Are you a teenager who has always dreamed of becoming a model?
Even if you are still at school, there are ways in which you can work towards following your dreams, all the while completing your studies. There are certain steps involved, but with the right mindset, the support of your family and friends, a good portfolio, and the know-how when it comes to agencies, it is a dream that can become a reality!
How to become a teen model?
Well, it may be easier than you think, so let’s find out how to give yourself the best chance to make it in the intense world of teen modeling.
- How To Be A Teen Model?
- What Do I Need To Know?
- The Right Personality Type
- Have You Got Supportive Parents?
- What Type Of Model Do You Aspire To Be?
- Creating Your Portfolio
- Any Other Points For A Good Portfolio?
- Putting Yourself Out There
- Top 7 US Modeling Agencies That Take on Teens
- Need Some Money to Help Fund Your Modeling Dreams?
- Final Thoughts
How To Be A Teen Model?
Models are everywhere, from TV advertisements to magazines, from the front cover right through to the back. They grace bus stop posters and are all over Instagram, Facebook, and other types of social media, not to mention all the in-store campaigns for fashion, department stores, and car dealerships. These models have been specifically chosen to inspire you into buying certain sports equipment or jewelry, food, and electronics.
When it comes to modeling, there is no specific skill set you need to have on board already. Modeling is a learn-as-you-go process, and as long as you fit into a certain look, are photogenic, and have the right attitude and attributes, you are well on your way.
While there is a tonne of modeling schools around to help teach you deportment, being at ease with the camera and pliable to the creative director’s wants and needs. It is an unnecessary cost and use of time, as most agencies prefer newbies with no experience whatsoever. This way, you won’t have to unlearn anything set by a school, and you can be molded to their way of doing things.
Modeling schools tend to be a bit “old skool” and rather expensive, and yet cannot guarantee any work after your expensive placement has finished. Instead, following my simple yet effective guidelines could well solidify your place in the exciting world of fashion and modeling.
What Do I Need To Know?
Before attempting to throw yourself into the colorful world of teen modeling, you must ensure you have checked off the following five points. If you organize yourself according to these, then it will ensure you are giving yourself the best shot at modeling success. Plus, it will give you massive insight as to whether this is something you are cut out to do!
Do you have the right personality type?
Ask yourself if you have the right personality for the harsh world of modeling. You are going to need thick skin and a unique or interesting look to catch the eye of a scout. Plus, a busload of confidence to make your shoots sizzle.
Are your parents supportive?
Make sure your parents are on board; as a teen, you will most likely be under the age of 18 and will need parental consent for most things.
What kind of model do you want to be?
Research the type of modeling you are interested in, whether it be fashion, make-up, hair modeling, hand modeling, runway modeling, etc. Make sure you find out as much as possible about it and also have your portfolio reflect your modeling interests.
Create an eye-catching portfolio
You will need to have put a great collection together of some stunning pics of yourself. Aim for some classic poses and try to mix them up with different backgrounds, clothes, hair, and makeup styles.
As a note, selfies and edited pics are a no-no. If you aren’t all that confident in what you can produce alone or with the help of family or friends, you might want to opt for a professional shoot to help get some great shots and build your confidence with it. But you should know this can be costly and really should only be a last resort.
Putting yourself out there
Now it’s time to get yourself noticed. Research the best modeling agencies in your area which fit your criteria and make an appointment to introduce yourself and your portfolio to them! Or try different avenues, like creating an online presence, and see who picks up your trail.
Did any of these resonate with you? Have you already got a few ticked off, or even covered all the points? That awesome! Next, let’s take a more in-depth explanation of each of the points. So, no matter if you are familiar with all or only some of them, it’s time to get a good grasp of the bigger picture.
The Right Personality Type
Modeling can be a frightening world if you can’t use your voice, stand up for yourself and firmly set and stick to your boundaries. You should possess self-confidence, have a bit of sass, some pep in your step, and some fire in your belly. You don’t need to be an extrovert or the loudest in the room per se. But modeling agencies and photographers alike can pick up on meek, unconfident people and might not even give you a second look.
However, if you have a certain look and camera presence, are confident, plus have done some research as to the type of modeling you are interested in doing, this will go a long way. The modeling world is fast-paced and vibrant. And it’s perfectly okay to have no experience. In fact, this is preferred by most model scouts. However, you want to make sure you know a thing or two about what type of model you desire to be, and all the enthusiasm in the world!
Is it really what you want to do?
Additionally, it’s best to be a realist and ask yourself if you are truly okay to be doing this on a casual or part-time basis. To still know that it’s important to keep up with your schooling and not be set on modeling being your career. The world of fashion and modeling is very glamorous and enticing, yet the darker, less glamourous side you don’t hear too much about is the impersonal casting calls, constant rejection (as there are so many applicants for so few jobs), the long hours and exhausting, sometimes conflicting schedules.
Yet, who knows what might happen?! You might be just what someone is looking for and take to it like a duck to water! However, it’s always best to set yourself realistic goals, as there are thousands of applicants daily. On the flip side, the money is good, it is a very interesting career, and you will get to do lots of fun shoots, wear some cool clothes, meeting some exciting and inspiring people, all the while making some good money.
Have You Got Supportive Parents?
As an aspiring teen who wants to enter the world of modeling, it is super important for your parents to be in your corner.
There is a tonne of reasons why you will need them. From needing them to sign contracts and parental consent forms if you are under 18. To helping you navigate a good balance between school and work assignments. There might also be some upfront costs that they might need to help you with while you follow your dreams.
What is the best way to do this?
Sit down with one or both of your parents and tell them what it is you want to do. Tell them how you aspire to be a teen model. Make them aware of all the planning and research you have done and how you see it potentially working out. This will be a serious conversation as if you are successful, it might impact your studies and schooling.
A career in modeling doesn’t just happen after school hours and on weekends. Some shoots can be long and set over a few days. While others might be booked last minute and require a calm and dedicated parent to help navigate school and career responsibilities. Explain to them how serious and passionate you are about this and express the importance of their support on this journey.
What Type Of Model Do You Aspire To Be?
There is a tonne of different types of modeling categories out there. Do you know what you would prefer to do? If you’re not quite sure yet, here are some examples and a little explanation of some of these categories.
Fashion Model (Editorial)
Fashion models can also be called “Editorial” or “Print” models. This type of modeling can be glamorous and super interesting as the model and photographer and trying to tell a story through the pictures.
Have you heard the phrase “A picture tells a thousand words”? This is exactly what editorial shots are all about, showcasing clothing, accessories, makeup, and hair trends, and is the most lucrative and sought-after fashion photography model work.
Runway or Catwalk Model
Runway models or catwalk models are not usually working in studios or behind closed doors. These types of models take to the catwalk in fashion shows and light up the stages! Working in live situations carries its own set of rules and regulations, and this category is hard to break into. There are a few specific requirements, including height and general body shape. Being taller and skinnier is what they are looking for here.
Commercial or Catalog Model
Being a commercial model is one of the easiest modeling fields to get into. Commercial or catalog models come in all different shapes, sizes, heights, ethnic backgrounds, and ages and can be modeling anything from clothes to homewares, travel, or food. This type of modeling can cross over between print, retail, television, and digital work. It can be live shoots if televised based or closed call sets. The options and opportunities are endless!
At first, you might think of a Fit Model as short for Fitness Model, But it is not! A fit model is actually a model that works directly with designers and manufacturers to provide a standardized body size to help with creating the right fit for different sizes. This includes ensuring each clothing item has the ideal fit, draping, and movement for each size it is made in.
Nope, this is not about car or computer parts. A parts model is someone who has a very beautiful feature like hands, feet, legs, ears, or face and is hired for these unique features!
For instance, a hand model might be hired for digital work on some gorgeous rings and bracelets for a diamond company. Therefore he or she will have to have beautifully cared for and flawless skin and well-kept nails. Or a face model will have flawless skin and great natural features for advertising makeup or beauty products.
If you are a gym enthusiast and pride yourself on having a strong able body, then you might be better suited as a fitness model. Working with creators of athletic wear, sports equipment, supplements, and health foods, the fitness model industry is fiercely competitive and in high demand.
Swimsuit and Lingerie Model
Swimsuit and lingerie models can walk on runways, and do editorial or commercial shoots. This is not glamour modeling though it is often mistaken for it. Swimsuit models also need to take a keen interest in nutrition and working out to keep their desired shape for modeling lingerie, sleepwear, and swimsuits.
These are a handful of categories, and there are many more, including Free Lance Model, Child Model, Hair Model, Petite Model, Plus Size Model, Glamour Model, Mature Model, and many more.
Creating Your Portfolio
Now, this is where it starts to get fun! A modeling portfolio is a collection of pictures of yourself. You want your portfolio to tell a little story of yourself. Like who you are as a person, your sense of style, etc.
Usually set out in a binder containing plastic sleeves to display your photos that can easily be flipped through, nothing too crazy and certainly not expensive. You will also want to create a digital portfolio in case you need to submit applications online. Or so you have it in a hard drive and on hand if a creative director asks for it during an interview.
Keep it simple…
When you are first starting out, it is not necessary to pay for a professional to take a bunch of shots. Modeling agencies tend to prefer more natural, everyday shots of teens and newbies. This is because they want to see your natural look and how photogenic you are!
As I’m sure you already know, people can look very different in real life compared to a photograph, so scouts are always keen to see how this might differ. They are also very interested in the color, texture, and length of your hair. The color of your eyes and the tone of your skin. Plus, your height, body type, and facial structure.
Body type plays an important role in what type of model you will be best suited for. For example, if you have long legs and are rather tall, you might be perfect for walking the runway. Whereas if you have a long body, you might be better suited for lingerie and catalog work. You might have beautiful hands or ears, something you’ve not even really considered before, but it caught the eyes of your casting call, and they might wish to try you out at hand modeling!
The facial structure also plays an integral role in what type of modeling you might best suit. For example, a make-up or beauty model, catalog, or extra type of model. Facial structure includes features like a pronounced chin, high cheekbones, large eyes, and the shape of your nose. Also, the shape of your face can play a big role. You might have a heart shape, an oval or square-shaped face which could be exactly what they seek for a specific project!
Mix it up…
Therefore with your portfolio, it is always best to include a mix of headshots, close-ups, side profiles, waist-up shots, and full-length body shots. But just don’t overdo it. A dozen quality pictures are far more impactful than ten pages of average ones. A good rule of thumb for choosing pics? If you are unsure of it, then don’t include it. Only go with the ones you are 100% confident and happy with.
Try to include a mix of styles and poses. One close-up where you are completely natural, with your hair in its natural state. Another with your hair pulled back off your face. While another can be a simply made-up face and an upstyle hairdo. Another with a close-up of your side profile. Have one full-length one in form-fitting clothing (not lingerie or swimsuits) so your body type and proportions can be easily seen. As well as full-length in different styles, yet form-fitting clothes.
Also, don’t wear makeup in most of them, and it’s a no to big accessories or items that distract from seeing the real you. You don’t want to be smiling in most of them either, a natural face, in both expression and free from makeup, is highly sought after.
You really don’t need that many pics to start…
If you feel you don’t have enough pictures, honestly, don’t worry about it. Simply ensure you have five to ten good shots. One of the perks of doing modeling shots is you get copies of some of your pictures to add to your portfolio! So as the work comes rolling in, your portfolio and experience will grow. It’s a win-win!
Any Other Points For A Good Portfolio?
Absolutely there is. You will want to make a note of your stats so that your interviewer can not only see you in person but see your measurements already written down. You might want to include a page with the following details –
- Age & Date Of Birth
- Eye Color
- Hair Color and Natural Texture
- Cup Size
- Shoe Size
- Bust Measurement
- Hip Measurement
- Waist Measurement
Putting Yourself Out There
Now that you have rallied the support of your family, decided what avenue of modeling you’d like to pursue as a teen, and put together an awesome portfolio. It’s time to put yourself out there!
The best way to arrange an appointment is at a modeling agency. Again, you must do your research when it comes to sorting through the hundreds of agencies around. Check out the main ones in your city and read the reviews left by others. If you live in a small town without any options, a lot of reputable agencies allow you to submit applications online. This is where going digital with your portfolio will be super helpful!
It’s important to note any online applications will most likely require your body measurements, including your height, weight, bust, hip, and waist measurements, shoe size, hair type, and bra cup size. So make sure you have these to hand as well.
Top 7 US Modeling Agencies That Take on Teens
There are many modeling agencies around, but as a teen, it’s always best to focus on companies that specialize in taking on the younger, nonexperienced generations. Check out these top seven teen-friendly modeling agencies around the US today.
LA Models/LA Talent
LA Models are based in Los Angels, the city of Angels, and are renowned for child and teen representations. Open calls are not available for children aged 15 or below, so an online application with suitable photos and measurements is required.
All online applications must be submitted by a parent for those under the age of 18, and no submissions are accepted for anyone under 13 years of age. However, they do offer open casting calls on specific days for teens aged 16 and above and are highly successful in commercial and fashion model representation.
Future Faces – Locations in New York City and Miami
Future Faces is a teen modeling and talent agency that specializes in teens and younger children entering the industry. They have two locations in the US and also take online submissions if you aren’t based in New York or Miami and can easily make a casting call.
Bella Agency Model & Talent – Located in Los Angeles
Bella has been in business for over a decade and has greater representations of both teens and adults alike. They are also big on managing social media influencers, so if you have built up a good following, this with be a huge plus on to your application!
TL Modeling Agency – Located in Houston, Texas
TL Modeling agency prides itself on being big on representing southern talent. They mainly work in print and catwalk-style modeling, and leave all clients open to working with other agencies for more exposure if they so wish. If you are based in or around the great state of Texas, then this is the agency to enquire with!
Otto Models – Los Angeles
Otto Models Agency is a well-connected company that facilitates teen models along with adults to fulfill their dreams of becoming a model and working in the industry. They are partnered with companies all over the world and are known for scouting teens and helping assist them on their journey in the wide world of fashion and modeling.
Generation Model Management
Generation Model Management has been representing children in the world of modeling for almost 40 years. They specialize in children between the ages of 3 to 15 and understand the importance of parental support for kids wanting to pursue this type of career from an early age.
Wilhelmina Kids & Teens
Wilhelmina Kids & Teens aims to teach children and their families about modeling and what it all entails. All the while encouraging them to become the best version of themselves. Confidence, happiness, and self-empowerment are what this company promotes, and who can ask for more than that when it comes to inspiring children and teens?
As a side note, there are many “fake scouts” around touting they are representatives from exclusive agencies, yet are not. These are scammers who may intend to do you harm or cheat you out of a lot of money. You should NEVER have to pay to submit an application as a model. You should also NEVER have to pay to attend a casting call.
If you have been asked to provide shots where you are in lingerie, a bikini, or that are nude, DON’T! That is also a huge red flag, as modeling agencies will NEVER ask for these types of shots. Be smart and make sure you are protecting yourself from these fraudsters.
Should My Portfolio Have A Mix Of Digital and Print?
Absolutely. Nowadays, mostly everything has gone digital! So it’s always best to be able to present a hard copy of your portfolio when meeting potential jobs in person. Yet, if you can apply online or send in applications over email, having them already digitalized will save you a lot of time. As you’ll be able to include your awesome portfolio every time, with just a few clicks on your computer!
What Is A Composite Card?
A composite card is just like a business card, but for models! It normally has a headshot picture along with a full-length shot of your choosing. Plus, it contains all of your stats, including name, age, height, weight, body measurements, hair, and eye color. They are also called “Comp” or “Zed cards.”
Should I Get Comp Cards?
When you first dip your toe into the teen modeling world, they aren’t necessary. However, when you start to book a few jobs and are getting lots of casting calls, then yes, absolutely get yourself down to a print shop and create some eye-catching comp cards.
Should I Get Professional Photos Done?
We don’t recommend getting professional photos done when you are first starting out. Camera phones and selfies are part of every teenager’s agenda these days, so it shouldn’t be too hard to get some great, creative shots with the help of a tripod, your bestie, or your family, who are backing your journey every step of the way.
However, if you feel like you aren’t getting the right pics and do decide to get a few photos with a pro. Make sure you have a good chat with the first and let them know you only need three to six snaps in the end. Not a complete portfolio, as that, can get super expensive!
Remember that diverse looks and styles make a great portfolio. Future employers will instantly see that all your snaps are done by a professional and might be left wondering where your creative prowess has gone…
What Shots Are Best For A Teen Model Portfolio?
You want your portfolio to showcase a variety of images, from headshots to full-length ones. Some with makeup or glamour/beauty-style photos, purveying different moods. Yet others with a completely natural look, including varying expressions and poses.
You want to show your sense of style in some, show off your physical attributes and facial features. A diverse selection of pictures will allow the creative directors to see you in different ways, and will always be more readily accepted than that with ten similar pics.
Need Some Money to Help Fund Your Modeling Dreams?
Then getting yourself a part-time job could come in very handy, so check out our guides on Good Jobs for Teens, the best Online Jobs for Teens, and the Best Fast Food Jobs for Teens. Or, you might be wondering Can Teens Work at Two Jobs, or How Much Can a Teenager Work In A Week?
Or how about finding out How to Become a Teenage Dog Walker, How To Become A Teenage Tutor, How to Become a Teenage Video Game Tester, How to Become a Teen Artist, How to Become a Teenage Survey Taker, How To Become A Teen Golf Caddy, or How to Become a Teenage Sports Referee?
And for even more options, take a look at the best Job Apps for Teens in 2023.
The world of modeling is fast-paced and can be brutal for any number of reasons. Your schedule could be on overload with all of your school commitments alongside some newly emerging career appointments.
However, with the right attitude and support from your family, you could be right on track to your dream job! Keep in mind everything I have mentioned, and make sure you research, research, and do even more research! Get yourself fully prepared for when you are ready (along with the help of your awesome parents) to start submitting online applications or attending casting calls for teen models.
The very best of luck with your exciting modeling career!