How to Become a

Swimsuit or Lingerie Model

The complete career guide to be a Swimsuit or Lingerie Model: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $37,240
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • Flexible Hours
    Career Attribute
  • Get to Travel
    Career Attribute
  • Skill-Based Work
    Career Attribute

Swimsuit and lingerie models pose for magazine advertisements, special features, store catalogs, and online product photos wearing bathing suits, bras, underwear, and lingerie. They may appear in publications like the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition or work as a model for Victoria’s Secret.

What is a Swimsuit or Lingerie Model?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in swimsuit or lingerie model roles:

  • Pose for photographs for a variety of mediums, wearing new swimsuit and lingerie styles
  • Alter facial expressions, poses, and gestures to capture the impression the photographer or designer is aiming for
  • Wear swimsuits or lingerie while walking down the catwalk during fashion shows
  • Sit for hair styling and makeup application prior to photo shoots and fashion shows
  • Maintain a portfolio and composite card, and actively seek new modeling opportunities

A Day in the Life

Swimsuit and lingerie models specialize in making people want to purchase newly released styles of swimsuits, bras, underwear, and lingerie. They may work for swimsuit or lingerie designers, modeling new fashion designs by wearing them while walking down the catwalk during fashion shows. They may also work for a specific swimsuit/lingerie manufacturer or retailer, posing for photographs that appear in store catalogs, on websites, and in advertisements to entice consumers to purchase new fashions.

While modeling is the goal of swimsuit and lingerie models, a significant percentage of their work is dedicated to finding new opportunities. Most companies switch their models out each time a new line of swimsuits or lingerie is released, so models are always seeking their next job opportunity. They often work with agencies that help them find work, but they may also spend a lot of time collecting images, crafting their portfolios, creating composite cards, and networking with clients to find new jobs.

Before a fashion show or photo shoot, swimsuit and lingerie models must spend a lot of time preparing. They sit while their makeup is applied and their hair is fixed by professional stylists, and they practice any clothing changes that must occur quickly during the show. They also discuss needs and desires with clients to ensure the gestures, attitudes, and facial expressions they employ meet the designer’s or photographer’s goals for the impression of the apparel being worn, or of the photograph being taken.

Typical Work Schedule

There is no set schedule for working as a swimsuit or lingerie model. At times swimsuit and lingerie models work much more than 40 hours a week, and at times they may have little work and work only part-time hours. Fashion shows commonly occur in evenings or on weekends, so they do not have a normal 9-5 schedule, and they commonly need to travel for work to meet with clients or participate in photo shoots.

Typical Employers

For the most part, swimsuit and lingerie models are self-employed, though they typically have contracts with modeling agencies that help them find and secure work for a percentage of the amount of money made on jobs. Their clients often include swimsuit and lingerie retailers and fashion designers. Some find regular work for companies like Victoria’s Secret, and some are featured annually in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.

How To Become a Swimsuit or Lingerie Model

No formal postsecondary education is required to become a swimsuit or fashion model, though modeling classes can help improve your chances of finding work by teaching you how to alter your facial expression to achieve different impressions, how to pose, and how to walk down the catwalk correctly.

The biggest requirement, however, for swimsuit and lingerie models is meeting the aesthetic requirements of clients. Most clients will want their models to be certain heights, weights, and have distinct facial structures. Staying fit is often an important prerequisite for finding work in this field because you’ll be posing while wearing little clothing, so clients often want very thin or somewhat muscular models.

Finding a modeling agency is an important first step in becoming a model. While it’s possible to find work as a model without an agency, most clients prefer working with agencies, so not having an agency could limit your potential job opportunities. Before choosing a modeling agency, it’s important to do research and find reputable agencies. Unfortunately, many modeling agencies take advantage of their clients by charging high fees and producing dissatisfactory results, providing few jobs.

Whether you choose to find an agency or not, having a portfolio of work and a composite card—a card highlighting your best photographs and your body measurements—is crucial. Without a portfolio of professional photographs, you may still be able to find an agency to represent you by attending open casting calls or sending photos of yourself to agencies.

Swimsuit or Lingerie Model Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

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High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Swimsuit or Lingerie Model salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Swimsuit or Lingerie Model's can make an average annual salary of $37,240, or $18 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $18,780 or $9 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #579 Nationally for All Careers

Highest Education Among Swimsuit or Lingerie Models

  • 0.4%   Doctorate
  • 2.4%   Masters
  • 18.4%   Bachelors
  • 8.8%   Associates
  • 27.6%   College
  • 30.7%   High School
  • 11.7%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Swimsuit or Lingerie Model job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of --- jobs for a total of 5,800 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a --- change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #594 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Swimsuit or Lingerie Models

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Clothing stores 2,700 -300 0%
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; private 1,000 --- 0%
Self-employed workers 500 --- ---

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