Plus Size Modeling Glossary
Don’t just walk-the-walk, talk-the-talk!

Nothing is more frustrating to a new plus model than not understanding the language of the industry and nothing is more frustrating to an agent, client or photographer than an aspiring model who has not taken the time to at least learn the basics.

This Plus Size Modeling Glossary containes industry terms and jargon that any aspiring and working model needs to know. By familiarizing yourself with these concepts, you will feel more confident when an agent says to you:

“Your test shots were brilliant! Let’s get those zed cards printed so we can put you in our headbook. By the way, are you available for a go-see on Wednesday with the model editor of PLUS Model Magazine? You are definitely the type – upscale. It’s for a ready-to-wear layout for the holidays. It would be a great booking for you. Imagine the fabulous tear sheets for your portfolio! Check in with me afterwards. ”

Instead of saying,


You can say with absolute confidence,

“Sure, what time?”

Read through each definition carefully to broaden your modeling vocabulary!

An organization responsible for: 1) Finding and developing new talent 2) Providing talent/models for clients 3) Negotiating contracts between the two 4) Billing clients for services 5) Paying the model/talent. An agency can be small or large. Larger agencies are broken into divisions with each division handling a specific sector of the industry (ie. Babies, children, teens, petite, plus or custom, etc.) Smaller agencies tend to have a few people handling all aspects of the bookings. Legitimate agencies only handle a few of each “Type” of model.

Agency Book
A portfolio containing pictures of all the models that an agency represents.

Sometimes called the booker. Works for an agency. This person submits models and talent for jobs and negotiates contracts on their behalf. In return, the agency receives a 10-20% commission on all completed jobs. The fee is deducted directly from the model’s check. Fees vary slightly from agency to agency.

Aspiring Model
A person working towards a professional modeling career.

How an actress or actor showcases their talents in front of a director, casting director or producer in order to book a part in a TV show, movie, video, industrial, commercial or theatrical production.

Background used by a photographer during a photo shoot. Usually made of paper or cloth.

Area behind the stage used to change clothing during a fashion show.

Better Business Bureau
Also known as the BBB. A private, nonprofit organization with offices all around the country that provides reports on local businesses. You can find the number of your local BBB in the white pages of the phone book or by visiting

Blow Up
To enlarge a photo from a negative.

Body Shot
Also called a full-body shot or full-length shot. A full length photo showing the model’s entire body.

Body Tracks
Also called posing. The way in which a model moves her legs, hips, torso, shoulders and head in front of the camera to create interesting angles and looks. The most widely accepted poses are: I, C, S, X and Z. An “I” pose is a pose in which the body is linear (straight up and down). This is not a very flattering pose for a plus woman or teen. A “C” pose is anything where the head and foot are going the same way. To create a “C” pose, stand in model’s stance. Tilt your head to one side and then pick up the foot that is on the same side as your head and point/place it a few inches from the body in the same direction as your head. An “S” pose is a pose where the head and foot are going in opposite directions. To create an “S” pose, do a “C” pose and then place your head on the opposite side. An “X” pose is any pose where something on the body is being crossed – legs, arms, etc. A “Z” pose has sharp angles and lots of “white” space. For instance,when we put a hand on our hip, we create white space between our bodies and our arm. For this pose, think, “Angles.” The C, S, X and Z poses can be done standing or seated. Also, you can combine poses to make interesting lines. Please note that not all photos match the “I, C, S, X, Z,” format. These letters are a general industry tool used by the model only. Photographers do not call them by these names.

See Agent.

Term used to describe a job obtained by a model.

Book Out
When a model advises her agent that she will be out of circulation for a period of time (ie. vacation, health reasons, personal, etc.).

Bridal Turn
A 360 degree modeling turn that works well for long, full dresses. 1) Take several small slow steps in a circle. If you start the circle to the left, look over your right shoulder. If turning right, look to the left. 2) If the dress has a train, make sure that you work with the garment to know how to lift and move it. It is essential that you “Spot” during all modeling turns.

Broken at the Wrist
A modeling term used to describe the way a model holds her hands. When placing her hands on her hips, the model bends them at the wrists and lets them sit naturally on the hips. Fingers can point forward or backwards with the thumb pointing the opposite way.

Person responsible for purchasing the merchandise line for a store each season.

Call Back
When a performer makes it through the first level of auditions and is asked back for a second audition.

Call Time
The time that a model is expected to arrive at a shoot or show. The industry rule of thumb is that you should always be 15 minutes early.

Catalog Print
Photos that are shot specifically for catalog layouts. These models pose in such a way that the reader has a good indication of the look, line, fit and feel of the garment.

Cattle Call
An audition open to the general public. Plan on spending the entire day at one of these events. They usually bring out 100’s of aspiring model/actors.

Also called a runway. A raised stage used for modeling. A typical runway set up includes the T, I and I format

Character Model
Also called real-people models. These models do not fall into the “Standard” fashion modeling category. Instead, these models are hired to represent a character for a product or service. For example, they may need a grandma “Type” for a cooking ad or a business executive “Type” for a banking ad. There are no physical requirements other than the ability to look the part. These models are handled by a commercial agent.

Checking In
1) The way a model/actor stays in contact with their agent on a weekly basis or after a go see or audition. 2) What a model does when she arrives at a go see, audition or job.

Clean Faced
To show up at a modeling shoot or runway show without hair and makeup done. The opposite is, “Hair and makeup ready.”

Person or company hiring model/talent for a fee. On a catalog shoot, the client is the representative or art director from the catalog company. If it is a magazine shoot, the client is usually the fashion or model editor.

Closing Statement
The position or body posture a model takes when in her 3 second hold at the end of a runway routine. One or both hands can be on hips, in pockets, etc. The opposite is opening statement.

Group of garments being shown on a runway or in a showroom.

An emcee describes the clothing as a model walks the runway or showroom.

Commercial Agent
An agent that books performers who do not fall into the “Standard” fashion modeling category. For instance, these agents book talent for “Character” or “Real-people” ads, TV commercials, etc.

Commercial Print
Modeling for products, organizations, etc. rather than fashion/clothing. The opposite is fashion print. Also see “Character model.”

Monies received by an agent for booking a model or actor.

Comp Card
Also called Zed cards or composites and are considered the model’s business card. The word “comp” card comes from the word composition. This is a card containing black and white and/or color photos of a model. The photos are a representation of the “looks” that a model may have or work that a model has done and usually contains 3-4 pictures. The front has the model’s name, one photo and the agency contact information. The back usually has 2-3 shots and the model’s statistics (height, dress size, pant size, shoe size). It is important to note that the model’s’ agency retains the right to choose the photos for the card.

See comp cards

Contact Sheet
Also called proofs. After taking photos, the shots are developed onto one sheet of film. The small pictures are viewed through a loupe (magnifying device). Pictures are chosen directly from the contact sheet.

On a “T” or “I” runway, they are the sides closest to the audience at the ends of the “T” or “I.”

An exclusive, expensive clothing line.

Cover Try
When a photographer tries to capture a photo that would be considered good enough for a magazine cover.

Any paid job that a model has completed is considered a credit.

Cutting portions of a photo to achieve a certain effect.

Custom Models
Also called plus-size models. Models who wear a size 12+. Height requirements are usually 5’8″ and up or 5’4″ and under for petite plus. Plus-size fit models range from 5’5″-5’7″ and wear a size 18.

Day Rate
The negotiated rate paid to a model who works over 5 hours in one day.

An individual who creates or designs clothing, shoes, accessories, etc.

Dior Turn
An elegant 360 degree modeling turn. 1) Cross your right foot over your left so that the toes are parallel 2) Stand on your tips toes and turn in a complete circle to your left 3) Step out of this turn with your left foot. This turn takes practice and should never be attempted in a show if you cannot execute it well. It is essential that you “Spot” during all modeling turns. (Note – you can also do this turn on the opposite foot – just reverse the order of everything.)

Double Half-Turn
A 360 degree modeling turn executed in the middle of the runway. 1) Follow the directions for a half turn 2) When you are back in model’s stance, execute another half turn. It is essential that you “Spot” during all modeling turns. (Note – you can also do this turn on the opposite foot – just reverse the order of everything.)

The people who are backstage helping a model to change clothing during a fashion show.

Dress Shields
Worn under clothing during a show or shoot to shield the underarm area from unsightly perspiration.

Editorial Print
Photos that capture the attitude or image that accompany an article published in a magazine. Models are hired to reenact the story concept or “feeling” of the piece. Good acting skills are required.

Elegant Model
A Model over the age of 35.

Entering the Runway
There are 2 different approaches to entering. 1) The first is called a walking start. This is where you come from backstage and just keep walking up the runway. 2) The other is a “Start” in model’s stance. This is when you enter from backstage and come to model’s stance for 3 seconds before walking down the runway.

Exclusive Listing
A contract agreement that a model makes with an agency that stipulates that the model is to work for that agency exclusively.

Fashion Capitals
New York, Milan and Paris.

Fashion Credits
Clothes are borrowed from a designer or store for a photo shoot. In return, the magazine gives them a written credit in the magazine.

Fashion Hands
Arms/hands hanging straight down while walking on a runway.

Someone who’s extremely knowledgeable about the fashion industry.

Fashion Print
These shots are all about fashion and are what we typically see in the major glamour and fashion magazines. These shots are less about the specific clothing and more about the fashion “Look” or “Feel” of the shot. In fact, it can sometimes be difficult to tell exactly what they are trying to sell.

Fashion Spread
An article, with accompanying pictures, that highlights the latest fashion trends. It usually appears at the end of the magazine and “spreads” over several pages.

Featured Model
This is the first or last model that appears during a runway show.

Federal Trade Commission
Also called the FTC. A government agency that is headquartered in Washington, DC and enforces laws to protect consumers. The FTC makes sure that a company has a clean reputation and has not been involved in unscrupulous or questionable business practices as well as letting you know if there have been disgruntled customers. You can reach them by calling 202-326-3650.

Also called rate. The negotiated amount of money that is paid to a model.

A time set aside for a model to try on clothing for fit and style prior to a runway show or photo shoot. Professional models are paid for fittings.

Fit Model
A model who is hired by a designer or garment manufacturer to use as the representative for a specific size. All patterns and garments are made to fit that particular model. Each designer or manufacturer uses different fit models for their designs. This is why no two clothing lines fit exactly the same way.

Formal Modeling
Modeling that takes place on a catwalk.

Models who do not work through an agency. They use self promotion to book jobs and negotiate their own contracts.

Full-body Shot
See body shot.

Full-length Shot
See body shot.

Also called “Go and see.” When a model is asked to “Go see” a company that is interested in booking her. For acting jobs, this is referred to as an audition. Models always bring their comp cards and portfolio to show the client.

Hair and Makeup Ready
Term used when a model is to show up at a shoot, or a runway show with hair and makeup completely done. The opposite would be, “Clean faced.”

The easiest and most standard modeling turn. This is a 180 degree modeling turn used to change directions. 1) When you reach the area where you want to turn, keep the left foot straight and make a “T” with the right foot so that the toes of the left foot are touching the instep of the right foot 2) Turn to your left. You should end up in model’s stance going the opposite way 3) Step out with your left foot (lead foot). This may feel awkward at first. With practice and personal style, this turn will become less technical and quite smooth. It is essential that you “Spot” during all modeling turns. (Note – you can also do this turn on the opposite foot – just reverse the order of everything.)

When placing her hands on her hips, a model should always make sure they are “Broken at the wrist.” When placing hands in pockets, the model should never place all 5 fingers in them. The rule is that she can place 4 fingers in and leave the thumbs out. Or, place the thumbs in and leave the rest of the fingers out. Hands should always be natural rather than stiff. Also see “Broken at the wrist.”

Haute Couture
Very expensive, custom made clothing.

Head Board
The models who are represented by an agency.

Also called the head sheet. Agencies use this promotional tool to let companies know about their talent pool. This can be a bound book updated by the agency or a poster.

Head Sheet
See headbook.

Head Shot
An 8X10 photo of a person’s face that is submitted to agents, casting directors and directors to try and obtain acting jobs. It is crucial that this photo be an accurate representation of the actor and must show the performers “type”. Attached to the back of the photo is the actor’s resume.

High Fashion
Sophisticated fashion and high end modeling. Typically, models are 5’9″ and taller.

Hobby Model
Also called a volunteer model. A model who is not paid for her services. Hobby models cannot use the expenses that they incur as a tax write off.

Industrial Modeling
“Real” people models promoting a product or service that is usually business related (ie. business brochures or catalogs). They may be hired to represent moms, dads, business people, grandparents, etc.

Informal Modeling
Does not take place on a raised stage. Models may be required to walk around a mall, department store or restaurant to talk about or show clothing. Also see “Tea room and promotional modeling.”

Youthful models ranging in age from 9-13.

Youthful models ranging in age from 13-17.

Also known as a spread. Designed by an art director to show the plan of an ad or a shoot.

Lead Foot
Also called walking front foot. The first foot that the model steps on when walking is the foot that is farthest from her body. While standing in model’s stance, shift the weight to your back foot so that you can lead with your front foot.

Moderately priced clothes.

The order in which models enter the runway as well as the clothing sets that will be shown.

Written agreement between a model and an agent where the agent agrees to promote the model in return for a percentage of the bookings.

Local Market
Cities located outside of the big fashion capitals.

Non studio location used for a photo shoot. Also called, “On location.”

Magnifying device used by photographers to view contact sheets.

The model’s measurements expressed in bust, waist and hip size.

Model interviews with a prospective agent.

Model Editor
The person who books all the models that coincide with the magazine’s editorials, fashion spread, etc.

Model’s Bag
Carryall filled with products that a model may need while doing a show or shoot.

Model’s Release
A contract that a model must sign that gives permission to the client to use her/his photo in exchange for the negotiated amount.

Model’s Stance
The way a model stands. To create model’s stance, 1) Place your feet in a “V” with the heels touching. 2) Bring One foot forward so that the heel of that foot is a few inches away from the instep of the other foot. This foot that you moved is called the “lead” foot. 3) Stand tall and square your hips (the hips should not be shifted to one side or the other). 4) When a model starts to walk, she always takes the first step with the lead foot. A good way to practice this is to make sure that you always have your weight on the back foot. If you shift your weight to the front foot, you will want to lead with your back foot.

Model’s Stride
The way a model walks on the runway. 1) For casual and ready-to-wear outfits, hands and arms can move freely beside the body with a small, opposite hand/foot sway 2) For more formal and couture lines, the model walks with fashion hands.

Middle of the road – A term used for models meaning that they are pleasing to look at.

Abbreviation for makeup artist.

Multiple Listing
When a model legally registers with more than one agency.

No-seam Paper
Background used by photographers. These are large rolls of paper in different colors.

On Hold
Also called a ‘tent’. When a client is not ready to commit to hiring a model yet, they request an “on hold” for a specific length of time.

Open Call
When modeling agencies have a specific time that they will see aspiring talent. To find out when an agency has an open call, contact them directly. Ask for any specific instructions that they have concerning what you should bring or what you should wear.

Opening Statement
The position or body posture a model takes when in her 3 second hold at the beginning of the runway. One or both hands can be on the hips, in pockets, etc. As soon as the model begins to walk with her lead foot, the opening statement is dropped. The opposite is closing statement.

1) When a model appears too frequently in a particular market. 2) A photographers term meaning that the film has been exposed to too much light.

Typically done at the end of a runway show. All models parade out onto the stage in their last outfit. The designer may be brought out during this time.

Two or more models walking up the runway simultaneously.

Parts Modeling
Also know as specialized modeling. Models who show specific body parts. – ie. hands, feet, legs, etc.

Petite Model
Models petite clothing. Height is usually 5’4″ or under.

A modeling term meaning to turn in a full or half-circle.

Plus Size Models
See custom models.

A 9×12 carrying case used by models to showcase their photographs and tear sheets to prospective clients. The portfolio contains anywhere from 10-20 photos in both black/white and color and is built over time through the a model’s work as well as shoots with various photographers. The most common brand of portfolio is called a “Scuba.”

See body tracks.

A photograph

Print Modeling
Also known as print work. These photographs may appear in newspapers, magazines, catalogs, brochures, product coverings, books, posters, billboards and the internet/electronic media.

Print Work
See print modeling.

Product Conflict
A model cannot represent competitive products.

Professional Model
Model who obtains a fee for services.

Profile Shot
A photo showing a model’s profile.

Promotional Modeling
Models hired by the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) or temporary staffing companies to appear in person at a convention, store or trade show. Models may demonstrate products, hand out samples or help promote a company’s services.

See contact sheet.

The measurements that agents and clients are looking for. Generally plus-size models must have an hourglass shape that is 10″ apart from the bust to the waist and from the waist to the hips (ie. 42-32-42).

See fee.

Clothes that are mass produced. The opposite is haute couture.

Real-People Models
See character model.

Removing a Coat or Jacket
While walking on the runway or showing garments, the model 1) Unbuttons/unzips (if applicable) the garment 2) Grabs the shoulder area of the coat or jacket and pulls it up and pushes it off the back of the shoulders allowing the garment to slide down the back and off the arms 3) She grabs the garment by the nape of the neck and pulls it around and over her arm or tosses it over her shoulder.

List of accomplishments for a performer that is attached to the back of their headshot.

Making appointments and meeting with prospective agents and clients.

See catwalk.

Runway Modeling
Modeling on a raised stage. The event usually coincides with a specific designer, theme or season and is coordinated with music or commentary.

A very elegant showroom.

A small number of garments designed and made to show buyers in hopes that they will place a large order.

What a model is hired for when doing print work.

A photograph.

Showroom Modeling
Models who are hired to wear sample garments for the upcoming season to show potential industry buyers.

Specialized Modeling
See parts modeling.

Model/Talent contracted to endorse a product or service. Usually done by a well known personality, supermodel or star.

When you do a turn on the catwalk, your eyes focus on a particular point while engaged in the turn. This point varies according to each particular turn. Spotting helps us to keep our focus and stay in a straight line on the runway.

See layout.

Stage Directions
Terms used to tell performers where to enter and stand on the stage. Stage left is the left of the performer when looking at the audience. Stage right is the right of the performer when looking at the audience. Note – Even when a performer has her back to the audience, stage left and stage right are always the left and right as if she were looking at the audience. Upstage is away from the audience (usually where the performer enters) and downstage is closer to the audience.

A person who sets the pace for the model’s walk. They are backstage telling each model when to enter.

State Attorney General
Is the chief legal officer of the state and can tell you if an organization has been charged with any crimes involving false advertising, money, drugs or sex. You can find this phone number under “State Government” in the government section of your phone book or you can look up your State representative and contact information at

The model’s body measurements as well as height, clothing and shoe size, hair and eye color.

Straight-on Shot
A photo where the model directly faces the camera.

1) The person who coordinates fashion and accessories as well as fits clothing to models bodies for a shoot or runway show. 2) A hairstylist.

A high profile model that has become so well know that she becomes a household name.

A term used to describe actors, models and other types of performers.

Tea-room Modeling
Modeling that takes place during an informal luncheon or dinner setting. Models walk from table to table and show clothing to the patrons. They should also feel comfortable memorizing information about the garment and making small talk with the patrons.

Tear Sheet
A copy of a print ad done by a model. Tear sheets help to build a model’s portfolio.

See ‘on hold’.

Test-shoot or Testing
Trial photo session where a photographer works with an aspiring model for free or a reduced rate. Frequently an agency will send a new model for a test shoot to see how well they photograph.

Photographers term meaning, “Test for proofs.” A photographer agrees to shoot a model for free/small fee in exchange for keeping the rights to the pictures. A model receives copies of the pictures to use in her portfolio or for agency submissions.

Three-quarter Body Shot
A photo of a model showing 3/4 of her body.

Three-second Hold
A hold at the beginning and ending of a modeling routine where you stand in model’s stance and look at/connect with your audience. Always end in a three-second hold. The opposite is walking start.

Terminology meaning the models movements on a runway.

The unique “look” and category that a performer fits into (ie. girl next door, vixen, petite model, plus model, etc.)

Unique Look
What a model strives for. The traits and features that makes her one of a kind and pleasing to the eye.

Volunteer Model
See hobby model.

Required for payment. A model fills out a voucher and has it signed by the client at the end of the shoot, runway show or event. The voucher states the hours worked and the rate of pay. This must be turned into the agency so that the agency can bill the client, receive payment and pay the model.

Walking Front Foot
See lead foot.

Walking Start
To enter the runway and begin walking right away. The opposite is three second hold.

To complete a shoot, movie, commercial or TV taping. The photographer or director would say, “It’s a wrap!”

Zed Card
See comp card

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