Guide: Miami

Last Updated: April 2015

Overview

Miami, Florida is a large commercial market that many models call home, and for good reason: the weather is beautiful, the clients are great, and there's money to be made. However, competition in the market is very high and some of the world's best models flock to the city during high season. But a good, confident model with a likeable personality can do exceptionally well for themselves.

 South Beach | Photo courtesy of Jasmine Chorley Foster

South Beach | Photo courtesy of Jasmine Chorley Foster

 Virginia Key Beach | Photo courtesy of Natalia Zurowski

Virginia Key Beach | Photo courtesy of Natalia Zurowski

Market Criteria

Physical Appearance

During the high season (January-Aprilthere's a lot of competition from the increase in European and Brazilian models. As such, models need to be in the best shape possible. Models from all backgrounds and ethnicities can do well in the market, so long as they take good care of their bodies. A beautiful smile and hair are also a huge asset in this predominantly commercial market.

Although having the right body is a requirement, being confident, pleasant, and professional will set you apart and get you those lucrative re-bookings.

Proportions

Being a predominantly commercial market, Miami loves women who have larger breasts and buttocks. A curvier shape is preferred, but female models who don't have large breasts or buttocks and are naturally slim can also still work well in Miami. Everyone must be in great shape however, and if they're Caucasian they need to have a tan.

Female Measurements (in inches): 

Bust: 32-36”

Waist: 24-26”

Hips: 34-37” (max)

Male Measurements(in inches):

Suit size: 38-42”

Waist: 30-33”

Male models also need to be tanned, toned, and at the top of their fitness game. Almost all male models in Miami are very muscular and have a more 'manly' appearance. Some facial hair and stubble is acceptable. A male model that is muscular but with a smaller frame can still find work in Miami. Editorial male models that are thin, pale, and editorial will not find success in the market.  

Age

The great thing about Miami is that it's the kind of market where models can continue to work well into their late 20s or early 30s, so long as they take very good care of themselves.

Markets like Tokyo, where there is a strong focus on youthfulness, is a market that many models outgrow quickly. Miami on the other hand, is a market that a model can grow into over time and find continued success or at least have the opportunity to do a lot of direct bookings in, even if they're based elsewhere.

Note: Miami is a small and highly saturated market with a lot of models. Even if you meet the criteria, it doesn't mean you will get signed. There are so many models already and a model needs to really stand out. Some agencies also don't have the time to develop models, especially if they're older. A model should come with a portfolio in hand that would already cater to the Miami market to increase their chances of getting signed.

Models who work well in Miami

The following is a guide for models to get an idea of which types of model have done very well in the Miami market. This way, they can get a rough idea if their look is suitable for the market.

Daniela Osorio - Wilhelmina

Sandra Kubicka - NEXT

Joy Corrigan - NEXT

Gintare Sudziute - Wilhelmina

Julianna Nicole Sharkey- Wilhelmina

Nina Agdal - Elite

Kristina Peric - Elite

Austin Scoggin - NEXT

Breno Gbjr - Wilhelmina

Cole Monahan - Elite

Note: Although these models have found success in the market, the modelling industry is unpredictable. Just because a model does well in a market once doesn't necessarily mean they'll do well there again. Timing, luck, and “looks of the moment” are large determinants of a model's success. 

Types of Jobs & Rates

Contrary to popular belief, Miami isn't just a market of swimwear and lingerie clients. There are a large amount of these jobs available, but there are also clients hiring for all different kinds of work in the city. There are a large amount of catalogues, lookbooks, campaigns, and commercials.

Miami also direct books to other cities and markets across North America (e.g. Los Angeles, New York, the Caribbean) and markets in Europe (e.g. Paris, Milan, and Germany). Miami is a serious market where a model can make a name for themselves and earn very good money, so long as they are in top shape, have a good personality, and a good portfolio.

Note: The rates provided below are only to serve as average estimated figures of the potential earnings that can be made. A model's rate can be either higher or lower and is dependant upon their agency, the client, type of job, terms of usage, a model's experience, and their reputation in the fashion and modelling industries.

 Emily di Donato for Guess

Emily di Donato for Guess

Commercial

Miami is a commercial haven. Models are able to make good money working for large retailers as well as smaller boutiques. The types of commercial jobs range from: catalogues, online catalogues, print advertisements, commercials, campaigns, and Mercedes Benz Miami Swim Week.

There are also TVC (television commercial) opportunities in Miami for companies like Gordmans, Marshall's, and even music videos for artists such as Pitbull and Taylor Swift.

Clients include: Target, Macy's, Bloomingdales, JCPenny, Kohl's, Marshall's, Nordstrom, etc.

Rates: Depending on the client, models can earn a minimum of $1000 day for a half day shooting for catalogues. 

 Kristina Peric (Elite) by David Benoliel 

Kristina Peric (Elite) by David Benoliel 

Campaigns

When you work in the United States, there are so many different brands to shoot campaigns for. Being based out of Miami doesn't limit a model to just working there but instead opens doors to get direct bookings across the US in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Seattle.

The brands listed below are just some of the great campaigns models can have the potential to shoot with. Clients include: Aeropostale, Amethyst Jeans, Ardene, Foreign Exchange, GUESS, Nautica, Woodies, etc.

Rates: Working with such large brands can guarantee models earning a very good sum of money.

Depending on the brand and usage (which is usually for 6 months) models can earn anywhere from $3000-$20,000+ USD.

 Nina Agdal for Aerie

Nina Agdal for Aerie

Lingerie & Swimwear

By working in the US and especially a large market in Miami, models have the potential to  work with very big international brands. Not all models will work for Victoria's Secret or Aerie, but for those who do, it's imperative that they do their best on their first shoot. For a client to hire the model again, that model needs to be great on and off set. They need to do their best to portray the lifestyle and feeling of the brand they are modelling.

There are many models who can say they have worked for Victoria's Secret. But shooting a few looks for their online catalogue once and then never being hired again happens often. If the model isn't able to convey the right emotion or feeling, they won't be able to sell the product and the company will look for a new model. This is why The Business Model encourages models to do their research on a brand before working with them.

Clients include: Aerie, Bonprix, Victoria's Secret, Montoya, Jockey, Plumeria, Mia Marcelle, Love Haus, iShine365, Beachbunny Swimwear and many more.

Rate: Swimwear and lingerie jobs always pay the most. Depending on the client, this can be from a few hundred dollars a day for a swimwear editorial to even a few thousand or more for a catalogue or campaign.

 From left to right: Yara K (Wilhelmina), Robin Marjolein (IMG), and Nina Agdal (Elite) for Love Haus

From left to right: Yara K (Wilhelmina), Robin Marjolein (IMG), and Nina Agdal (Elite) for Love Haus

Editorial

Miami isn't a large editorial market but there are magazines models can shoot for. Many of the pictures are more on the commercial side but having the tear sheets can help a model build an impressive portfolio with a range of photos.

Clients include: Bride to Be, Brides, ELLE Man, Cosmopolitan, Fitness, Ellements, Genlux, Ocean Drive, Sante, SELF, Shape, Seventeen, Solo, Vanidades, etc.

Rate: Editorials anywhere in the world usually do not pay very well unless the model is a big name. Even then, the rates pale in comparison to commercial work or campaigns. Editorials usually run anywhere between $100-300+ USD in Miami.

 Nicole Meyer (MP Mega Miami) by David Benoliel for  Fashion Gone Rogue

Nicole Meyer (MP Mega Miami) by David Benoliel for Fashion Gone Rogue

Presentations & Runway

Mercedes-Benz Swim Week takes place each year around mid-July. Models interested in walking the shows should arrive in Miami about one month prior to make it for castings. During MBSW there are a combination of runway as well as presentation jobs.

Clients include: Agua Di Lara, Aquarella, Caffe Swimwear, Chloe, Lisa Blue, Mara Hoffman, Michael Kors, Oakley, Tory Burch, Viceroy, etc.

Rate: The standard runway rate is usually between $300-500 USD per show; depending on the client and the model. 

 View of South Beach from the highway | Jasmine Chorley Foster

View of South Beach from the highway | Jasmine Chorley Foster

 South Beach boardwalk | Jasmine Chorley Foster

South Beach boardwalk | Jasmine Chorley Foster

Agency List

Below is a list of all the agencies currently active in Miami:

Elite 

Wilhelmina

NEXT 

FORD

MC2 

Front

MP Mega 

Michele Pommier

Runways the Talent Group

BMG

CGM

Green Talent Agency

Note: The Business Model does not necessarily endorse any of the above agencies. The following list is to serve as a directory so that models may be aware of the current active agencies in the market. Before signing with any agency, TBM encourages all models to read contracts carefully. 

Work Season

The best season to go for work in Miami is from the end of October until April or May. Clients already begin casting the end of October and begins to get busy in December and January. During this time, clients from all around the world, especially those from North and Northeastern Europe, fly to Miami to shoot their various campaigns. This is an ideal time because the weather is beautiful and there are many great places to shoot on location. 

il_fullxfull.134073369.jpg

Transportation

All of the major agencies and most castings are located in South Beach (SoBe), a neighbourhood that is basically its own island. Models won't ever have to go too far in order to get to their castings and bookings and can get around usually just by walking. If a shoot is far away on location, a ride from the client or photographer is usually arranged for the model.

Public Transportation

The public transportation system in Miami is decent but is not as efficient as New York City. Models are encouraged to leave their apartments a half hour earlier in case of traffic. When living in South Beach, models can get anywhere easily either by walking or by taking the Deco Bikes (see below).

If models are interested in venturing outside of South Beach towards downtown Miami and Wynwood, there are buses that come frequently (every 10 minutes or less) on Biscayne Blvd, a main street on the other side of the bridge that connects to South Beach. 

Bikes

South Beach also has bike rentals available all day called Deco Bikes. The Deco Bikes are a great way for models to get around and go to castings in South Beach. It's also a great way to fit in some additional cardio when you don't have the time or energy for the gym after a long day's work. The bikes can be rented from anywhere between $4-$24 per day or a monthly pass can be purchased starting at $15.

For more information visit: Decobike or Citibike

Taxis

Taxi fares in Miami are pretty standard and start at around $2.50-3.00USD. If you are arriving at Miami International Airport, you will pay around $35-40 USD excluding tip (10-15%). Before you take a taxi, it's a good idea to ask the driver if they have an actual credit card machine and if it works. The drivers have a tendency to say they have one but it doesn't actually work and this leads to payment troubles at the end of the ride. It is more advisable for models to use Uber as it is much more cost-efficient. 

 Nicole Meyer for Plumeria by Holly Parker

Nicole Meyer for Plumeria by Holly Parker

Photographers

The great thing about working in Miami is the talented photographers who are based out of the city. While on contract, models are able to get good quality photos that they can use in their portfolios.

Some of the photographers include: Maximilian Rivera, Holly Parker, Luis Quezada, Danny Cardozo, Eduardo Garcia, Elias Tahan, Alessandra Fiorini, Megan Claire, Elliot J, Todd Barrett, David Benoliel, Bogdan Morozovskiy, Justin Macala, Joey Wright, and many others.

If you are interested in organizing a test shoot with any of the following photographers, please contact your agency and have them set up a date for you. Bear in mind some of these photographers are very busy and in high demand so sometimes a shoot might be difficult to arrange. Some photographers also only do paid tests. 

 Jamahl Thompson by Maximilian Rivera

Jamahl Thompson by Maximilian Rivera

Basic Information

Agency Commission: 20% (not including advanced expenses and taxes)

Currency Exchange: $1.00 CDN : $0.98  USD

Expenses Advanced: Yes

Agencies in Miami can advance accommodations and flights for the models but it will come out of the model's total gross earnings. Although it must be pointed out that not all agencies have model apartments and some models may have to find their own accommodations.

Offer Guarantee: No

Although there is a lot of work to be had in the market, the competition level is high and therefore guarantees cannot be arranged.

Visa status: Work Visa required (O-Visa/H1B)

Models who go to work in Miami usually receive an H1B class visa that can be valid for 1-3 years. Some models receive an O class via that lasts up to 1 year. However, an O class visa does not allow for models to do certain kinds of work, such as that of an extra in a film.

In order to apply for a US work visa, an agency must apply on behalf of the model. If you are interested in obtaining a US Work Visa, please discuss it with your agency for more details.

We strongly advise models against working in the US without a visa. Although some models work under a tourist visa and don't receive payment until they get a work visa, we still highly encourage models to discuss legalities with their agents.

 Ana Carolina Jorge (Wilhelmina) by Alessandra Fiorini

Ana Carolina Jorge (Wilhelmina) by Alessandra Fiorini

Other Information

Languages: Spanish/English/Creole French

Everyone in Miami speaks English so models should have no problem communicating with locals. Although English is spoken, many people speak Spanish due to the large number of immigrants from Central and South America. Speaking Spanish in Miami is not essential but would be an asset for any model. If a model speaks Spanish, it could open up more doors for them to do jobs that cater to the Latin market.

Model Apartments: Good

The model apartments in Miami are pretty standard and are almost all located in South Beach. They are a decent size but be prepared to get cozy because up to six models can share an apartment at a time. Some model apartments come equipped with a pool, which comes in handy during Miami's hot and humid summers.

People: Miami has a strong Hispanic community and the people tend to be generally very warm and friendly. If you are new to the city and don't know anyone, people do have their own groups and keep to themselves.

There are great spots to spend your down time, such as Espanola or Wynwood. Many of the city's creative types hang out here and is a really great place to meet people. Models may also find themselves shooting in this area as well.

Words of Advice

Tanning – For the Miami market, Caucasian models must be tanned. Pale models generally do not do well in this predominantly commercial market and are therefore encouraged to have a natural-looking tan. Going out into the sun and getting some Vitamin D is fine but remember to work up your tan gradually and always be sure to wear sunscreen.

When it comes to spray tans and fake tanning, models needs to be careful because they could end up looking orange and that doesn't appeal to clients. For a self tanning guide, Jessica Harlow, a beauty blogger featured on Into The Gloss, has perfected the fake tan. Read more here.

 Espanola neighbourhood in Miami

Espanola neighbourhood in Miami

Be in top shape - Although there are jobs in Miami that are not swimsuit or lingerie-related, models are still encouraged to be in top shape. This isn't to say that models need to be thin or waif-like. Models should aim to achieve a toned, healthy, and fit body that is attained by natural means.

The competition during high season is strong and there is no room for error. If a model wants to find success in the market and earn good money, they must put in the work and look their absolute best.

Be confident – This cannot be stressed enough. The competition in Miami during the season is very high. Models from all across the globe come to the market who are in top physical shape. It's important that models stay confident and focused because their confidence will help them shine. Miami is not the place for nervousness or self doubt. Go in, give it your best shot, and believe in yourself!

Nightlife – Miami is home to great nightlife. From LIV, Story, to Model Volleyball, models get treated very well in the city. Although the nightlife is great, models are urged to be responsible when they're going out. In any market with a strong party scene, models are always encouraged to be safe and on their best behaviour. Having fun with your friends is great to unwind, especially after a long day's work. But it should never compromise your job – that’s why you’re in Miami after all!