Just like adult models, teen models can appear in magazines, on TV or in fashion shows to promote clothing lines or brand-name products. Popular myths celebrate models being plucked from obscurity in shopping malls or other public places, but many professional models follow a traditional career trajectory that includes taking modeling classes and signing with a modeling agency. If your teen has indicated interest in a modeling career, classes will help her acquire needed skills. Beware that the industry is known for capitalizing on hopeful teens and parents willing to pay for expensive classes and photo shoots, however.
Although teens may be more familiar with glamorous aspects of modeling careers, many models make a living without necessarily becoming famous. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the modeling sector will grow by 14 percent between 2010 and 2020, which is average compared to other industries. Competition is strong, though. Because modeling requires no formal training, there's no guarantee that modeling classes will result in consistent modeling gigs for your teen. Since about 92 percent of models start working between the ages of 13 and 20, according to the Model Alliance, taking classes during the teenage years might be more sensible than waiting until her twenties.
Modeling classes, and modeling careers, do have drawbacks that might affect a parent's decision to permit their teen to enroll. According to the Model Alliance, adolescent models can experience anxiety or body image troubles, be exposed to alcohol and substance use or experience sexual harassment. Modeling classes sometimes overstate their offerings, causing parents to pay for services they don't receive, according to NBCNews.com. Teens overly involved with modeling class requirements might start to slip academically due to conflicts with time and responsibility.
Teens can benefit from modeling classes by gaining self-esteem and learning tools about presenting themselves in a positive way, paying attention to posture and eye contact. In modeling classes, teens might learn how to audition, participate in fashion shows, prepare for photo shoots, promote their work and groom themselves. Facts about nutrition and exercise might be discussed. Some modeling schools connect teens with photographers to build a portfolio or offer advice on how to secure an agent and negotiate contract details. Former models sometimes teach classes or operate their own modeling schools.
Modeling classes can include short 1-hour or 2-hour workshops, week-long intensive workshops or extended classes that span the course of months. Parents might pay more for classes with glossier reputations; for example, those claiming famous models or actors as alumni. Shorter classes might cost less, but parents can expect to pay thousands of dollars for high-profile modeling conferences offering talks and workshops, according to NBC News.com. Modeling classes aren't the only costs associated with teen modeling careers, however. Parents might be asked to pay for photo shoots, gym memberships or acting classes as well.
Before deciding which modeling classes to pursue, research the business online, as recommended by the Federal Trade Commission. Verify that the school holds a current license by contacting your state's Attorney General or local consumer protection agency. Ask for all guarantees to be made in writing, and keep copies of these documents.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Models
- The Model Alliance: Industry Analysis
- Barbizon Modeling.com: Overview
- GlobalPost.com: Models Say Fashion Industry Breaks Child Labor and Sexual Harassment Laws
- NBC News: Modeling School's Steep Price
- Better Business Bureau: Modeling Agency
- Bob Pardue Photography: Six Tips on How to Become a Teen Model
- Teen Vogue.com: How to Get Started in Modeling
- Federal Trade Commission: Look Out for Modeling Scams
- Interface Talent: How to Become a Teenage Model
- Common Sense Media: Girls and Body Image Tips