Should I become a nude model?

And before any wise guys can ask, no I will not send you a photo to help you decide!

The art department at my school is currently looking for students to pose nude for drawing classes. Since I currently have only $10 in my wallet I am seriously considering this.

I go to a women’s college, so I won’t have to worry about posing before Beavis and Butthead types who signed up for the class just to look at nekkid wimmins. However, my school is also fairly small, so I will have to see the students in other classes, in the dining hall, etc. I wouldn’t be comfortable if I thought they were picturing me nude everytime they see me, or if they were embarassed to talk to me socially because they’d seen me nude.

I’m also not sure how I’d feel about seeing poor artistic renderings of my body!

The pay is better than minimum wage, but not much better. I think it’s only $7 an hour, and I wouldn’t be working very many hours.

I would be especially interested in hearing about the experiences of people who have worked as nude models for art classes. I’d also like to know how students in such classes felt about the models. Did you treat them differently when you saw them outside of class?


This is one of those few cases where it is indeed all about you. Other’s feelings and reactions really should have no bearing, it’s only about your feelings and reactions.

First, Ummm… just because they happen to be fellow females, there’s no guarantee that some of them didn’t just sign up to see “nekkid wimmins”, but hopefully they won’t be as immature about it as some males in the same situation.

The real question is how comfortable are you in your own skin, what do you think of your own naked body, and what is your opinion of nudity in general?

If others see you differently after having seen you nude, is that a problem for you?

From a “logical” perspective, the description for the drawing class listed the fact that the nude human form would be among the subjects drawn, didn’t it? The women who signed up must be walking in knowing what to expect. Also, these are students who must be of an obvious artistic bent and interested more in the lines of your body than the fact that it is “You” and “nude”. Are they also hiring any male models, and will you be expected to model with them, or even on the same day?

Do put serious thought into how you’d feel about seeing poor artistic rederings of yourself, these are students, and some of the drawings are guaranteed to be stinkers. Is the course designed to be teaching students how to make realist drawing, or might you get the disturbing revalation of someone doing a cubist rendition of you?


[sub]And of course, the wise guy response… are you sure about not posting a photo? :wink: Fully dressed even?[/sub]

Another thing to bear in mind- can you hold perfectly still for a long time? I’ve done a bit of modeling for life drawing, and it’s nowhere near as easy as it looks.

Yeah, by all means.

I’ve done it before, under roughly the same circumstances, while I was also working as a courier my junior year of university. (FWIW, I’m an Aries male, so probably YMMV with what makes you uncomfortable). This meant that I got to make rounds of the campus twice a day and come into contact with about four hundred people. About twenty were in the drawing class. Didn’t bother me a bit. Sure, there was some whispering as I walked into places, but it’s just skin, and as long as I’m not taking a shit or trying to pop a zit on my ass, then there’s really nothing that embarrassing about being naked.

As one of my friends said after she was asked to pose for a friend’s portfolio, also nude, “I thought about it, and decided that I’m 19, I’ve got a good body, and when I’m fifty and sagging, I can just show off the picture and say ‘God, wasn’t I hot?’”

I say go for it. You can always claim justification by the wages and by losing a Purity Point or two.

It will definitely make for stimulating cocktail party conversation 10 years from now… especially if you have decided on a political career.

Modeling is exceptionally boring, low-paying, ungratifying work, based on my own 4-week experience in college.

Considering that some women’s colleges have a disproportionately large lesbian population–and let’s not kid ourselves about females being able to objectify men and women–don’t assume that one or two “artists” won’t just sign up to check out the new chick with the gonzo bod. On the other hand, you might just enjoy it–especially for what it does for your popularity.

I say go for it. Why not? It’s not immoral, illegal, or dangerous. It pays better than a McJob does, and it’s cleaner than most other work… although I could see it being a bit chilly at times :wink:

…and if not there’s always Scrabble

I dunno about this.

If you’re at a woman’s college supposedly teeming with fellow lesbians (there’s an assumption we can take up later) would you sign up in an art class and risk your grade point average just to get a chance to stare at whatever nude body they found for the occasional live figure assignment? But even if they were, who cares? I mean, it might or might not bother you in general (and that’s part of what you decide in making this decision) but I don’t think the gender of the person ogling would ultimately make a difference. It’s not an orgy, it’s an art class.

My husband is an artist and has drawn many nude figures. He’s fascinated with their form and the challenge of capturing it. He doesn’t seem to see them as sex objects. Perhaps it helps that a lot of the models he’s worked with weren’t hardbodies. They were just normal people with normal flab here and there.

I suspect your classmates, if they have any reaction worth noting, would admire your ability to be unselfconscious about nudity when it comes to art. It’s not like you’re flaunting anything. You’re just doing a job, a job that some people couldn’t bring themselves to do because they’re not comfortable with nudity.

[begin hijack rant]

BTW, I am a woman’s college alumna. I’m trying not to be bitchy about the “lotsa lesbians” thing because (a) it was modified with a strong “some” and (b) I hate to imply that there is something wrong with lesbians being on a campus. What I hate about it is that it seems to belie two false beliefs: (1) Lesbians hate men and prefer an environment without them. (2) Lesbians are out to recruit, and an all-female campus is prime hunting ground. UGH!

I used to work in admissions, and there are plenty of 17-year olds with anxiety about such things. They’re also prone to embracing stereotypes. We found ourselves faced with the annoying task of having to dispel the notion that single-sex colleges were some kind of sexual playground or congregating place for homosexuals.

I just want to say that to my knowledge, most campuses–of every stripe–have their fair share of people who are bi, guy, or curious. Even Bob Jones University. Some environments make it easier for them to be visible and politically active, if they so choose.

[/end hijacked rant]

As Cranky pointed out, women’s colleges are not all hotbeds of lesbian sex. If they were, I’d be much too busy to spend so much time on the SDMB! I doubt there will be any lesbians who signed up for the class with the sole goal of leering at nekkid wimmins. I have it on good authority that post-game rugby parties are the best place for that sort of thing. :slight_smile:

From what I have heard from friends who have taken art classes, students are more likely to react with horror than unbridled lust at the sight of nude models. I just looked through the course catalog, and the art class descriptions do not even hint at the presence of nude models (no “life drawing” or anything). The art professors don’t tell students ahead of time which days the models will be there, because in the past there was apparently a problem with students skipping on those days. I heard of at least one girl who walked into the class and turned around and walked out again as soon as she saw the model!

I’m glad Lightnin’ brought up the issue of maintaining poses for long periods of time. I have a bad back, something I had not considered before. I’d probably be okay as long as I chose my poses carefully, but it’s something to think about.

Thank you to everyone who has replied so far.

        " **

I dunno about this. If you’re at a woman’s college supposedly teeming with fellow lesbians…


No one said “teeming with fellow lesbians…”

I said disproportionately large, as in an overrepresentation. Lamia also overreacted (is that common with lesbians? (grin)) about colleges “crawling” with lesbians. Wishful thinking, no? Get that imagery out of your head, girl!

would you sign up in an art class and risk your grade point average just to get a chance to stare at whatever nude body they found for the occasional live figure assignment?

Yes. Absolutely. Without question. Can you make her blonde, blue-eyed, and built like a brick missile silo. (The blonde and blue-eyed part are optional.)

Do you have ANY understanding of the undergraduate male’s mind?

**it’s not an orgy, it’s an art class. **

Why not combine the two? Six credits sounds good to me.

My husband doesn’t seem to see them as sex objects. Perhaps it helps that a lot of the models he’s worked with weren’t hardbodies.

You should see him with us guys as the strip clubs. He’s an animal, I tell you–an ANIMAL!

Lamia, I say go ahead and do it. If you have no problems baring all, go for it. I draw and have taken some classes myself. There may be a few jerks who are there just to giggle at the naked boobies, but ignore them. For the students there to improve their art, a live model is very much appreciated and indeed, necessary. If you don’t do it, someone else will. Why not help some others hone their craft and make some bucks while doing it?

A few things to ask when considering a gig:

Is there a place to change? Coming in to the room in a bathrobe and then dropping it to pose is a lot easier than having to strip off your clothes in front of everyone.

Is it going to be warm enough? Are there heaters available?

How long would your shift be? What sort of frequency/duration of breaks? Standing still is much, much harder work than you’d think.

Is the teacher someone you feel you can trust? The teacher is to some extent responsible for your comfort, so if the teacher is an annoying jerk you’re less likely to have a good experience.

How long will the poses be? If the teacher just wants gesture drawings, you’ll be doing poses from 10-60 seconds. If the teacher wants more completely rendered drawings, you’ll be doing 10-30 minute poses.

As for posing, try a few poses at home. (By “pose” I mean staying still) Most long poses are done seated or lying down. Short poses can be much more varied. But don’t overestimate your staying power. I was drawing a model who kept trying “warrior poses” because he was into martial arts. Thirty seconds in, he’d start to waver back and forth (making him really hard to draw) and a minute or two in he’d give out and have to abandon the pose.

Also, don’t worry about your body type. The group I was drawing with was always clamoring for interesting bodies. We wanted folks with rolls of fat, with wrinkles, with interesting details to draw. We got one guy who was just…well, he had no muscle tone, and no real body fat…he was completely and totally smooth. My friend dubbed him “Marshmallow boy” because there was absolutely nothing to draw on the guy. (He didn’t even have body hair)
Err, that’s not exactly encouraging, but at least we were frustrated with him for artistic reasons rather than aesthetics.

If you do decide to pose, just count yourself lucky that you’ll never have to worry about one male model’s problem. He simply could not make up his mind if he was excited or not. It was up, it was down, it was up, it was down. I wanted to yell “Just go in the back room and take care of that thing so it’ll lie still!”

Okay, so that wasn’t a particularly encouraging anecdote either. Sorry.

As for objectifying nude models, isn’t that sort of the point? When I draw nudes I treat them like statues. Afterwards, they’re regular people, with no awkwardness at all. But while they’re posing, I fully intend to objectify them.

From personal experiance, once I got caught up in the actual drawing, he morphed into a lot of skin. Really, once I seriously began drawing, my artist’s eye overcame my horny girl eye (“Look! It’s a penis!”)

I didn’t feel any differently when I saw the guy in campus. I knew he was well-hung, but I didn’t stare at his crotch. I could barely remember what he looked like unless I checked my portfolio.

I’d say go for it. If I had a killer bod, I’d do it. :slight_smile:

I have seen hundreds of nude models & have modeled myself but only clothed. Here is some info on our area, Monterey, California.

  1. nude models get $12 hour min./ two hour min.
  2. as the person said above, holding a pose is NOT easy. expect to stay still for 20 minutes. If you are uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to change your pose midstream.
  3. all models, male & female share the same blankets/pillows. This might gross you out so you might want to bring your own, but the teacher may not let you use them.
    We once joked about auctioning those pillows :-)…
  4. don’t allow any one to take a photograph.
  5. Don’t let anyone touch you to arrange a pose without asking you first.
  6. bring a robe to wear during intermission & before posing.
  7. take your underclothes off a half hour before modeling so you dont have lines


It’s something that only you can answer. I personally have no problem with nude posing, or nude anything for that matter, but some people can’t do it. If you do go with it though, expect it to be difficult. As others have mentioned, posing for art can be a real bitch sometimes. After a couple hours in some poses, you can be sore for days afterward. It’s still fun though :slight_smile:

I’ll second that! Back in the '70’s, I was an art student & life drawing was a staple for the entire three year course. I had a male friend who was one of the models, and I don’t recall anybody feeling uncomfortable around him out of class. Amazing how the model becomes lines, shapes & shadows to be drawn & not at all a sexual being. Our favourite model was a beautiful middle aged black woman; wrinkles, fat rolls & C-section scar & everything. She was wonderful to draw.

If you are comfortable with your body, I say go for it!

I’d do it. In fact, I do do it, when I need a little money.

Honestly, I am more comfortable naked in front of a group of artists than I am in a swimsuit at the beach. The reason? Those artists don’t care if you have great abs, firm thighs, whatever. They’ve seen it all, and they’re very professional. I’ve never experienced any leering, giggling, or obnoxious behavior in an artist’s studio or classroom. If you have doubts about this, talk to the professor – she will keep the students in line.

There’s a moment of panic the moment before the robe comes off, but after that, I find it very easy to relax. After all, there’s no reason to be shy at this point - everything’s out in the open, as it were.

And I wouldn’t worry at all about running into people afterwards. They’re not going to think, “There’s that hussy!” They’ll think, “There’s a woman who’s confident and comfortable about her body.” And the best thing is, it will be true.

If you go for it, I do have one word of advice - don’t try to suck your tummy in for a 20 minute pose. Just don’t even try.

What an awesome opportunity! Do it! Whatever kind of body type you have!

handy gave some great advice about the practical stuff. I think that if you are comfortable, it would be great. And I agree with the other posters that no-one will think you’re a hussy, or picture you in a sexual way every time they see you. If they’re artists, they’ll just think you’re beautiful!

I did have a personal anecdote, but I think it might be TMI (never know who’s lurkin’- I learned my lesson from Dr. Boyfriend & Esprix!).

Have fun, my dear!

Well, since no one else is going to…Sue, will you model for me? I’ve got $30 in pennies, so that’s what…about 3 hours?

Out of curiousity, what level is the course? When I was in college as an art major, you have to take a at least a semester’s worth of other courses (2D Design, Drawing I, Intro to Art, etc) before you could take a Life Drawing course. At the very least, you had to take Drawing I as a preresiquite. My point being that if someone just wants to see a naked person of questionable attractiveness (not you, just that it’s not like they model next years Life Drawing models on class sign up day) there’s easier ways to go about it. Presumably, the people there are there to draw/paint/whatever and not to for thrills.