“Is 21 too old to start Modelling?” Modeltypeface answers your Reader Dilemmas!

I was very chuffed to get another message on my Facebook page the other day, asking for some modelling advice. I’m always here to help!

This is what it said:

“Hi Rebecca! I’ve been following your lovely blog for a while now – when I first discovered it, I literally read an entire ‘Advice’ section in one afternoon.
So first of all, thank you for that.

I’ve been a modeling addict for few years, and I’ve been secretly thinking about moving from my country to London for quite a while now, next year after the summer, to try modeling.

I know you are not an agent or anything like that, and not in a position to tell, but you seem like a really nice and warm person, who has a lot of experience with the industry, and genuinely wants to help young people. While I seem to do have the height, measurements and drive to be a model, by the time I’d try to find an agency, I’d be 21 – turning 22, and I think I should really know if I even had the chances before I take such a big step with chasing my dreams in the first place.

I don’t want to bother you in any way, so if it’s not a problem I’d be really happy if I could just get your opinion on some of the pictures I could send you, like Polaroids on the natural light or something, just to see if I have the look in the fist place.

You don’t have to worry about hurting my feelings of anything like that since I feel so silly about this, I’d be happy with you just receiving this message, so the more informations I have, the better! 🙂

Have a beautiful rest of the day, and I hope your career and bookings are better than ever!

All love, *anonymous*”

My advice would be: 21 is generally seen as too late to start modelling – but it’s not unknown! A very lovely friend of mine, Stephanie Boote, started at 21 and did campaigns, editorials and commercial from the off. She quit a few years later as modelling wasn’t really for her, but I’d say her strong sense of self and experience of life and work outside of modelling helped her (though, in a way, also made her see many aspects of the industry as a lot of BS, detaching her from it all a bit).


Why is it better to start young? From a practical point of view, it means that models have the chance to gain experience. Test shoots, low paid editorial and edgy work and being thrown into the big wide world of modelling means that, when we start full time, we’re hardened to the tough parts and know how to act and pose on shoots. It’s the time to make mistakes and learn.

We’re also a bit more impressionable when we start young, meaning that we’re easier to style and mould.

Lastly, it’s also when most of us are at our skinniest, not something I’m saying is a good thing – just that editorial and high end clients often like the waifish look, and that’s what many 16/17 year old models naturally look like. Of course there are negative connotations here, but that’s for another post!

If you’re really keen on modelling and it’s your dream, you should definitely pursue it – especially as you clearly have a very realistic view of the rejection and criticism you’re letting yourself in for.

Get your favourite Polaroids in natural light, along with some of your test shoots, and mail them to every model on the AMA with a brief, friendly message that includes your measurements.

And make sure you stay proactive, doing your own shoots and nurturing your Instagram to make it look like you’ve already got a buzz about you. This way, you’re also living your dream, making it happen for yourself.

I’ll check your pictures out, but remember that my opinion might be completely different to bookers in various agencies.

And lastly, remember I’m always here at Modeltypeface to give advice!

Rebecca xxxx

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  1. Anon wrote:

    I really don’t think 21 is too late to start modelling! I started at 20 and it hasn’t hindered my career. Yes-it took a year to get into things and kinda of missed the high fashion side of things but as long as you’re in a position to be able to wait a year or so to build your portfolio, clients won’t turn you away if you’re a few years older! Especially for commercial/campaigns which is where the money is at anyway

    • modeltypeface wrote:

      That’s great to know – it definitely doesn’t hinder some who start late, in fact it means you miss out lots of the crap you say yes to when you’re younger! xx

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