Sure, making $125 an hour is comparable to what some doctors make per hour, however, they make that kind of money under steady circumstances whereas modeling is unpredictable. You probably will not have a model who works 5 days a week for 8 hours making a steady $125 an hour. Not only do you have to rely on photographers having that kind of cash to pay you, but you are also giving up other great benefits that you get when you're employed. If you are a freelance model you will not be provided with health insurance coverage, paid time off and vacation days, or retirement. Plus when you model you have to do all your tax collecting and paying, which means reporting your earnings and managing your expenses with that. So no, not all the money you make is yours, you do have to pay taxes.
And don't even get me started on the old argument "Well college costs money". Classes, book, and supplies all add up to THOUSANDS of dollars --I know this all too well. But so does modeling. If you want to be a great well known model, unless you're born with absolute perfect (or near perfect) features, you'll find yourself paying out a lot of money to make yourself more "perfect".
Now you might not necessarily do this just because of modeling, you might just do it because you want to. Either way though, you're still paying out large sums of money, quite comparable to what a student may be paying for college education. Lets look at a list of some beauty treatments a lot of models get to help them out with their modeling:
The biggest one: boob jobs and according to this site boob jobs in America average around $5,000-10,000. That could buy you at least a semester or two of college full time! (not including Harvard or Yale, however.) If you have the boobs you can lack in many other aspects and you'll still get so popular. This really annoys me because I see it all the time; you don't even have to be a good model, if you have big boobs you'll make it way farther way quicker than those who don't. Hence why so many girls are opting to get the reconstructive surgery done.
Next in line of popularity, which also falls under the same category of boob jobs, would be body modification. This includes the all-too-popular tattoos and piercings. With the increase of alternative style modeling, a lot of people are choosing to get tattoos and piercings. I don't need to go into price for this because it's unique depending on the parlor you go to. Obviously you get what you pay for though. Sure you can get a $10 tattoo, but it might start fading in a few weeks. Be prepared to spend at least a few hundred on a nice tattoo.
You'll need to take care of yourself if you want to be a successful model, so that also includes taking care of your nails, skin, teeth, and hair. Not too expensive right? Wrong.
Hair: salon hair cut (roughly $25), salon hair dying and highlighting (roughly $65-over $100 plus tipping), and let's not forget that you'll need to be getting touch ups every few weeks. You'll also be investing in the hair products needed to keep your hair looking great such as shampoo, conditioner, hot oil treatments, hair straighteners, curlers, accessories like clips and ties. It all adds up. You don't have to go to a salon to get your hair done, but keep in mind that like tattoos, you do get what you pay for...unless of course your sister or mum is a hair stylist, then fair enough.
One thing to also consider about the hair category is body hair, including eyebrows (eyebrows should always be waxed or plucked for formality). If I had the money I would go and get my leg hair laser treated because personally, I can't stand when my leg hair starts getting stubbly by 5'oclock. Body hair can be managed several ways such as the obvious shaving, the less obvious waxing, and the new alternative of laser removal. All three of these can be pretty expensive, and unfortunately, laser treatments are not only expensive, they're long and painful, plus you'd need several treatments, and after all that the hair isn't guaranteed to stay away forever, so you'll probably have to go back in for touch ups from time to time. Laser removal is better for thinning the hair rather than completely getting rid of it. Where I'm local to, it's about $120 for one hour of treatment with a laser and that's for a small area of skin, like armpits, and like I said I would have to go in for several treatments afterwords. I've read online some women have paid over $2,000 for one treatment of full body laser hair removal. Your local spa will most likely offer laser and waxing treatments so you can check them for prices. *Keep in mind that shaving and waxing can lead to ingrown hair, which not only looks unsightly, but can also lead to infection which needs medical attention. Read more below about other skin conditions and how they can be managed.*
Skin: skin is a broad spectrum, so I'll cover what I personally find most important regarding the topic... This can include getting birthmarks and moles removed or covered by expensive concealer, stretch mark, scars, and cellulite treatment (usually via laser), getting any rashes and warts managed, wrinkle treatments (laser, botox, medicine, and any other alternatives), and any visible skin imperfections such as but not limited to dark under eye circles, ingrown hair, and acne. Most of these can be managed by laser treatments, medicinal cream, or surgically, but obviously anything involving cosmetic medical procedures will not be covered by typical health insurance so you can expect to pay a very high price out of pocket for treatments. A rough average cost of laser skin treatments can be found on WebMD here. *Note, you can find alternative treatments for a lot of the above, however, you should always consult a doctor first before researching and starting ANY treatment.*
It's also recommended that you should take care of your skin in the best way possible. Don't clog your pores with cheap makeup and body products, do detox your skin with face masks and facials.
Nails: fairly enough, you can probably get away with not having to get your nails done as long as you take care of them. But it does look better and more feminine when nails are done, and at VERY LEAST, painted. If you already go and get your nails did then you are already aware of how expensive it is. Where I'm from you can expect to get your nails done very basically starting at $35 and going up in price from there.
Teeth: Though most people have teeth covered in their heath care plan, and they have most major teeth treatments done as a child or teen (braces, fillings, and pulled teeth), it's still really important to take care of your teeth by not only brushing at least twice a day, but flossing, gargling, and whitening are recommended as well. Since teeth stain over the years it is almost going to be mandatory to whiten them by the time of adulthood. Whitening can happen in several ways, listed from least to most effective, brushing and gargling with whitening products, applying whitening strips/gel that can be purchased through dentists or possibly online, and laser whitening which can be done via certain dentists. According to this site, laser treatments average about $500 per treatment, usually needing more than one treatment as well as doing treatments at home not included in the laser price. *Do keep in mind that teeth whitening can and sometimes will weaken your teeth enamel. It is highly recommended that you speak with your dentist before starting any whitening treatments to make sure your teeth are healthy enough to sustain the harsh chemicals.*
If your teeth are not in great shape, talk to your dentist about what treatments you may need. This can include getting teeth pulled, filled, capping, and wearing braces or retainers.
Now you have the secondary costs of modeling:
Makeup: Since makeup costs varies so widely person to person, I can't really give a general price. But what I can say is that makeup is extremely expensive, again, you get what you pay for though. You can get makeup at the Dollar Store, but it will be Dollar Store quality and it will probably wreak havoc on your skin, causing blocked pores and acne, as well as possibly irritating the skin, leading to allergies and rashes. As you can imagine, more-expensive healthier alternatives are out there; try to buy natural hypo-allergenic makeup. You can find some on E-bay.
Clothing: Most of the time you will have to provide your own clothing for shoots, and it's hard to get away with constantly reusing the same outfits. Once in a while you might be able to find something nice in a charity shop, or if you have the skills you can even make your own outfits. But I personally just find it easier and less time consuming to buy things. Over the course of my modeling career (2 years) I've had to invest over thousands of dollars in just clothing for shoots. An example of why this can be so expensive: imagine you want to do a steampunk themed shoot, you then need to buy a full steampunk outfit (mine has costed over $400) plus the props to go with it. That is only ONE outfit. You get the point. So unless your photographer provides all the clothing, you'll be paying out for outfits.
Working out/life style changes: If you want to be a good model I highly recommend you keep your body in shape. This could possibly mean getting a gym membership. My gym membership is $80 a month. Plus eating healthy seems to come at a higher cost than eating junk food. I can buy a $1 burger at McDonalds or I can buy a $4 salad instead... What sounds more tempting? The burger. However, sometimes it's better to resist the temptation and instead go for the more expensive and healthier choice.
Transport: You need to get to your shoots don't you? How are you getting there? A car, bus, train, or taxi? All of these add up. Cars are obviously very expensive because not only do you have to pay for the car itself, you also have to pay for the gas, the repairs, and the insurance on it. Insurance on my car is over $100 a month.
Modeling can be a great hobby, however as I've said I would not recommend it as a career or an alternative to going to college (unless you know you'll make millions from it). Remember, having a career = insurance, benefits, vacation days, steady income, etc, whereas freelance modeling = nothing for certain.