Lara Stone for ID magazine
Being photogenic? Yes. Good-looking? Yes and no! Having personality? Absolutely. Being charming? A model who wishes to have a long career and not just be a flash in the pan in the fashion world must have loads of charm. Classy? It would be rather helpful and would make an outfit look better. Well-read? Not required. Smart? A key asset to learn how to manage one’s career.

Which disproves the preconceived notion that an attractive woman cannot be smart. Models are often excellent businesswomen and know very well how to manage a long and profitable career, becoming TV show presenters or video fitness instructors to help people keep fit, launching beauty lines or fragrances, or starting an acting career. And many of them get involved in charity programs.

In order to do so, they must have developed a highly successful career and a great notoriety. So, what makes a model successful? Beauty of course, willpower, versatility, brains and personality. What about height, and long legs? They are included in “beauty”.

I am referring to beautiful features but also to certain characteristics that will make you look unique, and to long, harmonious bodies, and not to thinness. Yet willpower is rarely mentioned, and I mean the willpower to rise very early in the morning to be made up and groomed before shows or shootings, traveling non-stop changing continents, standing for hours on end under the sun wearing heavy coats, or sporting summer clothes when freezing cold, far from home and family for long periods, besides the initial humiliation of having to stand in lines at magazine offices or modeling agencies or designer studios for castings and to submit their books, often with a final rejection.

There are worse jobs around, tougher and less paid. But models do not lead an easy and serene life anyway. You need to have discipline. Including the fact that you can’t go out the whole night and then wake up early. Signs of tiredness cannot be concealed. And since models are young girls, it’s not always easy to renounce hanging out with friends.

And then versatility, which means being able to interpret different roles according to the photographer’s needs. And to move your body in an unconventional way, or a little more unusually, like jumping, dancing and so on. And also the face must be capable of changing expression and act following a story.

And brains. Being clever enough to know when to accept or reject a job, as well as the ability to exploit oneself without losing dignity. Thinking that there will be a life after modeling, and reflecting carefully on what to do. Personality. Lots of it. This is what really makes a model successful.

The world is full of beautiful women, but little have personality. And it is unbelievable how very attractive girls just won’t make it, while others, defined “plain” by same-age girls browsing magazines, become successful. They have personality to spare, and this makes them successful in the photographers’ eyes, those who actually pick them.

When submitting the photographs for the modeling casting, don’t think of classic beauty only but of girls showing temperament, in their face and in their personality. And, please, no Photoshopping. You can’t tell the real from the fake. A successful model will get to a casting au naturel. It’s the photographers job to change them, and sometimes for the worse!