By: Theresa Standfast, Barbizon International

If you’ve ever thought about modeling for your child or teen, you may not know how the industry works or how to get into it. The good news is there are many success stories in the modeling industry! But like any industry, there are also bad apples looking to take advantage of others for their own gain. With the rise of social media and online platforms, it’s not always easy to know who is legitimate and who isn’t in the modeling and entertainment industry. When it comes to modeling for children and teens, parents and guardians should keep in mind safety as a top priority. There are plenty of opportunities that exist in the modeling and acting industry for children and teens that are genuine. Here are some steps you can take to keep both you and your child safe in the industry.

Know Your Child’s Online Habits 

If your child or teen has an online presence in social media, be aware of what they’re posting and who they’re in communication with. Nowadays, it is fairly easy to hide behind an image or social profile posing to be someone you’re not. If your child’s social media profiles are public, all other users on the platform can view his or her profile, photos, and posts. It also means that other accounts can initiate contact with your child’s account through private messages. Sometimes legitimate agents, talent scouts, and brands search for potential models and influencers this way. Other times, the intent is malicious and people reach out posing as talent scouts and agents in attempt for money or explicit images. Talk to your child about being careful with online communication. Always do your research before communicating with anyone claiming to be an industry professional via social media.

Educate Your Child About Online Safety

Be sure to educate your child or teen about online safety including protection of personal information. Full names, phone-numbers, credit cards, and social security numbers should never be given out online. Another important safety measure to communicate with your child is to make sure he or she never agrees to meet a scout or agent outside of normal business hours or at a private residence. Nude photos from someone claiming to be a talent scout or agent are never a legitimate request. Reputable agencies will sometimes ask models to submit photos in full clothing or a swimsuit.

Always Do Your Research

When making contact with an agency or scout, always fully research the company or person first before proceeding further. Look for websites, social media accounts, and reviews from models and families that the company or individual has worked with already. Call the company’s phone number to compare the information you received online to what the staff says in office. These measures can help you vet legitimate modeling opportunities for children and those that are not.

Beware of Scam Agency Red Flags

Agents and agencies work for a commission from work booked for the model or actor who they represent. This means an agency should never charge you money upfront to represent your child or teen. (Legitimate schools such as Barbizon that offer modeling and acting training programs do charge fees, but these fees are associated with the training services offered, not representation.) Although an agency should be confident in their ability to get modeling work for your child, never sign your child with an agency that guarantees work. This is another red flag that the agency is not reputable. Also, be wary of any agency rushing you to sign a contract or else lose out on the chance of your child being a model. It is standard practice to allow at least three business days to review the contents and agreements outlined in any legal document.  

Barbizon Safety Practices: Modeling for Children & Teens

When it comes to modeling for children and teens, you may also be looking for a professional training program that will equip your child with the skills and connections to be successful and safe in the modeling and acting industry. Barbizon has been developing models and actors for over 80 years now, all under the company’s guiding mission of helping young people gain confidence and develop unparalleled life skills. Personal development, confidence-building, and fostering every individual’s unique qualities in a safe, nurturing, and family-supported environment is a main focus of every Barbizon program. You can be sure your child will be safe and supported at Barbizon through the measures and features employed by our company such as:

  • Ongoing communication from staff who encourage parent/guardian involvement
  • Comprehensive training for all educational staff
  • Educational staff made up of industry professionals experienced in various aspects of the modeling and acting industry 
  • Thorough vetting process of all offered industry connections and agencies to Barbizon students and alumni
  • Company accreditation and Better Business Bureau rating of A+

Now that you know the steps to take to stay safe in the industry of modeling for children and teens, you’re better equipped to avoid the harmful intent of industry scams and malicious imposters. With Barbizon, you always have a safe and professional place to get your child started in the modeling and acting industry. Just request an appointment with a Talent Director to get started!