Nude modeling as a student

Holding poses is harder than it looks. Lucas Fisher poses for figure drawing class. 

Sydney Novak

If you are ever browsing the student job board on AccessPlus, you may have seen the student model posting for the College of Design. This gig will pay you $10 an hour to model for figure drawing classes and $20 an hour to model nude for the classes.

That is how Anna Dinsmore, a senior in psychology and criminal justice, found her new side hustle: modeling nude. For the past two years, Dinsmore has modeled on and off again for the College of Design.

Dinsmore remembers being nervous before her first class. 

“After the first day, like after I took my clothes off and they started to work, I was really relaxed after that,” Disnmore said. 

The College of Design has different classes at different levels where figure drawing is necessary to complete degrees. Some classes might be drawing or sculpting for any different programs through the College of Design. 

“I went into the College of Design one day, and I was just like, ‘I’m interested in modeling,’ [and] I filled out this sheet,” said Savanna Lopez, a senior in environmental science. 

Lucas Fischer, a senior in construction engineering, started modeling for the College of Design because the director of his fraternity did the same thing 60 years ago when he was a student at Iowa State. 

“He’s kind of what inspired me, and I didn’t know there were any jobs like that out there,” Fischer said. 

Classes can be between one to three hours, depending on the class you model for. Depending on the professor, models might have the freedom to choose their own poses. 

“I started off doing clothed modeling, which was just me, fully clothed, sitting in a chair for three hours, and that was the worst, that sucked,” Fischer said. “But it started getting a lot more fun once I got to get naked and pick my own poses.”

When models come to their class, they should expect to change out of their clothes in a small closet in the art studio, take their pose and remove their robe. In between poses, they can put their robe back on while the professor evaluates the students work.

“You put on one of their robes, which is kind of gross, cause it’s like the nude model robes, so everyone wears the same ones, and that’s kinda gross,” Fischer said.

According to the student models, one of the most challenging parts of the modeling process was holding the pose. Holding the same pose for anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes is more difficult than you might think. 

“I usually just felt exhausted after,” Fischer said. “It’s actually quite a workout trying to hold the same position for a while.” 

For the College of Design, it is important to have nude figure drawing classes for students to learn how to draw or sculpt the human body. Marianne Aldrich, a junior in pre-biological/pre-medical illustration (BPMI), takes figure drawing classes through the College of Design.

“It is very different working from photos than it is from real life, so having an actual person standing there where I can actually see how the light bends around their arm is very, very helpful to learn how to draw those things,” Aldrich said. 

Through the BPMI Club, there is a figure drawing co-op where anyone is welcome to attend two-hour figure drawing workshops. Student admission is $3, and regular admission is $5.

Although standing naked in front of a room full of clothed people might seem intimidating, none of the models said it made them uncomfortable. Depending on the professor, they may or may not allow you to wear underwear. 

“I wore a thong and my mask, obviously,” Lopez said.

This job might not be for everyone, but if you are comfortable being naked around others, you may want to consider this opportunity. 

“No one compliments you on your body,” Fischer said. “I think that would be rude if the students did that, but [they] definitely gave me compliments on the poses that I chose and other things I did.”

If you are easily embarrassed, this probably won’t be for you. Sometimes, you may know people in the class personally.

“It was like a class of 10 people, so the likelihood of me knowing anybody is really slim, but yeah, it was one of my co-workers at a job that I had just started,” Lopez said. 

Or sometimes, your clothes get locked in the art studio closet by accident.

“There was a little art supplies closet that models could get dressed or undressed in, and I had undressed in the closet, walked out in my robe and just left my clothes in there, but the door had locked behind me,” Dinsmore said. 

At the end of the day, you are sitting naked in front of 10 to 20 fully clothed people.

If you are thinking about applying to be a model, you might expect to be waitlisted at first, but there is no casting or interview process necessary. 

Some models feel this opportunity made them feel more confident and empowered in their own bodies, which is an unexpected effect of most other student jobs.

“It was cool, like being a spectacle while people are making something out of you and not in a creepy way,” Lopez said. “It did feel like something really neat I just did.”