The Life of a Hand Model

"Behind the scenes with Nadine"


HAYDAWN: Hi Nadine, Thanks for letting us and our readers into your world for a few minutes. Let's start off with the one thing everyone want to know. What is it like to be a hand model?

NADINE: Its great, I love it! I had been doing modelling for a while before I fell into hand modelling and it’s a whole new world! I get to work with a wide range of brands and industries from food to jewellery to tech companies. I’m really grateful to have this opportunity and call it my job! 


HAYDAWN: Fantastic, what did you do before becoming a hand model? 

NADINE: Before hand modelling I had just graduated and was a new mom, so was taking a break from work. I randomly booked a Sleek makeup campaign when my son was 7 months old and I was happy to be modelling again. It was at this shoot that Adam Von Mack, the photographer, complimented my hands and suggested I consider hand modelling.


HAYDAWN: That’s amazing Nadine. Do hand models need portfolios? 

NADINE: At the beginning of your career you don’t need a portfolio and you wouldn’t really have one if you haven’t done any work as a hand model. You just need some clean images of your hands and that’s what you use to approach the agencies.


HAYDAWN: Definitely good to know. So what’s a typical day in the life of a hand model?

NADINE: So one thing that all hand models will say is that there is a lot of waiting around… but on a typically shoot date we normally make our way to the location, have breakfast, get a manicure (the perks haha) and shoot. A concept or mood board is sometimes given prior to the shoot but sometimes is a surprise. There are also lots of breaks as there are other things going on simultaneously. This could be product shots, other models on set, or waiting for client approval. So I take my laptop with me and do some work. The days are very chilled and everyone is super nice. 


HAYDAWN: Sounds fun. Can you tell us how you prepare for a shoot?

NADINE:  I moisturise regularly and night before a shoot I exfoliate my hands with a homemade mask. The mask consists of 3 ingredients only!  Honey, porridge, and salt, that’s it! This is great to get rid of any dead skin and flakiness then I apply cuticle oil before bed. 


HAYDAWN: Fantastic, we’ve heard about finger exercises, is this actually a thing? 

NADINE: Maybe once or twice but nothing serious. I personally don’t do any finger exercises.


HAYDAWN: No finger exercises then so how do you take care of your hands on a regular day?

NADINE: I don’t give myself manicures everyday but I do make sure I moisturise regularly and I try not to get any cuts or scratches when doing normal stuff daily, I have to remind myself to be gentle and I apply cuticle oil most days as when it comes to nail length, growth or strength cuticle oil is my best friend. I know its hard to remember to apply cuticle oil everyday but if you do it just before bed (to maximise the time you have it on) you will notice your nails getting stronger and longer.


HAYDAWN: Yes, we’re cuticle oil believers too. Do you have to avoid doing certain tasks to protect your hands?

NADINE: Yes, definitely! Or if it's something I can’t avoid I wear gloves just to protect my hands. There are two reasons why I do this, one is because some scars can take ages to go away and I can potentially loose out on jobs until it heals or worst some might stay forever and 2, certain things can easily break my nails, which you don’t want just before a shoot. But everyone has little imperfections and most minor cuts can be covered or edited in post production. It can affect the number of jobs you get but it can be done.


HAYDAWN: Noted! What do you consider the toughest aspect of this job?

NADINE: The toughest aspect of this job is sometimes the pressure of getting the shot. I normally feel very comfortable shooting but certain jobs can be very specific and require precise movements. And no one expects to get it in one shot but after a few retakes sometimes you can feel the pressure kick in. However, it is amazing when you finally get it and the client is happy.


HAYDAWN: What is the worst experience you’ve had on a job? 

NADINE: On one occasion a few models from my agency and I were booked for a 2 day job, and I just feel like there was a lack of communication between both parties but we weren’t sure of what the client and directors were after and we could also tell they weren’t very happy.  Instead of giving us clear directions they kept moving on through the shoot then sent an email to our agency complaining. We found out at the end of day 1 and were considering if we should be back the next day. We decided to honour our commitment and just have a honest chat with them in the morning. After it was all cleared the rest of the shoot went smoothly and as always we got the job done. 


HAYDAWN: So we’ve heard the storied and thought we’d ask, have you ever experienced discrimination of any form in the industry? 

NADINE: Yes, on one occasion myself and another hand model were booked and I personally think that because we were both black instead of calling us by name to the set they were simply shouting yellow nails, and green nails every time they needed us instead of memorising our names. There was also a caucasian model on set and she was being called by her name. Once we pointed it out they immediately apologised and said they didn’t realise they were offending us.  Another situation I felt discriminated against was on the agencies website female hands and ethnic female hands were separated. This has since been amended and I’m super happy with my agency for taking initiative and taking that step forward. Apart from that my experiences in hand modelling have been lovely, I meet amazing people regularly and I’m happy to be one of the models bringing diversity into such industry.

HAYDAWN: Thank you for sharing this and we too are happy to see the industry diversying. There’s still a lot of work to be done.  



HAYDAWN: On a lighter note, tell us what you’re doing when you’re not modelling? 

NADINE: When I’m not modelling I’m probably with my son or managing my new business. My son is a big part of my life and I’m so lucky that my job allows me to be flexible, financial stable and present in my son’s life. It's very rare that I shoot everyday in one single week. However, since taking hand modelling as a career I fell in love with nails and everything nail care, so I decided to start my own business. ‘Nails Trip’ is my second baby!


HAYDAWN:  Congratulations on your new business.  Can you tell us the average someone can earn as a hand model?

NADINE: It really depends on a few factors, for example location, frequency of work and job types (campaigns, social media, print, recognisable, etc… If booked with some consistency, hand models can make a decent living! However, in America hand models can make substantially more… 


HAYDAWN: What advice do you have for aspiring hand models?

NADINE: I would say that every person feels conscious about their hands, so getting over that initial fear and contacting professionals that will guide you through is crucial. The quicker you do it the quicker you will get into it or at least get some honest feedback.


HAYDAWN: Great advice Nadine. Can you let us and our readers know where we view your work? 

NADINE: You can view my hand work at @nadines_hands on Instagram or on my agencies website ( Also feel free to check out my personal Instagram page at @nadinemendesss or my business page at @nails_trip /


HAYDAWN: Thank you for letting us delve into your life and for sharing these little gems with our readers. We appreciate it. 

NADINE: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share this part of my life and featuring me on your new blog! I hope you and your readers have a better understanding of a typical day as a hand model and enjoy my tips, thank you!



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1 comment

Great read 👍 very informative article and there’s lots of interesting tips that I will be applying to care for my hands and these ingredients i have in my kitchen 😀. Thank you.

Denise Prince July 26, 2020

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