A model (from Middle French modelle) is a person with a role either to promote, display, or advertise commercial products (notably fashion clothing) or to serve as a visual aide for people who are creating works of art or to pose for photography. Modelling ("modeling" in American English) is considered to be different from other types of public performance, such as acting or dancing. Although the difference between modelling and performing is not always clear, appearing in a film or a play is not generally considered to be "modelling".Modelling as a profession was first established in 1853 by Charles Frederick Worth, the "father of haute couture", when he asked his wife, Marie Vernet Worth, to model the clothes he designed. The term "house model" was coined to describe this type of work. Eventually, this became common practice for Parisian fashion houses. There were no standard physical measurement requirements for a model, and most designers would use women of varying sizes to demonstrate variety in their designs.
With the development of fashion photography, the modelling profession expanded to photo modelling. Models remained fairly anonymous, and relatively poorly paid, until the late 1950s. One of the first well-known models was Lisa Fonssagrives, who was very popular in the 1930s. Fonssagrives appeared on over 200 Vogue covers, and her name recognition led to the importance of Vogue in shaping the careers of fashion models. In 1946, Ford Models was established by Eileen and Gerard Ford in New York; it is one of the oldest model agencies in the world. One of the most popular models during the 1940s was Jinx Falkenburg who was paid $25 per hour, a large sum at the time.During the 1940s and 1950s, Wilhelmina Cooper, Jean Patchett, Dovima, Dorian Leigh, Suzy Parker, Evelyn Tripp, Carmen Dell'Orefice, and Lisa Fonssagrives dominated fashion. Dorothea Church was among the first black models in the industry to gain notoriety in Paris. However, these models were unknown outside the fashion community. Compared to today's models, the models of the 1950s were more voluptuous. Wilhelmina Cooper's measurements were 38"-24"-36" whereas Chanel Iman's measurements are 32"-23"-33".