For International models in India

One of my old modeling works, Imelda jeans catalog, 2016

Modeling in India, especially in Delhi, is quite different from this business in another countries. And here is how:

  • Models in Delhi need to be able to pose well from the first click. It’s because most of the modeling work here are online-catalogs, with 70-100 and sometimes more, outfits (the number of changes) per day. In other countries, such amount of changes is rare case. The reason for that it’s because in India online shopping is very popular. The most common websites used by people (for examples of posing) are:, but there are many others. Posing for online-catalogs is simpler, but the amount of changes is usually hard for inexperienced models. But, of course, there are other types of work too, where more creative poses are required from the models;
  • Prices for model’s work in Delhi are lower than in most of other modeling markets. But there is a lot of work, so it’s being paid off by quantity. In Mumbai the prices are higher, but so is the competition. At the same time, competition between agencies and studios continues to lower the prices. However, as elsewhere, international models get a small percentage from this money (and often even nothing at all), most of the money go to the agencies and to cover up the expenses (what other people in this industry and clients often don’t know as well and believe that the models are rich);
  • Even beginning models here can often get a guarantee (salary) contracts, although the majority still get on percentage-expenses conditions (and it depends not on the experience and model’s portfolio unlike it happens mostly in another countries, but more on the model’s look matching the market). And the guarantee per month is usually small here, which corresponds to payments of 3-5 working days of the model most of the times. However, the models are happy to get even that – they can feel calmer because on percentage contract there is always a big risk to get nothing at all after a few months of working. Despite of the fact that in India there is law about the minimum salary for foreign workers, which is not small at all;
  • Fashion industry people in Delhi remember models very well, in other countries it happens much less. And it all because the customers are basically the same, and they need models all the time. Even if the model changes the agency, the same customers often continue to book her/him – most of the agencies here have the same clients; though people don’t like the models to change the agencies here;
  • Agencies in India, especially in Delhi don’t need to look for every new job and take models for casting to the same people every time. There are not so many castings in India and more direct bookings (bookings by portfolio);
  • Based on the preceding points, it can be said that this allows some people to think that it is very easy to open a modeling agency, just having a few basic contacts on online-shopping websites and money for the tickets to come to models. Such thoughts are often enlisted even by drivers in the agencies. And sometimes people just write to models with direct (or indirect) questions about how to open an agency. Of course, they turn out to be wrong about that it is easy and, most likely, models will not have good opinions about such kind of agencies after finishing the contracts with them. Since such people usually don’t know many of the modeling professional aspects, most of the new agencies in Delhi turn out to be not very professional. And they don’t really give the importance to models opinions even – though models are the ones who spread information internationally. They will just work with the beginning models and beginning mother agencies if their reputation will spread bad too much, sometimes they can take not-model looking girls at all and will find them work for video-clips, instead of trying to just be professional from the starting. So you need to be really careful with the choosing of the agency to come in India -I do really recommend to ask the models who have worked here – they all talk about the agencies;
  • Agencies in Delhi usually control the models a lot: they prohibit them from going out after a certain time in the evening, they ask to let them know exactly where the model is going during the day, they don’t allow the models to meet any other Indians and to date anybody, and someone may even forbid models to add Indians to social networks (heard about one such agency). The reason for this is the safety problems and sometimes the agencies tell it’s for their reputation, which sounds strange but it is a part of Indian mentality;
  • Here, it is possible to meet many not just local but International female models with the heights of 170 cm (and even 167 cm, sometimes 165 cm, when in another countries taller models are preferred and girls shorter than 170 cm can’t be models there at all), but in such cases their mother agencies usually lie a lot about their heights – however, they will not be sent back home, because here, unlike in other countries, this will not be considered as an unforgivable mistake. There are also many models with the hips of 90-93 cm, and here they are more in demand (when in the same time, they might even have problems to be sent to other countries – according to the modeling in the world, the standard is mostly hips<90 cm, and the models consider themselves to be forever “fat.”) But not here. Here everything is opposite. Models with the hips smaller than 90 cm and very tall models are more likely to have less work and to constantly hear that they are too thin and too tall, with the exceptions of not so common jobs where high-fashion looks are required (or just skinny models). The reasons for that are that the clothes for shoots are often big in India and being clumped on the models during the shoots. And, unlike in most of the countries, Indian fashion doesn’t create standards of skinny beauty for women too much and prefers to perform closer to social point of view of how woman should look like;
  • There is no strict age frames for models in India either, but rarely one can meet teenage models in Delhi. Surely not 13-15 years old. 16-17 years old models come, but often they say that they are elder. Indian market doesn’t like baby-face (cute but similar to children’s faces), as  China and Japan like, suppose. Here is also many models that are elder than in another  countries – you can meet 25-27 years old models and even elder sometimes. As for Indian models – they consider that starting modeling even at 18 is extremely early;
  • There is a certain racism in the choice of models in India: the models from Europe and especially Brazil are often paid more than the models from Russia and Ukraine. Those models from Brazil get paid more who are looking similar to Indians. They can get expensive campaigns. Indian models often don’t do cheap jobs (unless in the beginning) and with the few years of experience start doing expensive and good jobs only. While international models, even with big experience, continue doing mostly e-commerce for cheap prices. This was different a few years ago in India – Indian models were cheaper than international – at least because International models have expenses to pay and Indian models actually receive their money, but has changed somehow – now it is even harder for International models in India to earn money at all;
  • Fashion, strong types of faces here are also not preferred. Mostly Indian markets like commercial, cute or sexy types of faces. They don’t like freckles which Europe adores. Also more often agencies here take the models with darker hair, although not always;
  • Posing is also mostly required cute, elegant or sexy, if fashion, then cool. Not “angry” or “tired” types of expressions which are popular in high fashion in another countries. Model can even gain, from some point of view, a different portfolio for India: pictures in Indian clothes can be barely used in another countries. And many of the pictures from another countries can be unsuitable for Indian markets as well;
  • Fashion shows here also are very different: from the point that the model can have 5-7 entries and more, and not just simple straight walks – every entry can be very different.
  • Indian local models are often arrogant. They can be called “supermodels” even if they have worked only in India. Some foreign models that have not worked in other countries, just in India, also can adopt this attitude sometimes – even if they know they don’t fit to work as models even in their own countries – because their countries have more strict requirements about the heights and measurements than India does;
  • However, most of the local models are friendly with foreign ones, but it also happens that they experience some kind of aggression, considering that foreign models take away work from them – they mostly just don’t know that foreign models almost don’t earn anything and can’t even choose the work like they can and that the agencies get those money mostly.
One of my old modeling works

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