How to become a fashion model in Paris
There are few things more exciting for a model than working in the world's most beautiful and romantic city, the City of Light, Paris, France.

Known for the most glamorous and iconic fashion houses such as Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Hermès, Lanvin and Christian Louboutin, modeling in Paris is the ultimate and most prestigious destination for all professional models.

Fashion model measurements
Measurements for female models in Paris should be between 5'9" and 6' (5'10-5'10 ½ is even better) for height, with a bust, waist and hip circumference of 34-23-33. Male models should measure at least 6' to 6' 2" and wear a 38-40 Regular jacket. Designers make their garments in a single size, or what is known as a sample size. Models have to fit the clothes the designers make each season, not the other way around. Given the number of items a designer produces for each collection, it would be impossible to make every garment to fit every mannequin.

Age requirements
The minimum legal age for employment of any kind in France is 16. Most major modeling agencies in France have a special license for minors, but people under 16 have incredibly strict working hours, which is why most agencies don't accept child models from countries other than France.

Learn style, class and sophistication
Paris is not a market for brand-new models who need to gain experience or build up their portfolio. Models need to have already done some work in Asian markets such as Tokyo, Singapore or Taipei before tackling the sophisticated Paris market. Other interesting markets before heading to Paris are Germany, Milan, London and even Australia. Once a model has learned the basics of the industry, he or she is ready for the ultimate destination of Paris, where he or she will work for the most glamorous and sophisticated clients.

Professional status
Unlike all other modeling markets, models in Paris are considered employees, not independent contractors. Models are paid monthly (like a salary), and if the client doesn't pay, the model still gets paid.

France being a socialist country, there are a lot of taxes. Models receive around 33% of their gross income. For example, if a model signs a contract for $1,000, she will receive $300. 20% is deducted for agency commissions, and the rest is tax! Part of the tax money goes to pay unemployment, health insurance and retirement.

High taxes and agency commissions are another reason why models shouldn't go to Paris to learn the trade, as the lesson can be expensive. Models should only go to Paris if they know they have real potential to land a contract for a catwalk show, editorial or high-end advertising, because that's where the prestige and money are. Most experienced models only go to Paris to work on "collections", and then leave for other markets when the collections are finished.

Arriving in Paris
Don't expect the agency to pick you up in a luxury limousine or to meet you at the airport. Agencies in Paris expect models to be experienced and professional, and therefore expect them to make their own way from the airport to the agency or apartment.

Travel and accommodation expenses
Some agencies may offer to advance the cost of a model's airfare and apartment, but the model will have to pay this back once they start work. Models should expect to pay for their airfare and accommodation in advance, as well as having money for food, subway, cabs and tests.

Work visa requirements
Models who are citizens of Canada, the United States and most European countries do not need a special visa or work documents for France. The agency will need to fill out government forms for international models, but this has no bearing on the model.

Signing a contract with an agency
If you have what it takes to be a model in Paris, you really should have a complete career plan and work with a manager or a good "mother agency". A parent agency will know which agencies are best for your particular look and how to plan and manage your career over the long term.

February 09, 2023