Posted on: 05/10/2016

The outrageous cost of being a model

Modeling is a time-consuming, demanding and cutthroat profession. But most of all, it can be prohibitively expensive. Unlike most U.S. workers, models regularly see huge chunks of their earnings -- whether it"s a third, more than half, or even entire paychecks -- disappear right before their eyes. One male model, for example, showed CNNMoney a statement where a $500 catalog shoot turned into a $15 check. Meanwhile a young female model saw almost six years of earnings shrink from $74,000 to less than $30,000. Models typically aren"t treated as employees, so they usually aren"t guaranteed to receive minimum wage, overtime, lunch breaks, prompt paychecks or many other protections that are common in the workplace. Instead, they are often considered independent contractors. And this means that even after paying their agencies fat commissions of 20% or more, models often have to foot the bill for business expenses. These include everything from expensive plane tickets and group housing to the many promotional materials -- like websites, headshots and portfolios -- required to land jobs with clients.