In fact, hand models are particularly sought after and can command up to £5.000 for a worldwide TV commercial or a print campaign. Editorial work is less well paid but can still yield several hundred pounds for a day’s work. Since hands are not as easily recognisable as faces, hand models can take on competitive campaigns.
Who Needs a Hand
Advertisers constantly require perfect legs, feet or hands in their campaigns. What’s more, many big stars require body part doubles so advertisers don’t have to waste their time taking pictures of the supermodel’s hands when an anonymous pair of hands can do the job without the audience noticing any difference.
Hand model Nina Taylor works as a hand double for Kate Moss alongside her other work. She is considered a hand supermodel, so much so that she has insured her hands for a seven-figure sum.
Gemma Howorth also doubles for Kate Moss as well as for Kylie Minogue, Heidi Klum, Lily Cole and many other supermodels and actresses. She started hand modelling over 12 years ago and, during that time, her hands have featured in more than 250 TV commercials and print ads. They have also starred in major fashion advertising campaigns such as Hermés, Jimmy Choo and Chanel. Her work has taken her around the world and she has met many of the fashion superstars.
Gemma started out at the age of 18 when a friend’s mother who just happened to be a photographer noticed her beautiful hands. The mother took some professional shots of Gemma’s hands and sent them to a specialist agency. The agency subsequently engaged her and she has been working as a hand model ever since. She finds hand modelling a lot of fun but also a little challenging. She explains that sometimes, in addition to having exceptional hands, you may be required to be a contortionist as you are required to stay in an awkward position for hours.
Renato de Fazio is one of the most sought-after male hand models in Europe and his hands have been seen in TV campaigns for Apple, Coca-Cola, Samsung and Google to name but a few. An actor by profession, he has been hand modelling for 14 years. He got started when his agent put him forward for a hand casting. He won the campaign and now does a modelling job two to three times a week.
Like Gemma and Renato, many hand models ended up in modelling quite by chance when friend or a colleague remarked upon their attractive hands. Most would never otherwise have considered that hand modelling could result in lucrative work.
So what do the perfect model hands look like? What are the advertisers looking for?
– An even skin tone with no visible scars, marks or tattoos
– No birthmarks, freckles or moles
– Long straight and slim fingers
– No crooked or chubby fingers
– Curved and ideally long nail beds (for female models in particular)
– No white marks on the nails
– No wrinkles or liver spots.
Your hands should also be fairly steady in order to stay still, sometimes in rather awkward positions in front of the camera.
Getting Started With Hand Modeling Jobs
When you approach any agency with the intention of becoming a hand model, send pictures of your hands in different positions and include both front and back shots where your hands can be clearly seen. Your nails should be natural and no nail varnish worn. Photos should be taken against a plain background to ensure that your hands are the focus.
If you are lucky enough to have superstar hands, they require a great deal of looking after. The following are some supermodel tips:
– Keep your hands thoroughly moisturised. Always carry hand cream with you and use it every time you wash your hands
– At night use olive or coconut oil and cover up with soft cotton gloves
– Keep nails trimmed and tidy and manicure regularly
– Avoid getting a tan, as sunlight ages the skin and an uneven tan may lose you work.
– Try to avoid burns and scratches
– Let somebody else oil your bicycle chain or do the gardening.
– Always use gloves when doing housework (even when the job itself takes less time than putting on the gloves)