The economics of modeling and why it is alot like professional sports

Reading this, Chloë Schama Reviews Ashley Mears’s “Pricing Beauty” in The New Republic, I came across this:

The greater supply of models has prompted a contraction in rates—even for high-end work—to shockingly low levels. The average magazine shoot, for example, pays about $100 a day. For appearing on the cover of Vogue a model gets an additional $300. “Many magazines,” writes Mears, “pay nothing at all, though lunch and snacks are often provided.” (I’m guessing that most models don’t gain real compensation through snacking.) Payment for walking in a Fashion Week show in London (where rates, admittedly, are lower than in other cities) is $500. The median income across America in 2009 for a model was $27,330—income that includes no benefits.

It’s true that a rare group of models can make incredible amounts of money. But it seems for most, it is a glamourous but low paying job. In a way, it reminds me of professional sports. It too attracts a great supply of people, driving down the cost for most. The few that make it can make alot of money (just like super models), but there are many more in the minor leagues toiling away for little or nothing.

There’s nothing wrong with doing what you love, and if you love modeling or sports, then you should pursue it. But models, like athletes, should be aware that the chance of riches is very small.

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