Child Modelling industry myths: busted!

Model Leanne Maskell and author of The Model Manifesto tells us 10 home truths about the child modelling industry

Your child wants to be a model? Here are 8 things you should know first

Models – they don’t get out of bed for less than £10,000 per day, right? Travel the world first class, glide down catwalks and simply have their photograph taken? The reality of modelling couldn’t be further from this – at least for the 99.9% of models who don’t make it to superstardom.


MYTH: You need a portfolio to become a model

REALITY: A good model agency will invest money in a new model, and deduct any costs from the work they do for them. You do not need professional images to join an agency.

MYTH: Models have to be scouted 

REALITY: The majority of models are not scouted by their agencies – being scouted is actually simply an invitation to come and meet with the agency, who usually say no! You can join an agency by applying online, but the best way is to visit them in person.

MYTH: Models are paid a lot of money 

REALITY: Sorry to burst your bubble, but most models can’t survive on their modelling income alone. Jobs pay completely differently, from £100,000 a day to absolutely nothing. A common rate is a few hundred for a day’s work, but if that is your only day of work in the month, it doesn’t last very long!

MYTH: Modelling is easy 

REALITY: Ever tried changing clothes 150 times in one day, in front of a room of strangers in sub-zero temperatures? Modelling is incredibly difficult and results in most being extremely resilient. There are no ‘special rules’ for child modelling except the licence required by the council for child performers.

MYTH: Models don’t eat anything

REALITY: On the contrary, models should be fed a good lunch when at work in order to keep up with the hard work expected of them! The client should generally provide models with lunch on a job.

MYTH: Models are stupid

REALITY: Far from it – most are very well educated. Some may not know about the job they are on, simply because they haven’t been told anything and have contracts withheld from them. Ask for the contract and hey presto – clever model!

MYTH: Modelling involves luxury travel on a daily basis

REALITY: If you count luxury as sharing a bed with strangers and working for 15 hours straight after long-haul flights, or shooting bikinis in artic temperatures! Or tragically worked to death, as 14 year old Vlada Dzyuba was in China.

MYTH: Models know they are beautiful and have it easy

REALITY: The daily life of a model involves constant rejection, with unfiltered comments about your appearance, as though you had no feelings. Ironically, models have terrible self-esteem – especially dangerous for children.

MYTH: Modelling is glamorous

REALITY: Maybe for the supermodel offspring of celebrities, however the average model will spend most of their life attending auditions (‘castings’) and having to repeat the same poses over and over again.

MYTH: Modelling isn’t a real career

REALITY: Models are self-employed and acquire serious skills throughout their career applicable to any future job. A serious amount of money can be made and good models are integral to the fashion and advertising industries.

The Model Manifesto by Leanne Maskell

Leanne Maskell is the author of The Model Manifesto, an anti-exploitation manual for the fashion industry, out 02 May 2019 and priced at £14.99. For more information go to The Model Manifesto or follow @themodelmanifesto