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What does a Runway Model do?

By Bethany Keene
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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A runway model, also known as a fashion model or catwalk model, is primarily focused on modeling new clothes on a runway at fashion events. Though a runway model may also do print work, such as for magazine ads, catalogs, billboards, or other print ads, many will focus entirely on runway work. Most people who want to become a model need to do so when they are very young; many runway models are between 17 and 23 years of age, depending on the clients for whom they are working.

Someone who wants to become a runway model will generally need to meet with various modeling agencies and designers, to demonstrate their look and abilities. If they are able to become signed on with an agency, the agency will be able to help the models get work in various fashion shows, and with individual designers. The agency will send their models on individual modeling assignments, and the models will need to consistently deliver quality work in order to maintain a professional relationship with an agent.

A runway model will need to maintain the appearance he or she had when she signed on to the agency. This means maintaining a certain weight and body type; as it is well known, most models are quite thin, though there are a number of plus-size models that now work on the runways as well. Most models also need to be very tall and have a certain narrow body type, so that all of the sample clothes created by the designers will fit them without any adjustments needed.

A runway model may work at a number of different fashion shows in one week. At each show, the model will receive an outfit to wear for each walk down the runway; most runway models will walk down the runway a number of times at each fashion show. The model will need to be able to change into and out of the clothing quickly, and to know how to walk down the runway confidently, while making sure the clothes and the features on the clothes can be seen clearly.

A runway model may need to show all different types of clothing, such as fashion clothing, swimsuits, lingerie, or even accessories such as jewelry or purses, among many others. For someone who wants to be a model, runway modeling may only be one option of many; there are numerous other options for print models where body requirements may not be as stringent, depending on the client. While the most popular and well-known models are wealthy, modeling is not traditionally a very lucrative career.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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