When I was a tween, I had a very brief modeling career. Despite what many think, being 5’7” at 12 years old was not an asset in the children’s modeling industry. I was not very successful.
I was fully in my tween-hood: Too tall for kids, too young-looking for teens. I also had very large feet so often times they would have to create interesting ways for me to “model” shoes like carrying them while on the beach or slipping them on in photographs. If all else failed and shoes were absolutely essential, I crammed my feet into them. Smile through the pain.
I was sent to many “Go-Sees” by my agent which are exactly what they sound like: You go, they see you and they’ll call if they want you. Most of the time I would walk in and they would say “too tall” and I would leave.
But this one time, my height wasn’t going to affect my chances of getting the job because it was going to be an ad for LIPS! I thought, “I have pretty nice lips, I can do this!” The shot was going to be of a mouth, slightly smiling, and the ad was for a phone company.
My mom asked why they were using such young girls for the ad and the photographer replied: “We use young girls because they don’t have any lines and wrinkles around their mouths yet.”
I didn’t get that gig, but looking back as an adult, it’s pretty disturbing. I remember them putting a ton of red lipstick on me and sticking a camera really close to my chin. They may have even mentioned the word “sexy”.
Another time, I was called to a bra shoot. I had a modest bosom back then and I was terrified. As I put on the sports/training bra in the changing room, I knew that this was soon-to-be one of the worst experiences of my life. I took a deep breath, stuck out my chest and pulled back the curtain, ready for perusal. But to my relief, another young girl had beaten me out there.
She was slightly taller than me, blonde and at least three years older. She had a full, round bosom and clearly this was a very proud moment for her. She no less than pranced around the studio with a smile plastered on her face. She could have done that lip ad if she weren’t so old. She laughed and jiggled and I looked down at my barely-theres in comparison; I was like Jan Brady coming out of that dressing room.
I felt like crying when they took the Polaroids and it wasn’t long after that I said "FT" to my modeling career. I just have to hope that there are no longer photos of me floating around out there: Almost crying, in my bra and my mouth covered in red lipstick.
I am sure there are photos like that, just not when I am 12.