Teenage Modeling

Stacy Zeiger
Stacey Acevero

Do you often daydream about modeling in front of the bright lights of cameras? Do you want to be the center of attention as you show off the latest designs or products? If you have the passion and vision to become a model, it's time to stop daydreaming and start turning your dreams into reality.

Tips for Getting Started in the Modeling Industry

Many teens want to become a model, but many don't follow through with it because they don't believe it will ever happen. With hard work and dedication, however, you can make it happen. It won't just happen out of the blue. According to a successful model, Stacey Avecero, "modeling isn't about luck, but rather hard work and commitment."

Your Body and Health

The good news is that you don't have to worry about your body type when it comes to modeling as a teenager. Throw out all of the images you have in your mind of the unhealthy, skinny looking models in the magazines you've been looking at for years. It's not what modeling agencies are looking for now, according to Acevero. You need to be at a healthy weight, which you can find out by visiting your primary care physician, she says.

The one thing that Acevero points out that can hold you back is severe acne. However, you can visit your dermatologist for treatment. If you have a mild case, she advises that it's important to take care of your face with proper hygiene, nutrition and exercise. To hide a couple of pimples, cover it up with make-up.

Type of Modeling

When you think of modeling, you might think of runways, fashions shows and high profile magazines. However, the reality is, there are lots of modeling gigs for clothing catalogs and other type products that teens can get. Maybe you want to be walking the catwalk, but don't shy away from casual gigs, especially when you're just starting out. These gigs require models with all different body types and looks and can be easier for teens to get.

Tips for Creating a Portfolio

Stacey Acevero

Your portfolio is your first impression to modeling agencies, so you want to give them your best. It can be expensive to create a portfolio; however, there are ways to cut cost:

  • Seek out amateur photographers
  • Call local community colleges/universities with photography departments
  • Contact local art schools to be a lighting or art model

Know too that sometimes it's okay to have a simple headshot and body shot. Models build their portfolios over time, so don't feel like you have to have the professional package done right up front.

Taking Picture Perfect Photos

Not sure what to do when you get in front of the camera? It can be intimidating if you haven't been in front of a camera for modeling photos, especially since these will be to highlight your talent to perspective clients.

Do:

  • Start in the mirror, before you get to the photo shoot. Try out different poses and find ones that you like best so you know what to do when you get there. Use all of your limbs and don't be afraid to try something different.
  • Have a professional take photos of you, not your best friend or family member unless they can take incredibly clear and well-planned pictures.
  • Have several shots taken: a headshot, a full front shot and a side view shot.
  • You can have make-up on for the headshot, but don't wear make-up in the other two shots.
  • Wear snug fitting clothing for your photos, but not too tight. You want to look classy, not trashy.
  • Remove any piercings that aren't earrings for your photos.
  • Have a nice haircut done prior to your picture shoot so you'll look your best.
  • Wear minimal make-up; the agents want to see the real you.
  • Make at least 10 copies of each of your photos so you have them to send out. These can be copied inexpensively at many retail stores and drug stores.

Don't:

  • Send grainy or out of focus photos to an agent.
  • Have someone take pictures of you with a lot of stuff in the background. It is too distracting.
  • Use props in your photos; the agents want to focus on you, not props.
  • Spend a lot of money on a photographer. You can have professional photos taken at your local Wal-Mart, K-Mart or other similar store photo studio.

Finding Work Through Modeling Agencies

This process will take you the most time and effort. Many people think that if they are attractive then the agents will find them. Not true! Agents look for models in specific places, and they won't come knocking on your door, even if you are drop-dead gorgeous. Models have to do the footwork if they want to get modeling jobs. This means doing the following:

  • Prepare your photos and a cover letter introducing yourself to agents.
  • Do an online search for modeling agencies. Many allow you to apply on their website. Apply to as many as you can for more exposure.
  • Send your packet with your photos and cover letter to the agents you have found. Always remember to include exactly what they want and follow directions because if you miss one thing, they may toss your application to the side.
  • Call agents to find out if they have any open calls so you can meet and greet prospective agents in person.
  • If you don't hear from them within two to three weeks, call to follow up to see if they received your information.

Keep in mind that you may not hear back from a modeling agency for many months, because they have many models, just like you, sending in applications every day. Stay patient and positive. Do not give up and keep applying. The more effort you put in, the bigger your rewards.

One word of caution: never go to see an agent or photographer without having someone with you. Unfortunately, many so-called modeling agencies and photographers want to take inappropriate photos of clients, especially of young teenage girls. Having a friend or family member with you will help to ensure that nothing bad happens

Avoiding Scams

There is no credentialing agency to oversee who can call themselves modeling agents. Anyone can say he or she is a modeling agent. For this reason, it is very important to protect yourself from scam artists. Be sure to avoid:

  • Agents who can't provide you with names of people who have landed jobs through them or show you some of their success stories, such as photos of individuals they represent on magazines
  • Anyone who wants you to spend hundreds of dollars on photos, usually from a photographer that he or she personally recommends
  • Agents who charge you a fee to have them represent you. Legitimate agents will get their fees when they land you a job
  • Agencies are now turning to Craigslist for new talent. You have to be careful with this website though because there are many scams on it and safety issues. Don't respond to any that you haven't checked out first, and don't meet anyone from Craigslist without having a grownup with you

Be Realistic

The modeling business is a dog-eat-dog world. There is no room for people who have huge egos or those that can't follow the rules of the business. Before you decide you want to try to be a model, remember that successful models give up a lot to be in the business. Modeling is hard. It may look glamorous, but it requires long hours in clothes you may not enjoy wearing and shoes that may not fit. You may find yourself modeling swimsuits in the freezing cold and wearing parkas in the summer. If you can grin and bear it, you may do well in this business. Visit modeling agencies' websites, and call some places about getting some portfolio photos made. Take care of yourself, and get ready to start your adventure as a teenage model.

Teenage Modeling