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Fashion Model Terminology: Words And Phrases You Need To Know



After starting hundreds of modeling careers, the team at NVE Agency has put together a list of need-to-know modeling terms you’ll need to begin navigating the industry.


Art Director


​An art director is a person responsible for a shoot, whether it’s an ad, editorial, or other form of visual art.


Casting Calls


A casting call is another term for an audition for modeling work with a modeling agency or brand.


Cattle Call


A cattle call is a mass interview where hundreds of aspiring models can show up in the hopes of being discovered. 


Call Back


A callback is a second audition. A model has been ‘called back’ because the brand/director/agency likes the look of them and wishes to speak to and see them again.


Contact Sheet


A contact sheet is a model’s information sheet with their contact details. It may also refer to the documentation given to a model before a shoot.


Comp Card (aka Composite Card, Z-Card, or Zed Card)


A comp card is a highly useful tool for any model. It’s the size of a business card and will have the model’s details including their name, agency, and measurements. The card will also have a few of the model’s modeling photos on there.


A comp card is handy to carry around at all times as it makes networking far more easy and more professional.


Headshot


Of all the modeling terms you’ll come across in the world of modeling, the headshot is likely going to be one of the most common. A headshot is a photograph taken of a model’s head. These are usually close-up beauty shots. You’ll need to include a headshot in your modeling portfolio and on applications.


Model Portfolio


A model portfolio is a bit like a model’s CV. It is a portfolio showcasing up to 20 of their best photos. It also features contact information as well as other details such as measurements and clothing size. A model’s portfolio will be taken with them to interviews. Many models also choose to have an online version of their portfolio, known as an e-folio.


Model Agency


A model agency, or modeling agency, is a company that signs up models and helps them to find work. They make money by taking a cut of the model’s earnings. A model agency will help a signed model to find interviews to attend. They may also help to cover certain costs (like travel and lodging).


Photo Shoot


A photoshoot is a process of taking photos of models, products, or events. A photoshoot is required to gain photos that can then be used in advertising and marketing products.


Tearsheet


A tearsheet is a page featuring a model taken from a magazine or other publication essentially proving your experience. They work as evidence that you have worked or featured for a specific brand or publication.


Commercial Model


A commercial model is any model that doesn’t work in high fashion. A commercial model can be any gender, height, and age. They are required for brand advertisements.


Editorial Models


Shoots and high fashion spreads seen in magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar are known as “editorial”. These usually feature high fashion models.


High Fashion Model


High fashion models work in the premium sector of modeling. They walk catwalks and work for the most expensive brands. Requirements are very strict and the industry is extremely competitive. High-fashion models tend to become household names and make the most money.


Supermodel


A supermodel refers to a high fashion model who has had an incredibly successful career. Supermodels make the most money and are very in demand.



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