Sean O'Pry, who we featured on Model Watch back in July, earned an estimated $1.5 million in 2013, landing him the title of highest-paid male model, according to Forbes. O'Pry, 24, broke into the industry at age 17 when he was discovered by Nolé Marin (fashion stylist, ANTM judge) on MySpace (yep, MySpace). Now O'Pry's current manager, Lana Winters, has helped him land major ad campaigns with designers like Giorgio Armani to commercial monopolies like H&M. He's also upped his salary thanks to fragrance contracts with "Ultrasense" by Jil Sander and "Spicebomb" by Viktor & Rolf's.
While O'Pry's $1.5 million is not pocket-change by any means, when compared to top earning female models such as Gisele Bündchen (who brought in a meager 42 million this year), we wonder just how women-dominated the industry is.
"Female models, with an average salary of $41,300, earn 148% more than male models, according to PayScale.com," writes Forbes. There simply isn't the same market-demand for male models. "For men, attaining supermodel status is rare and challenging; they don’t have the opportunities to gain wide-scale exposure that Victoria’s Secret or a major cosmetics campaign offer female models. And the rates they command are far lower."
A few years back, New York Magazine writer Mike Albo followed a handful of male model rookies at NYFW. He provided keen insight into the industry. "Financially speaking, male modeling is not unlike being a straight-male porn star: The men have always made less than the women, and very few become big names. For most magazine work, models are paid less than $250. Twenty percent of that goes to the agency, which also bills models for their board and expenses." Petey, one of the models Albo interviewed, added: "The only hope of making ends meet is to book an ad campaign or catalogue job. But even those are less lucrative than they once were."
We knew modeling wasn't all glam, but it seems arguably more difficult for males to make ends meet. In this industry who runs the world? Girls.