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What is a Good Age to Start Modeling?

What is a Good Age to Start Modeling?

This article explores an important question – at what age should someone start a modeling career? There’s no easy answer, as different people and cultures have various opinions. Let’s look at some facts and hear from industry professionals to help unravel this complex issue. 

The Early Starters in Modeling

Some notable figures in the fashion industry embarked on their modeling journeys quite early. Kaia, the daughter of Cindy Crawford, made her first appearance as a model for Young Versace at the tender age of ten. In a similar vein, Betty Lowe, the offspring of designer Pearl Lowe, started her modeling career for her mother’s Peacocks range when she was only five years old.

Anais, the child of Meg Mathews and Noel Gallagher, was signed with the model agency Select when she was 11. Mario Testino, a renowned photographer, captured her youthful charm in his photographs. Notably, these early starts highlight how the modeling industry often initiates individuals from a young age.

The Trend of Young Models in Major Fashion Houses

According to Carole White, director of Premier, it’s not unusual for several eminent fashion houses to employ girls as young as 13 or 14 for their campaigns. This trend of engaging young models is, however, not without criticism.

Restrictions on Age in the Modeling Industry

The modeling industry has some restrictions based on the age of models. For instance, in London, models are required to be over 16 to walk the runway at London Fashion Week. Despite this, some brands have made headlines by employing models younger than 16. A notable case is the Prada campaign that included 13-year-old Ondria Hardin, which stirred considerable controversy around the appropriateness of a model’s age.

Advocacy for Responsible Modeling

There are also initiatives that aim to bring about change in the modeling industry. One such movement is All Walks on the Catwalk, co-founded by Debra Bourne. This organization advocates for diversity in fashion and criticizes the trend of recruiting models at an exceptionally young age.

Pressure on Young Models

Starting a modeling career at a young age often puts immense pressure on the models. Coco Rocha, a Canadian model who began her career at 15, has voiced her concerns about these pressures. Similar sentiments have been expressed by Behati Prinsloo, a Victoria’s Secret model who began her career at 15. Prinsloo has pointed out the lack of support for underage models in the industry.

Age and Aesthetic Preferences in Modeling

Critics, such as Caryn Franklin, a former BBC presenter and advocate for body image issues, question the fashion industry’s preference for a pre-pubescent aesthetic. Such critics argue that this could potentially have adverse impacts on both the models and society at large.

Optimal Age for Starting a Modeling Career

Many in the industry agree that 16 is a reasonable age for girls to start modeling, with 17 being an even better age as most girls feel comfortable in themselves by then. Initiating a modeling career beyond the age of 20 could make it more difficult to find work, although this is not a hard and fast rule.

The Different Types of Modeling Pathways to Consider: For Women

In today’s society, modeling has become a profession of notable interest, offering various opportunities to individuals all over the globe. It is a career path that promises creativity, growth, and personal development. Let’s explore the different types of modeling pathways one can consider.

Different Modeling Genres

The modeling industry is diverse, each type offering unique opportunities for aspiring models. It’s important to find the type that fits your physical attributes, personality, and career aspirations. Here are some genres worth considering:

Runway (cat-walk) Modeling

This category is often regarded as the pinnacle of the modeling industry. Aspirants in this category generally have a height of between 5’9″-6″, a bust size of 32″-36″, waist measurement between 22″-26″, and hips that measure 33″-35″. The typical age range for runway models is between 16-21.

Print (catalog, editorial) Modeling

As a print model, one would appear in magazines, catalogs, and other printed materials. With a slightly less restrictive requirement, models typically fall between 5’8″ and 5’11” in height. Their bust measures between 32″-35″, hips between 33″-35″, and waist between 22″-26″.

Lingerie/Swimsuit Modeling

For this category, there are very specific measurements required. Models typically stand between 5’7″-6 ′ tall, with a bust size of 32″-35″ (typically a C cup), a waist of 22″-26″, and hips measuring 33″-35″.

Other Modeling Types

A myriad of other modeling opportunities exist. They range from television commercials, live products/brands, live showrooms, web, and niche modeling (including tattoos, piercings, petite, plus-size, mature, body parts, fitness/bodybuilding, and without clothes, etc.). The measurements required for these types vary considerably based on the particular niche and industry requirements.

Choosing the Right Genre

Selection of the right genre can greatly increase an individual’s chances of success in modeling. For instance, models who possess a girl-next-door look often find greater success in commercial and catalog modeling.

Modeling Training Classes

For individuals seeking to enter the modeling industry, there are several training classes available. However, caution should be exercised to avoid potential scams. Beneficial classes that could provide valuable skills include dance, which can improve movement and body awareness, acting for comfort in speaking roles and commercial jobs, and fitness for maintaining an optimal body shape.

Gaining Practical Insight

Another beneficial approach is spending time with a professional photographer. This can provide practical insights into what directors and photographers seek from their subjects. Such insights can provide an invaluable advantage when auditioning or working on a project.

Modeling Pathways for Men: Options and Considerations

In an industry often focused on female models, the opportunities for male models are sometimes overlooked. However, the landscape is changing, and the scope for men in the modeling industry has broadened significantly over the years. Let’s take a closer look at the types of modeling pathways men can consider.

Modeling Genres for Men

Just like women, men, too, have a wide variety of options in the modeling industry. Knowing what suits one’s physical attributes and personality is key to making the right choice.

Runway Modeling

This category, featuring high-end fashion and designer brands, is open to men as well. The typical male runway model is between 5’11” and 6’2″ in height with a lean body shape.

Print Modeling

In this genre, models pose for photos that appear in magazines, brochures, billboards, and more. Male print models generally stand between 5’11” and 6’2″ with a waist of 29 “-32” and a suit size of 38 “-40”.

Fitness Modeling

Fitness modeling is a perfect fit for men with a muscular physique and well-defined body features. The required measurements vary in this category, but a well-maintained physique is crucial.

Parts Modeling

For men with particularly attractive individual features, such as hands, legs, or eyes, parts modeling is a viable option. There aren’t specific measurement requirements here, but the body part in question should be well-maintained and photogenic.

Choosing Your Path

Selecting the right modeling genre depends on your personal attributes and goals. For example, if you’re someone with a great physique, fitness modeling might be a suitable pathway.

Training and Preparation for Male Models

Training for male models is similar to training for female models. Be careful when choosing a training class to avoid potential scams. Dance and acting classes can be beneficial, especially for commercial models. Fitness is particularly important for male models, so regular exercise is recommended.

Practical Insights for Male Models

Interacting with industry professionals such as photographers and directors can be enlightening. This can provide useful guidance and feedback for aspiring male models.

Closing Thoughts

In conclusion, the discussion surrounding the right age to start modeling is multi-faceted, and there is no universally agreed-upon answer. Some believe it’s alright to start early, while others advocate for a more mature age to ensure the emotional and physical well-being of the models. This issue continues to be a subject of debate in the fashion industry and beyond.


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