Throughout my modeling career, the one question that I have been asked the most from friends or other people is that why most fashion models do not smile in photos or runway shows. It is a simple yet complicated question to be answered, here’s why.

To clarify for most models, not smiling does not mean we are stuck-up or unhappy or unfriendly. Lets start with fashion shows. Fashion show designers or choreographers will usually instruct models to have a certain character when they are out on the runway, and most of the time the characters do not involve ‘having a big smile’. The usual instructions are examples like ‘strong’, ‘fierce’, ‘cool’, ‘confident’, and last but not least ‘no smile’. If it was a happy and bubbly theme and they require us to smile, they would specifically instruct us to do so. Besides instructions, most of us are actually nervous and excited with a mix of an adrenaline rush before and during our walk, not to mention the anxious worry of trying not to fall with our sky-high heels. All these emotions could show on our faces and sometimes translated into ‘angry not smiling’ models for the audience.

As for photo shoots, they really depend on the brand that is involved, the theme and the story that the client or the photographer required, and of course, instructions for the model. For instance, a high-fashion editorial usually does not require a smile but a confident, strong look; a perfume campaign would sometimes require a sexy or teasing smile; a commercial would usually require a happy bubbly smile. Ultimately, it really depends on what the client needs and a model’s job is to deliver it satisfactorily.

In short, most models are not as unfriendly as most people thought. But of course, I cannot speak for all models. There could be really unfriendly models out there, but in general, we are all just a little bit shy and we are really nice!