Runway (Cat Walk) Modeling Explained

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The modeling industry can be surprisingly unclear when it comes to precisely what its terminology means. One of the most confusing terms to understand, especially if you’re an aspiring model yourself, is runway (or catwalk) modeling. It’s important to understand how this type of modeling works, and how you can begin pursuing it professionally or even part-time if you’re interested in doing so. Here’s everything you need to know about runway (catwalk) modeling.

Basic Facts about Runway Modeling

A runway or catwalk model is a type of human model who typically appears in front of an audience wearing only underwear, a swimsuit, or fashion-forward outfits. The person who chooses to enter runway modeling typically wants to live a glamorous life that includes money and fame. Runway models usually work with agencies that can connect them with designers, magazines, and other people involved in their line of work. A runway model’s pay depends on his or her popularity and how well he or she can attract clients to clothing lines or designers; however, it’s generally easier for males to get runway jobs than females. An elite runway model may earn between $1,000 and $2,000 per day while a part-time one earns less than $100 per hour.

The Job of a Catwalk Model

A catwalk model is a model who works on a fashion runway. Runway models are often tall, thin, and have long legs. They are usually very young and they do not speak while they are walking. In order to be successful at their job, models must look good when they walk and know how to follow directions well. Most runways work in groups so that they can interact with each other as well as with designers and photographers on the runway.

How to become a Catwalk (Runway) Model

Models are often linked to high fashion, and catwalk modeling is a particular kind of modeling that’s somewhat more unusual than some of its counterparts. Runway models walk down a runway for designers to showcase their latest clothing lines and trends, walking in themed formations or alone as they strut their stuff in front of hundreds of people. Although it’s slightly more esoteric than some other kinds of modeling, it can also be very lucrative depending on your level of success. 

Acting on the Runway

Being a runway model is one of the most challenging and rewarding professions for a performer. Preparing for runway shows is extremely time-consuming, even more so than performing on screen or stage. Because there are no scripts or sets to prepare, models need to be well versed in each designer’s aesthetic and have an ability to improvise at a moment’s notice. It takes hours of hard work and dedication by both performers and designers to create beautiful works of art that can captivate any audience within seconds.

Positions within Fashion Design Models

Within fashion design modeling, there are four different kinds of models. The first is a fashion model, which can be broken down into two different categories: Specialty and Glamour. A specialty model may have had training in their specific niche, whether it be ballroom dancing or belly-dancing. Glamour models are often fitness models, but not all fitness models are glamour models. In fact, some top fitness models don’t really consider themselves to be glamourous. Also note that both of these specialty or glamour model types’ fall under what we call runway (cat walk) modeling. Catwalk modeling simply involves walking up and down a catwalk with a specific look on your face.

How do I get started as a Catwalk / Runway model?

As you can see runway modeling is a very lucrative career, and there are many different types of runway modeling. Many models are signed on with agencies because of their natural beauty or good looks. A job as a runway model can be very fun and exciting, but also very stressful and hard work. You may have to stand for hours at a time in heels, not eating or drinking anything because you may need to go right back out on that catwalk again. All in all being a runway model is both enjoyable and worthwhile if you choose it as your profession, but like any other job it has its ups and downs. It’s important to maintain your health while working as a runway model so that way you won’t ever be forced off stage due to health reasons.

Fashion Schools Specializing in Catwalk/Runway modeling

Fashion Schools with specializations in Catwalk/Runway modeling include Aveda University, Baltimore; Cincinnati Conservatory of Music; Cleveland Institute of Art; Emily Carry University of Art and Design, Vancouver, British Columbia; Institute Marangoni Milan; National Louis University, Chicago, Illinois; Ohio Northern University College of Law in Ada, Ohio.


Runway modeling is not as easy as it looks. You may get a lot of attention and adoration, but to be a successful runway model you need to have discipline, determination, and a great support system behind you. Despite what it looks like on television or in magazines, runway modeling is not always fun; in fact, most models will tell you it’s quite stressful. However, if your goal is to break into modeling or get on reality television—runway modeling might be for you! All that glitters really does seem gold when it comes to runway modeling! Watch out though; just remember all those extra eyes are watching your every move.

Neeraj is a digital marketing specialist who believes in content marketing to assist rising talents and businesses to achieve their career goals and vision