A mother recently emailed me about her teenage daughter and told her about her experience being scouted only to find her daughter was too short to join the agency.
Here was part of my reply and my thoughts on model scouts.
Modeling is not just for the tall. The experience you had with the scout and agent is typical. Think of model scouts like sales reps, they need to bring a certain amount of girls into the agency a month most likely and your daughter was seen as pretty but then at the meeting all that was judged was her height. Just be lucky you were not scammed to pay the agency or worse. What you daughter needs is a "how many different types of models are out there" perspective. If all she thinks models are, are tall, on the runway and in Vogue then her modeling mentality needs to change. Modeling is WAY more than fashion, (and also way more than Playboy). Modeling is about modeling something, actually modeling a product, and many models out there are not tall. They are print models who use their personality to model products, brands and services -everything from a ponytail holder to a tampon, to a cheeseburger need models, think of modeling as advertising, think cell phone ads, Advil, colleges, hair brands, jewerly, travel ads, furniture ads, technology products, models are not all tall and super skinny. So if you daughter wants to model she just needs to find the right agencies. They are out there. Most models are not actually. They are print models and they work within print ads, editorials in magazines, catalogs, online ads. You will need to target your daughter to commercial print modeling agencies, you could also try a talent agency. You could try acting casting directors, but to start you should try to take some of your own photos of your daughter, her smiling, laughing, holding a handbag, being herself, tell her to look through magazines like Teen Vogue and Seventeen. The goal is to teach her to notice the ads and the personality within them and that modeling is not all about being tall and perfect, or pretty, it is about simply, "being what the brand, product, art director, marketing director, is looking for..."
Modeling is a competitive world and if your daughter knows ahead of time, like a sport, she will be facing good days and not so good and that practice and trying has a lot to do with modeling and finding opportunities.
When it comes to making photos the goal is to make the photo look like an ad and showing your daughter for who she is, not to have her "try" to hard to model because if you look at ads you will see "being yourself" is really what modeling is also. Changing yourself is not needed to model products.
The photos should be made into a headshot or compcard: I use www.compcard.com
The modeling business has changed and there are more agencies, which is good, but also there are more scams and to avoid them a girl should create her own marketing materials. There is nothing wrong with it and it is typical, and normal to do so these days. Making your own compcard and headshot and mailing it to agencies is HOW you get an agency, casting director, etc, working with you. Don't think the agency will do it all for you. Get ahead of them and create your own marketing material. Just like going to an interview, you need to send your resume first, same with modeling, -send your compcard first to the print agency.
Also go to Barnes and Noble and pick up a Ross Reports, also called The Call Sheet, in the magazine section, it is a booklet of casting directors and agencies, and mail, mail, mial, it could takes 30 submissions, and in the end you might not hear from anyone. Modeling is competitive, but it is not something that a daughter and mother can not manage themselves. But do expect the hands on effort. Modeling is work, ALOT of work.
Modeling these days is about making yourself, about knowing how to market yourself and about contacting the right agencies. You might have to put time in to creating photos, make a compcard and mail, mail, mail over and again an agency/agencies. Modeling is not a fairytale, it is work!