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How to become a commercial model in South Africa

In most cases, to become a commercial model in South Africa, there is no upper age limit, and dimensions like height, form, and size are irrelevant. However, to successfully traverse the sector, it is crucial to demonstrate adaptability and have a skilled representative. You will also need to have passion and style, know how to pose in front of the cameras, and have confidence.

How to become a commercial model in South Africa
Plus-size modeling agencies in Durban. Image by freepik

But where do you begin? It would be best if you created a portfolio, found an agent, and started posting on Instagram or TikTok, like an influencer at a beauty store. If you want to become a commercial model in South Africa, you may need a visa to stay. A visa is required before you can officially live and work in South Africa, whether you’re going there for work, school, or family reasons.

Commercial modeling and fashion modeling have distinct focuses. While fashion modeling primarily revolves around high fashion and runway shows, commercial modeling encompasses a broader range of opportunities. Commercial modeling involves promoting and marketing products and services through various mediums, such as print ads, commercials, and online media.

If you’re looking for more reasons to believe that the fashion industry is a perfect match for you, consider a career as a commercial model. Let’s dive into how to become a commercial model in South Africa.

What are commercial models

Finding out what a commercial model does is helpful before you learn how to become one because a modeling job can look different based on your target audience. This is different from fashion models, who mostly walk the platforms during fashion weeks: business models are used in print, TV, and online ads. TV commercials and online product shoots are two types of projects that commercial models may work on.

How to become a commercial model in South Africa
How to become a fashion model in South Africa?

When it comes to commercial modeling, the rules are not as strict as they are in high fashion. This is because a lot of companies that sell things want models that their customers can easily relate to. As a result, professional modeling has many areas that allow almost anyone to become a model. Niche markets that stand out include plus size, tiny, exercise, and even hand modeling.

Embark on your commercial modeling journey in South Africa

If you’re looking to break into the world of commercial modeling in South Africa, here’s a handy guide to get you started:

Identify your unique edge

Start by identifying what makes you stand out in the commercial modeling industry. Do your eyes have a captivating allure? Are your hands flawless in every single picture? Recognizing your niche is crucial, whether it’s showcasing athletic wear or gracing the covers of hair magazines. It all starts with understanding your unique strengths and talents. Every aspect of your appearance has the potential to unlock unique modeling opportunities, ranging from showcasing your hands to excelling in fitness and fashion.

Explore diverse opportunities

Commercial modeling goes beyond the glitz and glamour of runway shows. It’s all about breathing life into ordinary products. Here are the different spaces where you could excel:

Advertising in print: Magazines, billboards, and brochures
Digital Domains: Websites and online catalogs
Media Spots: Engaging TV commercials and captivating digital campaigns

A modeling agency or a model agent

Aligning yourself with a well-established agency can offer you the essential support, visibility, and security in the industry. Do some research on agencies that match your modeling preferences and get ready for open calls, or send your portfolio directly.


It’s important to have a skilled resume. This should have several high-quality pictures of them in a variety of poses, looks, and styles. Usually, it’s best to hire a professional shooter who has done portfolios for models before.

Your resume helps you plan your job. Include a variety of shots that show how versatile you are. If you’re just starting out, do a do-it-yourself shooting at home to get used to different modeling situations. This collection is what will get you into agencies and make it possible for clients to want to work with you.

Use social media

A large social media following may help you get recognized by modeling agencies and share your portfolio with your admirers. Additionally, marketers may be prepared to reimburse you for marketing their items if your followers often engage with your content. This might be another way to generate money in this market. Check out how to gain modeling gigs on Instagram.

Live near a city

Living in one of the bigger cities could be a good idea so that you can quickly attend castings on a regular basis. Pursuing a career in modeling can be pretty challenging, given the high level of competition in the business.

So, models don’t want to lose any chances, like a meeting at an agency or a casting with a possible client. If you have to travel a decent distance, you might not be able to be available on short notice. Just a friendly reminder that there will always be someone ready to step in and take your position.

Posing at home

Mastering the art of posing is crucial for models, and fortunately, you can easily learn it from the comfort of your own home. It’s important to familiarize yourself with your body and the various ways you can express a smile. Here are the essential elements for delivering a compelling story on camera.

Observe the techniques and skills of professional models and photographers for a period of time. Observe their behavior, emotional expression, and overall fashion sense. To truly understand the impact these have on your appearance and the impression you give, I suggest trying them out in front of a mirror.

There is a wide range of lessons and video tips available for learning how to pose effectively online. Repeating these actions consistently will lead to improvement. With time, posing will become more natural, ultimately increasing your confidence for any photoshoot.

Conquer your fears

Step beyond your comfort zone and face your modeling anxieties. Everyone begins somewhere, and with determination, you can overcome your fears and succeed in the exciting world of modeling.

Requirements to become a commercial model in South Africa

Being a commercial model in South Africa can be an exhilarating opportunity. The industry is thriving, with Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban serving as important hubs. If you’re interested in pursuing a modeling career in South Africa, here are some general requirements and steps to consider:

Age and physical requirements

Anyone and everyone are invited to join in, regardless of their body type or height. Many agencies are cool with accepting applications from kids as young as 4 up to people of any age. Moreover, individuals from various racial and national backgrounds are welcome to apply, creating an inclusive and diverse opportunity. This approach offers opportunities for different types of modeling, such as commercial, print, and promotional, among others, to suit a wide range of personal styles and unique attributes.

Health and Fitness

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial for meeting the industry’s physical demands. Eating a healthy diet and engaging in regular exercise are also crucial for overall well-being.

If you are not a South African citizen, you will need an appropriate visa to work in the nation.

Education and Workshops

Although not always necessary, attending modeling schools or workshops can offer valuable training on walking, posing, and other aspects of modeling. This education can also help foster self-assurance and gain insights into the entrepreneurial aspects of the modeling industry.

Modeling agency in South Africa

If your goal is to pursue a career as a commercial model in South Africa, you will find a plethora of modeling agencies available to assist you. The list comprises the locations of their Google Maps. Out of these modeling companies, a minimum of 30 have received a rating of four stars or above.

If you search for “modeling agency in South Africa” or “modeling agencies in Durban” on Google Maps or any other mapping application, you will be presented with a list of agencies that may assist you.

Commercial modeling agencies in Cape Town

Cape Town is a flourishing center for commercial modeling, providing a range of esteemed agencies that cater to prospective models. These are a few notable agencies in the city:

Base Model Agency – Modeling Agency in Cape Town (;

The Circle Model Management Agency Cape Town (;

Topco Models (;

20 Model Management (;

D&A Model Management (

Boss Models (

Commercial Model Salary in South Africa

Based on information from Indeed, the typical monthly wage for a model in South Africa is R 15,205.22, which is the wage recorded, last updated on 17 January 2024. However, the wage varies depending on the city in which you work.

  • If you work at Centurion, Gauteng, the salary is R 54,682 per month.
  • If you are in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, the salary is R 51,370 per month.
  • In Cape Town, the salary is 14,346 per month.
  • If you are in Johannesburg, Gauteng, the salary is R 16,047 per month.

To sum up

Want to become a commercial model in South Africa? Just find your unique style, practice posing, create a photo portfolio, use social media to get noticed, look for a good modeling agency, or try freelancing. Remember, commercial modeling is all about being yourself and confident. Go for it and have fun!

Source: Indeed, Google Maps

Photo by Pikbest.

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