If you always get compliments on your looks wherever you go, and you are a photogenic 16-year-old, you may have considered being a model. It is an open secret in the modelling world that your teenage years are actually the best time to get started in it, as proven by some of the biggest names in modelling. However, you should know that it is not an easy industry to get into. Most young people believe that modelling is all about the glamorous lifestyle: photos and travelling and hotels and fashion shows and having fun. The modelling industry is about so much more than just these. And it takes a special kind of person to make it big in this industry. A persistent, resilient, focused and hardworking person who knows what they want. If you are confident that you have all these traits, and you believe modelling is the career path for you then please get in touch with us, we're always looking for new talented people looking to be a model at 16 years old - please fill this form in.
We wrote this article for people searching for how to become a model at 16 years old and won't disappoint you. However, this is a traditional route and we've already mentioned we can help you considerably by putting you in front of the people that really matter. Otherwise read on for a more traditional approach...
Before you think about anything else, the first step you need to take is to do some thorough research. You need to be sure that you will enjoy modelling and everything that goes with it. What traits and qualities do you need to have? What does the industry expect of you? Do you know the different types of modelling and the options available to you? Find out what type of modelling you will be most comfortable with and what it takes:
- Fashion models are the type of models most people think about when they think about professional modelling. Fashion models walk runways at fashion shows and pose for editorial photo shoots. Fashion modelling requires you to be at least 5'8" tall, thin and not curvy.
- Plus size models are models who are a little bigger. They model plus size fashion mostly. You have to be at least 5'8" tall and at least a size 10.
- Commercial models are models who are more versatile, posing or starring in TV ads, magazine ads or catalogues. This type of modelling is more accepting of variety, so models tend to come in various shapes and sizes.
- Part models are models who only showcase specific parts of their bodies. You can be a hand model, nail model, foot model, hair model, or any other body part model. There are specific sets of criteria that need to be met for each part you want to pose for, but your body, in general, can be of any size or shape.
Modelling is a very competitive industry. It is also the most superficial industry, which means that your level of success depends on your looks. Height is one of the main disqualifying factors, so if you are short and you are still holding onto dreams of becoming a successful model, you are lying to yourself.
Don't expect to make much money till you are actually quite successful, which may take several years. There are very few supermodels in the world today, and you very likely will not be one of them. The mean hourly wage for models in 2017 was £15. You might get one or two jobs that pay really well, but they are very few and far in between. For runway shows, you may get paid in "trade", which means the organisers give you free designer clothes and no money.
At 16, only pursue modelling if it is a very strong passion of yours. If you have any doubts, it is important to finish school first and think about other careers that you love and enjoy.
This is very important. As a person under the age of 18, you can only get access to the industry with express permission from your parents. You need to talk to them about your plans, otherwise, you will hit many roadblocks.
When talking to your parents, making them understand how important this career path is to you is essential. Share your research with them to show them how serious you are, and assure them that school is still a priority for you. If your parents are opposed to the idea, instead of fighting them over it and making them more firm in their resolve, give them some time to think about it, and bring up the subject again in a month or two.
If their primary concern is your schoolwork and how your modelling will affect it, consider reassuring them by setting certain targets such as specific scores or performance in school that if you pass, you can pursue your modelling.
With your parent's permission, you can take a few modelling classes. They are great with helping you boost your confidence, build your portfolio, and understand what it really takes to be a model.
However, if you cannot afford it, modelling school is not a necessity. In today's day and age, you can easily learn a lot through YouTube and other online resources. Just treat the internet as your school and do your research well. Find authorities on the subject and take their advice. Write notes and refer to them later.
When you select a modelling school, make sure that you are not getting scammed. Check the relevant authorities to certify their credentials and certifications before paying any money to them.
Magazines are a great resource for aspiring models. You need to collect as many magazines as you can and study them. Look at how the models pose. Look at the types of movements that work well on camera. Practice in front of a mirror. Get a friend to take a few amateur photos of you. Look at them and try to figure out what you are doing wrong. Being good in front of the camera rarely comes naturally. It takes a lot of practice to know exactly what to do in a photo shoot.
Confidence is key in this industry. The only way to become confident in doing something is by getting used to doing it first. This is why you need to practice in front of a mirror. You can even create a few moves of your own so that you will feel completely at ease in front of the camera.
To get your foot into the industry, you need to get some experience. You need a resume and portfolio before anyone can take you seriously as a model. A great place to get all these is from your local community. Do you know any businesses needing models for a few ads? Or a charity fashion show looking for volunteer runway models? Do you have a friend who needs a model for a school project? Taking advantage of these opportunities will not be about the money, because there is very little money in it. Instead, you will be building your confidence, your portfolio, and getting an actual feel of what it will be like to do this for real. You will figure out whether you enjoy it or not, and whether you can see yourself doing it several times a week for the next decade or so as your main job.
As said before, modelling is a very superficial industry. Your value as a model almost completely depends on how you look. Maintain your ideal shape by not gaining or losing more weight than you need to. Eat healthily and exercise. Drink plenty of water and get enough sleep to make sure you look healthy enough for agents.
Before you can start reaching out to agencies, you need to make sure you have a portfolio of your past modelling work. If you are just starting out, you still need a few photos of yourself that look good. Can you hire a professional photographer to take your photos? If you cannot afford it, reach out to a friend or family member with a good camera and ask them to take your photo. Your portfolio must include headshots with your face from different angles and full-length photos. Show your range of looks by mixing up smiles and straight face photos. Have one or two no make up photos. Finally, have a page with your stats, which are your measurements, hair colour, eye colour and weight.
Once your portfolio is ready, apply to open calls. Open calls are modelling agency events where they invite aspiring models for consultations. Just make sure all the agencies you respond to are legitimate and reputable.
If there are no open calls, submit your portfolio to modelling agencies anyway. Find out how to do so from their websites or by visiting their offices in person.
When you meet an agent, you need to be professional in everything that you do. Do your research on the agency and have a good feel of the company before you go. Arrive on time, have your portfolio ready, and dress appropriately. You do not have to get an expensive suit. A casual pair of jeans and a t-shirt would do, as long as you look presentable. Also, remember, wear little to no makeup for your agent visit, because they need to see the natural you.
Act natural, and let the agent see your personality. Engage them in conversation, relax and have fun. Make them remember you. Do not be rude or unprofessional. Express your passion for modelling to them. Also, remember to watch your body language, and not to appear nervous, defensive or self-conscious.
Finally, remember that rejection is a possibility, and you need to handle it with dignity. Prepare to be rejected, and do not take it personally when it happens. It is not about you. The industry is very competitive, and you will likely not get in on your first few tries. You need to keep persisting and stay determined, because it is your resilience that will finally get you to hear a yes.
The modelling industry is one of the easiest to get into as a teenager. Most other industries do not hire people at this age. Being a model builds your confidence and opens you to a world of opportunity.
Your modelling career may take a while to develop. If this happens, consider branching out into other related fields, and doing it all concurrently with your modelling. For example, you can get into fashion marketing or merchandising and do it at the same time as your modelling. Also, if you can find one or two mentors who have more experience in modelling than you do, it helps to keep them close. Hopefully, these tips begin to give you an understanding of how to become a model at 16.