I Tried To Be An Instagram Model For A Week—Here’s What I Learned

Back in the day, breaking into the modeling and fashion industries was extremely hard, but with social media at its height, becoming an “Instagram model” has become the new way into the industry. But is it as easy as posting a hot selfie on IG every day? I challenged myself and became an Instagram model for a week and as it turns out, there’s a lot that happens beyond the photos.

  1. You always have to have your game face on. And by game face, I mean makeup. Although Instagram is pretty casual and candid in many ways, that doesn’t mean you can expect to take an amazing photo when you have bags under your eyes. No amount of editing can fix a tired face. Even if you’re not planning on having a photoshoot that day, you should still put on a little eyeliner just in case inspiration randomly strikes. Putting on makeup every day can definitely become tiring after a while, but you’ve gotta do it for the ‘Gram.
  2. You need pretty thick skin. There will be photobombers, catcallers, and smartasses who will make comments when you’re taking your pics. Pay no attention to them because you’ll never see them again. All that matters is getting the shot in the end. Same goes for the internet trolls who are guaranteed to leave comments on your selfies, not all of them nice. It will be extremely awkward and uncomfortable at first, but once you’re in the zone, no one can stand in your way. Confidence is key.
  3. After a while, you’ll feel extremely vain (because you kind of are). After all of the photoshoots, makeup, and editing, I started to feel really vain towards the end of the week. I felt like I was constantly obsessing over my makeup and outfit and it was really exhausting. Sure, I got some sweet comments saying I looked good and whatnot, but in the end, I was just sick of looking at photos of myself.
  4. The rules of traditional modeling still apply. On Instagram, anyone can become a model. Size and shape no longer matter and you’re in charge of how far to take this new “career.” But can anyone really be a model? Sure, but most models who fit the traditional mold of the industry find the most success. Not to be harsh, but people still prefer to look at either hot bodies or pretty faces. Whether on Instagram or the runway, taking care of your body is the number one priority.
  5. It’s super important to make friends with other Instagram models. Even though using Instagram only really requires you and your phone, Instagram modeling is a team effort. You can still get a great photo using a tripod and a timer, but running back and forth between shots is very tiring and inefficient. When you make friends with other Instagram models and photographers, not only will they take all the photos for you, they know how to take good ones. I’m sorry, but having your grandma take your bikini photos for you will only lead to disappointment.
  6. You’re not really that famous. When I tried out Instagram modeling, I didn’t blow up overnight. However, I did gain around 50 followers and saw a spike in likes and comments. In the end, the numbers really didn’t matter. The amount of likes and followers you have does not measure how famous you are, especially when it comes to Instagram modeling. Instead, focus on engagement and giving value to your audience. That will take you a lot farther than having a million bot accounts ever will.
  7. It takes a LOT of time. Instagram modeling is more than just getting a good photo. There’s actually a lot of planning that happens behind the scenes. You have to plan locations, outfits, and makeup, and it takes a lot of effort to achieve the kind of look you’re going for. When you finish the shoot, you may not like any of the photos in the end and you’ll have to start all over. Not all shoots are like this, though. If you’re lucky, you may get the shot within the first couple of minutes.
  8. You’ll get crappy ambassadorships in the beginning. Just from posting three fashion-related photos, a few small sunglasses brands reached out to me to sign up for their ambassadorships. I’ve never done this kind of thing before so I gave it a try. The sunglasses I got were super uncomfortable and felt cheap. Long story short, they were only good for one photo and then I was done with them.
  9. Angles are everything. It’s totally true. Have you ever noticed that in one photo, a girl may look “thicc” but in the next photo, she magically lost five inches around her waist? No, it’s not a miracle pill—she’s working her angles! Whether you’re an Instagram model or not, it pays to know yours so that you can ensure you’ll look good in any photo you take.
Katrina Torrijos is a lifestyle blogger and YouTuber from San Jose, Ca. She is passionate about helping young professionals find their footing in the real world through advice, conversation, motivation, and affirmation. Read more of her work at www.hellayoung.com