FQ: One of the few Kiwi magazines that does pay its models.
Ahhh modelling. So aspirational from the outside, so iffy from within. Kiwi ex-model-cum-exposé-gangsta Jenna Sauers today reports court documents outlining three models' cases against their former agency Next, which allegedly stole hundreds of thousands of dollars of their earnings after they switched to Ford earlier this year. Like Sauers writes, that would be similar to quitting your job and then having your employer flatly refuse to pay any outstanding wages. Charming, just charming. Among the documents published online is an account statement for Polish supermodel Anna Jagodzinska from May 2009 to April 2010. In it, the amounts that a successful model actually earns are clearly displayed.
For an H&M campaign: $60,000. For a J Crew catalogue: $15,000. For an American Vogue editorial: $250. That's right, just $250. (All amounts are quoted in US Dollars.)
With that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to outline prices paid by New Zealand clients, in New Zealand dollars (and after you've read this, you'll see why there are so few fulltime models in this country).
For a Fashion Quarterly editorial: $180 for a full day, $120 for a half day. For an appearance in Viva: upwards of $75 per hour (but sources tell me the shoot is typically less than four hours long). For an appearance in Canvas: $250 for a half day. To the best of my knowledge, no other New Zealand magazines pay a fee for editorials.
Bear in mind though, that without editorial tear sheets in her book, a model is not likely to entice clients to book her for one of those campaigns or catalogues that will pay a much higher rate. Magazine tear sheets in a model's portfolio act as her CV – and few employers are going to hire somebody with no previous experience.
So how much can a model hope to earn for a New Zealand advertising campaign?
According to sources, anywhere between $1000 and $10,000. I personally have never heard of a model being paid $10,000 for any New Zealand based campaigns, but I've heard of plenty paying in the low thousands.
Some of the better suggested fees included $3000-$5000 for an Australasian Glassons campaign with billboards, point of sale, magazine ads, busbacks and online usage; and $2500 for a Mi Piaci or Overland footwear campaign.
Lookbooks and campaigns for our top designers can pay anywhere between $250 and $1500, depending on the model's experience. Many designers simply pay in trade or store vouchers.
The real money is in TV commercials, but even they are not worth what they used to be. Pre-recession, I remember a friend earning $7000 for a Middle Eastern commercial that was running for six months in several Arab nations. A casting for a similar TV commercial with a 12 month usage recently occurred – the job was paying $4000.
The moral of that story is, ladies, if you do wish to pursue a career in an industry where, as Jenna Sauers says, "you'll bear all the market risks associated with your labor, be solely responsible for expenses outlayed by others on your behalf without your consent, and maybe meet nice, successful men like Terry Richardson," then heading overseas to work is probably your best option.
Best of luck.
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