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How to Get Your Kid into Modeling

I’m getting a lot of questions lately from moms who want advice about how to launch their cute kiddo’s modeling career. You’ve come to the right place. Unethical people are lurking out there, ready to prey on parents who are clueless. You may be hit with all kinds of enticing offers, which actually are scams. Trustworthy advice is hard to find. I have no ulterior motive, no modeling classes to push, no allegiance to shady scouting companies; rather, I have three decades experience in the modeling world, both as an international model and an editor of the industry’s top magazine. I am here to help you/your child have as great an experience as I had in an industry that can be challenging (and costly) if you aren’t informed and savvy.

My first piece of advice: read everything on my website that pertains to modeling:

1. My blog posts about modeling, especially the kid modeling ones. (Start with the one in that link and then read the “Related Posts” at the bottom.)

2. All the articles on modeling, which are in the “Modeling” section within “Articles,” especially the “Dear Jill” articles at the bottom.

Here is one of those “Dear Jill” Q&A’s, which will help you determine whether your kid is cut out for modeling.

Fashion Show for Kids


Dear Jill,

I want to get my six-year-old daughter into modeling. What’s your advice?

—Catwalk Mom, Chicago, IL


Dear Catwalk Mom,

Does your child want to model? I know that when I was six, I wanted to be outside collecting tadpoles. Of course these days kids know their supermodels as well as their princesses and dream of being just like Gisele or Heidi. Your daughter may be begging you to let her model. If not, you shouldn’t force her. If so, many factors—both physical and psychological—deserve serious consideration.

Is your daughter model caliber? Don’t answer this yourself (I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “a face only a mother could love”). And leave your daughter out of this superficial, highly critical process. Just quietly send in some natural snapshots—face and full-length—to some reputable agencies in your area.

If you get a negative response, drop it, at least for a couple years. If you get a positive response, explain what it’s all about to your daughter and make sure you keep it on the level of a fun hobby, not the life-or-death pursuit of all your own unfulfilled dreams projected onto your mini diva.

The real test will be the first booking, when your daughter will reveal whether she has all the essential qualities that separate child models from pretty but unposable girls and boys: patience, independence, animated expressions, and the ability to improvise and pose naturally with perfect strangers.

Just keep in mind the potentially worst aspect of a child model: the parents! I’ve seen one too many pushy, competitive, and ugly (inside and out) parents instilling shallow values in their tyrannical tots. I once worked with a beautiful five-year-old whose 5’5″ troll of a father had her future all mapped out for her. I asked him if she was building a nice college fund. He replied, “Oh, she probably won’t even need college.”

He obviously was overlooking the fact that his daughter—like many child models—was short for her age (this allows a more mature child to model fashions meant for a younger age group). Once many child models start to grow up (but not very up), they will find themselves pitted against their bean-sprouting teenage peers who reach 5’10″ and grab all the bookings. So even if your daughter launches into a stellar career at a young age, make sure you are realistic about the long-term viability of modeling. And never prioritize posing over a good education (but by all means use earnings from the former to finance the latter!).

Good luck!


Send your “Dear Jill” questions to: dearjill@modelingmentor.com

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