Dear Dr. Bill,
Our 13-year-old daughter is started high school this year and wants to pursue her dream of becoming a model. Should we encourage this? My husband and I don't see any harm in it, but some friends of ours believe it’s the worst thing we could do for our daughter. What do you think?
I think your friends are right to be concerned. The world of professional modeling is filled with risks. It tends to be a cut-throat profession where drug and alcohol use and sexual promiscuity are the norm. Due to the emphasis on thinness, many young models suffer from eating disorders.
Modeling also places value on external beauty only, rather than internal qualities like the strength of a person’s character. The bible tells us that God is much more concerned about what’s on the inside. His wants us to focus on developing qualities like honesty, kindness, gentleness, patience, and respect.
That being said, there are professional models who are Christians. They feel called to represent Christ in that very secular atmosphere, and to share their faith with others in the entertainment business. But I’m sure they’d acknowledge the many challenges they face, and they wouldn’t advise parents to allow young girls to enter the modeling profession.
I’d suggest you have a heart-to-heart talk with your daughter and gently explain these concerns. Let her know that if she is still set on modeling as a career in a few years, you will re-visit the issue when she is 16 or 17. She’ll also need to demonstrate that she has the maturity and strength of character to handle the temptations she’ll face in that profession.
I’d also make it clear that she will need to save up her own money for things like head-shots, make-up, and the outfits she’ll need to wear for auditions. If she’s serious about getting into the modeling business, she’ll need to be responsible for the significant costs involved.
Thanks for writing Stephanie. If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” link on the Culture Connection page.