Fashion & Beauty Lessons We Can Learn from Model Casting Calls

Whether you’re an aspiring model or just want to look like one, here are the tips you need to know.

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Model at a casting call

If you’re at all familiar with the modeling industry, you probably know that models must regularly go to casting calls, where designers, editors, or agents pick and choose which girls they want to hire. At these castings, the models are expected to look their best but also to appear somewhat like blank canvases, making it easier for those responsible for casting to imagine the girls in a variety of looks.

While most of us college girls won’t be attending model castings, we can find fashion and beauty inspiration in the minimalist looks our favorite models rock for these events. (And if you are an aspiring model, you need to know what to wear to a casting!) Here, we’ll take a look at some of the fashion and beauty rules for casting calls that college girls can try themselves.

1. Simple Dressing

simple tank top and jeans outfit

Products: White Tank Top – Everlane, Grey Tank Top – Everlane, Jeans – Madewell, Ring – Ralph Lauren, Heels – Calvin Klein

At castings, models are asked to dress as simply as possible, since the people responsible for casting need to see what each model looks like, without being distracted by loud or trendy clothes. A basic model outfit usually means black or blue skinny jeans, a neutral tank or t-shirt, and a good pair of heels.

So take a lesson from this: Sometimes the simplest outfits are the best, especially when you want your natural beauty to shine. For instance, when meeting someone for the first time, a basic outfit can be the best choice because it allows your face and what you’re saying to be the focus – in other words, your personality will not be competing for attention with loud prints or overwhelming colors.

2. Bare Makeup

3-step makeup routine

Products: Concealer – NARS, Blush – Bobbi BrownMascara – L’Oreal

Just as designers prefer models to come to castings in the most basic clothes, they also often want to see a bare face or effortless makeup on a girl. Basic makeup allows those in charge of casting to see a model’s features, whereas bold or elaborate makeup can be distracting.

Similarly, in your own day-to-day life, although there are times that call for a bright red lip or a dramatic smoky eye, a simple, clean face can be refreshing. Additionally, a natural makeup look is low-maintenance, meaning it will leave you worry-free, especially when you’re ultra busy.

A bare makeup look generally includes some concealer, blush, and a few strokes of mascara. Lightweight foundation or tinted moisturizer will also work if you need more coverage.

3. It’s All in the Details

It’s no secret that models are heavily scrutinized; their every inch is picked apart under the most unforgiving microscope. As a result, part of their job includes paying attention to even the smallest details of their physical appearance.

Us non-models can be thankful that we don’t have to live with such intense pressure, but there is a lesson to be learned here as well – sometimes it’s the smallest details make the difference in our overall appearance.

For instance, a model must always get a flawless manicure before a shoot, show, or casting. This gives off a put-together vibe and a sense that the girl respects her appearance. So take a cue from this, and even if today is a strictly-sweats day (we all have them), rocking a fresh manicure, or perfectly groomed eyebrows, for example, will elevate how well others perceive your overall look.

4. Heels, Heels, Heels

set of neutral and colorful heels

Products: Nude Heels – Lulus, Pink Heels – Macy’s, Black Heels – Macy’s, Orange Heels – ASOS

We all know that height is crucial for models, so when attending a casting, models typically follow one rule: The higher the heels, the better. Aside from adding inches of height, heels also typically make the wearer’s body appear much more elongated — it’s not surprising models are always wearing them.

The lesson here? Even when worn with the most casual outfit, a good pair of heels can make your body look elongated, and also pull your outfit together. If the elongated look is what you like, definitely consider rocking heels more often.

So using models as inspiration, think about investing in some casual heels and sporting them a little more often. (But use your judgment and factor in practicality – we’re not recommending wearing 5-inch platforms to class if they’re uncomfortable for you.) 


Are there any other tips from models that you apply to your everyday routine? Do you follow any of these casting call rules? What do you think about the minimal makeup look? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2011; it was completely updated and revamped in 2018 by Sharon with new photos and information.

9 thoughts on “Fashion & Beauty Lessons We Can Learn from Model Casting Calls”

  1. I really want to be a model.. There’s one model that told me anyone can be matter what ur size,skin or even tall u are..Im 5’2.Idk if im skinny enough and i dont have clear skin..But I have confidents and im not even insecured..I know how to do expression to.

  2. I just was wondering if I wore really dramatically giant heels could I be a runway or VS model when I’m “of age”? [I’m only 5’4 i’m 16 and My doctor says I’m not gonna grow anymore…I’m already taller than my Mom & dad lol 🙂 ]

    • You definitely have to wear heels if you’re 5’1″. I think the average model is 5’9″ or something. And if you’re 5’6″, like me, you’re considered “petite”. I believe all models have to wear heels to casting calls, even if you’re 6’1″.

  3. I’m a model myself and these rules are some of the first things they tell us! The only thing I would add to this is when doing your make up (this goes along with the natural look) just use enough make up to enhance your features. It saves time and your skin!


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