Jen Jewell feature image

Jen Jewell’s top tips on how to become a successful fitness model

Regular Fitness magazine readers will know that it’s USN Face of Fitness time again.

Three deserving finalists are currently in studio at the glamorous photo shoot that could provide the launchpad to a career as a fitness model.

There are, however, other avenues to achieve your dream. Whether you entered the cover search competition and didn’t make the final or have ambitions to one day work in the industry, global fitness icon Jen Jewell-Gonzales shares her insights on how to become a successful fitness model.

Getting the basics right

If you’re reading this, I have no doubt that you know your way around the weights room. Healthy eating habits, constantly expanding your exercise repertoire and constantly challenging yourself to become a fitter, healthier you, are all common goals share by those who are passionate about fitness.

Thumbing through the pages of your favourite fitness magazine, you’ll see smiling faces of fit women from around the world, illustrating how to execute new exercises with proper form or sharing their secrets to help you follow a healthy, balanced meal plan to reach your goals.

But how exactly does one turn their passion for health and fitness into making an appearance on the pages of their favourite magazine as a fitness model?

The competition route

Many fitness models that you see in ads for supplement companies, on the cover of magazines, on social media or dishing out advice in health and fitness articles, have competed in fitness competitions.

While this is not a prerequisite to earning a magazine feature or becoming a fitness model, it certainly is a great place to start in the fitness industry.

From following the contest preparation workouts and meal plans, and challenging yourself to create your most physically conditioned physique to date, to stepping on stage with grace and poise all glammed up, for many (including myself) competing in a fitness competition or pageant is considered a stepping stone to fitness modelling.

You learn a lot about what it takes, physically, mentally and emotionally, to achieve this level conditioning and fitness through the contest preparation process. This can serve as a great learning experience.

Carefully consider collaborations

When you step on stage at a competition you are also showcasing yourself, not only to the judges and audience, but to photographers and other important industry players as well. While each show is different, as are the many different federations you can compete in, the industry is relatively small.

You are, therefore. likely to encounter the same professionals at different shows who may have connections to particular magazines.

However, it’s up to you to network and get yourself out there backstage and after shows.

It is also important to select the photographers you work with wisely. Do your research and make sure that they are reputable, and that they consistently shoot models in the fitness industry and most importantly, that they get published.

Since the goal is to become a published fitness model (and not just have a collection of pretty photos for Facebook) make sure you work with photographers whose recent work is published in magazines around the world or, at the very least, are staff photographers at a magazine.

Be social media savvy

You should also post pictures on social media to highlight all of the hard work that came to fruition when you stepped on the competition stage.

Check out Jen’s Instagram page to see how a successful fitness model managers her account and interactions.

If you want to work in the fitness industry as an active fitness model you also need to know how to harness the power of social media, so posting your competition photos, gym workout pictures and helpful tips for your community will highlight this ability to anyone who searches your profile.

It is, however, vital to carefully consider and manage everything you post on social media. Think of the implications of everything you say and do online as it can and probably will go viral.

When you post on social media, you create a brand or image for yourself. Be mindful of how you act and interact with others on social media, as people are often paying more attention to the details than you would think.

No off-season

Throughout my career as I fitness model and sponsored athlete, I’ve also learnt that there is no “off-season” when it comes to staying in shape.

While you don’t need to maintain competition level conditioning all year round, you do need stay close to photo shoot-ready condition to ensure opportunities don’t pass you by.

Opportunities can pop up when you least expect them and you should always be ready for the unexpected. For some, being ready to shoot on short notice can make or break a career.

Author: Pedro van Gaalen

When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.

When he's not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He's worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.

One Comment

  1. Margaux Lim Ah Tock Reply

    Hi there

    When are you doing an article on normal working older women that manage to be in great shape? I would like to try out to be a candidate for that. I read something like that many years ago and started to workout and eat appropriately in a way that works for me that is not punishing thanks to an article like that. It is very inspiring. I know so many ladies that just believe that after 40 they cannot look great.

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