How To Become A Successful Model In Nigeria


This topic, “How To Become A Successful Model In Nigeria”has been a long time coming as this is a topic that I think needs addressing in Nigeria and one which I have always wanted to share my thoughts on. As one of the team members at Box  Models Agency Nigeria & UK, we get a lot of models coming through our door or via instant messages daily, wanting to become a model, some, by all means.

So many times, when I ask wannabe models why they want to become a model, I get funny and cliché answers like “I have the right height for modelling”, “I have passion for modelling”, “I have always wanted to be a model since I was a kid”, “I want to be an international model who travels abroad”, “People tell me I look like a model and I should consider it”, to mention a few. This is the point where I think; “Ok, next person!”

I am not a model myself, but my acquired knowledge of the industry and experience in shooting people in front of the camera, mentoring models and teaching models how to pose got me into modelling. You can’t claim that you want to be a successful Doctor without knowing the basics of medicine or healthcare. This is why I find it unacceptable when aspiring models don’t do their homework or can’t even use minimal modelling knowledge to make a case for themselves.

Here is a comment I found online to a post on nigeriafinder.com which expresses my points above.

How To Become A Successful Model In Nigeria

Looking at the above excerpt or snapshot, what type of modelling allows you to model bags, shoes, clothing and other material things? It appears there is laxity on the part of aspiring models or inadequate knowledge about what modelling entails. Maybe there is not much information in terms of clarification coming from the industry itself.

Read on to find out more. Throughout this post, I will be providing you with actionable tips on how to be a successful model in Nigeria. Here are the top 10 tips on how to become a successful model in Nigeria, brought to you by Box Models Agency Nigeria.

1. Know Your Stats

Knowing your statistics as a model is as easy as knowing that the length of a standard ruler is 30cm. Ok, if that is debatable, then permit me to say “knowing your statistics as a model should be as easy as knowing your age”. As a male or female model, you should be able to know your height, weight, chest size, waist size, hair colour, eye colour, dress size, shoe size and more. These are the most common first set of questions any model scout, modelling agency, or potential client would ask you, and if you fumble at the start, it would be difficult to create a better impression. If you know your age, then you should keep up with your statistics as these are one of your tools as a model.

Here is an article to read: Common Statistics You Should Know as an Aspiring Model

Once you know your statistics as a model, then you should find out which type of modelling you fit in and the minimum requirements.

2. Know the Types of Modelling in Nigeria

As an aspiring model, you should do your research on all the most common types of modelling in your country, Nigeria in this case. Get to know all the minimum requirements for each type of modelling, and which one ticks the boxes for you.

For example, if you have a good modelling face but you are only 5ft 6inch in height, then you should be looking towards commercial, glamour or petite modelling, which does not have height requirements like runway modelling. If you don’t feel comfortable wearing bikinis in the public, then look away from lingerie modelling. I hope you get the point.

Here is an article to read: Most Common Types of Modelling in Nigeria

Once you have familiarized yourself with the common types of modelling and their requirements, the next thing is to shortlist the ones that you are interested in as well as being a good fit.

3. Be Ready for Disappointments and Rejections

I think it’s fair to say that everyone has had a fair share of disappointments and rejections in life. To be a successful model, you must come to terms with the fact that you can be disappointed and rejected at any time and by anyone, even when you least expect. Realizing this helps you to be prepared and ready for the next challenge and opportunity.

You might secure the dream modelling job and at the last hour, you get told that the job has been cancelled for whatever reason. You might be the most talented, professional and promising talent at a model casting with a modelling agency, and still not get that contract you deserve. These things are norms with modelling and models need to always be prepared for the disappointments and rejections that come before the golden chance.

To be a successful model, you need to develop a thick skin for any negative, constructive or destructive feedback. If you get turned down or disappointed, don’t flare up, but remain calm and professional. This might be the difference between you and another model. Ask valuable questions and seek feedback as to why you weren’t shortlisted for a job or why you didn’t get that contract you have prepared for and surely deserve. Feedbacks will help you to be a better model and even do better when the next opportunity comes calling.

4. Get a Professional Model Polaroid

As a model, your portfolio is your CV or resume. To show your intent in becoming a successful model, start by creating a Polaroid. A Polaroid is a combination of your headshot, full-body photo (front view, side view, and back view) and a portrait of you smiling with your teeth closed.

For your model Polaroid to be widely accepted, it must adhere to the following standards:

  • Wear appropriate clothing for your Polaroid shoot. Wear a black top (tank top for female models and t-shirts for male models) on neat blue jeans or white top on either a black or blue jean, and on high heel (female models) or boot (for male models). Male models can go topless for some of the Polaroid photos. Wear the same clothing on all Polaroid photos – do not mix and match clothing colours.
  • Do not wear any makeup at all.
  • Tidy and tie up your hair so it doesn’t hide your facial features.
  • Use only natural lights (daylight) and avoid using the camera flash if possible. Also, avoid direct sunlight when shooting.
  • It’s better to shoot your Polaroid against a plain background like light grey or off-white background colour.
  • Do not retouch the images and it is fine to leave pimples, freckles, blemishes and birthmarks on your face.

How To Become A Successful Model In Nigeria

You can either take your Polaroid shoots yourself or pay a professional photo studio/photographer to take your model Polaroid. Use or quote discount code “BOXELITE25” to get 25% discount on Model Polaroid Shoot at Elite Studio Ikeja

Here is an article to read: Guidelines for taking Modelling Polaroids

5. Keep Practicing and Collaborating to Build Your Portfolio

Once you have a professional model Polaroid, now is the time to move on to portfolio building. Keep practising your craft, poses, and catwalk to know what works best for you. Get in front of the camera as often as you can to find your best poses and postures, as well as getting used to working with photographers, makeup artist, stylist and fashion designer.

Plan and organise collaborations with experienced photographers, makeup artists, fashion designers, and hairstylists. Ensure you let them know that the collaboration aims to build your portfolio and ask for “what and who” is included in the collaboration. A lot of photographers normally advertise a test shoot on social media platforms (especially Instagram), so look out for this opportunity, check out the photographer’s past work, agree on how your images will be used, read the model release form before signing, and ask as many questions that will show that you are professional. Also, do your homework and make sure whoever you are going to collaborate with has the skills and expertise to help you build your portfolio. Don’t assume the collaboration is free and of mutual benefit, so ask necessary questions before committing to a collaboration.

After every shoot or collaboration, always ask for comments and feedbacks from collaborators so you can always build on your strength, work on your weakness and be better at modelling. In the end, ensure that you have a portfolio that showcases your style, talent and versatility. If you have spare cash, don’t hesitate to visit a professional photo studio to take more shots for your portfolio.

6. Keep Your Values and be Professional

Modelling doesn’t mean you should throw good morals out of the window. Always hold on to your values and be professional as this will take you a long way in your modelling career. The modelling industry is full of different types of people; good and bad, professional and unprofessional, respectful and disrespectful people. Just be mindful of this.

Modelling is not a do or die affair and is not an easy route to fame and fortune, so don’t compromise on your values or sacrifice yourself to be a model. Having said this, the right modelling agency, model scouts or agents will always respect your values and won’t force you to do things you are not willing or happy to do. Finding and choosing the right modelling agency will be the best step to achieving the supermodel dream.

Remember, to be a model is to be a role model for others. Ensure you always live up to that expectation.

7. Find the Right Modelling Agency

If you have built a portfolio and have worked on getting clear on your values, getting the right modelling agency would be much easier. Modelling agencies are constantly looking for raw and talented models with the right attitude and who are well versed with the industry. This is the point where proper planning and preparation meets opportunity.

Find out about the best modelling agencies in Nigeria and look out for when they organise model casting. Some modelling agencies have weekly open calls, so feel free to contact them about this. Prepare adequately for the model casting; read about the modelling agency online on their social media pages and website, wear the appropriate clothing, be punctual but not too early, go as you are with minimal or no makeup at all, and take your Polaroid (and comp card) photos with you. Make sure you have made copies that you are ready to give out.

Here is an article to read: How to Prepare for Model Casting in Nigeria

Once you get the right modelling agency, be clear on what they have to offer, and what they expect from you. Read the contract before signing it. By law, if you are under 18 years of age, you should go with your parent or guardian before signing any dotted lines.

If you are not getting lucky with any of the modelling agencies, ask them for feedback, and try to improve. If the feedback is about something you cannot improve upon, like your height, skin colour, or a part of your body, try other modelling agencies. If you are still not in luck, put more thoughts into it and consider being a freelance model.

8. Build Your Social Media Followers

Social Media can help improve your chances of being signed by a modelling agency or found by potential clients online. Ensure that you separate personal social media pages from professional ones if they don’t align well. If your personal social media page is already professional, then I wouldn’t suggest creating a separate social media page, particularly for modelling.

Grow your social media followers and fan base with regular contents (photos, videos, quotes, graphics etc.) that showcase your skills, portfolio, and lifestyle. Engage more with your followers by asking for their opinion and feedback on a post, and general discussions.

Here is an article to read: How to build social media followers legitimately as a model in Nigeria

Social media platforms like Instagram is a place to find out about what is going on in the modelling industry, get to know about upcoming fashion shows, model casting opportunities and find collaborators. Adopt a social media strategy that aligns with your values and professionalism. Know what you stand for and always convey the right message to your audience.

Advertisers and brands are more likely to work with models who have a large social media audience.

9. Eat Healthily and Take Care of Yourself Always

I’m sure you would have figured out by now that you wouldn’t get a well-toned body and flat belly by eating Akpu at 10 pm, before bedtime. To become a successful model means you must eat healthily, keep fit and look good always.

To be a sought-after model, you need to have a good attitude, discipline, look healthy, have good dentition and teeth colour, nice smile, tidy hair, and great legs. Ensure you take care of yourself so that you are always ready to hit the runway or take a shoot whenever required.

10. Be Patient for the Result

As I have mentioned earlier, the model industry comes with a lot of disappointments and rejections, and this happens to everyone, from the clients to modelling agency, event centre, makeup artist, photographer, videographer, stylist, fashion designer, producer, directors, assistants and many more. This means you always need to be patient, whether you are waiting for your modelling agency to get you your first job, or you are waiting to be moved from new faces to mainboard model section of your modelling agency, or you are waiting for a potential client to give you feedback on a casting.

Patience is a must-have when it comes to modelling as it will pave way for more opportunities, especially if you are diligent, reliable and thoughtful.

I hope these tips will help you to become a successful model in Nigeria and internationally. Feel free to comment or ask a question below and we will endeavour to respond.

If you have followed all the tips mentioned above and have what it takes to be a supermodel, please fill the form here to apply to become a model.

Our team is here to answer your questions. Just send us a message!