My daughter is beautiful.
Like every mother should, I will always believe to my core that there is no girl more stunning than my own. But there is no way in hell I'm going to encourage, or support, a modeling career when she becomes a tween or teen. Mostly because I want her to pursue an education, but also because there are people in the business of taking advantage of naive young girls.
Jezebel recently posted an expose of sorts about teen modeling. I say "of sorts" because everything they discovered were things I'd already assumed about the disreputable practice of paid model searches.
I remember seeing the ads in the back of my teen mags for these "casting calls." You send in photos, and if the modeling "agency" thinks you have what it takes, you can spend thousands of dollars to attend a model search in a major metropolis near you.
As Jezebel points out, this is heady stuff for a 14-year-old who thinks they can go to New York and be discovered. It's fun, and maybe worth the $5,000 price tag just for the thrill. (I suppose if the whole family goes and you look at it as a vacation, you could justify the cost. Kind of.)
Of course the agents and casting directors who are there watching the "search" aren't there to pick up new talent. They're busy networking with other people in the business, and if they call back a model, it's still unlikely they'll be signing her up for any real work.
Most girls pursuing modeling would be better off sending in photographs to reputable agencies and requesting a meeting, or asking to attend the real agency casting call. And that won't cost you more than a stamp for the envelope.
Whether you're pursuing acting, modeling, singing, or anything in the entertainment biz, remember this: You should never pay anyone for exposure. They should be paying you for your talent -- period. Anything else is just lining the pockets for event promoters.
Would you let your teenager model?
Image via Michael Oh/Flickr