If you dream of becoming a model, and you're still a teenager, there are steps you can take to get started.
You'll need family support, photos to show to agencies, and knowledge of what modeling agencies are looking for and where they are located.
Keep in mind, however, that modeling is a dream for many, and the competition can be fierce.
Be honest with yourself and accept that it may or may not work out for you. With that in mind, you'll want to take the following steps in how to become a teenage model.
Get Your Parents in Your Corner
As a teenager, you will need the support of a parent, both parents, or your legal guardian.
Sit down with them and have a serious conversation. Convince them of how dedicated you are to pursing teen modeling.
There are many reasons you need their support. Modeling for teens can be a challenge since you are most likely still in school and will need help in finding ways to balance it all.
Bottom Line: there may be expenses involved once you do get started, and agencies will need their approval and signature on contracts if it gets to that point.
Consider What Photos You Will Need
To start, you do not need to spend hundreds of dollars on professional photos by a professional photographer.
The reason for this is that modeling agencies are looking to see the natural you. What is your facial structure, your hair length, your body type?
Your facial structure includes such things as a high forehead, pronounced cheekbones, or puffy lips.
What you may see as a fault, an agency may see as an asset, so don't try to cover or disguise it.
This is why a headshot of you wearing little to no makeup should be the first photo on your list.
Bottom Line: your body type may include long legs or a long torso. These features are good for modeling, and also for specific types of modeling, including runway.
This is why your second set of photos needs to focus on body shots, such as you wearing a swimsuit.
Your photos will also show how photogenic you are. How we look in person doesn't always look the same in photographs.
If you decide to do the more professional photo route, remember you don't need a whole portfolio full of photos.
Start with just the basics of headshots and body shots. If signed by an agency, then you will begin building your real portfolio, through professional photographers they recommend.
Consider What Is Needed to Become a Model
There are no hard and fast skills you have to have to become a teen model. As long as you have the physical attributes, the rest can be learned. Here are a few tips that may help.
Modeling school is not necessary
Modeling for teens is a learn-as-you-go process. You do not need to attend any type of modeling school to become a teen model.
Besides, many agencies prefer you have no experience in modeling at all.
A modeling school may try to mold you in a way that doesn't fit with the real modeling world.
Also, be aware that many of the modeling schools out there today are scams, requiring money upfront with no guarantees and nothing to back up their claims of success.
You do not need to an Extrovert
Modeling for teens can be scary at first, but with a little initiative, you can push past that fear.
If you are an introvert or shy, you can still be a model. One way to do this is, while posing for photos, imagine yourself somewhere else, doing something else. This is often helpful in calming your nerves.
Joining a drama group or taking acting lessons can help you with this as well. It's a good way to get you started until you build up your own confidence and comfortability with interacting.
You do need Confidence
While you don't have to be an extrovert, you do have to have confidence in yourself. Modeling for teens can be idealistic to begin with, but it will be the confidence in yourself that will take you where you want to go.
Bottom Line: if you do find your confidence waivers at times, don't fret. This can happen to anyone. Just remember your dream and those who are cheering for you.
You don't have to be an expert at everything in the beginning
There's no need to be an expert at makeup, hairstyles, posing in front of a camera, or fashion.
Knowing the basics of what works for your look, such as no makeup or only mascara, will be enough in the beginning.
Once you start modeling professionally, however, you will learn new skills. You may pick these up from the makeup artists, hairstylists, and fashion stylists you will work with.
Finding Legitimate Modeling Agencies for Teenage Models
All modeling agencies are not created equally. That is why researching modeling agencies is crucial. And even more so for teenage modeling.
You will want to look for credible reviews and testimonials to determine if each agency is legit and reputable. You will also want to determine how they go about recruiting new models.
Large, city-based agencies vs. Small, local agencies
Large, city-based modeling agencies are the most well-known and may have more connections to get your career off the ground.
There are other smaller boutique agencies out there that may be a better start for you.
For these, you will need to go the extra mile in determining what they offer, and who else they represent.
Bottom Line: local modeling agencies, especially in smaller towns, may sound enticing, but many are not legitimate. Any agency that requires you to pay money upfront is a scam, no matter what they promise you.
How to Get Noticed
The next step in your research is to learn about each agency's process for aspiring models. In other words, what steps do you need to take to present yourself to them.
This is a crucial step! If you go outside their guidelines, and say, stop by their office to personally drop off your photos, you will be frowned upon and most likely will be dismissed before you even have a second chance.
Most agencies have online application forms, with directions on how and what to submit. Their websites will also let you know if they have open casting calls.
These are usually on certain days, such as Tuesday and Thursday, and at certain times, such as between 2:00 and 4:00 pm.
Casting calls are unique opportunities not just to share your photos but also your personality.
Modeling agencies are branching out these days into different types of models, including shorter models and larger models.
However, the majority are still required to fit within certain heights (5'7 to 5"11), and weights. Again, do your research, especially if you fall outside these requirements.
In quick review:
- Visit modeling agency websites to learn about their specific requirements, and best ways to reach them, whether by online submission, email, or open casting call.
- Compile a list of the modeling agencies you want to work with the most. Don't be afraid to add to the list smaller or local modeling agencies that your research determines are reputable.
- Start applying.
Modeling Agencies for Teens
Now that you've done your research, compiled your snapshots, and obtained your parents' support, it's time for action. Below is a list of top modeling agencies for teens to help get you started.
Elite Model Management
Elite Model Management is one of the biggest modeling agencies in the world, with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and Toronto.
They provide an online submission form to get you started. Elite also conducts an annual competition, Elite Model Look, where even non-winners may go on to successful careers with them.
IMG Modeling Agency
IMG Modeling Agency is another one of the biggest modeling agencies in the world, with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Milan, Paris, London, and Sydney.
You can apply online. IMG also finds teen models on Instagram under its @WeLoveYourGenes (#WLYG) scouting campaign.
One of the biggest and perhaps most well-known agencies worldwide, Ford Modeling Agency, is based in New York City.
Ford's other offices can be found in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Paris. They allow online submissions, and some locations may have open casting calls.
With current offices in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, and London, Wilhelmina Models holds open casting calls, but not in all locations. You can also submit an application and photos online.
Next Model Management
Next Model Management is based in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Toronto, Montreal, London, Paris, and Milan. Apply online or call one of the offices and ask for their open casting call schedule.
Keep in mind there are several other modeling agencies out there, such as smaller, boutique agencies.
The advantage of getting with a bigger agency, however, is that they have the connections in the fashion industry to build your career.
Bottom Line: model agencies are becoming more and more creative in scouting for models these days, especially through social media.
While you can get noticed on these platforms, proactively applying to individual agencies is your first step to showing how serious you are at pursuing your modeling.
Modeling for teens can be a dream come true. Be prepared by rallying supporting family behind you, building confidence, and seeking opportunities to apply to agencies to launch your modeling career.
Also, be realistic. We can't all be models, and that's not always a bad thing. There are many fashion-related and creative careers out there to explore that will keeps you in the field you love.