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How much money do models REALLY make? | Part 2

Welcome back to the second part!
If you haven’t read part 1, head over there first :). Here’s a short story for you to begin with…

15-year-old me

When I was 15 and only just signed my first modelling contract, I had really high hopes. I would imagine myself walking in shows for all the top designers. After castings with IMG and Next, some of the best modelling agencies, I actually thought they would take me right away and that I’d get into the VS show a few years after… Quickly I realised that this is just not how the modelling industry works and competition is HUGE.

I remember my first jobs as a model clearly. I would get so excited that people were doing my makeup and hair; how important I felt! It definitely didn’t seem like a job at first. I kept thinking: this is so amazing!!! They dress me up and make me look beautiful, I get to be in a magazine AND THEY PAY ME FOR IT, TOO! ‘It’s too good to be true’ I thought to myself. This excitement phase lasted until a few days into my first contract abroad. Of course, for a such a young girl, any money I was getting seemed incredible and I was so grateful every time a job appeared (I’ll be writing a post about starting modelling as a 15-year-old girl and the risks involved soon!).

My first ever campaign at the age of 16 for Twinset

How I look at things now

Today, I appreciate any job as much as I did 5 years ago. I don’t come from a poor family. I don’t come from a really rich one either. When I compare these earnings with the average salary in Poland, I feel kind of bad, I feel it’s unfair. So don’t get me wrong: this post isn’t me complaining about our earnings.

So what’s changed? I’ve grown up and I take this job seriously. However, there are situations where I feel people are not taking us seriously. Sometimes models don’t get paid with money, but with clothes or accessories like shoes and bags. In my opinion, it’s absurd. Yes, getting something nice to wear is fun, but as someone once told me: you’re not going to go into the supermarket and pay for your food with a designer bag. Other times, we don’t get paid anything because apparently, the brand is good and will give us popularity, so it should be enough for us. Take covers of the best magazines or some shows as an example.

A model’s earnings

When it comes to our earnings, the rates vary depending on the model. Working for the best high fashion designers will most of the time get you much more money than what you see below. Signing a contract with Chanel, for example, puts you in a completely different category. Once you’re their model, you don’t really go back to jobs that you did at the beginning of your career.

Photo by talented Marlena Matuszak

This is the average pay in European countries like France, Italy, Germany, Spain as well as Japan (you might be wondering what e-commerce or showroom are – I will definitely write a separate post on different types of modelling jobs).

E-commerce   €90 – €800 per day

Lookbook   €100 – €1200 per 1-2 days

Campaign   €250 – €4000 per 1-4 days

TV commercials   I’ll be honest here, I don’t know much about them so I’ll leave it empty for now

Showrooms   €75 – €350 per day (8 or 9 hours)

Editorials   Most of the time they’re not paid. When they are it’s €20 – €100

Presentations and shows   €90 – €300 per show (the best designers’ shows can be up to €3000, but they’re the minority)

Keep this in mind

There are a few things I want to add here, now that you have an idea of a model’s earnings. We don’t work every day and there could be 3 weeks without a single job. Yes, it happens. For some, it might seem like a good thing- working 2,3 days a week. But for someone who wants to take modelling seriously (and I’m guessing every model doing this full-time does), it can be stressful. One month you make €3000, another you make €300. Bare in mind the expenses of travelling and living in places like London (transportation is ridiculously expensive). China, however, is another story. Girls can earn €18,000 in 3 months, for example. Work is quite different there, but it’s a topic for a separate post. 🙂

A magazine editorial in Tokyo when I was 17

To give you an even better idea, let’s take a 40-day contract in Milan and the expenses you saw in part 1. Here they are in detail. I made them up for the purpose of this post, but they’re totally realistic. Of course, some of these depend on how much you spend on everyday life. I rented an apartment for €400 instead of choosing the model flat, for example.

Eating out15€
Plane tickets65€

Now, let’s imagine 3 situations. The amounts are all made up, but again, very realistic. The first one is when you’re lucky and getting plenty of jobs.

SCENARIO: You're rocking it!
Your final Income4692€
JobIncome/ dayGrossIn your pocket
E-com (1day)700€700€420€
Magazine editorial000
E-com (3days)500€1500€900€
Magazine editorial120€120€72€
Magazine editorial000
Lookbook (2days)800€1600€960€
FW show300€300€180€
FW show350€350€210€
FW show300€300€180€
Show room (7days)250€1750€1050€

As you can see, despite the expenses, you can get a very decent sum of money. It’s possible. However, scenario 2 is something I hear of more often.

SCENARIO: Could be better, could be worse
Your final Income1050€
JobIncome/ dayTotalIn your pocket
Magazine editorial000
E-com (3days)250€750€450€
Magazine editorial000
Magazine editorial000
Magazine editorial000
FW show250€250€150€
Magazine editorial000
E-com (2days)600€1200€720€
FW show350€350€210€
Show room (5days)200€1000€600€

Even a couple of jobs can help you pay back all you had to spend. It’s all one big lottery, though.

SCENARIO: Not your time, not your place
Your final IncomeYou don't have to pay anything back, but come back with no money0
JobIncome/ dayTotalIn your pocket
Magazine editorial000
Magazine editorial100€100€60€
Magazine editorial000
FW show400€400€240€

The situation happens more often than you might think. It’s just that people don’t tend to talk about failures. On social media, you always hear about great achievements while the reality is often quite different. 

Personally, as a teenage girl, I didn’t expect the rates to be this high, nor did I expect I’d have to give back so much money to agencies. Currently, I’m simply making the most of this opportunity to earn and save money for later life. Modelling isn’t a lifetime profession.

Phew! If you’ve made it here, high five because this post is a long one and I just couldn’t stop writing once I started. As you can see, modelling doesn’t always pay off. Are these amounts what you expected? Would you change your (probably more financially stable) job to modelling if you had the chance? I’d love to know your thoughts! If you’d like to know more, I’ll be happy to answer any questions.

Zuza xx

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