How to Become a Short Teen Model

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Becoming a short teen model is challenging, but rewarding.
Becoming a short teen model is challenging, but rewarding. (Image: PhotoObjects.net/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

While many people associate models with above-average height and long legs, the modeling industry relies on models of all ages and body types for catalog work and other assignments. Teen models enjoy an advantage because they amass experience and professional industry contacts at an early age. Becoming a teen model is challenging, and shorter models may have a slight handicap in securing traditional runway modeling jobs. But with hard work, perseverance and a positive attitude even short models can succeed on the catwalk.

Things You'll Need

  • Portfolio
  • Platform shoes
  • Seamstress tape
  • Email access

Hire a professional photographer to snap photos for your teen modeling portfolio, or ask a trusted friend to take some pictures. As a teen model, you’ll want to play up your youthful figure, fresh face and shiny hair. Include photos demonstrating athletic ability and glamor shots. Pictures demonstrating your ability to model as a teen and young adult are helpful. Fashion directors sometimes tap upper-age teens for crossover magazines read by teens and young men and women in their 20s. Don’t include artsy, blurred or overly processed photos. Agents are more interested in clear shots of your face and figure.

Call area modeling agencies to learn which companies specialize in specialty modeling genres, including teen modeling or short-figure modeling. Don’t forget to contact traditional modeling agencies who may want to add a short model or teen model to their stable to attract clients with diverse offerings.

Walk or bike through town looking for clothing stores specializing in odd clothing styles. Ask to meet the owner and explain that you’re getting started as a short teen model and would welcome opportunities to model their clothing for fashion shows, catalogs – even the store display window. Even if they’re not currently hiring, it helps to build industry contacts. They may think of you for their next event.

Arrive early for casting calls, photo shoots and other modeling events. This provides additional time for networking. Bring platform shoes in case clients would like to see how you look a bit taller for more traditional modeling assignments. Carry seamstress tape for temporary adjustments to dress or trouser hems; ill-fitting clothing won’t make the best impression during auditions, even when clients know the clothing will be professionally altered later.

Tips & Warnings

  • When sending digital versions of modeling portfolio pictures, make sure to resize them so they're email-friendly. Large files clog agency in-boxes. Your email could be deleted rather than opened and reviewed if you're hogging an agent's memory space. Being a teen model isn't an excuse for not following etiquette. Following communication etiquette is a good way to demonstrate professionalism.
  • Steer away from portfolio photos and modeling assignments involving any kind of nudity or implied nudity. Some photographers and clients prey on teens for the kinds of modeling gigs more appropriate for older models.

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