Working as a life model is the ultimate way to make money from your body.
You can make around £15 per hour for your trouble plus you’ll get to see yourself recreated in a host of (hopefully) beautiful paintings and sculptures!
- What does life modelling involve and is it for me?
- How much can I make from life modelling?
- How do I do it?
First of all you need to decide whether this really is for you. Bear in mind that a bunch of complete strangers will be staring at you intently – whilst you’re naked of course – for hours on end. Expect life modelling sessions to last around three hours, with a couple of breaks for rest. Remember this isn’t about being beautiful or in top shape – if anything, you’re likely to be in more demand if you have a unique look or an interesting body shape – so don’t let any paranoia about your looks stop you. However, you need to be comfortable with both nudity and a certain amount of discomfort and boredom. You may also be asked to create your own poses, so practice in front of the mirror and consider taking some lessons as a life model to get a feel for what art directors may want you to do. It is also fairly common to ask two models to pose together – you may be asked to pose with a member of the opposite sex so ask yourself honestly how comfortable you are with the idea.
Pay varies widely but you can expect, on average, between £12 and £15 per hour depending on where you live in the country.
In London you should expect to make about £15 an hour (that’s what is recommended by RAM, The Art Models Register) and it will be around that amount in large cities.
Outside of the cities and in the regions it’s likely to be a couple of pounds less than that per hour but it does vary from venue to venue.
These days life modeling is a professional occupation and most employers regard life models as employees – you’ll probably find there isn’t much work going that pays in cash so prepare to have to work on PAYE and supply a National Insurance number.
Your first port of call should be local art colleges and education centres. Here a couple of contacts to get you started.
The Art Academy, 020 7407 6969
The London Sketch Club, 020 7352 8209, contact them to offer your services to members
Also keep an eye out for adverts in shop windows and local papers too – your local Gumtree website may also throw up the odd life modelling job too so check in every now and then. It may also be worthwhile posting on Gumtree yourself stating your availability as a life model.
There’s also a mega handy website The Art Models Register (RAM) – a sort of unofficial life modelling union – which features jobs all around the country. All the jobs are restricted to RAM members only – but membership only costs £35 per year so it’s probably worthwhile signing up if you’re struggling to find work elsewhere.
Being on the public list of RAM members could make a big difference. Some colleges and private art groups only employ RAM members and Bare Facts model booking service for London also only supports RAM models.
- London applicants must audition at the life drawing workshops in Holloway or Richmond but RAM does state that most applicants are accepted.
- Outside of London there is no need to audition so you join as an Associate Member initially. Then, once you’ve sent two tutor references from jobs you can convert to full membership at any time, for no extra charge.
Life model alternatives
If you decide being a life model isn’t quite for you, there may be work out there as a hand or foot model. Check out websites Body London and Derek’s Hands for more information.
Or you could try to find work as a regular model. It’s easier to do than you might think, in fact there are companies out there like UK Model who you can submit an application to and wait to find out what they think.
Have you tried working as a life model? Share your experiences by commenting below – we love to hear about your money-making tips and experiences.