Male models who've made it big time
Sexy bodies of male models are the envy of many.
According to Jane Cilliers, operations director of Ice Model Management, one of the oldest and most successful modelling agencies in the country, the age market for male models exists from the early 20s all the way into the early 50s.
"A guy needs to be 1.83m or taller and most importantly, have the X factor that distinguishes him from the rest," Cilliers says.
While the market for black models has sizeably increased over the years, the tricks and trades of this much-idolised industry has not always been understood, especially in the black communities.
Two of South Africa's most prominent faces, Amos Vuma and Max Mmethi, share their experiences of modelling.
Vuma has come a long way from the Giyani village boy in Limpopo.
"I have seen myself grow in the industry from the shy boy I once was to a more confident guy," he says.
Growing up in a small village, where not many people understood the modelling world, has made Vuma an inspiration to many young people in his home town.
The 33-year-old model has spent more than eight years in the industry and says his reasons for his success are his humility and his professionalism.
"These qualities have earned me respect with designers and brands and they know they can always rely on me," Vuma says.
But this is not always the case with models says the Nivea ambassador. He says some people get caught up in the glitz of a well-known brand while others by sugar-mamas when they get used to the high life.
Unlike a normal job, there is no set salary in modelling, says Cilliers.
Depending on what kind of jobs a model has booked in a month, the salary can range between R550 and R15,000.
"You need to be strong-willed and not rely on modelling alone" Vuma says.
Model Max Mmethi is also a proud father of two. He shares Vuma's sentiments about the industry.
"You can earn great money in modelling while you are working or still studying" he says.
Apart from modelling, the 31-year-old is a personal trainer and he also owns a salon.
Mmethi was the first black cover model to appear on Men's Health magazine.
He follows a strict exercise routine every day .
"Looking like the guy next door is just not enough and you always have to look your best," he says.
While there has been some competition in his age group, Mmethi is confident:
"I don't compete with the old ones because they are already on their way out. I stick with the young ones."
Modelling lingo guide:
High Fashion Modelling
This is when you model for fashion houses or top designers. It is considered the highest paying modelling jobs, but you need to be a well-known model to be considered for this.
This is when stores or designers present their upcoming designs in fashion shows. It entails specific models that can meet the special requirements and set measurements for the clothing size.
It is considered a great way to open doors to high fashion but is one of the lowest paying jobs. These models work for a particular publication and readers of the publication make up the target audience.
This category has no strict requirements on weight or height and only needs the model to be appealing. Artistic nude modelling also falls in this group and pay rates even double if you are posing in underwear or in the nude.
This article was first published in the printed newspaper on 1 October 2012