What is Commercial Modeling and How to Become One in 2023: The Complete Guide for Aspiring Models

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Have you ever dreamed of seeing your face on billboards, starring in TV commercials, or appearing in magazines? A career in commercial modeling can make those aspirations a reality. This comprehensive guide will teach you everything you need to launch a lucrative and rewarding career as a commercial model.

As a social media marketing expert with over 10 years advising top brands, I‘ve worked extensively with models, agencies, and advertisers. I‘m thrilled to leverage my insider experience to help you fully understand the world of commercial modeling and start booking jobs.

Let‘s get started!

What is Commercial Modeling?

Commercial modeling focuses on showcasing products, services and brands through advertisements to promote sales. Rather than high fashion‘s artistic emphasis, commercial models help influence consumers‘ purchasing decisions.

These models advertise everyday marketplace goods that appeal to mass audiences. Their friendly, inviting looks provide mainstream relatability.

Common commercial modeling formats include:

  • Print ads
  • TV commercials
  • In-store promotions
  • Packaging
  • Brand websites
  • Catalog photos

Some models even land acting roles bringing products to life.

Industry Growth Statistics:

  • The US advertising industry spends over $130 billion annually on commercials and print ads
  • Commercial casting opportunities grow each year
  • Over 500,000 working commercial models are currently active in the US job market

So extensive opportunities exist for new talent today.

Commercial vs Fashion Modeling

While some crossover exists between commercial and high fashion modeling work, some distinct differences remain:


  • Commercial: Sell products to everyday consumers
  • Fashion: Bring designers‘ artistic visions to life

Clients and Audience

  • Commercial: Mass market and non-luxury shoppers
  • Fashion: Elite and high-income consumers


  • Commercial: Steady income but lower ceilings
  • Fashion: Higher pay yet more infrequent and unstable

Job Types and Locations

  • Commercial: Nationwide and tied to advertising needs
  • Fashion: Concentrated in fashion capitals NYC/Paris

Weigh these factors as you decide between these two modeling paths.

What is the Typical Commercial Model Salary Range?

Since advertisers hire commercial models instead of agencies, pay correlates directly with branding deals vs one-off gigs.

Many variables impact commercial model salaries, including:

  • Experience level
  • Physical attributes like age/height
  • Brands promoted
  • Product categories
  • Location
  • Full time vs freelancing

According to 2023 data from ZipRecruiter, average commercial model pay rates in the US are:

  • Hourly: $18-25 per hour
  • Monthly: $3,500-$4,500
  • Yearly: $50,000 average

The top earning commercial models make over $250,000 per year from high paying brand sponsorships. But most models start small by supplementing through side jobs.

Patience and relentlessly marketing yourself leads to larger payouts down the road.

How to Become a Commercial Model in 9 Actionable Steps

Wondering how to start booking commercial modeling jobs? Here is the playbook:

Step 1: Build Your Model Portfolio

A model‘s portfolio showcases their look and skills to potential clients. Experienced commercial models have 5-10 varied photos advertising different products.

Work with photographers on producing creative images aligned with your strengths. Variety matters too – if babyfaced, also include some more mature concepts.

Update your portfolio every 3 months as you grow.

Photo Concept Examples

  • Friendly hotel concierge
  • Rugged construction worker
  • Busy multitasking mom
  • Relatable teen gamer

Step 2: Create Strong Social Media Presence

Build professional social media accounts on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and Twitter. Post portfolio-quality photos plus behind the scenes life updates.

Engage your growing follower base with captions and hashtags to extend reach. Brand sponsorships arise organically by attracting an audience.

Step 3: Stay Camera Ready Through Healthy Choices

Uphold fitness through nutritious diets and exercise so you always look your best, on-camera and off. Cardio, strength training and flexibility boost physical and mental stamina for long shoot days.

Stick to consistent regimens for healthy skin, hair and body maintenance as well. Being camera ready 24/7 proves imperative.

![Model working out example] (image.png)

Actively monitor social media modeling influences and brand campaigns for emerging styles, themes and skills sought by advertisers.

Subscribe to trade publications and modeling blogs to stay on the pulse of the industry. Attend local fashion events and network to uncover new opportunities.

Keeping your finger on fashion‘s pulse helps ensure you continually develop relevant, marketable skills as a model.

Step 5: Determine Your Specialty

Decide what audience you best connect with as a model. Do you see yourself showcasing:

  • Youth brands?
  • Household products?
  • Pet gear?
  • Luxury vehicles?

Cater your portfolio, social presence and modeling bids towards your niche. Establishing a specialty makes you more valuable to certain advertisers vs being a jack of all trades model.

Step 6: Land Representation from a Leading Modeling Agency

Align with top modeling agencies with established connections to big brands. They will amplify your discoverability and opportunities while taking commission.

Target commercial and influencer focused agencies. Here are five of the best commercial agencies to pitch:

1. Next Model Management

Global firm managing model Lauren Layne, 50+ year legacy

2. Wilhelmina Modeling

Elite boutique agency, very selective, high end brands

3. Ford Models

Vintage agency representing top model Christie Brinkley

4. Elite Model Management

Renowned agency, founded 1977, thrives on social media scouting

5. IMG Models

Masters of model brand building and strategic partnerships

Follow each agency‘s pitch guidelines and leverage your existing publications, social stats and creatives. Patiently build relationships with reps to earn your eventual signing.

Step 7: Consider Expanding into Commercial Acting

Many commercial models seamlessly cross over into acting by starring in videos, web commercials and bitesized TV ads promoting brands.

Enroll in acting classes to polish your on-camera presence, improvisational skills and ability to memorize scripts. These additional talents make you more of an asset to casts seeking models who can act too.

Step 8: Continuously Network and Enhance Your Personal Brand

Attend local fashion industry networking events and conferences to connect with photographers, videographers, brands, agents and fellow models. Exchange value by offering your help and partnerships. Follow up consistently.

Also be diligently self-promoting on social media and online portfolios. Commit to daily visibility through creative, entertaining and informative updates showcasing you in the best possible light.

Think outside the box for attention grabbing PR stunts too – maybe attempt a world record or orchestrate a local fashion show fundraising event. Anything to keep your name circulating.

![Model working out example] (image.png)

Step 9: Start Small and Work Your Way Up

When first starting out, take on minor catalog, website, in-store and promo modeling gigs to build experience and relationships within your regional market.

Work with student photographers to expand your portfolio on an ultra-low budget.

Be a sponge and learn from every opportunity while reinvesting earnings into professional development. Build towards premier jobs by organically growing your reputation from the ground up. Patience pays off.

Here is a Sample First Year Timeline

Months 1-3 – Build social media and portfolios

Months 4-6 – Research local brands and pitch partnerships

Months 7-9 – Take initial gigs from small agencies and brands

Months 10-12 – Continue expanding network and capabilities

How Should Brands Find Commercial Models?

For brands seeking fresh faces to promote products, influencer marketing on social platforms offers a scalable solution.

Instagram and TikTok enable everyday talented personalities to launch lucrative online modeling careers thanks to viral posting potential. Their authenticity fosters higher engagement and conversion rates.

Yet sifting through infinite aspiring and amateur models proves daunting for brands with pressing campaign needs. Plus niche micro-influencers work best, but they get lost in the masses.

This makes leveraging influencer marketing platforms invaluable when sourcing modeling talent.

Influencer Marketing Platform

Platforms like Ainfluencer simplify running influencer campaigns by matching brands with models filterable by audience size, demographics and content style.

Save endless hours filtering social media by letting AI curate the highest caliber model partners tailored to your brand‘s visual identity and audience.

Start Your Commercial Modeling Career Journey Today

Thanks for reading my complete guide on safely breaking into commercial modeling in 2023 and beyond. I hope you feel empowered to start booking jobs and getting noticed by top brands!

Remember that patience and persistence are key. Build your skills and network gradually, take initial smaller jobs to gain experience, then leverage your momentum to manifest your grandest modeling aspirations.

I‘m excited to watch your budding career unfold – maybe I‘ll even tap you as an influencer for my own clients some day!

Additional Resources

For even more modeling and influencer marketing knowledge, explore these expert sources:

Influencer Marketing Hub – Latest influencer news

Mediakix – Strategy guides

Hubspot – Thought leadership essays

Forbes – Interviews with models

AdWeek – Brand campaign dissections

I wish everyone aspiring to become a commercial model the best of luck! Please reach out if you have any other questions. I‘m always happy to help however I can to support the next generation of models.


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.