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Alternative modeling is a branch of the modeling industry that features models who do not conform to mainstream ideals of beauty. Alternative models are often niche-specific, with a personal style that represents subcultures like goth, burlesque, latex, and fetishism. An alternative model may, for example, be tattooed, pierced, or have body modifications, or have distinctively subcultural hair such as being shaved, dyed a distinctively unnatural color, or styled into a mohawk or dreadlocks. Alternative modeling can be clothed or unclothed.
Alternative modeling was given substantial mainstream media coverage in the last decade, partly through the creation and popularization of community-based alternative modeling sites, like GodsGirls and SuicideGirls. Alternative modeling community sites promoted their models for their personality as well as for their looks and portfolio.
Alternative models are often employed to promote niche products, either in shops or online, particular subcultural clothing shops and websites.
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