Job openings should be plentiful for demonstrators and product
promoters, but keen competition is expected for modeling jobs.
Most jobs are part time or have variable work schedules, and
many jobs require frequent travel.
Formal training and education requirements are limited.
Nature of the Work
Demonstrators, product promoters, and models create public interest
in buying products such as clothing, cosmetics, food items, and
housewares. The information they provide helps consumers make
educated choices among the wide variety of products and services
Demonstrators and product promoters create public interest in
buying a product by demonstrating it to prospective customers
and answering their questions. They may sell the demonstrated
merchandise, or gather names of prospects to contact at a later
date or to pass on to a sales staff. Demonstrators promote
sales of a product to consumers, while product promoters
try to induce retail stores to sell particular products and market
them effectively. Product demonstration is an effective technique
used by both to introduce new products or promote sales of old
products because it allows face-to-face interaction with potential
Demonstrators and product promoters build current and future
sales of both sophisticated and simple products, ranging from
computer software to mops. They attract an audience by offering
samples, administering contests, distributing prizes, and using
direct-mail advertising. They must greet and catch the attention
of possible customers and quickly identify those who are interested
and qualified. They inform and educate customers about the features
of products and demonstrate their use with apparent ease to inspire
confidence in the product and its manufacturer. They also distribute
information, such as brochures and applications. Some demonstrations
are intended to generate immediate sales through impulse buying,
while others are considered an investment to generate future sales
and increase brand awareness.
Demonstrations and product promotions are conducted in retail
and grocery stores, shopping malls, trade shows, and outdoor fairs.
Locations are selected based on both the nature of the product
and the type of audience. Demonstrations at large events may require
teams of demonstrators to efficiently handle large crowds. Some
demonstrators promote products on videotape or on television programs,
such as “infomercials” or home shopping programs.
Demonstrators and product promoters may prepare the content of
a presentation and alter it to target a specific audience or to
keep it current. They may participate in the design of an exhibit
or customize exhibits for particular audiences. Results obtained
by demonstrators and product promoters are analyzed, and presentations
are adjusted to make them more effective. Demonstrators and product
promoters also may be involved in transporting, assembling, and
disassembling materials used in demonstrations.
A demonstrator’s presentation may include visuals, models, case
studies, testimonials, test results, and surveys. The equipment
used for a demonstration varies with the product being demonstrated.
A food product demonstration might require the use of cooking
utensils, while a software demonstration could require the use
of a multimedia computer. Demonstrators must be familiar with
the product to be able to relate detailed information to customers
and to answer any questions that arise before, during, or after
a demonstration. Therefore, they may research the product to be
presented, the products of competitors, and the interests and
concerns of the target audience before conducting a demonstration.
Demonstrations of complex products can require practice.
Models pose for photos or as subjects for paintings or
sculptures. They display clothing, such as dresses, coats, underclothing,
swimwear, and suits, for a variety of audiences and in various
types of media. They model accessories, such as handbags, shoes,
and jewelry, and promote beauty products, including fragrances
and cosmetics. The most successful models, called supermodels,
hold celebrity status and often use their image to sell products
such as books, calendars, and fitness videos. In addition to modeling,
they may appear in movies and television shows.
Models’ clients use printed publications, live modeling, and
television to advertise and promote products and services. There
are different categories of modeling jobs within these media,
and the nature of a model’s work may vary with each. Most modeling
jobs are for printed publications, and models usually do a combination
of editorial, commercial, and catalog work. Editorial print modeling
uses still photographs of models for fashion magazine covers and
to accompany feature articles, but does not include modeling for
advertisements. Commercial print modeling includes work for advertisements
in magazines and newspapers, and for outdoor advertisements such
as billboards. Catalog models appear in department store and mail
During a photo shoot, a model poses to demonstrate the features
of clothing and products. Models make small changes in posture
and facial expression to capture the look desired by the client.
As they shoot film, photographers instruct models to pose in certain
positions and to interact with their physical surroundings. Models
work closely with photographers, hair and clothing stylists, makeup
artists, and clients to produce the desired look and to finish
the photo shoot on schedule. Stylists and makeup artists prepare
the model for the photo shoot, provide touchups, and change the
look of models throughout the day. If stylists are not provided,
models must apply their own makeup and bring their own clothing.
Because the client spends time and money planning for and preparing
an advertising campaign, the client usually is present to ensure
that the work is satisfactory. The client also may offer suggestions.
Editorial printwork generally pays less than other types of modeling,
but provides exposure for a model and can lead to commercial modeling
opportunities. Often, beginning fashion models work in foreign
countries where fashion magazines are more plentiful.
Live modeling is done in a variety of locations. Live models
stand, turn, and walk to demonstrate clothing to a variety of
audiences. At fashion shows and in showrooms, garment buyers are
the primary audience. Runway models display clothes that either
are intended for direct sale to consumers or are the artistic
expressions of the designer. High fashion, or haute couture, runway
models confidently walk a narrow runway before an audience of
photographers, journalists, designers, and garment buyers. Live
modeling also is done in apparel marts, department stores, and
fitting rooms of clothing designers. In retail establishments,
models display clothing directly for shoppers and may be required
to describe the features and price of the clothing. Other models
pose for sketching artists, painters, and sculptors.
Models may compete with actors and actresses for work in television
and may even receive speaking parts. Television work includes
commercials, cable television programs, and even game shows. However,
competition for television work is intense because of the potential
for high earnings and extensive exposure.
Because advertisers need to target very specific segments of
the population, models may specialize in a certain area. Petite
and plus-size fashions are modeled by women whose dress size is
smaller or larger than that worn by the typical model. Models
who are disabled may be used to model fashions or products for
disabled consumers. “Parts” models have a body part, such as a
hand or foot, that is particularly well-suited to model products
such as fingernail polish or shoes.
Almost all models work through agents. Agents provide a link
between models and clients. Clients pay models, while the agency
receives a portion of the model’s earnings for its services. Agents
scout for new faces, advise and train new models, and promote
them to clients. A typical modeling job lasts only 1 day, so modeling
agencies differ from other employment agencies in that they maintain
an ongoing relationship with the model. Agents find and nurture
relationships with clients, arrange auditions called “go-sees,”
and book shoots if a model is hired. They also provide bookkeeping
and billing services to models and may offer them financial planning
services. Relatively short careers and variable incomes make financial
planning an important issue for many models.
With the help of agents, models spend a considerable amount of
time promoting and developing themselves. Models assemble and
maintain portfolios, print composite cards, and travel to go-sees.
A portfolio is a collection of a model’s previous work that is
carried to all go-sees and bookings. A composite card, or comp
card, contains the best photographs from a model’s portfolio,
along with his or her measurements.
Models must gather information before a job. From an agent, they
learn the pay, date, time, and length of the shoot. Also, models
need to ask if hair, makeup, and clothing stylists will be provided.
It is helpful to know what product is being promoted and what
image they should project. Some models research the client and
the product being modeled to prepare for a shoot. Models use a
document called a voucher to record the rate of pay and the actual
duration of the job. The voucher is used for billing purposes
after both the client and model sign it. Once a job is completed,
models must check in with their agency and plan for the next appointment.
More than half of all demonstrators, product promoters, and models
work part time and about 1 in 4 have variable work schedules.
Many positions last 6 months or less.
Demonstrators and product promoters may work long hours while
standing or walking, with little opportunity to rest. Some of
them travel frequently, and night and weekend work often is required.
The atmosphere of a crowded trade show or State fair is often
hectic, and demonstrators and product promoters may feel pressure
to influence the greatest number of consumers possible in a very
limited amount of time. However, many enjoy the opportunity to
interact with a variety of people.
Models work under a variety of conditions, which can often be
both difficult and glamorous. The coming season’s fashions may
be modeled in a comfortable, climate-controlled studio or in a
cold, damp outdoor location. Schedules can be demanding, and models
must keep in constant touch with an agent so that they do not
miss an opportunity for work. Being away from friends and family,
and needing to focus on the photographer’s instructions despite
constant interruption for touchups, clothing, and set changes
can be stressful. Yet, successful models interact with a variety
of people and enjoy frequent travel. They may meet potential clients
at several go-sees in one day and often travel to work in distant
cities, foreign countries, and exotic locations.
Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement
Formal training and education requirements are limited for demonstrators,
product promoters, and models. Training usually is moderate term,
lasting a month or more. Postsecondary education, while helpful,
usually is not required: only 1 in 5 of these workers has a bachelor’s
degree or higher.
Demonstrators and product promoters usually receive on-the-job
training. Training is primarily product oriented because a demonstrator
must be familiar with the product to demonstrate it properly.
The length of training varies with the complexity of the product.
Experience with the product or familiarity with similar products
may be required for demonstration of complex products, such as
computers. During the training process, demonstrators may be introduced
to the manufacturer’s corporate philosophy and preferred methods
for dealing with customers.
Employers look for demonstrators and product promoters with good
communication skills and a pleasant appearance and personality.
Demonstrators and product promoters must be comfortable with public
speaking. They should be able to entertain an audience and use
humor, spontaneity, and personal interest in the product as promotional
tools. Foreign language skills are helpful.
While no formal training is required to begin a modeling career,
models should be photogenic and have a basic knowledge of hair
styling, makeup, and clothing. Some local governments require
models under the age of 18 to hold a work permit. An attractive
physical appearance is necessary to become a successful model.
A model should have flawless skin, healthy hair, and attractive
facial features. Specific requirements depend on the client, but
most models must be within certain ranges for height, weight,
and dress or coat size in order to meet the practical needs of
fashion designers, photographers, and advertisers. Requirements
may change slightly from time to time as our society’s perceptions
about physical beauty change; however, most fashion designers
feel that their clothing looks its best on tall, thin models.
Although physical requirements may be relaxed for some types of
modeling jobs, opportunities are limited for those who do not
meet these basic requirements.
Because a model’s career depends on preservation of his or her
physical characteristics, models must control their diet, exercise
regularly, and get enough sleep in order to stay healthy. Haircuts,
pedicures, and manicures are necessary work-related expenses for
In addition to being attractive, models must be photogenic. The
ability to relate to the camera in order to capture the desired
look on film is essential, and agents test prospective models
using snapshots or professional photographs. For photographic
and runway work, models must be able to move gracefully and confidently.
Training in acting, voice, and dance is useful and allows a model
to be considered for television work. Foreign language skills
are useful because successful models travel frequently to foreign
Because models must interact with a large number of people, personality
plays an important role in success. Models must be professional,
polite, and prompt; every contact could lead to future employment.
Organizational skills are necessary to manage personal lives,
financial matters, and busy work and travel schedules. Because
competition for jobs is stiff and clients’ needs are very specific,
patience and persistence are essential.
Modeling schools provide training in posing, walking, makeup
application, and other basic tasks, but attending such schools
does not necessarily lead to job opportunities. In fact, many
agents prefer beginning models with little or no previous experience
and discourage models from attending modeling schools and purchasing
professional photographs. A model’s selection of an agency is
an important factor for advancement in the occupation. The better
the reputation and skill of the agency, the more assignments a
model is likely to get. Because clients prefer to work with agents,
it is very difficult for a model to pursue a freelance career.
Agents continually scout for new faces, and many of the top models
are discovered in this way. Most agencies review snapshots or
have “open calls”, during which models are seen in person; this
service usually is provided free of charge. Some agencies sponsor
modeling contests and searches. Very few people who send in snapshots
or attend open calls are offered contracts.
Agencies advise models on how to dress, wear makeup, and conduct
themselves properly during go-sees and bookings. Because models’
advancement depends on their previous work, development of a good
portfolio is key to getting assignments. Models accumulate and
display current tear sheets—examples of a model’s editorial print
work—and photographs in the portfolio. The higher the quality
and currency of the photos in the portfolio, the more likely it
is that the model will find work.
Demonstrators and product promoters who perform well and show
leadership ability may advance to other marketing and sales occupations
or open their own businesses. Because modeling careers are relatively
short, most models eventually transfer to other occupations.
Demonstrators, product promoters, and models held about 120,000
jobs in 2004. Of these, models held only about 2,200 jobs in 2004.
About 23 percent of all salaried jobs for demonstrators, product
promoters, and models were in retail trade, especially general
merchandise stores, and 14 percent were in administrative and
support services—which includes employment services. Other jobs
were found in advertising and related services.
Demonstrator and product promoter jobs may be found in communities
throughout the Nation, but modeling jobs are concentrated in New
York, Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles.
Employment of demonstrators, product promoters, and models is
expected to grow about as fast as average for all occupations
through 2014. Job growth should be driven by increases in the
number and size of trade shows and greater use of these workers
in department stores and various retail shops for in-store promotions.
Additional job openings will arise from the need to replace demonstrators,
product promoters, and models that transfer to other occupations,
retire, or stop working for other reasons.
Job openings should be plentiful for demonstrators and product
promoters. Employers may have difficulty finding qualified demonstrators
who are willing to fill part-time, short-term positions. Product
demonstration is considered a very effective marketing tool. New
jobs should arise as firms devote a greater percentage of marketing
budgets to product demonstration.
On the other hand, modeling is considered a glamorous occupation,
with limited formal entry requirements. Consequently, those who
wish to pursue a modeling career can expect keen competition for
jobs. The modeling profession typically attracts many more jobseekers
than there are job openings available. Only models who closely
meet the unique requirements of the occupation will achieve regular
employment. The increasing diversification of the general population
should boost demand for models more representative of diverse
racial and ethnic groups. Work for male models also should increase
as society becomes more receptive to the marketing of men’s fashions.
Because fashions change frequently, demand for a model’s look
may fluctuate. Most models experience periods of unemployment.
Employment of demonstrators, product promoters, and models is
affected by downturns in the business cycle. Many firms tend to
reduce advertising budgets during recessions.
Demonstrators and product promoters had median hourly earnings
of $9.95 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $8.18
and $13.29. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $7.25, and
the highest 10 percent earned more than $20.08. Employers of demonstrators,
product promoters, and models generally pay for job-related travel
Median hourly earnings of models were $10.50 in May 2004. The
middle 50 percent earned between $8.44 and $14.34. The lowest
10 percent earned less than $7.16, and the highest 10 percent
earned more than $17.17. Earnings vary for different types of
modeling, and depend on the experience and reputation of the model.
Female models typically earn more than male models for similar
work. Hourly earnings can be relatively high, particularly for
supermodels and others in high demand, but models may not have
work every day, and jobs may last only a few hours. Models occasionally
receive clothing or clothing discounts instead of, or in addition
to, regular earnings. Almost all models work with agents, and
pay 15 to 20 percent of their earnings in return for an agent’s
services. Models who do not find immediate work may receive payments,
called advances, from agents to cover promotional and living expenses.
Models must provide their own health and retirement benefits.
Demonstrators, product promoters, and models create public interest
in buying clothing, products, and services. Others who create
interest in a product or service include actors, producers, and
directors; insurance sales agents; real estate brokers; retail
salespersons; sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing;
and reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks.
Sources of Additional Information
For information about modeling schools and agencies in your area,
contact a local consumer affairs organization such as the Better
Source: Bureau of Labor
Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational
Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition