Teen modeling is an offshoot of the adult modeling industry that is aimed towards the junior market. Boys and girls with very attractive features can model for print, runway and promotional events. As fun as teen modeling is, people need to be cautious when approaching the industry.
Teen, or junior market, models are young people between the ages of 12 and 24 used to display or exhibits products or services to the public for sale. They are selected for their physical attributes, attractiveness and personality. Unlike adult models, teen models still have some of the visual characteristics of a young person; this makes them useful for campaigns targeted to the youth audience.
Teen models usually do print work for magazines and catalogs, along with some runway modeling. They may also do ad campaigns for chain stores such as Abercrombie or Charlotte Russe. Most other avenues of modeling are closed to them since they're under age. A teen model might also find work as a spokesperson for products at suitable events.
The attributes for teen models are similar to those for an adult female model. Typically, teen models are tall, above 5 foot 9 for girls or 5 foot 11 for boys. They should be youthful in appearance, with a smaller bust and less curves than a fully grown woman. Most female models fit a size 2 to 4 U.S., teen or not. There is a growing market for teen plus size models, as well. Agencies want responsible, mature teens that have a good relationship with their parents. A willing, hard-working attitude is necessary to get anywhere. Agents love to work with models who get things done in a happy, responsible manner.
Successful modeling careers start in the big cities, especially fashion centers such as New York City and Los Angeles. Small-town agencies usually won't deliver major results like "Teen Vogue" shoots, and may not even be reputable. Parents must be willing to travel and make allowances for out-of-town jobs.
While teen modeling can seem like a lot of fun, it can change a model's whole life. It can be hard to keep up in school with all of the traveling and last-minute jobs, and extra-curricular activities may suffer. People can be judgmental and cruel, making careless remarks about appearance. Going on go-sees that lead nowhere can be disheartening and frustrating. On the other hand, modeling can be fun and glamorous. It's thrilling to wear professional makeup and be under the cameras. Modeling also teaches poise, graceful carriage and resilience. A good career requires a healthy mindset before beginning, so approach with caution.
There are many unscrupulous people in the world looking to capitalize off of young people seeking to become models. Be extremely careful when visiting an agency. Always have a parent or guardian with you for all appointments, and make sure to get references attesting to an agency's reputation. A good agency won't charge for pictures or comp cards; leave immediately if they do. Keep an eye out for predatory types as well. Don't allow any shooting without a guardian nearby. If someone attempts to push an uncomfortable situation, there is always the option to leave and find another agency. Gifted models always have work.