Covid and how it’s affecting the modelling industry

Published: 20th Jan 2021

There’s been a lot of information recently concerning the ‘do’s and don’ts’ during the national Covid lockdown. Scientists from various institutions have been on the news every day, relaying facts and giving opinions. This is all very well, but sometimes too much information can have the opposite effect. Let’s be honest: it can be pretty confusing for all of us, can’t it? Even when the social distance recommendation was drilled into our skulls that two metres is six feet, we assumed that was the case. It wasn’t – two metres is six and-a-half feet. No wonder we were scratching our heads. 

This blog intends to give models the information they need: just what are you allowed to do during lockdown?

Before we go into a little more detail, the critical government recommendation for professional (paid) models is that modelling is allowed.[1]

It’s also important to know that the Models Direct team is still working (to our usual immaculate standards, we’d like to add!). Like most businesses, we’re simply working from home and taking advantage of Zoom and other video conferencing platforms – as well as email and phones, of course.

So, if you’re a model, you need to know that:

  • As set out by the government on an updated web page on 7th January 2021 [2], paid models are still able to work. It must be stressed that this only applies to paid / professional models.
  • We’re still working as usual.

If you’re a model that is getting paid (but are not “professionals”), you come under this bracket because it is paid work; it’s irrelevant if modelling is a part-time job for you. Since all our jobs are paid work, models are still permitted to work on assignments via our booking team. 

Modelling for clients can be done safely, unlike, say, attending theatres and cinemas, which have been deemed too risky because of sheer audience numbers. Fair enough: viruses need human interaction to spread, so “mass gatherings” – especially indoors – is a recipe for disaster. Paid modelling can be done safely. Can, being the critical word. 

The modelling industry has not been immune to Covid. 2020 was unique for all the wrong reasons, but we’re slowly turning a corner. That said, modelling work (including TV and film) is still controlled by restrictions and guidance. The main ones for models to focus on are as follows:

  • Travel only when necessary. If you’re fortunate to work within a short distance from your home, please cycle – or walk. [3]
  • Tell the client before the assignment whether you’ve already had COVID-19. [4]
  • Take with you a face mask and hand sanitizer. [5] 
  • Adhere to all precautions whilst on set (social distancing, regular washing of hands etc). [6]
  • Bring your own food. [7]
  • Multiple models are allowed on set – be aware of proximity with others, though. Also, models should wear face masks and gloves when not working / being photographed / filmed. [8]
  • Use aerosols, where possible, instead of creams and waxes. [9]
  • Bring with you information relating to your movements for the last four weeks. This is a precaution, but could prove critical..[10]

For clients / businesses, the key points to remember are:

  • For a paid shoot, the client is ultimately responsible for ensuring all precautions are taken and that guidelines have been adhered to. [11]
  • Giving a model a risk assessment prior to the assignment is good practice. [12] 
  • All equipment that comes in and out of a work building must be sanitised. [13]
  • Ask all models to be available on the day before the assignment to discuss health and precautions. [14]
  • Only essential personnel should be on site. [15]
  • Wherever possible, take temperature tests on arrival on set (anyone with a temperature of 37.8OC or more should not be allowed to work). [16]
  • Set in place an effective way to identify who is at increased risk from Covid. [17]

We’re working hard to make sure all measures are adhered to. It’s a huge task – and responsibility – for everyone, but by sticking to the above pointers and applying a large dose of common sense, we can continue to work in the modelling industry. There are hundreds (or is that thousands?) of other points we could have made regarding modelling during the Covid lockdown. We can’t cover them all. The above should be more than useful – they should be the main points models need to know. As long as the modelling you’re doing is paid (classed as work), you are allowed to continue doing what you enjoy.   

When lockdown is over, needless to say that companies across the UK will be intent on returning to “business as normal” – literally. A lot of businesses have closed temporarily, so with any luck they’ll be up-and-running soon, meaning more opportunities for all different kinds of models.

In the meantime – model safely, enjoy, and look forward to the rest of 2021. It’ll be remembered much like 2020, but for different reasons.


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