Working as a life model and performing different life modelling poses is a creative way to make money from your body.
The Register of Artists’ Models (RAM) recommends a rate of £15 per hour for your trouble. Obviously, a big part of the job involves stripping naked, so you’ll have to work out if that’s something you really want to do. If it is, you will get to see yourself recreated in a host of (hopefully) beautiful paintings and sculptures. What’s not to like?
Life Model Wanted: What does life modelling involve and is it for me?
The main thrust of the job involves complete strangers staring at you intently – whilst you’re naked of course – for hours on end.
You can expect life modelling sessions to last around three hours, with a couple of breaks for rest.
Remember, you don’t have to be 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. This is a very important thing to remember when considering life modelling.
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. If you have a partner, ask them for their opinion on your poses.
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. If you have some doubt, then this may not be for you.
Life Model Wanted: Are there many life modelling jobs?
These days life modelling is a professional occupation and most employers regard life models as employees.
You will 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.
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.
A good place to check for jobs are general job searching websites such as TotalJobs or Indeed.
If that doesn’t muster up anything, try social media websites, as sometimes ads are put out in Facebook groups or via Twitter.
Always be careful with any advert you see online, and always make sure you are using a reputable company.
The Register of Artists’ Models (RAM)
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 (£38.50 to join) 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.
How much can I make as a Life Model?
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) 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.
Don’t be afraid to have life modelling as a side job. Many people do this as it is an easy way to top-up your main salary.
Alternatives to life model jobs
If you decide being a life model isn’t quite for you, there may be work out there as a hand or foot model.
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.
Alternatively, you may have decided that being a model just isn’t for you. So instead, why not try being a life model director or tutor? You can join RAM as this for £10.
If you’re not interested in life modelling at all, there is something called wild life drawing, where instead of drawing naked life models, you draw animals instead. If your drawing stands out, you could make money from them.
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.