About Teen Modeling

Fashion modeling may seem like a glamorous career choice, but teen models face intense competition for available work. The modeling industry also has unscrupulous individuals who try to play upon the dreams of naive young people.

Fashion modeling may seem like a glamorous career choice, but teen models face intense competition for available work. With this competition comes many threats to a teenager’s already vulnerable self esteem. The modeling industry also has unscrupulous individuals who try to play upon the dreams of naive young people. Beginners are susceptible to these types of individuals, and if it is your first time pursuing teen modeling jobs, there are many things to be aware of in the process. An aspiring teen model should familiarize his or herself with the basic requirements for professional models in order to avoid falling prey to a modeling scam.

Agency vs. School

All teen models need to understand the difference between a modeling agency and a modeling school. Agencies such as Wilhelmina Model Management, Elite Models, Ford Modeling Agency and IMG Models hire models for paying jobs. All modeling agencies must have a license and most will schedule casting calls during standard business hours.

Schools take money to train aspiring models, teach them new skills, and charge for supplementary services like a modeling portfolio of professional photos/headshots or a model website. Models, regardless of their age, should remember that it's not necessary to hand over a credit card to secure paying jobs.

Age Requirements

The major modeling agencies generally require that models be at least 14 years of age. Parental consent is mandatory for all models under 18 years of age. Minors do not have the legal capacity to sign contracts or make business decisions on their own behalf.

Height Requirements

Professional models are significantly taller than typical teen girls. The Elite Models website states that models that are age 14 or 15 must be between 5'7" and 6'0" tall. Girls who are age 16 to 22 must be between 5'9 and 6'0". The Wilhelmina Model Management website says that all models must be at least 5'8". Ford Modeling does not list specific height requirements for its open calls, but asks models to provide their height, weight and full measurements.

Note:‌ With uncontrollable factors such as height, a 16 year old who is told she doesn’t have the long legs needed for a modeling job might start to feel insecure about her body. The fashion industry can be a ruthless place, and matters concerning physical appearance are of utmost importance in the world of modeling. If your teen wants to pursue modeling, it’s a good idea to prepare him or her for rejection and instill in their mind that this has nothing to do with their beauty or worth.

Weight Requirements

Modeling agencies generally do not have specific weight requirements for their teen models. It is true that models are thinner than the typical teenage girl, but there has been a growing effort to make sure that professional teen models remain healthy. Wolf's Models Guide reports that Israel has required all models to have a minimum Body Mass Index of 18.5 since 2012. A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. The same year, all editors of the various international editions of Vogue pledged to work only with healthy models.

Portfolio Requirements

Aspiring teen models don't need to spend thousands of dollars for a professional portfolio of photos. Professional hair and makeup services are also not necessary. Wilhelmina Model Management's online submission form explicitly states that professional photos are unnecessary and that models do not need to wear makeup in their submitted photos. The agency requests one clear body shot and one clear face shot. Ford has four categories of photos requested on its online submission page: full length, waist up, shoulder up - forward and shoulder up or 3/4 profile. IMG's website requests that models submit shots taken outside in natural lighting with the model wearing a basic color top and bottom.

So, if you are just getting started, no need to worry about hiring stylists or makeup artists right off the bat.

It’s important to remember that It isn’t a linear line straight from creating your portfolio to walking the catwalk at a fashion show; a modeling career takes commitment and determination. With the rise in social media usage, there is more competition for aspiring models than ever before. It’s a good idea for teenage models to play around with their own photo shoots with friends if they are considering getting into modeling. Start at a place where you know you’re comfortable—Los Angeles will wait if that’s your ultimate goal!

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