What do Adele Uddo, Ellen Sirot, Kimbra Hickey and James Furino have in common? They’re all incredibly successful models. You may not know their faces, but you have seen their body parts across a wide spectrum of advertisements.
You’ve seen them everywhere: wiping up spills in paper towel commercials, strapping on designer footwear, gracing the cover of a magazine, or hand doubling for A-list stars. They’re what the modeling industry calls parts models, and they prove that sometimes all it takes is one great body part to open the door to a modeling career.
Parts models are in huge demand from companies who want the perfect hands, legs, feet or other body parts to advertise their product. You may not be able to become a high-fashion model, but you may still be able to break into the modeling industry.
Other Modeling Parts in Demand
Hands, feet, and legs are the most requested body parts for both men and women, but there’s also a demand for beautiful eyes, lips, teeth, hair, stomachs, backs, and even earlobes. If you have an attractive feature, you may be able to make it as a parts model.
Don’t forget, though, that this specialized division of modeling is just that—modeling. Even if you have gorgeous hands, for example, you still need to be able to work them for the camera. You have to know how to hold your hands so they look beautiful (while showing off the product) and you have to be able to hold them still for hours on end.
And no matter what body part you’re modeling, you have to take great care to protect it. For some top parts models, that means living in Ugg boots 24/7, moisturizing up to 20 times a day, and wearing gloves at all times. You should avoid housework and cooking also (an added benefit).
The Basic Requirements
On top of looking great and protecting your best assets, there are also some basic requirements that every parts model must meet:
- Hand Models: Hand models have to have perfect hands. Both male and female hand models should be able to fit sample glove or jewelry sizes and should have long slender hands, straight fingers, uniform nail beds, and a nice even skin tone. For men, hands shouldn’t be too hairy.
- Foot Models: Models should be able to fit sample shoe sizes and should have slender feet, straight toes, attractive ankles, clean and uniform nails, and no calluses or blemishes of any kind. Men’s feet shouldn’t be overly hairy.
- Leg Models: For female leg models, legs should be long and slender and free of blemishes and varicose veins. They also need to be waxed and well moisturized. Male leg models shouldn’t be overly muscular, and like their female counterparts, their legs should be long, shapely and free of blemishes (and again, not too hairy).
Parts Model Earnings
According to Forbes.com, premiere parts models earn around $1,000 a day for TV commercials and between $2,000-$5,000 a day for print work. A top female parts model—a hand model with good legs and feet—can make around $75,000 a year. That number jumps substantially if the model lives in a print-centric market such as New York.
Becoming a Parts Model
As with any other type of modeling, it’s essential that you get your potential evaluated by an experienced model agent or scout. It’s not enough to have “pretty” hands or feet—modeling agencies are looking for nothing but the most exceptional parts for editorial, advertising, and catalog work.
To increase your chances of making it in the parts modeling industry, it’s best to work with people who have experience and direct connections in this specialized market.