How to Start a Teenage Modeling Career

By Faith Schuster

Many young women dream about becoming a model. The prospect of being the center of attention, wearing designer clothing and having their hair and makeup done professionally is alluring, as is the potential to become wealthy and famous. The reality is that modeling certainly can be a glamorous experience, but it is also fiercely competitive.

How to Start a Teenage Modeling Career

Have realistic expectations and a healthy self-confidence before you pursue a modeling career. The modeling industry can be extremely picky and fickle. The "look" that is hip and trendy at the moment could be passe a month from now. Sometimes it's truly a matter of luck and timing. Just bear in mind that no matter how tall or beautiful or personable you may be, there is no guarantee of success.

Learn about the different types of modeling. Not everyone is tall and thin enough to be a runway model. But the modeling industry has a place for many body types. Some agencies represent petite models, plus-size models and fitness models, too. Some also hire models for catalog and advertising work. And the popularity of commercial modeling has increased in recent years as the need for models who look like "real people" increases. Commercial models work toward promoting a product or idea. The concept can vary greatly, which means that these models aren't limited to having a certain "look" and can be found in all shapes and sizes.

Have your parents hire a professional photographer to take a series of head shots and full body images. The photographer does not have to be a fashion photographer. In fact, these photos can be taken at a shopping mall photography studio. The point of these pictures is to show you looking natural. Keep your clothing, makeup and hairstyle simple. The background of the photos should not be brash or distracting.

Watch out for scams and always have your parents or a trusted adult with you at any modeling calls or "go sees" that you find online, in magazines or in the newspaper. Unscrupulous people and companies will try to take advantage of young women who have dreams of modeling. They may try to get you to purchase overpriced photography packages or implore you to sign up for expensive and unnecessary "modeling school" memberships. Some scammers even host "open calls" for models during the weekends or unconventional hours in a non-office setting. Others try to lure young women through websites that promise modeling success. Legitimate modeling agencies typically work on a 9 to 5 schedule at their offices. Their websites are purely informational and do not try to sell you anything. Reputable agencies earn their money by signing models and taking a commission from any jobs the models are hired to do.

Send your professional photographs to modeling agencies in your area. Research them first by ensuring that they are members of the Better Business Bureau and have a clean track record. Be sure to include your name, age, height, weight, clothing size and shoe size on the back of each photograph, as well as your contact information. If any agency is interested in representing you, it will contact you to arrange for an interview. If you are hired, the agency will send you to casting calls and on "go-sees" for potential jobs.

About the Author

Faith Schuster is a freelance writer from New England whose craft, gardening and lifestyle articles have appeared in newspaper, print and online publications for more than 10 years. She holds a degree in English from the University of Hartford.