At one time, there were literally hundreds of avatar fashion models in Second Life, who would be hired to perform in virtual fashion shows for designers, and even work as mannequins in stores. In fact, Vanity Fair worked for a couple of years as a mannequin/model for the avatar fashion designers Lemania Indigo and Lestat Reuven, back in ye olde pre-mesh clothing days. She got free outfits in exchange for standing in the store for a shift, showing off the latest fashions and occasionally answering a question from a shopper.
Nowadays, it would appear that there are more modeling schools and agencies in Second Life than actual modeling jobs! There’s even a blog to keep track of them all. Most modeling schools will charge you a pretty penny to teach you everything there is to know about modeling in SL, but I have found that if you just spend enough time in Second Life, you can learn most of what you need to know for free. Who needs a school, especially when there are so few jobs for the people who graduate? There are pageants you can enter, but these all seem to be run by the modeling schools, which seems to me to be a sort of vicious circle.
Is the era of SL modeling over? I would argue that it is. Most vendors are creating alts to use as mannequins and to illustrate their products in stores, rather than going through the fuss and bother to find and hire (and pay) fashion models. Bloggers tend to use their main or alt avatars to illustrate their blogs (like Rehana, above). And I can’t remember the last time I heard about a fashion show in Second Life, or a store that was actually hiring models. Most of the buzz now is about monthly events like Uber and FaMESHed. (By the way, the current anniversary round of Uber runs until August 22nd, so be sure to get down there and grab all the free gifts!)
What do you think? Is Second Life modeling dead? Feel free to sound off in the comments, or better yet, join the RyanSchultz.com Discord and take part in the discussions and debates taking place there!
UPDATE Aug. 7, 2019: Amanda Magick of the Second Life blog Magick Thoughts SL has also written about this topic. So has Monica Querrien, a Second Life model and blogger, on her blog Moni’s World. They both add a lot to the discussion, so I would encourage you to go over and read their blogposts.
Thanks for the tip, Amanda Magick!