How much do male models make?

How much do male models make?

You may not know this, but there are different kinds of male modeling jobs. We’ve got a runway, a commercial advertisement, hands, feet, fitness models, etc. Just like female models, many male models have made something of themselves while in this industry. Their success can be measured in fame and pay. While we always hear about the female models and their achievements, Kendall Jenner being the highest-paid model in 2021, what about the male models? 

In the United States, male models, on average, have a salary of $45,701 annually. However, this varies per model, depending on their experience and skills. The middle 57% models can earn around $45,701 up to $115,345. The overall range is anything between $45,701 and $254,999. According to a different source, they make an average of $49,309, so the amount differs. 

The top models usually make $254,999. Some rise above this, like Sean O’Pry, who earns $1.5 million annually, or David Gandy (a model from the UK), who earns $1.4 million. Other U.S male models include Noah Mills, who makes $740,000, Ryan Burns, with $610,000. And Tyson Ballou making $425,000 per year.

Moreover, a model’s pay may differ from the range given above because it depends on how hard they want to work, how many hours they are willing to book, their face value, and contacts. Negotiation skills play a huge role too in the payroll. It is possible for a person taking part in the catwalk to be earning $40-50,000 while another gets $10,000 for the same role in the same show. So, there are a lot of other factors that a male model’s income relies on.

Beginners can make $100 an hour if they are doing decently well. On the other hand, if you are a beginner, you may make $20 an hour. Sometimes you may even have to work for free to build up your portfolio and gain some experience. 

Requirements to Model

Most agencies’ basic requirements ask for when recruiting for male models are according to the kind of modeling they are going for.

  1. Non-Physical Standpoint

Regardless of the physical aspects, agencies have other demands as well, which have been listed below:

  • Have an ideal look as to what the artist or photographer is looking for
  • Have the right attitude which fits the company’s brand
  • Promote themselves on social media 
    • For exposure
    • To be discovered 
  • Must be ready to spend long hours in shoots for the director to determine if they are the right models for the job
  • Does not require formal education but on the job training would hugely benefit them
  • Should consider being open about certain roles as modelling can refer to nudity in an art/sketch class or even small roles on TV/music videos 


Since a model’s livelihood depends on his appearance, there are a few conditions put forth by agencies when it comes to hiring. A certain standard of beauty has been laid out, although sometimes it can be bent in favor of the model. However, some rules, more or less, stay the same. 

A Male Model 

  • Needs to be at least 6’ tall if they are runway models 
  • Needs to be at least 5’11 to 6’2 for commercial advertisement purposes
  • Needs to have an even skin tone when it comes to modelling parts like the hands or feet
  • Does not need to be muscular 
  • Can be of any age whether they be in their 40’s or 50’s
  • Must be fit health-wise
  • Must be particular about grooming like having straight clean teeth or clear skin

Salaries Compared to Female Models

This industry may be the only profession in which women make more than men. Most people have heard of Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid, Cindy Crawford, or Gisele Bundchen but will rarely produce the name of a renowned male model. The industry for female models is much larger than that of men’s, which means that male modeling is more competitive. Moreover, there is a distinguishable gap in pay between the models of both industries. 

In 2017, Sean O’Pry was the highest-paid male model with $1.5 million, and a close second was David Gandy at $1.4 million. On the other hand, the highest-paid female model Kendall Jenner made $22 million, and after her, Gisele Bundchen earned $17.5 million. These are the estimated salaries they had annually; however, the pay gap is still highly prominent. Even if they are at the top of their fields, male models barely make a fraction of what the female models are being paid. 

It is said that although women are paid more, men have a better career. In the modeling industry, age is a bigger issue for women than men. Male models can be in their 40’s and 50’s, but agencies are always scouting for women who are young or look young and fresh. Both genders face discrimination when it comes to modeling, one for their age and the other for their income.

The magazine Forbes stated that upon a comparison of their salaries, it was noted that the top ten female models all make millions. In comparison, only the top 3 male models cross one million dollars. 

Why Are Male Models Paid Less?

There are various reasons why male models are paid less besides discrimination, and here’s why. 

The fashion industry is dominated by women.

There are far more runways for women than there are for men. The fashion industry is greater for women than for men, although it is said to grow. Most designers invest more in women’s apparel and products than men who are also why business booms for women in this industry. 

Menswear seems almost insignificant when compared to women’s fashion.

Most of the clothes and products for men are simple and rather straightforward. For women’s dresses, a lot of detail and effort is put into the dress’s tailoring. There are so many ways to go, so many sides to explore and embroidery, etc. It’s simply the fabric and stitching for men most of the time. Since most of their attire is rather simple, it is the women who shine with their diverse dresses, which is the focus of these designers.

Audience’s Preference

Society has different standards of beauty for both men and women. Women are also paid more since they usually believe that female models are more attractive than their counterparts. These female models are who girls admire, and men want to be with and value them as fashion icons, which makes them more popular and in demand. 

Women spend more on fashion.

According to a study, women in the United States spend more than twice as much as men do on clothes per year. So it makes sense for the industry to try to make fashion statements on female models to be more likely to be influenced. They are appealing to their target audience, who are more likely to spend their money on these clothes.  

Women keep up to date on fashion and magazines compared to men, who rarely know about the male model in it. Fashion brands are aware that women are more likely to indulge in brands and trends rather than men. So it is good marketing that they appeal to these women and who better than with these gorgeous female models they idolize and want to be more like. 

This increases the demand for female models and their importance which is why they are paid more. 


Male models have the same roles and job descriptions as female models. Still, because the target audience is so limited in comparison and the underdeveloped fashion industry when it comes to men’s fashion, they seem to be at a disadvantage. Therefore, it is said that the fashion for menswear is to improve and hopefully increase enough for the male models to get the same amount of recognition and success as women. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Where do male models earn the most in the United States? 

The most that male models make is in San Francisco. However, they make $73,771, which is more than most male models in the other states earn by a huge margin. 

  1. What are some of the categories of modelling?
  • Editorial Model
  • Runway Model
  • Plus-size Model
  • Swimsuit Model
  • Fitness Model
  • Parts Model
  • Promotional Model
  • Mature Model
  • Child Model
  1. Who are the top 5 most paid male models?

According to Forbes magazine:

  1. Sean O’Pry
  2. David Gandy
  3. Simon Nessman
  4. Arthur Kulkov
  5. Noah Mills
How much do male models make?

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