I strive to locate books on makeup, fashion, the fashion industry, being in business for yourself, and other topics that I think might be useful for up and coming models.

The Modeling Handbook

by Eve Metheson
192 pages
Published 1999

This book is for those wanting to know how the high fashion modeling business works. The author draws her information for this book from experience with her daughter who was a high fashion model in Europe and the US, and from conducting hundreds of interviews with key individuals in the fashion and modeling business. All of this background she distills down into an info loaded, all too brief paper back.

This is not a how-to model book (no "how to put on make-up" in this book) but a book that explains how the high fashion model industry works and how to make your way in this exclusive world. The author looks at what it takes to be a high fashion model, how to become a model, industry terms, how to be successful, the business (what happens after you get an agency), legal matters, specialty modeling, and agency instructions to models. She has extensive chapters on modeling in major markets in the US and overseas and explains the relationship between US mother agencies and European agencies. She also has chapters full of advice and quotes from top individuals in the modeling industry to new up and coming models. The weakest point of the book is that it is too brief. The author distills down into a paragraph a subject that I would drown on for many pages. This book is loaded with information so read it carefully.

If you are looking for information about commercial, glamour or smaller market modeling, this is not the book for you. If you want a short intense seminar on the real business of high fashion modeling, you will find this book invaluable.

Model : The Complete Guide for Men and Women

by Marie Anderson Boyd
Published 1998
176 pages

I liked the book and I think it would be useful for anyone starting in modeling. The author has worked in and now runs her own modeling agency in Chicago. I like her point of view as being someone outside of the New York scene. I find the information is more relevant to how modeling works in most of the USA.

The book has topics on how to get an agency, how to work with an agency, how to put together a composite, info on promotion materials, and test shooting. She covers the business side of modeling with topics like getting organized, your wardrobe, your modeling bag, handling your finances, record keeping, taxes, agents' fees, and what it means to be self-employed. The book also has the usual rehash of body upkeep, skin care, makeup, hair care, exercise, and nutrition. Also the book has a run through of types of modeling and which big cities in the world have which types of modeling. There are several unique and excellent sections in the book. Some of these sections are how to put together and arrange a portfolio, model etiquette (I loved the part on how to behave in a photographer's studio) and a section going over all of the other jobs involved in the industry (agents, bookers, photographers, photographers' assistance, makeup artist, hair stylist, and more). She even takes a rare stand in favor of modeling schools and conventions. This book has a great deal of valuable insider information.

Again, I think this is an excellent book for someone starting out in modeling and I highly recommend it. Certainly it has more information than I could put on this web site and the book is written by someone who knows how the business works.


How to Become a Successful Commercial Model 

By Aaron Marcus
Self Published, 5th edition 2008
96 pages

If your desire is to be a high fashion supermodel or to be on the fashion runways of Paris this book is not for you. This book covers how to be a commercial model and actor (I am not a real doctor but I play one on TV commercials). Mr. Marcus, a working commercial model & actor, shares his many years of experience in this brief but loaded-with-practical-information book. The overall book leaves you with a basic idea of what character modeling (the fundamental of commercial modeling) and working as a freelance model is all about. You come to understand that commercial modeling requires acting talent and hard work (not just another tall, thin and pretty face model) in order to succeed. This book has practical information on commercial modeling that can be found nowhere else. Some topics that are covered in the book are: what is commercial modeling, how to get photos, how to put together a composite, finding good agents, how to get work and a great deal about the professional workings of commercial modeling.

This book is like a special seminar on commercial modeling and for someone interested in this special part of the modeling business. This is the only book on the market about this subject.


The Professional Model's Handbook

By Linda A. Balhorn
Published 1990
493 pages

Wow, this is one complete book on modeling. It covers the full range of subjects from types of modeling, creating your look, posing, makeup, hair styling, wardrobe, modeling agencies, business of modeling, self-promotion, modeling markets and more. This is the college level book on modeling. It was published in 1990 so it lacks some of the technology changes that have taken place in the last ten years (nothing about the Internet). But other than that this book is a wealth of information. This book has a prominent place on my book shelf and has become dogeared through use. It is the book I reference when a question on modeling arises or when I need to explore a new aspect of modeling. The price is a little steep but for the amount of info you get it is a good value. If I had a model in my studio that knew half of what is in this book, I would be a very happy shooter.


Model : The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women

By Michael Gross
Published 1996
611 pages

This is not a "how to" book. If you want a gossipy look at the history of modeling, here it is. It focuses on the scandals as much as the actual history of the modeling business. What bothered me most in this book is that it has absolute gems of wisdom tucked in with the soap opera. If you are not experienced in the modeling business you won't know what is gold and what is trash. But if you like scandal mixed in with your history and want to find out how some of the top models and modeling agencies got started, you might find this book "a good read". But don't believe it when the book talks about photographers sitting around doing nothing, they would be out of business if they did.


The Wilhelmina Guide to Modeling

By Natasha Esch/C.L. Walker
Published 1996
190 pages

This is definitely the modeling world according to Wilhelmina. If you know nothing about top level fashion modeling you may find this book useful and interesting. This is not a "how to" model book but more of a light survey book on how the Wilhelmina Modeling Agency works. If you are not in top tier New York Fashion this book does not tell you much. At this level of modeling you learn modeling on the job and it is sink or swim. On modeling make-up the book says, "As a model, you will, in time, learn all the secrets from the professional make-up artists with whom you work" (big help). On how to do runway modeling - hire a runway modeling coach. I did find the interviews with various professionals in the fashion field interesting. But for me this book is going to the book reseller store.


How to Be a Model Books

Modelmania: The Working Model's Manual
The Modeling Life : The One (And Only)...

 Modeling: One Parent Started Her Children
A Model's Primer