Take a wild guess: How much do you think fashion models make? It’s one of those professions that unless you know someone, or work in the biz, there’s not a lot of information out there to have a good view into. Judging by models’ perceived glamour and high society status, not to mention the cut-throat competition they deal with, you might think it’s a lot. I think I did. Which is why this line from a TNR review of the new book Pricing Beauty: The Making of a Fashion Model struck me as amazing:
The median income across America in 2009 for a model was $27,330—income that includes no benefits.
The book is by Ashley Mears, a former fashion model and current Boston University sociologist. From the TNR review, written by Chloe Schama, here are some other insights into the strange world of fashion model economics:
- The average magazine shoot pays about $100 a day. For appearing on the cover of Vogue a model gets an additional $300.
- Payment for walking in a Fashion Week show in London is $500.
- The super sought-after “high-end campaign”—for a fragrance or some other luxury good pays, on average, about $100,000.
- The question of what makes a good model is prone to the greatest illogic and shrouded by the most impermeable mystery. A distinct “editorial” look is one that, in Mears’s words sits “on the border between beautiful and ugly.”