At 5’7”, Uddo was too short to be a fashion model, but soon found her deep nail beds and delicate hands booking campaigns with Essie, MAC and Macy’s. Today, a trip to Sephora or a quick flip through the latest issue of Vogue might show her fingers clasping Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb perfume, Christian Louboutin’s new nail polish or Dior’s Rouge lipstick tubes.
Parts models can be hired for any body part highlighted in an editorial shoot or advertising campaign. Delicate looking hands, often with slightly longer nails, tend to book fashion and beauty shoots, while pretty yet practical hands get more commercial work for food and cleaning products.
Premiere parts models earn around $1,000 a day for TV commercials, and between $2,000-$5,000 a day for print work.
“A top girl – a hand model with good legs and feet – can make around $75,000 a year,” explains Linda Teglovic, president of Body Parts Models, Inc., a California-based agency that represents more than 300 parts models. In fact, the very best hand models working in print-centric New York can earn far more annually.
“Recently I did a big campaign with some girls and hand doubled for them, so I had to get below them and into their armpits,” Uddo explains, noting that final composite images can be created in post-production.
Katrina Nelson is a parts model whose hands have pulled yards of toilet paper for Charmin and wiped spills with paper towels in around 50 Bounty commercials. With a glove size seven and skin that could be described as medium mocha olive, she is the perfect commercial hand: “I happen to have long fingers and long nail beds – my nails aren’t very long so you would believe I was cleaning.”
Hand modeling can be surprisingly technical, says Nelson: “You have to clean up a certain amount of millimeters in a centre amount of seconds and have it come up pretty to camera.”
Working with food can be particularly challenging. “I do a lot of Taco Bell, picking up the food and cutting away the cheese – it has to pull very prettily,” says Nelson.
The parts modeling market is very small, with only a handful of top parts models in America (Japan is a major international market). Most parts models are freelancers who use the extra cash to supplement their income; others, like Uddo and Nelson, have made it their full-time job.
Of course, hand modeling comes with its setbacks. Nelson had to give up beach volleyball; neither Nelson nor Uddo spend much time in the kitchen, for fear of cuts or burns that could lose them bookings.
Uddo retains a sense of humor about her fascinating yet often overlooked career. She jokes: “Working one hand job to the next is my slogan, from Manhattan to Malibu.”
source: forbes.com by Natalie Robehmed