Livestream models rake in the bucks

By Thanh Nga   November 17, 2023 | 12:06 am PT
Le Dung began livestream modeling for online clothing shops over a year ago, earning VND1 million (US$41) per hour, much more than she makes as a broadcast MC.

The 25-year-old Hanoian said her job is fairly easy. She simply needs to change in an out of multiple outfits so customers can get a good look at each one.

"I work as a model every night for two to three hours, four to six if it’s the weekend. Even though this is my side job, I earn more doing this than in my actual career," Dung said.

She began this work at the beginning of 2022 by modeling for a social media platform that released a new shopping function.

As Dung had no prior experience as a model, she was initially paid VND100,000 an hour. After a while, she learned how to communicate with her eyes and smile, and how to make the clothes more appealing. Her earnings increased with her experience.

Le Dung, 25, model for a clothing shop, Nov. 2, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/ Thanh Nga

Le Dung, 25, model for a clothing shop, Nov. 2, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/ Thanh Nga

"There are times when no one watches the livestream but I still have to act. Once, some customers asked me to try over 50 outfits in a stream. Even though I was tired, I still had to act happy," Dung said.

Phan Thi Hien, CEO of a company specializing in training livestream models and streamers, stated that this category of modeling job first appeared five years ago, but only recently became popular a year ago. Since June, her company has accepted over 40,000 new learners.

"Some have a good appearance and know how to act in front of a camera, but they don’t want to be an online seller, so they turn to livestream modeling," Hien said.

However, the CEO shared that clothing brands are demanding more of these livestream models nowadays. The models have to be flexible when interacting with the viewers, such as knowing how to talk about the product to promote it, or talk about the sizing to help customers act on their impulse to buy. At the very least, they should know how to interact with viewers and create a rapport with the audience.

"Those who want to do this job can earn a few hundred thousand to a few million dong (VND1 million = $41.2) per hour, depending on their appearance and capability," Hien said.

Nguyen To Nhu, the 36-year-old owner of a clothing shop in Hanoi, said that ever since she hired a livestream model for her TikTok channel, her revenue has increased each month, with some streams bringing her VND200-300 million each.

"To freshen things up, I’ll hire a different model for each livestream. I pay an additional VND3-4 million for a livestream that lasts three or four hours, not to mention sometimes I have to pay the model a 5-10% commission on the product or total revenue of the stream," she said.

Nhu said that if someone is new to selling on TikTok or other platforms, they should hire a reliable and popular livestream model to attract viewers.

Even though the salary of this job is fairly high and stable, livestream models also have their own occupational diseases. According to Le Dung, this usually manifests in dermatitis from an allergic reaction to particles on the clothes, swollen feet from having to wear heels for an extended period of time, as well as an irregular eating and sleeping schedules.

"I want to be the one selling the products myself so I can earn a higher commission, but I have to keep my voice and health for my main job as an MC," Dung said.

Le Thuy, a 23-year-old office worker in Hanoi, said that she usually works as a livestream model for cosmetic and eyewear shops on the weekends, earning VND500,000-700,000 per hour. For her work with the eyewear shop, she usually has to put on layers of heavy makeup each stream, and she once had an allergic reaction to face powder that lasted months.

Dr. Le Hoanh Su from Ho Chi Minh City University of Economics and Law, and a member of the Vietnam E-Commerce Association, said that livestream modeling is a good job to earn some money, but it is usually only short-term. If the models want to develop themselves in this occupation, they should learn sales skills so they can also become online sellers.

"Currently, this kind of modeling job does not require any specialized skills, but in two or three years, these models will also need to know how to sell," the specialist said.

Model Phuong Thao, 24, tries on products at online customers’ request, Oct. 31, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nga

Model Phuong Thao, 24, tries on products at online customers’ request, Oct. 31, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nga

After three months as a livestream model, Phuong Thao, a 24-year-old Hanoian, quit her office job in pursuit of becoming a model full-time. She said her VND7 million salary as an employee in communications was not enough to pay her rent and monthly costs of living.

On the other hand, she earns VND20 million working as a livestream model for four to five hours every day thanks to her friendly face and charisma.

At the moment, she also works in a sales position with brands she’s modeling for to earn a 20% commission on the total revenue of each stream.

"Even though this job doesn’t have set hours and I have to be flexible according to the shops’ needs, I’m determined to seize this opportunity to make money while I’m still young and have the power to do so," Thao said.

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