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How to Start Your Teen Modeling Career

A guide on how to become a teen model and start your teen modeling career.

Do you want to become a teen model?

I can definitely relate to that, dreams start at an early age!

And despite what most people think, teen models are not useless to society. They help brands promote their products and bring in clients. This is why, despite the fierce competition, modeling can be a viable career.

To help you start your modeling career, this guide covers the following topics:

Let’s get started.

Make an informed decision

Here is the deal: modeling may or may not be a good fit for you.

I want to help you make an informed decision. This is why I have gathered pros and cons of the teen modeling.

The pros:

  • Modeling jobs are usually enjoyable and different every time.
  • If you are lucky, you have the opportunity to earn a decent salary.
  • Balancing work and study is easier than most jobs.
  • It is a clear motivation to workout and keep yourself in shape.

The cons:

  • There is a tough competition.
  • The income can be inconsistent.
  • It takes time to get well-paying modeling jobs.
  • Some models complain about being treated like a product.
  • It can be hard to find modeling jobs as you get older.

How much do teen models make?

Modeling is a glamorous career. It’s an easy work that pays well. According to ZipRecruiter, teen models earn on average $24 an hour.

Note that there is a big discrepancy between low-level earnings ($8 an hour) and top-level earnings ($100 an hour).

Get started

By now you’ll have decided if teen modeling is good fit for you. So, how do you get started?

Get the approval of your parents

As minors do not have the legal capacity to sign contracts(1), it is impossible to start a modeling career without the approval of your parents. It is therefore crucial to be transparent about your career plan.

Furthermore, a modeling career is very time consuming. It involves long shots and last-minute assignments. So it can be difficult to balance work and school without the help of your parents. They may also support you financially to pay for the expenses associated with modeling: portfolio, website, modeling classes and more.

In terms of age limits, most modeling agencies require models to be at least 14 years old.

Types of teen models: Which one are you?

Choose which type of model you want to become before contacting modeling agencies. In this way, you can tailor your portfolio, website, and social media accounts to your work.

Keep in mind that not everyone can become the next supermodel. However, there are many other types of teen models who are making a terrific income:

  • Fashion models do photoshoots for designers who are trying to promote their clothing lines. It can be difficult to meet the physical requirements to be a fashion model.
  • Commercial models look like everyday people and promote everything that isn’t normally associated with high fashion such as food and household items. This job often requires basic acting skills.
  • Parts models are in huge demand from companies who want the perfect hands, legs, feet or other body parts to advertise their product.
  • Catalog models have a look that appeals to the target audience. They do not have the same physical requirements as fashion models.

Develop your skills

A teen model is posing, this photo is pretty beautiful

Although there are no official qualifications in modeling, there are some skills you need to master:

  • Learn how to pose like a professional; all experienced models have a repertoire of beautiful poses.
  • Listening skills are also important. Models must take direction from photographers during photo shoots.
  • Basic business skills: models must create their own portfolios, contact agencies and schedule their work (we will cover these subjects later).
  • Interpersonal skills are crucial to build your network. It makes it easier to get a job from an agency and to work with photographers.

Don’t forget that modeling is an art; practice is key. Take photos of yourself in different poses and ask a professional photographer or experience model to evaluate your work.

Promote yourself

Nobody will come knocking on your door to offer you a modeling contract. You need to show your modeling skills and promote yourself. To do so, create a portfolio, social media account and a website.

Create a modeling portfolio

A modeling portfolio is a collection of photos that show a model’s range and ability. It is your chance to make a great first impression on agencies and clients. Therefore, a portfolio is a model’s most important marketing tool.

There is no secret to a great portfolio: you need to contact a professional photographer. You can also take modeling classes if you want to feel more comfortable posing for photographs.

Recommended reading: How to pose for pictures – tips from models and influencers.

Portfolios are expensive. However, there are some ways to cut costs:

  • Amateur photographers usually charge less.
  • Contact local colleges with photography departments and see if they need a free model.

Publish photos on social media accounts

Social media accounts, particularly Instagram, allow clients to see another layer of a model; their personality, their lifestyle and interests, and what they look like on a day-to-day basis.

Furthermore, social influence is a powerful leverage. That’s why more and more agencies look up a model on social media before booking a shoot. So in a way, social media is now an extension of portfolios.

Create your own website

Most professional models have a website where they publish their most recent photographs. Once you’ve added your website to your resume, modeling agencies will take you more seriously.

Join a modeling agency

If you don’t have a name for yourself in the modeling world, it’s best to work for a modeling agency. Big modeling agencies have connections in the fashion industry. Their agents will promote you to potential clients.

The best way to find a modeling agency in your area is to type “modeling agencies” in Google Maps. Many agencies hold “open call” days when prospective models meet with scouts and present their portfolios.

Some top modeling agencies that accept teen models

Most of the top modeling agencies offer online application forms. Here is a list of some modeling agencies that accept teen models:

  • Next management, New York, Miami, Los Angeles. You can apply on this page.
  • FutureFaces, New York. You can apply on this page.
  • Whilhelmina Kids&Teens, New York. You can apply on this page.
  • Neal Hamil Agency, Houston. You can visit their website.
  • IMG Modeling, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, London, Milan, Sydney. You can visit their website.
  • Elite Model, New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Toronto. You can visit their website.
  • Ford Model Agency, Chicago, Los Angeles. You can visit their website.

Beware of scams

The modeling industry has some unscrupulous individuals who try to play upon the dreams of wannabe teen models. I strongly recommend the following article from the Federal Trade Commission: Look out for modeling scams.

Sign a modeling contract

Read the contract carefully with your parents and ask questions about anything that’s unclear.

Recommended reading: common types of modeling contracts.


  1. Nolo.com: Who lacks the capacity to contract?
  2. Models.com: A listing of the most notorious modeling agencies.
  3. Modelscouts.com: How to become a model.

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