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Need help with child model legality - please
Old 06-13-2006, 12:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I was hoping someone could give me some tips on the following subject.
I have a family member that is a 15 year old female. She wants to get into modeling now, however she's only 5'5" so she is too short for runway. I used to model and I was too short for runway so I just did fine art, swimsuit/lingerie and glamour, mostly internet modeling. However, I was over 18 so I had the option of nudity.

What kind of modeling can she safely do being under 18?

I took some pictures of her the other day to get her started on her portfolio, and was very careful not to put her into any kind of sexual positioning or clothing. I wasn't even sure it was ok to put her in a swimsuit! Now she has another family member (also a female) taking pics of her that I have seen, and they are a little more sensual. Although she is fully clothed or in a swimsuit, her expressions seem a little sensual and she is dressed up to look about 5-10 years older. Basically, some of her pics (involving sucking a lolly-pop, dressing up as a sexy businesswoman with her legs up on a desk, being draped over rocks by a pool) make me feel a little queazy since I know her real age. Is this ok, legally and morally? Is this too sexual for her to advertise for her age? What kind of work can she get at 15, and what kind of pics should she allow people to take of her?

I would really appreciate any help on this.
Thanks,
J.
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Re: Need help with child model legality - please
Old 06-13-2006, 05:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Young women can start very early in fashion. There are young women working runway as young as 15 or so. If they're tall (5'10"), thin (size 0-2), and attractive then it's not unheard of for someone that young to be signed to Ford, Elite, or Click in NYC. The average length of a runway career is only about 5-6 years, which means many of these girls are out of that modelling segment by the time they're 23-24. It is very rare to see a fashion model who is 28-30, and most of them you recognize by name.

As far as what she can do safely right now, I assume you mean in the US. In the US she can do anything that doesn't show areola or the pubic area. Catalog, product, jewelry, editorial, etc. She can do swimsuits and some lingerie. Legally, I'm not sure about glamour with someone that young, but I can say with certainty that no pro shooter I know would touch her for glamour work.

As far as suggestive poses and seductive expressions, that's the nature of the beast. Sex sells. Someone does need to sit down with her and make sure she understands what's going on. She probably understands more than you think, but she needs clear, frequent communication from someone she and her parents can trust. She absolutely needs someone to look out for her best interests.

Her parents (or an agency rep they are comfortable with) should be the ones making the decisions on how she's photographed. If she's attractive enough to garner the attention of an agency, one of the reps who handle kids and teens should be looking out for her. If an agency isn't interested in representing her she's dependent on the judgement of her parents.

As a parent, I'd be ok if my daughter were shooting tests with agency-caliber photographers. They know where the line is, what's just a little sexy, and what's too much. But she wouldn''t be shooting with just anyone she meets on MySpace.

-Chip
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Re: Need help with child model legality - please
Old 06-13-2006, 05:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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In Australia (Queensland specifically), I wouldn't put any model under 16 in any provocative poses or try to make them look any older than they are. Until she turns 16, I wouldn't touch any of the pictures you mentioned. The law may be differnt where you are, and most likely even more conservative than here.

If you can, look up the laws for your state. Queensland is easier, because criminal law is codified, so you just need to look up the legislation. Common law systems are much more difficult to research, but either way I'd suggest talking to a solicitor. I'd hate to miss an important piece of legislation that was seperate from the criminal code for some reason.

I guess if they make you feel queazy, then you probably already know the answer.
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Re: Need help with child model legality - please
Old 06-13-2006, 06:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChipBulgin
Young women can start very early in fashion. There are young women working runway as young as 15 or so. If they're tall (5'10"), thin (size 0-2), and attractive then it's not unheard of for someone that young to be signed to Ford, Elite, or Click in NYC. ...

-Chip
That's the problem, she is only 5'5" so she is kind of limited in what she does. I know from my own experience. I was encouraged to try acting...and of course, they wanted me to pay for acting classes.
Thanks for the input.
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Re: Need help with child model legality - please
Old 06-13-2006, 06:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bonj
In Australia (Queensland specifically), I wouldn't put any model under 16 in any provocative poses or try to make them look any older than they are. Until she turns 16, I wouldn't touch any of the pictures you mentioned. The law may be differnt where you are, and most likely even more conservative than here.
If you can, look up the laws for your state. Queensland is easier, because criminal law is codified, so you just need to look up the legislation. Common law systems are much more difficult to research, but either way I'd suggest talking to a solicitor. I'd hate to miss an important piece of legislation that was seperate from the criminal code for some reason.
I guess if they make you feel queazy, then you probably already know the answer.
True, on the queazy part...but I thought it might just be me, since I have known her since she was a baby, feeling uncomfortable seeing her so "grown up". I wasn't sure if it was just me, or inappropriate. And just as I thought, it seems to be a matter of opinion for the most part.

I don't know exactly where or how to look for those laws.
Thanks for your input.
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Re: Need help with child model legality - please
Old 06-13-2006, 06:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Arizona Criminal Code. Quite a read. It might take you a while to sift through it. It is generally related to the age of consent, which in QLD, AU, is 16. There may also be restrictions on what can be published which conflict with the age of consent. Very messy area, and alot to look at.

http://www.azleg.state.az.us/Arizona...s.asp?Title=13
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Re: Need help with child model legality - please
Old 06-13-2006, 08:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCB1977
I was hoping someone could give me some tips on the following subject.
I have a family member that is a 15 year old female. She wants to get into modeling now, however she's only 5'5" so she is too short for runway. I used to model and I was too short for runway so I just did fine art, swimsuit/lingerie and glamour, mostly internet modeling. However, I was over 18 so I had the option of nudity.
What kind of modeling can she safely do being under 18?
I took some pictures of her the other day to get her started on her portfolio, and was very careful not to put her into any kind of sexual positioning or clothing. I wasn't even sure it was ok to put her in a swimsuit! Now she has another family member (also a female) taking pics of her that I have seen, and they are a little more sensual. Although she is fully clothed or in a swimsuit, her expressions seem a little sensual and she is dressed up to look about 5-10 years older. Basically, some of her pics (involving sucking a lolly-pop, dressing up as a sexy businesswoman with her legs up on a desk, being draped over rocks by a pool) make me feel a little queazy since I know her real age. Is this ok, legally and morally? Is this too sexual for her to advertise for her age? What kind of work can she get at 15, and what kind of pics should she allow people to take of her?
I would really appreciate any help on this.
Thanks,
J.
The legality is clear in all states I am sure - nothing "R" rated as everyone else indicated. Perhaps on a state by state basis that might change at 16 but probably not. It is a however, US issue. Besides the fact that it was lovely, I will never forget one of the first photos I saw of Adrianna Lima (Victoria's Secret, Cover Girl etc.). It was topless - normally no big deal but she was 16 at the time and had just won some big modeling contest. The image was featured in the French version of Photo - not in any US magazine.
The big question for me is - what is going to be done with the photos? If they are going into a hard copy portfolio to be shown to reputable agents and agencies that is one thing. More alluring may be a good marketing strategy although why you want to sex up a 15 year old is beyond me. If the pictures are going on the Internet, then that is something completely different. Given her height, she likely has limited agency prospects so proably the photos will end up on Internet sites e.g. [censored]. That means they're available to the world's predators so I hope you can convince your family members to first monitor all communications that go to that site, to not allow her to communicate at all and to limit the sexual allure of her photos. My daughter may be interested in modeling when she is older and will face the same height issues so this is what I will do.
I hope this helps.
regards
mark
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Re: Need help with child model legality - please
Old 06-13-2006, 08:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The above replies are superb.

While from an artistic viewpoint one might argue for freedom and expression and celebration of life, from another viewpoint one might argue for protection, legality, liability and morality.

Perhaps a deciding factor is our own viewpoints vs. those of the culture / society in which we life. We are not on an idyllic island; the majority rules and when in doubt be cautious / conservative. So for your feelings, if I were in your shoes, I'd be tempted to say "celebrate beauty", but if I had qualms I'd say "don't go there"

The above replies are superb, so I'll stop here. Truly. good luck and comfort in what you decide.
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