This is when characters get paid to wear clothes, whether simple or fancy, to make the clothes look good. Their work most often is seen in Fashion Shows, Fashion Magazines, and Up Marketing ads where they often do glamorous Modeling Poses. If nothing else, it's an excuse to have some Costume Porn in the show.
In the earlier decades of Haute Couture, such models were called "mannequins", though that term is now used to refer to store dummies made to model clothes.
In fiction this is often portrayed as a glamorous and enviable profession, especially for women. In the mid 20th century, this was seen as one of the proper professions for ladies (at least until she became a housewife), since it was seen as a passive job, and it made a great excuse for shows to utilize the costuming department. Even today male models are rarely shown compared to women.
For even more costume porn, these characters may become Fashionistas and own an Unlimited Wardrobe, in addition to all the clothes they model. You can also expect them to possibly strike a Head-and-Hip Pose.
Yet works may also acknowledge the downside of the profession. Since models need to look good themselves to help make the clothes look good, this emphasizes an obsession on their appearance. This leads to the stereotype that models are stupid, vain, and shallow. Even worse, the need to keep up appearances can be a source of stress. I Just Want to Be Beautiful is justified in this profession, since the character's livelihood is at stake. Such characters may turn to alcohol and drug use.
If people can stay above those problems, they may become world famous, and dubbed a "Supermodel". In which case just doing their job often doubles as a Celebrity Endorsement.
A School Idol is very likely to either be a Fashion Model or have it suggested that they become one. Characters are often shown in-story to be considered very good-looking by having scouts approach them in the street suggesting they should be a model or actor. Although not all of these scouts are trustworthy.
In fiction, a model who plays any significant part in the story is almost always a woman, although there are exceptions. Realistically, there are of course also many male models who showcase men's clothes (or even women's clothes, sometimes), but they don't get the same attention. Both in fiction and in real life, there is also a preference for white European models, although this is changing as the industry comes to implement increasing inclusivity, tolerance and rejection of restrictive Eurocentric ideals of traditional feminine beauty.
Some characters may try doing this just for fun, or because they they are undercover.
Some real-life actors and actresses started out as professional models.
A Sister Trope to Fashion Designer (who makes the clothes models wear), Hood Ornament Hottie (whatever they wear, they are there to make the car look good) and Fanservice Model (who specializes in lingerie, swimsuits and even sexy costumes).
See also Undercover Model (an officer or agent working as a model, or other related event).
Not to be confused with Only a Model.
- In Bokura no Hentai Ryousuke's deceased sister was an up-and-coming teenage model. According to Ryou she was a huge tomboy for most of her childhood but took a Girliness Upgrade when she became a model.
- In Cardcaptor Sakura Sakura's late mother Nadeshiko worked as a successful model, whose beauty inspires both her husband and her own daughter. It's also thanks to her being a model that her family still has a lot of photos of her and can put up a new one each day.
- Misa in Death Note works as this, in addition to acting and singing.
- Amanogawa Kirara of Go! Princess Pretty Cure originally refuses to become a Pretty Cure because it conflicts with her modeling career and her dream of becoming a runway star like her mother. Even after she decides to try to balance her job with the responsibilities of a superheroine, she sometimes has to make a choice between the two.
- In the manga Hidoku Shinaide, it is revealed that Maya used to be an amateur model for a magazine, but he stopped when he started to get obsessed with Nemugasa.
- Quilt Queen by Natsuneko is about a successful fashion model and her less-than-successful designer friend (and lover).
- In an episode of Sailor Moon Usagi enters a modeling contest (though she has to do some improvised clothes repair on her swimsuit after moths got to it), but it turns out the photographer holding the contest has been possessed by the Monster of the Week and she has to fight it.
- In A Silent Voice when Sahara meets Touya again post-elementary, she is shown to be quite lanky. In the final chapter she is shown being hired to be a model.
- In Tsukipro:
- Rikka used to be primarily a model before joining SolidS and becoming a singer. He still does a lot of modeling. He is tall, half French, with shoulder-length pink hair, and is considered the Team Mom of his unit.
- All of the characters model from time to time, as part of their Idol Singer work. The first anime features an episode where Hajime models for a womens' cosmetic line, wearing lipstick, and what turned out to be his costume from Rabbits Kingdom without the bunny ears. In the second anime, it is said that the campaign was so successful that they want to have a second one with SolidS' Rikka and Dai.
- Ami Kawashima from Toradora! is a fashion model, who is considered in her school to be very tall and beautiful. We see her featured in magazines.
- Several major characters are models in Wandering Son:
- Nitori's older sister, Maho, is a huge fangirl of the popular tween model Maiko and decides to take up modeling. She only gets in at first though due to her gimmick that she and her "crossdressing brother" look like twins, however later Nitori stops modeling while Maho becomes respected.
- It's after becoming a model that Maho and Nitori meet Suehiro Anna, who later becomes Nitori's girlfriend and Maho's best friend though at first Anna gets along poorly with them.
- Late into the manga Takatsuki gets recruited as a model due to her tall looks and eventually joins the same agency as Anna and the others. Being praised and seen as a beautiful, androgynous model along with other issues is what causes Takatsuki to reconsider if she's a trans boy or not.
- Tsubame Mizusaki from Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! is a famous teenage fashion model, but she was pushed into the work by her parents and she'd much rather dazzle an audience with her drawings instead of her looks.
- In the Amalgam Universe book The Magnetic Men featuring Magneto has the Magnetic Men (an amalgam of the Brotherhood of Mutants and the Metal Men) given human identities and Antimony (Scarlet Witch/Platinum) becomes a model. Her name is Debbi Walker, a reference to the teen-humor books Date with Debbi and Patsy Walker (neither of whom were models).
- Katy Keene is about a fashion model working in Hollywood. Often her job is just a backdrop to the wacky adventures she gets into.
- When the Metal Men were provided with human identities in the tail end of their original book, Platinum becomes fashion model Tina Platt.
- Millie the Model is about the eponymous model and her co-workers, and the various adventures they get involved in. Even when the tone of the comic shifted from comedy to romance, and then to comedy again, it was still about the fashion industry.
- Model By Day is about a model who decides to become a masked crimefighter, who the media dubs "Lady X".
- In Spider-Man Mary Jane worked as a fashion model for a while.
- In an early X-Men arc the team has to go undercover in New York, and Jean Grey gets a job modelling swimsuits.
- Both Starfire and Nightwing have worked as models.
- Vixen is a well-known supermodel. Originally she wore a face-covering metal helm, but in later incarnations, one of the first things she does after becoming a superhero is make her identity public.
- Flare originally had this as a day job.
- In Boris and Natasha Natasha ends up becoming a model during their undercover operation. Boris getting upset at her fame is what leads them to discover their feelings for each other.
- Gia is a tragedy about a Real Life model who died of AIDS after suffering from heroin addiction.
- Zoolander is a comedy about male models who are turned into Manchurian Agents.
- The Nicholas Winding Refn movie The Neon Demon is set in the world of fashion models, and the main character is a young, aspiring model. Because it's a Nicholas Winding Refn movie, murder and cannibalism are involved.
- Raising Helen has the titular Helen working in the fashion industry at the beginning. There's a cameo from Paris Hilton As Herself modelling at a fashion show.
- Lee in Death Proof is introduced as an actress, but she's also a model, and her being featured in that month's issue of Allure is a minor Chekhov's Gun.
- In Have His Carcase, one of the people Lord Peter Wimsey interviews in the course of his investigation is a model (though since this is in the 1930s, she's called a "mannequin") named Olga Kohn, after a photograph found on the body of a murder victim turns out to be of her.
- Juliet Stollop/Jewels in Unseen Academicals goes from being an indifferent kitchen worker to a dazzling fashion model. The twist is she's modelling dwarf clothes, so she has to wear a false beard. Her friend Glenda initially disapproves, but then realises that while her down-to-earth nature is right for her, Juliet has a right to do something else.
- America's Next Top Model is a Reality Show where the contestants train and practice for this, and the prize is a modelling contract.
- Angel: Cordelia is a would-be actress and gets a job as a bikini model in one episode. The photographer insults and berates her until she quits, after which she doesn't appear to try to be an actress any more. the only exception to that is the episode Birthday, where she takes up the offer to re-do the time she has spent with Angel Investigations to become a famous actress. Eventually she resumes her old life and becomes part demon to be able to endure her visions.
- Castle: Kate was a former model before she joined the police force. This is revealed in the episode "Dressed to Kill", where she even cracks that police work is less corrupt than the high fashion business. Though she does her former boss, Matilda King, a favor and models a Fairytale Wedding Dress that Matilda designed.
- Charles in Charge: At one point the older daughter Jamie goes to modeling school in hopes of becoming a famous model. Charles tries to convince her that it's a scam, but then it is pointed out to him that she is presenting herself with more composure and deportment, which is a positive, even if the school itself isn't what it makes itself out to be.
- In Charlie's Angels one of the later members of the revolving cast was a fashion model turned private investigator.
- In the Firefly episode "Shindig", the crew is walking through the shopping area in a town, and in some of the store windows are women standing in fancy dresses, moving from pose to pose.
- In the second episode of Get a Life Chris enters a modeling school, and in the attempt to hit the big time he gets himself arrested at a fashion show.
- Glee offers a Rare Male Example - Dumb Blonde Sam Evans, who declares it his life ambition to become a male model. He eventually moves to New York trying to make his dream a reality, but the vicious nature of the business breaks him and he moves back to small town Lima to become a football coach.
- Izzie Stevens from Grey's Anatomy paid her way through med-school by modeling lingerie. This was the topic of many jokes at her expense in the first season, resulting in her Establishing Character Moment, where she tares down her colleagues, especially Karev, for their sexism and double standards.
- Just Shoot Me!, being set in the offices of a fashion magazine, naturally has fashion models as extras and supporting characters. Most of them serve as Girl of the Week for Elliot or Dennis, although one minor arc had Dennis marry a model. One of the main characters, Nina Van Horn, is a former model now working as the magazine's head of fashion.
- Shane Mc Cutcheon from The L Word subverts the trope entirely - she was more or less shoe horned into becoming a model and participating in a gender bending lingerie campaign. She hates the end result so much she ends up defacing her own billboard with the help of her Platonic Life Partner Alice.
- Betty Draper of Mad Man used to be a fashion model before she had children. Many of the tropes more unpleasant aspects apply to her: she is extremely vain and sometimes seems quite vapid.
- Models Inc. is a spinoff of Beverly Hills, 90210 set in an LA modelling agency.
- Moonlighting: Maddie Hayes is a former model. It doesn't have much plot relevance other than her owning the detective agency as a tax write-off but now using it seriously after her accountant embezzled her savings. Dave Addison renames the agency "Blue Moon Investigations" after her famous role as the "Blue Moon Shampoo Girl" as part of his attempts to persuade Maddie to keep the agency open. The backstory also gave the costumers reason to have her wear many fancy dresses and fur coats.
- In New Girl CeCe is a fashion model, mainly as a contrast for Hollywood Homely Jess. One episode has Jess take CeCe's place in a car show and bungle her way through posing in a revolving platform.
- The TV movie and subsequent show Paper Dolls took place in the fashion industry, where the egos of many of the models provided a lot of the conflict.
- Quantum Leap: In one episode Sam leaps into a fashion photographer and he has to rescue a model from overdosing on pills which her manager, a former fashion model herself, keeps feeding her in order to keep her working.
- Deconstructed in Renegadepress.com's "Body And Soul"; Carmen, who had wanted to be a model, learns from another model that the agency expects the young models to have sex with managers and clients while overseas in Europe. Carmen confronts her agent and gives up her dream of a big modelling contract.
- In Step by Step Karen Foster is an aspiring model.
- In one episode she convinces her mother Carol to join her in a mother-daughter pageant (and finds that appealing to the lecherous judges is not worth doing to win the contest).
- In another she's hired for a fashion shoot, but Carol comes along to keep Karen safe, since Karen is 15 (which Carol repeatedly reminds everyone there). Then an older model convinces Karen to at least finish school before trying to be a model, as she did otherwise and still regrets it.
- In both major incarnations of Thunderbirds, Lady Penelope is a fashion-model. Thus she has a groovy 1960's fashion sense (right down to her pink Rolls-Royce), as well as give her reason to pop up anywhere in the world whenever the Tracy family needs her assistance in a mission. She just happened to be attending a show or gala nearby.
- In a first season episode of Burn Notice Michaels high school friends teenage daughter accepts an offer to do some modeling in Dubai. Except the guys who setup this gig for her are actually pimps and they intend to sell her to clients who prefer first timers that put up a fight. Michael spends the episode trying to rescue her before she can leave for Dubai.
- The Right Said Fred song "I'm Too Sexy" is about an egotistical male model.
- The music video for Best Friend is about a struggling supermodel (played by Melissa Stetten) who furthers her career by swallowing her fellow fashion models alive, and taking on various desirable aspects of their appearance. She keeps doing this until she barfs up the dress of one of her victims and chokes on it during a fashion show.
- Gorgeous George is the trope codifier, at least as far as pro wrestling goes. He would wear anything, so long as it wasn't too suggestive, from (men's)athletic wear, (men's)formal wear, (men's)bathrobes, to (conservative women's)dresses and (women's)bathrobes.
- Madusa had a runway model gimmick in the American Wrestling Association. Curiously, her entire wardrobe seemed to be entirely white at first, but later she became know for various ways she could wear the stars and stripes.
- Jeff Hardy is an unorthodox case, but when the man was TNA World Heavyweight Champion with Immortal he was a borderline Drag Queen. And even when he wears more "masculine" clothing it ranges from casual t shirts, and wife beaters, to just strange like t shirts over t shirts, to form fitting polyester, to crop tops with detached sleeves, to more rugged biker vests and protection suits, to stripper like v necks, to glow in the dark paint, to the occasional collared shirt and tie, which honestly looks more jarring on him after you've seen everything else. And even his otherwise formal attire often comes in bright clashing colors. Ladies love him.
- Angel Orsini, when not using the Riptide, Wildfire or Prodigette gimmicks anyway. She shows off everything from workout gear and singlets to full piece suits and blazers. To a much lesser extent, her Arch-Enemy Jazz also wears and even wrestles in a surprisingly diverse amount of different fashions, being more limited in that Jazz usually wants her biceps visible.
- Little Jeanne, ranging from mafioso style suits and fedoras, to zoot suits, to old school pro wrestling leotards, to track and field type warmups, to somewhat conservative two pieces, to pantyhose, fishnets, wildcat stripes and of course, jeans.
- Daffney Unger, once she grew out of her crazy townee phase. Most of her clothing is self sewn and of a "Gothic" bent, but even with the occasional skull or eyeball she dresses in a wide variety of outfits, especially as a ring announcer and manager, from gowns, to corsets, to mini dresses to jumpsuits and in all sorts of hats, especially top hats that are tiny and tilted.
- Jimmy Jacobs will wear anything of any size, shape or color, even if it's considered unmanly. Especially if it's considered unmanly. Sometimes it's trunks and furry boots like Bruiser Brody. Sometimes it's a tutu. Sometimes he's a horny viking like John Nord. Sometimes he wears a business suit. And sometimes he wears a tiara. Sometimes he dresses as a heavy metal king, sometimes as an Emo Teen and sometimes as a beauty pageant queen. He'll come out with a towel or a scarf. Vests or crop tops. Sometimes he'll mix some of these up with each other.
- The role of the Power Twins in California's Ultimate Pro Wrestling, in addition to dancing and cheering, was to dress in a wide variety of vibrant outfits while doing so. They dressed in just about everything except the expected skirt and pom poms.
- Chest Flexor is well known for having all sorts of different fashion statements as entrance gear. How fashionable his clothing actually is depends on just where he is in the HeelFace Revolving Door. One of his funnier, if more annoying tricks is to be preceded by a valet in something that looks moderately decent on a woman and then enter the arena in the same thing looking much less flattering on his less curvy body. The World Famous Flea Market had a fit when he wrestled as a sheep.
- Amy Love has the gimmick of a wrestling supermodel, although how much her wardrobe actually varies...varies. Her height, walk and carpet seem to be more important than her clothing, which is usually just a singlet or sports bra, but occasionally she'll come our with something more eye catching, such as when she wore wings to her SHINE debut. Santana Garrett, on the other hand, actually did model to supplement her wrestling career and thus has been seen in a lot more clothing, once subtly foreshadowing her debut in World Wonder Ring STARDOM by wearing gear that resembled both the SHINE logo and future Tag Team partner Hiroyo Matsumoto's gear in her penultimate SHINE title defense.
- La Morena, of WWC, IWA Puerto Rico and The World Wrestling League, has a Playboy Bunny gimmick. Since none of those promotions are big on nudity though, she mainly focuses on moderately conservative fanservice and more conservative but very experimental fashion designs when not wrestling. Some of her ring gear follows whatever popular fashion trends that can be translated into ring gear, with bunny designs on them of course.
- As a referee, "el hombre que está de moda" Angel Fashion was the protege of Glamour Boy Shane, and as a wrestler he is basically La Morena's Spear Counterpart. Dressing in a much more masculine manner, jeans, open leather vests, under armor, tiny cotton shirts, without the bunny logos of course. Sometimes his more impractical outfits have to be stripped out of before a match, leading to the memorable visual of himself and Mike Mendoza simultaneously tossing their excess clothing on WWL's Hight Voltage.
- Allysin Kay, the classiest of the classy lady groups Midwest Militia and Valkyrie, tends to lounge in all sorts of high fashion attires while recording her promos, showing off precious stone or pearl jewelry, and comes to the ring with Peacock Girl headdresses and or wings, sometimes mixing things up with leather, Lycra singlets, long zippers, fencenets, catsuits, skirts over tights, skirts attached to tights, kick pads...and sports bras adorned with spikes(even Daffney protested when Kay wore the latter during matches).
- Sofia Cortez veered towards this in between her matches in the revived FCW and the developmental version of NXT. She was reportedly considered not "feminine enough", despite wrestling in a small top and tight pants, so she tried being seen in more bustiers and bracelets and less in her usual warmups and headbands. (Maxine tried solving the same problem with more overt fan service, but it didn't work. Cortez's worked worse, but give her credit for trying)
- Calvin Couture seeks to elevate pro wrestling to its rightful place as the "It" sport by always being dressed for the occasion. He studies the science of fashion as rigorously as he does the science of wrestling, and buries himself in Vogue magazine for new attire. The walk to the ring is his runway and no one can take it away from him, not even Andrew Palace!
- The backstory for Barbie is that she's a model in her late teens (though now early adulthood). Several of the side characters are as well. In the movies where Barbie is herself (instead of a character with Barbie's appearance and voice) this is explicitly her job.
- Action Girlz Racing is a Mascot Racer. One of the racers is Amber, a model who's main outfit is a pink evening dress and a tiara. On the cover for the Wii version, she's doing a modelling variation of the Coy, Girlish Flirt Pose.
- In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, Junko Enoshima is a famous ko-gal Fashionista who models the clothes she designs, which are known for being wild and innovative. She's appeared in in dozens of◊ magazines and photo shoots◊, and is seen at the start of the game being interviewed about it.
- Some of the games for the Imagine series by Ubisoft include ones where the Player Character is a model, such as Imagine: Fashion Model.
- In Persona 2, Eriko is pursuing a career in modeling and fashion design.
- In Persona 4: Arena Yukari has part-time jobs as an actress and a fashion model, when she's not taking or studying for her college classes.
- Persona 5: Ann Takamaki works fairly regularly a fashion magazine model as a part time job, after being scouted due to her blond hair and blue eyes making her stand out compared to most women in Tokyo.
- In Pokémon Black and White Elesa is a popular fashion model and a gym leader, and in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 her area is a catwalk.
- Pokémon X and Y has Valerie, who is described in a TV program as a former model (she had switched to being a Fashion Designer by the time of the games).
- Pokémon Sword and Shield has Nessa, the gym leader who uses water-based Pokemon and models as her job whenever she isnt working at her Pokemon gym.
- In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Mean Seasons" Calendar Girl was a model and actress who lost her jobs due to ageism (basically the only problem was that she was over 30), and it drove her to obsess over her looks to the point of madness.
- In Beverly Hills Teens a few episodes involved some of the main characters trying to get into modelling. In Who Wears The Pants Bianca schemes so that she can get to model a designer's new creation of gold lamé jeans.
- A fashion company seeks teen models and the hold a contest at Lawndale. Most of the Fashion Club, including Quinn, are the finalists before a "Solider of Fortune" style magazine breaks it up with their own presentation (which Daria had set up, since the contest was a violation of school ethics).
- In another episode the students take career tests, and Quinn's predicted career was a neck model, but she gave up that possibility when she got a horrible chest rash.
- In one epside of Family Guy Lois revealed she always wanted to be a model, and finally decided to take it up. Though she ended up falling into drugs and alcoholism to handle the pressure.
- Adrien Agreste in Miraculous Ladybug models for his father's fashion company when he's not fighting evil as the superhero Chat Noir. He's very popular because of it and had to spend one episode hiding from a group of his crazed fans after he made a commercial about a cologne (named after him, to boot.) It's made clear, however, that Adrien mainly models to make his distant father happy and is much happier going to a regular school and being a superhero than a teen supermodel.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Fluttershy is convinced to be a model for fashion guru Photo Finish. Fluttershy hates it but thinks it will make Rarity happy (though Rarity did that to hide her envy, since Photo wasn't impressed by Rarity's designs).
- In Thundarr the Barbarian a model is brought from the past to the show's present (where she gains superpowers and defeats an Evil Overlord). She spends the episode in the evening dress she was modelling at a show.