Model Behavior: How To Measure Your Bust, Hips and Waist

Knowing your measurements is key to becoming a model, but there are other good reasons to know how to measure your bust, hips and waist. Knowing your measurements will ensure that you not only purchase the write pant size, but it also means you can go out and buy the right bra for you, something that is not always easy.

Measuring your bust size:

  1. Stand straight in front of a mirror. Make sure you have good posture to ensure an accurate measurement. I recommend doing this either in your best fitting bra.
  2. Take the first end and put it in front of you. Wrap the tape measure behind your back, across your shoulder blades and under your arms. Make sure it sits at the fullest part of your bust.
  3. Bring the two ends together in the front and record your measurement.
  4. Now place the tape right under your bust where your bra band would sit. Record this measurement.
  5. To calculate, round up your bust measurement and subtract the brand measurement. For example: 36 in. bust – 34 in. band = 2 inch difference.
  • 1 inch = A cup
  • 2 inch = B Cup
  • 3 inch = C cup
  • 4 inch = D cup, and so on.

Now you have an accurate bra size.

Measuring hips & waist:

  1. Stand in front of a mirror in just your underwear. If your underwear is a little tight, causing a dent in your waist, you might have to take them off.
  2. Bend over or to the side and notice where your body naturally folds, this is your waist.
  3. Place the tape measure at your waist, but be sure to keep the tape parallel to the ground. Don’t suck in your stomach or you’ll end up with inaccurate measurements.
  4. Check the mirror or looks down very carefully for the measurement and write it down.
  5. Now wrap the tape around the fullest part of your hips and butt. Bring the ends together and carefully look down to record the measurement.

Easy right? Now you take your own measurements with ease!

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Tyra Banks’s Modeling Tips

There’s no one better than Tyra to give excellent modeling tips and advice to those who dream of gracing the covers of magazines or strutting their stuff on the catwalks of high fashion. To help you with your entry to Tyra Banks’s Fiercely Real Model Contest (which could be your big break!), Tyra shares these exclusive tips with Seventeen readers!

Model Don’ts (and a Do)

  • Do not be a “no-neck monster.” Try to elongate your neck for maximum extension.
  • Do not pose like a hoochie. (If you don’t know what a hoochie is, er…that’s probably best.)
  • Do not be a limp noodle. Always pose with tension in your body completely from H2T (head to toe).
  • Do not play it safe and stay in the same pose. Mix it up with innovative poses. Your wildest pose could be the one that’s picked.
  • Do not show up to a photo shoot unless you are clean shaven, have a clean face, and clean hair.
  • Do not let hating how your hair or makeup is done affect your performance. Model through it.
  • Do not stare aimlessly when posing. Create intensity for the camera through your eyes. Smize (smile with your eyes)!
  • Do not slouch on the runway; pretend you have a wire through your spine that is pulling you up to the ceiling.
  • Do not be forgettable. Make an impression by showing your distinctive personality.
  • Do request to have your favorite music playing when you do a shoot! The beat will kick your poses up 10 notches!

Modeling: Breaking Into the Biz

  • Pick a favorite model and study them. Everything from the way they turn their head to their fierce runway walk.
  • Snapshots. You MUST have a beauty shot, from the neck up, before going anywhere. Have a friend with a nice camera take one in black and white!
  • Study, Study, Study. As Tyra always says on America’s Next Top Model, you need to know everything from fashion designers, photographers, supermodels, and all in between.

From No-Sees to Go-Sees!

Go-sees are one of the crucial things that a beginner model must know about. Tyra went on 10 go-sees a day in Paris! Here are some tips on how to make a lasting impression (at a go-see or an interview)

  • Be prepared! Practice your walk, poses, and faces in the mirror before you go.
  • Do your homework! Know something about the agency or client and be aware of scams. Not everything out there is legit!
  • Your make-up should be minimal to show off your natural beauty.
  • ALWAYS bring a pair of heels in case they ask you to walk.
  • No nail polish: Simple clear, nude, or sheer!
  • Pull your hair back so that they can see your face and bone structure.
  • Never be late!
  • Have good posture: Stand up straight, shoulders back.
  • Be honest! It’s okay to tell them if you don’t have a lot of experience. Wow them with your natural ability (this is why practice is so important!)

How To Work Your Flaws

Everyone has flaws. I’ve got ’em (small calves and a big forehead), you’ve got ’em, and your momma’s got em’, too! Even though I totally believe in embracing my flaws, I don’t always want to highlight them when I’m being photographed. Every top model knows the secrets to working her flaws. These are my tips on how to make your flaws work for you when you’re in front of that camera!

  • Hands on Hips = Smaller Waist. Putting your hands on your hips creates a background through your arms, which will make your waist appear smaller. (This is something you can apply to real life too! Try it the next time you walk into a room!)
  • Chin Up = Smaller Forehead. I am always telling the girls on ANTM to chin up! Not only will it make a large forehead look smaller, it will also elongate the neck.
  • Tippy Toes = Bigger Calves. Standing on your tippy toes instead of flat feet will make your calf muscles appear bigger because they are working harder to keep you up!
  • Knees In = Slimmer Hips. Turning a knee in will make your hips appear slimmer. This will also give you a space between your thighs, which is something that most women don’t have.
  • Lean Forward = Smaller Bust. Hunch your back and bring your naval into your spine. This creates a slight lean forward, which will make your bust look smaller.
  • Emphasize Shoulder = Narrow Hips. Turn your body to the side and turn your shoulders toward the camera. The emphasis on your shoulders will narrow your hips.
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Posing Tips for How to Look Your Best in Photographs

Dear (new’ish) Model,

My name is Other Model. I have spent the last couple of years finding out a few things that I wish I’d known from the start. Please don’t think I’m patronising as I mean this only in goodwill, as there is absolutely no gain for me by sharing these cheats. Not all of my points will be valid for you as posing varies in each genre. Just take what you can and ignore the rest. If only one suggestion helps your future career then my time has been well spent…

Rule one, the mirror is your BFF. Stand there, perfect your poses and learn how your body shapes. The mirror is a perfect tool to show you what the camera can see – try to imagine it behind your photographers head when shooting and always consider what can be seen from that angle. For example, if your foot is closest to the lens, it is worth remembering that your foot is going to the largest thing in the picture….and nobody wants to be remembered as Bigfoot…

Create separation between your limbs from your body. Not only does it prevent the arm/leg from being squashed against you spreading out any fat, it is also an optical illusion for a slimmer appearance in terms of overall width. A basic cheat that makes a massive difference.

Have a basic understanding of light. For example, if you raise an arm to the light, it could be a whole F-stop brighter in camera than your face (being the object closest to the source of light according to the inverse square law). It will also cast a shadow across you. You can counteract this by using your other arm (!)…or, move your arm a fraction backwards, away from the direct beam of light. Learning how lighting falls is invaluable. Ask which is your key light and then work towards it.

Be aware of ‘mothing’. If the light has been metered to an exact spot, try to stick to it, or at least notice when you’ve crept closer to the light so you can rectify it if required.

Recognise when your eyes are over-rotating. It is always advisable to follow the line of your nose to keep your sight central. This stops you from looking bog eyed from too much white of the eye showing.

Know how far you can turn your head before your nose ‘breaks your cheek’. Go back to the mirror to see what angle becomes too far. This is perhaps a dying rule, but one that many competition judges still take into account so worth being aware of.

Elongate your neck to simulate height and poise. Possibly one of the hardest things to remember because it genuinely feels unnatural. Stand in front of the mirror and look at yourself…stand normally, then roll your shoulders back allowing your face to come forward…notice the difference in the width of your neck? An instant slimming trick.

Go one step further by popping your jaw towards camera if you want a strong line created by the shadow.

If the photographer is at a 12 o’clock angle, then standing angled at 1:30 rather than 3 o’clock will lose inches to your overall width. When you do, make sure it is shadow you are turning into and not the light. Always one rule: hide what you don’t want seen in shadow. Forget Weight Watchers, it’s all about tactical posing!

If you want to appear slimmer you can create a ‘false waist’. You can do this by positioning yourself to camera, then creating the waist you want seen with the positioning of your hands on your ‘hips’. See…crafty huh 🙂

If you’re like me and you don’t have natural curves, then fake them! And I don’t mean plastic surgery. As shown above, learning how to pop your hip is not something everyone can do but can be a big advantage if you can for great shape. Allowing your knees to cross slightly will emphasise that ‘S’ figure with it.

Keep your hands loose and fluid. The term ‘ballet hands’ is often thrown around…but if you’re like me and the only dancing you do well is the truffle shuffle, then keep your middle finger lower than the others whilst relaxing them with a slight curve. Don’t clump your fingers together and avoid showing the back of your hand. Why? Because backs of hands are big and ugly…sides of hands are small and dainty. This was drilled into me from the start of my career by friend and photographer Gary Hill.

Play with what is available. If you are wearing a flowing dress, play with it by tossing it into the air or working the movement in the bottom. Remember if you are wearing trousers then your legs don’t need to be so clamped together.

You should have knowledge of what you are wearing and why. If you have been hired to sell a specific product, make sure you are pulling poses that are commercially complimentary and not hiding the product.

Own a ‘modelling kit’ and take it on all shoots. These are the things you will need, but may not be directly mentioned in pre-shoot communications. They are; outdoor/studio shoes, nude/black underwear, face wipes, moisturiser/oil for your legs, a plain vest top, safety pins/clamps, a straw for drinks (as not to ruin your lipstick), your own water with a sugary snack to keep you going (your shoot location may be far away from shops), spare stockings for lingerie shoots….and also hairspray, a top up lipstick, hair grips, brush and eyelash glue (in case the MUA can’t stay). If you have been booked for a specific job such as bridal, it is also well received if you bring appropriate accessories i.e. a pretend wedding ring.

Please be honest about your size and measurements. Nobody minds how tall or small, big or slim you are…but they do need to know in advance for obvious reasons. You may be sent home unpaid if you have exaggerated the truth and wasted time by not fitting the casting criteria. Save yourself and others the embarrassment.

Talk to other models, check references and don’t ever assume anything. Despite many people thinking models are the bitchy ones, it’s actually very untrue most of the time. We look after each other and the best out there are very supportive. I was terrified to talk to the people I admired, but then I realised they’re only human, we are all the same…and they’re pretty damn awesome guys and girls when it comes to helping you out.

Most of all be fun, easy going and willing to go that extra mile! If you are genuinely a delight to be around, you are 100% more likely to be rebooked. You are part of a team so pull your weight, diva’s are so 2010.

I hope this letter has been of some use to you and that you can take something from it. As I said, not all of this will work for you, it’s just tricks I wish I’d known when I began modelling. But then again look at Kate Moss, she breaks all of the ‘rules’…and still looks amazing – that’s fashion darling.

The day you stop enjoying your job is the day you need a new one. Work hard and love your life!

Kindest regards,

Other Model.

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How to Model

7 Expert Tips for Becoming a Model

  1. Do Your Research

    Aaron says the biggest mistake that aspiring models make is “not doing the research beforehand.” Not sure where to start? Aaron suggests that “One should check to see who is reputable first, length in the buisness, and who an agency represents.” Look for an agent by flipping through your favorite magazine spreads and making a note of which agency represents the models you like. If you’re looking into a smaller agency, do some internet research before giving them a call to make sure they have a good reputation in the industry.

  2. Be Prepared

    “Classes can be helpful to individuals in terms of self confidence and comfort with aspects of the business,” says Aaron, though he emphasizes that classes are by no means a prerequisite. Consider the option if you feel like you have something that’s holding you back, lack knowledge of the industry, or if you’re in need of a confidence boost. And like with any job, read up on the agency you’re interviewing with, including past and present models signed with them and company news.

  3. Make Your Portfolio Picture-Perfect

    Your book, or modeling portfolio, is your resume, so make sure that it’s in tip-top shape before you schedule interviews or auditions or attend an open-call. “A great portfolio is a relative concept; after all, you cant please every client all the time,” Aaron says, but make sure that your book has enough variation that an agency can see your potential. Aaron says, “The basis of a good book should show a model who is comfortable in front of the camera, one who has a range of expression and movement.” Less is more: “As to length, a few great pictures can look better than a long book of fluff.” Think of your portfolio as a story that you’re telling to a prospective agency — a <em>short</em> story. “A flow to the book is important — after all you want to get and keep the client’s attention,” Aaron says.

  4. Be Yourself

    So you’ve booked a meeting with an agent — now what? Resist the temptation to paint on new eyebrows or shop for a new outfit before your interview. Aaron says, “I always say “come as you are.’ If you have a quirky look or style naturally, work that! Don’t be concerned about changing who you are to impress an agency. When meeting prospective models we prefer to see them as they are: no makeup, natural hair, and their personality.” Leave the flowing maxi-dress at home and keep your outfit simple: “Body-conscious clothing like skinny jeans and a tank are good so we can see the body.”

  5. Smile for the Camera

    In addition to your portfolio, bring some casual shots as well. “When we meet with prospective models we ask to see a couple of snapshots or Polaroids,” Aaron says. “A simple headshot, bodyshot, profile, and a smile is good.” Keep your clothes simple so they don’t distract from your shape and face, and play around with different poses and facial expressions.

  6. Speak Up

    Personality is key, so sit up straight and spit out that gum! Aaron says, “An outgoing personality is always a standout.” They’re looking for models who are “able to express themselves and not be nervous or shy. A feeling that modeling is something they want to do, rather than something they are being pushed into is key.” He says that “the models that do well are confident, ambitious, and have a certain humbleness about the fact that being genetically gifted is what got them in the business,” says Aaron. “In the end this is a business and respect and professionalism is really important.” Arrive for your audition or interview early and ready — no scrambling to rearrange your book in the elevator!

  7. Read Before Signing on the Dotted Line

    If you’ve impressed the agency enough to get an offer, take a deep breath before doing a celebratory dance and signing a contract. “Do not sign anything without reading first!” Aaron says. “Do your research, and just go with what your gut tells you.” Make sure any questions you have about your contract are answered and clarified before you sign.

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