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Model Markets-Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles

Updated on April 15, 2013

Modeling In Secondary and Local Markets

When industry insiders talk about "secondary" and "local markets" in the United States, they're basically referring to any city outside of (New York, along with the European fashion capitals of Milan and Paris, are considered the fashion capitals of the world because so many fashion and cosmetic companies, fashion magazines, and advertising agencies are based there.)

The three major secondary markets in the United States-Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles- don't have as many fashion designers, cosmetic companies, fashion magazines, and advertising clients who hire models as New York. When I attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons School of Design there were approximately 8,000 fashion designers working in the garment industry. These three cities do, however, have a sizeable number of clients who hire models, including catalogs, advertisers, TV commercial producers, and to a lesser extent, magazines and newspaper. These three cities are where the majority of models aren't located in New York live and work.

Other cities, such as Atlanta, Boston, Toronto, Dallas, and Nashville, are considered "local markets" because they have limited opportunities for models. Except for retail stores and beauty salons, few fashion oriented businesses call these cities home. Generally, models in these cities are hired for local advertisements and TV commercials. Each secondary market is known for having specific types of clients. Following is a quick survey of each one.


Chicago is a major catalog and advertising market. Many, many catalogs and websites are shot in the Windy City, so there's a constant stream of work for catalog-type models. The huge Spiegel catalog is headquartered in Chicago, as are many smaller catalogs houses. Many of the major retailers, including JCPenny and Sears, do shoots in Chicago. Chicago also has a sizeable number of advertising agencies that hire models for everything from McDonald commercials to hotel advertisements. A limited amount of editorial work can be found in Chicago, mainly for the local newspapers( the Chicgo Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times) and for local magazines such as Chicago magazine. There's also some runway work for consumer fashion shows, as well as in-store modeling.


Over the past 15 years, Miami has developed into a major modeling center. The enormous popularity of South Beach(an ultra-cool section of Miami Beach jam packed with restaurants, clubs, hotels, and modeling agencies), combined with the warm weather(which makes year-around outdoor shoots possible) has contributed to the growth of the Miami fashion market. Also, the recent publicity surrounding the signing of Lebron James, DeWane Wade, and Chris Bosh by the NBA Miami Heat basketball team has created a buzz in the city.

Although it has a reputation for being all-bathing-suit shoots, much of the modeling work in Miami is for the various catalogs shot there; the majority of clients are from national and international marketplaces. Local advertising agencies also hire models to appear in TV commercials and print as for area businesses.


Because it's home to so many TV studios, numerous TV commercials are shot in Los Angleles. L.A. is also a good destination if you're interested in getting into acting as well as modeling. Because of the large number of teen-oriented companies based in the area, L.A. also offers a lot of work for junior-type models. With the beautiful weather, you can count on a lot of swimwear modeling as well. Los Angeles has a limited amount of runwaywork, too. including fashion shows and in-store modeling along with the 175 gala events held each year at the world famous Beverly Hilton Hotel.

The Major Local Markets:

Atlanta, Boston, Toronto, Dallas, and Nashville offer (at most) small numbers of fashion and beauty businesses, and more limited opportunities for models. Generally, models in these cities are hired for local advertisement and TV commercials; the occasional consumer fashion show and in-store modeling events can be found here. In these smaller markets, there is virtually no fashion advertising or magazine work.

Two kinds of models work in secondary and local markets: those who work there for their whole careers and those who spend a couple years working there gaining experience and waiting until they're old enough to move on to larger markets such as New York. Many models can benefit by staying in secondary markets for their entire career instead of trying to break into modeing in a fashion capital. Models with a commercial look, who are also called catalog or "commercial models", can benefit from staying in a local market where their look is desirable by catalogs. Editorial models, on the other hand, are better suited to the job opportunities in New York.

Laura's Miami,FL fashion photo shoot
Laura's Miami,FL fashion photo shoot

Models Physical Attributes

How Do Know If You Have What It Takes

Not only do you need to meet every one of the physical requirements (height, weight, body proportion, dress size, and so on), but you also need a high degree of perseverance, self-confidence, motivation, sense of self, and all the other mental requirements. Much of the work in secondary markets is commercial(catalog and advertising) work. In the fashion capitals, the work is more high fashion (magazine, runway and high-end advertising). Commercial work require a different type of model-a pretty, wholesome-looking type who will appeal to the average American consumer. Basically, the catalog-commercial girl has that "all-American girl" look-pretty , healthylooking, and appealing. She can be a classic beauty, an Athletic Girl Next Door, or sometimes a Barbie(i.e. Pamela Anderson).

An editorial model on the other hand, has more of an exotic high-fashion look. These type models are often more striking or unusual than classically pretty. Classic beauties who fit into the high fashion world of modeling usually radiates a special magic or have other qualities that make them stand out

Catalog and Advertising modeling - Large Agencies have separate departments

These department book model talent for major catalogs, including Saks Fifth Ave, Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdales's and one of Michelle Obama's favorites- J. Crew.

How to Become a Successful Commercial Model: The Complete Commerical Modeling Cookbook
How to Become a Successful Commercial Model: The Complete Commerical Modeling Cookbook

commercial models assignments include TV/Cable, Print and Internet ( websites/Blogs)



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    • meganst profile image

      meganst 4 years ago

      The modelling world in the US is so interesting. Somehow I can't imagine such major cities being considered local markets, even though you gave a very good explanation why it is so. Your lenses on modelling are very educational I really enjoyed reading them :)

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 5 years ago

      my husband had the looks of a photo model when he was young.

    • Phillyfreeze profile image

      Ronald Tucker 5 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      @anonymous: raphaelo, thanks for visiting and commenting and I hope the devastating floods will not deter your aspiration. Best wishes for your family and you during this very difficult time dealing with aftermath of mother nature.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Relevant for models who are from Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles and all those who want to be there for modeling.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Always love all your works with beautiful modeling tribute on squidoo. Thank you so much for giving me greatly new knowledge. So happy to be here. 5 stars for you. Have a wonderful time.. always.. my friend :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Learning a lot about the modeling industry through your lenses! Great work you are doing here. :)

    • Phillyfreeze profile image

      Ronald Tucker 6 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      @anonymous: Thanks for stopping by, hopefully the detail information will be put good use. The modeling industry is so huge and diverse in its need model talent that there are opportunities for almost every type. Appreciate your visit and liking so many of my lens...appreciate it!

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great information and quite a detailed one.