For modelling, this is the crucial age. Kate Moss started working at this age, along with Naomi Campbell and Adriana Lima. It is the age where agencies, if you have what it takes to become a model, will definitely start taking an interest.
The hours you are allowed to work are still strictly prescribed at this age, but the law does allow a 15-year-old to work the following (maximum) hours:
School days – 2 hrs per day
Saturdays – 8 hrs
Sundays – 2 hrs
School holidays – 8 hrs
Maximum hours – 35 (during school holidays) and 12 during term-time.
Whilst working, you can only work a maximum of 4 hours at a time before needing a 1 hour break.
Aged 15, you will still need a performance licence to model, unless the work you are doing is unpaid or no absence from school is required. The agency is responsible for submitting a licence application, and it will be issued by the local authority who will liaise with the child’s head teacher to ensure that the child’s education will not be jeopardised by the uptake of modelling work.
In addition to this, if you become successful, you may find yourself travelling to work and having a parent or guardian to accompany you to every shoot is not always practical. In these cases, an agency will have to apply for a chaperone licence as a 15-year-old cannot by law go to jobs unless they are accompanied by a responsible adult.
The increase in permitted working hours are a definite draw for agencies, but when approaching an agency, you still need to be aware of disreputable firms. When starting out, you do not need an expensive portfolio to impress, just a couple of simple photographs will do. Ideally they should be a head-and-shoulders shot, plus a full body photograph. Many agencies will have specific application guidelines on their websites – it does pay to check up first.
Going to open calls is also a good idea at this age, as it gives you a taste for what the industry is really like. Being older, you will have an idea that modelling isn’t all glitz and glamour and that putting in hours of leg-work trawling round to various agencies plays its part. Aged 15, even Kate Moss didn’t get a yes to every job she went for – rejection is rarely personal. It’s hard not to get offended, but clients have very specific briefs on what to look for, and there are plenty of opportunities out there for models who are willing to be patient.