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How to become a model in Seventeen Magazine — like my daughter!

March 24, 2011 · 77 comments

in Inspiration, Relationships

Hey, guess what — my baby’s in the April issue of Seventeen Magazine! Look for her on page 82! She’s in the upper right-hand corner of the “pretty prom styles!” photo layout. That’s my Gabrielle, the dimpled cutie with the elegant updo!

Sorry for putting you through all those exclamation points. But we’re just so excited! Gabi loves fashion and dream to model just came true!

This moment is also a breakthrough for another reason…

When I launched my blog two years ago, Gabi was 14 and wanted her privacy. So I never showed photos of her face and rarely wrote about her. If I mentioned her in passing, she was simply identified as “The Princess.” But now that she’s ready to be a celebrity (haha!), I’m very proud to have you meet my only child on her terms.

Gabi’s first-ever modeling experience felt like being in a very glamorous movie.

The adventure began with an early morning drive from our home in the suburbs to Manhattan. Our destination was the Hearst Corp.’s fancy W. 57th Street headquarters.

We reported in at 8:30 a.m. and stayed until about 2:30 p.m.

During those six hours, we were dazzled by the meticulous work involved in pulling off a fashion shoot. Hair genius Damian Monzillo sculpted the ‘do. Makeup artist Keiko Hiramoto was amazing. So was stylist Chrissy Lloyd.

The actual photo shoot was mesmerizing. Photographer Peter Rosa and digital tech Angus Oborn were constantly in motion. And all that expensive digital equipment — wow. After it was over, Gabi took a few photos of the studio on her cell phone. Then she changed into her regular grrrl clothes.

Getting into the elevator and leaving was kinda sad. It had been such a crazy, over-the-top day. Of course, Gabs is now hoping to do more modeling. If you have a potential gig, let’s talk. As a novice stage mom, I could use good advice too.  ;-)

A big thank you to the wonderful folks at Seventeen Magazine. Beauty Assistant Molly Ritterbeck guided us through the day. Bookings Editor Alicia Bridgewater was so supportive through the entire process.

And of course, a huge hug to my former NYU student, Seventeen Magazine intern Laxmi Rodulfo. She was the one who directed us to Seventeen’s Facebook page and told us that the magazine uses teen readers as models. Note: Seventeen’s Facebook page currently has info on its “Real-Girl Cover Contest.”

Btw, as a concept, Facebook pages are a gold mine. They’re a completely different category from the individual profiles that we each have. The pages are public places for sellers to mingle with potential buyers. These days, it seems like every store, chain, business and political cause has a public page where customers can get the scoop on special deals and projects. In fact, if you’re marketing anything — any kind of product or service — creating your own page makes sense.

P.S. — Want to read about more about Gabi’s modeling adventures? Then go to this 2012 post about her second gig: “My kid get to model again in Seventeen magazine.”


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{ 72 comments… read them below or add one }

SPARKLE VERONICA TAYLOR March 24, 2011 at 2:25 am

Oh, she’s BEAUTIFUL! I know you’re proud as hell!

I think I might just buy this magazine…perhaps Gabrielle can sign it for me someday! ;-)


betty March 24, 2011 at 2:31 am

aw thanks, sparkle. yes, i’m proud of gabs — and for so many reasons. she’s my baby!


M. Skye Holly March 24, 2011 at 4:01 am

Your daughter is a knockout!
It is so cool to finally ”meet” her…on her own terms and everything. Through the blog, it was kind of like watching her grow up (only technically not seeing anything, but maybe a finger here or there). This is kind of like watching a favorite child star in a sense (the ones that turned out right, anyway, like Keshia Knight Pulliam a.k.a “Rudy” from The Cosby Show or Rick Schroder from Silver Spoons and NYPD Blue.
Your Princess has long stimulated our minds with her intelligence, wit, extracurricular activities and cool sets of friends. I’ve loved reading about her troupe stuff, trips to NYC, Nicki Minaj concerts with her hip mama, and of course, anything vegetarian. She’s brilliant and brainy (is that a Liu thing?) and now Seventeen has the world seeing she’s beautiful on the outside, too.
What a hottie! Definitely getting a copy of the mag.

And, I’ve always loved the name Gabrielle, too.

Any chance she’ll start blogging? What a way to come out of a shell! I thought I liked getting older, but maybe I want to go back to high school now. Do I feel proud, too? Or am I just jealous?!


M. Skye Holly March 24, 2011 at 4:08 am

Oops, left out some parentheses, I think up there. You didn’t see that, Betty. :)


embryonique March 24, 2011 at 5:48 am

Your daughter is gorgeous! I am sure she will be successful as a model in the future! Congratulations!!!


Shirley Bubbles March 24, 2011 at 7:26 am

Wow, Congratulations!

Time flies! The FIRST time and the last time I met your princess while you were helping me with my graduate thesis in the restaurant. By then, she was a few years old girl! LOL

Gabi was a lovely girl and now she has become a gorgeous young model!


Stephanie Fisher March 24, 2011 at 7:58 am

Oh my gosh Betty you’re daughter is so beautiful! Congratulations!!! That’s SO exciting for her. Good luck on future shoots :-)


Theory March 24, 2011 at 8:20 am

Congrats Betty, how exciting! She is beautiful and with a smart mother like you I’m sure she will go far in any field she chooses – although modeling suits her well.


Julia Morpurgo March 24, 2011 at 8:37 am

Congrats, Betty!! Your daughter is stunning and I’m so glad you got to do the “Hearst Experience” together! What a fun bonding day!! Miss you!


betty March 24, 2011 at 9:02 am

thanks, y’all! so glad that gabi’s first experiemce was in seventeen because it’s such a classy, smart, age-appropriate venue. this gig was an eye-opener for me re just how demanding the fashion/beauty world is. takes real drive & strategic intelligence to make it. getting lucky helps too.

also learned a lot about branding. how brilliant of seventeen to use reader models. It builds reader loyalty. the girls aren’t paid, which is a money saver for the mag. and the girls are thrilled by the self esteem-building experience.

btw, I have some outtakes from that day which I will post to my fb page later. They are among my fav pix but they didn’t fit thefocus of this post. Hope this comment reads ok…I’m texting this on my phone while walking through grand central station! Xo


Isha D March 24, 2011 at 9:09 am

Betty, this was so exciting to read! Gabi looks BEAUTIFUL and her energy really shines through in the pics!! Also, I love the dress she was wearing– she looks great in it!
Random side note: It’s funny… when I was interning at MC, they took us on a tour of those studios. Must have been so exciting to be a part of all that activity!


Ivan March 24, 2011 at 9:34 am

Congrats Betty.


Sarah Kim March 24, 2011 at 9:38 am

I literally got butterflies when I received this post in my inbox this morning. She looks absolutely stunning and I personally think you don’t have enough exclamation points!! This is so exciting. And I absolutely love how much time it took to her get her ready when the magazines are always selling these hair-dos as fast, easy, and simple. Congratulation and best of luck in the future! Now all your past journalism students can live vicariously as a NYC model through her!!


Vivien O-S March 24, 2011 at 9:55 am



Madeline March 24, 2011 at 10:34 am

Congrats! How exciting! What a beautiful young lady!


embro March 24, 2011 at 10:41 am

Your daughter looks gorgeous, Betty! So glamorous.


Joel Friedlander March 24, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Wow, just wow. No wonder you’ve been keeping the Princess under wraps. Thanks for sharing.


betty March 24, 2011 at 2:22 pm

it was good to see my baby so happy. when we’re both in a good mood, we don’t bicker as much. if you want to see what kind of shots we take when we’re annoying each other, here’s what i just uploaded to my fb page:


Lana March 24, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Betty, she looks absolutely stunning! She must take after her mother ;)

I’m a huge fan of the elevator photos. Truly working the Amy Winehouse – it makes me miss my beehive hair days circa freshman year of college.


betty March 24, 2011 at 3:19 pm

haha, our references are so generational. you see amy winehouse and i see….nefertiti!!! thanks for getting me out of ancient egypt. :0


Billy George March 24, 2011 at 4:51 pm

OMG! What a cutie. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree!


JGregg March 24, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Hi, Betty —

What a beautiful young woman, and yes, she does take after mom! You two are gorgeous!

I have two young boys (13 and 11) who are not often shown on the pages of my blog b/c of those privacy reasons as well (I don’t think i’ve ever used their names either). Being in L.A. their mom and myself are routinely approached (and receive comments) about how our kids should be in print (Gap commercials, etc.) or film. I’m not down for it, though, having so many friends in the business over the years and seeing the very real downside of fame and celebrity.

When they’re 17, then I’ll follow your lead! (only after they both pledge to finish UCLA and Harvard law school!)



Patty March 24, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Gabi looks gorgeous! Please tell her I said she is beautiful outside, but even more importantly to us, inside as well — just like her Mom.




Yvonne Latty March 25, 2011 at 12:38 am

so awesome! wow!!


Angela Reeve March 25, 2011 at 8:47 am

I get all teary-eyed seeing your little girl as a young woman now! Such a beautiful girl and a beautiful person. I know you’re so proud :)


Wendy March 26, 2011 at 4:09 am

OMG!! Gabi is gorgeous!! Get her an agent, pronto!! I should not be surprised at all….hot mama, hot daughter. I am so happy for you both. She is so blessed to have a such a supportive mom!

I can see her killing it in the industry… the same time, a college degree never hurt anyone. Always nice to have something to fall back on.

You two are awesome and am so excited for you both!!!

Love, love, love!!


M. Skye Holly March 26, 2011 at 5:33 am

Snagged up a copy of the mag from Walgreen’s after coming out if the movies w/ my kid! I felt like a 17 year old buying it. I am so corny. (I used to read this religiously in junior high!) My son was kinda glad to see one of his Nickelodeon crushes, Victoria Justice, on the cover. Seventeen has changed a lot…but is still so much the same. Waiting for baby Betty to sign my copy.


betty March 26, 2011 at 8:20 am

the april issue was actually the first time i ever truly looked at seventeen in…..decades. i haven’t been seventeen since — oh well, never mind. but yes, this child of mine is definitely getting a college degree. she’s not talking about modeling as a career-career.

modeling via seventeen was a total self-esteem building experience. i know that’s not what this field is like. moms who have taken their girls through modeling gigs keep telling me how awful modeling was on their children’s self-esteem — the constant you’re-too-this and not-enough-that. so i’ve got my guard up.

and if y’all hear of any other venues that might be good modeling outlets, please let me know!


Monica March 26, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Your “princess” is stunning! Congratulations to daughter and mom! You’re right to be so proud of her! Have lots of fun! …sorry for all the exclamation marks.


Jackie W March 28, 2011 at 1:01 am


Your daughter is so beautiful!!! You should be proud of her! My advice to you, which you are already doing, is let her take the lead and be there when she needs advice or gently pushed to get back on track.

Facebook pages are awesome. We have one for our daughter and her activities as a way to communicate out her swimming stuff without it taking over our own profile pages (as she is only 7!). People who really want to know about swimming 24/7 can just go there.

Congrats again! What an achievement! :)


M. Skye Holly March 28, 2011 at 4:38 am

Betty, still cheesing over this blog entry. Everyone’s comments are so warm, insightful and encouraging. It must be great having people in your corner to share these things with…especially since you share and put your words out there for us week after week. I hear what you say about this being a self-esteem building experience, even though you and the Princess have already talked college and all that good stuff. I would never want you to make her feel that this Seventeen experience wasn’t worth anything and I don’t think you’ve done anything like that. Instead of making it something to define her, it looks like you are just letting her enjoy it. If she takes it to another level, I think you are fine with that. If she doesn’t, you are fine with that, too. Because you don’t want her to get caught up in the shallow side of what happens in the industry, it is good that you are asking questions and getting some know how. Her self-esteem will be boosted not just because she was in a magazine, but because she fulfilled a dream. A pretty cool dream at that! She also gets that boost because you, those you have in her life, also, supported her having her dream. That is what makes the difference. She didn’t need Seventeen to validate her, her mama already did. Seventeen just put the sparkles on it. Whether she becomes a supermodel or a super CEO, she’s being given a foundation to stand on. Knowing that she fulfilled one dream will pump her up to fulfill more. And we all can’t wait to read about ’em (uhhh, that is, if she lets you share). Again, the sap in me will say congrats a bunch of times. I love fulfilled dreams! This entry makes me smile about some of my own fulfilled dreams coming to pass (slowly but surely) over the past few years. It also makes me remember the dreams of my little prince coming to pass, too, and the new ones he tacks on my brain to make happen for him. (”Mommy, can you make it happen?” is something he asks now and then). Funny enough, thankfully, I’ve been able to make some happen. Working on some more. Bird by bird…:)


lina April 1, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Betty, she is GORGEOUS!!!!! If I were you, I would a few more exclamation points!
Beauty plus your artistic talents, writing capability…plus your guidance (not stupid ASIAN strict stupid closed-mind rules. Even the sky won’t be the limit! Congratulations!!!! So proud of you and her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Hana Song April 3, 2011 at 4:03 pm


Your daughter is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BEAUTIFUL! That is all.



Adriana April 4, 2011 at 3:39 pm

A big congrats! Very beautiful.


betty April 4, 2011 at 9:54 pm



Simone A. Santos April 12, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Your daughter is simply gorgeous and fortunate to have such a cool, awesome mom.


Dianna April 28, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Your daughter is simply beautiful :)


Sunehra May 13, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Wow, your daughter is absolutely gorgeous! Congrats!


Karla June 29, 2011 at 5:07 am

Your daughter looks beautiful! I’m nineteen and Ive always wanted to model for seventeen magazine, I’m on their facebook and I cant find a direct link that tells me what I have to do to do a photoshoot this looks like such an amazing experience, Please email me back with details I would appreciate it so much!


betty June 29, 2011 at 8:29 am

karla, thank you! just keep reading the mag’s facebook page. the editors periodically run these “events” inviting readers to send in photos to become reader models. we also found out about a cover reader contest on seventeen’s website. at this point, my daughter makes it a point to read both the facebook page and website on a regular basis — at least once a week, i’m sure (although i’ve never asked her what she does. but she always seems to know what’s new on these sites). good luck!


Wanda July 20, 2011 at 11:45 am

Wonderful blog & what a charming and warm face your daughter has… she is simply beautiful and glowing! Thank you for sharing :) Wishing you both all the best!


Nisarah November 11, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Thank you very much! I’ve been trying to find out this information for ages. I’d love to be in Seventeen. And your daughter looks fantastic. Hope she could keep that cute dress.


Betty November 11, 2011 at 6:52 pm

thank you for stopping by, nisarah! the magazine recently called her back a second time. we’re hoping that the photo will run next spring. and no, she did NOT get to keep the dress!


Isis Imani November 21, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Your daughter is beautiful! I am a 19 year old student at the University of Toledo and also a professional model. I am trying to take steps to get my face in publications such as Seventeen. do you have any advice for me?


Betty November 21, 2011 at 7:35 pm

isis, i wish you had advice for ME! after this experience, we were all excited about doing more modeling work. but my daughter has been so busy with school and other activities that we had no time. basically, we just kept hoping that seventeen would ask her to come back. and the editors did. she should be in one of the spring 2012 issues. good luck, isis!


Megan Barker December 20, 2011 at 12:47 am

Could you help me become a model for magazines? I have always wanted to become a model and my mom and sister is finally supporting me, Please help me out I am 14 too!


betty ming liu December 20, 2011 at 8:30 am

hi megan,
at this point, my daughter is so busy with high school that we haven’t had much time to pursue a modeling career. so the best advice i have is right here. start reading seventeen religiously online on its website and facebook page. when there’s a contest, jump in!
good luck,


Stacie Summers March 2, 2012 at 1:04 am

Hi, I’m Stacie. My daughter is Rubie MeleAna Joao – she will be 17 on Monday, March 5th. She is beautiful. Rubie is 5’9 1/2 – My father/her grandfather was 6’6″ – I’m 5’10”.

Rubie is an amazing daughter. I can’t say enough about her. I would love to see her life change in a positive way. Rubie really wants to go to college in Hawaii. I think she is beautiful. I don’t think I’m just prejudice either. She is loving, strong, sweet, kind, loving, giving, funny, beautiful, adoring……..I could go on and on.

Financially I can’t do alot of things for her; she is very deserving of awesome things…..

I thought I’d submit her for you Magazine – she’s worth it!

Thank you



betty ming liu March 2, 2012 at 8:14 am

on stacie — thanks for stopping by. but a clarification: i am NOT seventeen magazine. i’m just the mom of a seventeen magazine reader. i’m just like you. here’s the link to the magazine’s website:


Sydney May 21, 2012 at 9:04 am

Wow, she is gorgeous!! is she a beauty smartie? I would LOVE to be in Seventeen Magazine! I have a fashion blog, and I wish they had a section in their magazine for fashion blogs or something. :)

Xo Sydney


betty ming liu May 21, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Sydney, my baby is a smartie — and a wise-ass too! If you want to be in Seventeen, then check out the links to the magazine’s Facebook and website. The editors run contests and host events looking for reader models. If my daughter can do it, anyone can! Btw, I also like your blog. And I agree — it would be great if they ran some blogs. Why not write to the editors and pitch yours? Even if they don’t need bloggers, you might find yourself a new writing gig! Good luck!


Kim June 9, 2012 at 4:30 pm

how did she get this oppotunity? I would love to model for Seventeen!!


betty ming liu June 10, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Kim, in this post there’s info on what my daughter did. She responded to a modeling call that Seventeen posted on its Facebook page. So that’s a good place to start!


Jill June 24, 2012 at 5:50 pm

She is very beautiful!! So happy for your daughter! :)
How was she able to be in Seventeen? Like what kinda things did you have to do to be in the issue? I would love to do what your daughter did! So i need some tips etc since you are her mom! thank you soo much! Also what was your site that you wrote the blog on?!?!


betty ming liu June 25, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Jill, just read the post thoroughly. All the links are there. My daughter made a point to follow Seventeen’s website and Facebook page. That’s how she found out about the call for models. Good luck!


Nat August 3, 2012 at 2:18 am

Hello Betty! I’m so glad to read about your daughter’s 2 photoshoots, I read both your posts =)

I was wondering if your former NYU student/Seventeen intern notified you about a specific modeling contest Seventeen had, or if your daughter sent them her picture on the Seventeen website or did she show up at the Hearst offices for their open calls? What was the process of her getting seen before she was picked for the shoot? I am wondering because I would like to model as well :)


Dymond walker August 7, 2012 at 3:28 am

Wow I would love to say congrats on the success of your daughters dreams! I kno as a mother u must be extremely Proud! I love coming across blogs and articles like this one makes me feel like things in my life can really be accomplished. I am 18 years old and since I was 8 I’ve always wanted to be a model and a dancer! But finances have been tough. So I never really got to take dance classes or do modeling because the money just wasn’t there. Seventeen magazines is my absolute favorite it’s inspirational and entertaining all at once. It sucks tht my dreams have suffered because of money problems but your daughter is beautiful and this blog makes me want to fight harder to get towards my dream! I wish you guys the best of luck! Thank you


betty ming liu August 7, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Fight for yourself, Dymond, and don’t give up! You’re very brave to face the realities blocking your dreams. But there might still be ways to keep some part of modeling and dancing in your life. You have to really want your dream and look for ways to make it happen. If you like going online, look for dance organizations that might have scholarships. Or maybe a community group in your neighborhood might have an activity or special program once in a while.

And thank you for your good wishes — I’m very touched by your words. I hope I don’t sound like an obnoxious mom in this reply comment to you — I tell my daughter the same thing…find those dreams and make them happen. Patience!


Daisy August 7, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Hello Betty I’m so happy for your daughter & yes Dymond don’t give up on your dream! And yes like Nat said, how was your daughter first seen by Seventeen before her photoshoot? An open call? A contest?



betty ming liu August 9, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Daisy, my daughter responded to one of those open calls on the Seventeen Facebook page. Then she kept reading the magazine online to find out about other open calls. Sometimes friends are helpful. She heard about a Seventeen open model call in Manhattan that was run in conjunction with a modeling agency (I forget which one). She didn’t get called back on any of these subsequent attempts. But I think once they used her, she was on their radar and the editors called her in a second time. We keep hoping for more.

And Debbie, I don’t think my daughter will do much modeling when she’s older. She’s like your daughter. Just having a chance to do it a little bit has been wonderful. :)


debbie August 8, 2012 at 2:00 pm

my daughter would love to become a model i wonder if you could help me she used to do modeling when she was younger and would love to do it again thanks so much debbie


Lexi December 31, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Hi I’m a 14 year old girl looking to become a model like your daughter. She is so beautiful. Can you explain to me how she got the experience with 17 magazine because I would like to do that also.


Sheldean January 16, 2013 at 2:50 am

Can you please help me and my sister throughout the steps to becoming a mode for seventeen magazine please


Aleksandr March 26, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Great article, really loved it.
It it touching that you help your daughter with her dream, because most mother do not approve of modeling.
Also here is an article that i wrote which might prove to be interesting to any aspiring model:


betty ming liu March 26, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Thanks, Alexsandr. In truth, I wasn’t crazy about the idea of modeling. And thankfully, she has no interest in pursuing it professionally — there are just too many issues in this field in terms of focusing on appearances, eating disorders, etc. But Seventeen has been a very wholesome experience that has been great for her self-esteem. So I am very grateful to the editors there.


Gaby January 26, 2014 at 10:29 pm

Hi! I’m so happy that your daughter had such a great experience! I liked seventeen on Facebook as you said and they posted that they are looking for teen readers who are interested in modeling for the magazine like your daughter did. They request that we send in photos but I’m not sure what type of photos to send in. Since you and your daughter have experience, I was wondering what type of shots to email them? Thanks in advance! :)


betty ming liu January 27, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Gaby, good job! Liking the Seventeen Fb page the way to go! As for photos, keep them really simple and natural — the editors there want your youthful energy. They don’t care about seeing what you look like made up or dressed up. So go with a clean face, minimal makeup. Wear something form-fitting like skinny jeans or shorts and a tank top — so they can get an idea of your body type.

Based on what little I’ve seen, the biggest mistake girls make is that they want to look sophisticated in their photos. Instead, send the editors the sort of shots you take when you’re hanging out with your friends. What do you send each other? Make sure there’s a close up of your face, and another one with your full body. Don’t just stand there either. Have fun. Let the editors get a sense of your personality. They want to see how you relate to the camera!


betty ming liu March 21, 2014 at 9:46 am

For those of you who want to know what a Seventeen modeling call looks like:


Jennifer July 29, 2014 at 6:23 pm

My 17 year old daughter would love to be in 17 magazine would mean the world to her and for me to watch my baby do what she loves to do!! She loves taking pictures! She would be great.


betty ming liu July 30, 2014 at 8:44 pm

Good luck to you and your daughter, Jennifer. Hope it works out!


melody Torres February 22, 2015 at 8:40 am

I think my daughter is so beautiful she should become a model.I don’t know how to go about it


betty ming liu February 22, 2015 at 11:54 am

Melody, we got really lucky. What I know is in this blog post. I’m also glad to say that my daughter is no longer interested in modeling, which is a relief to me. I hated the idea of people passing judgement on her looks! But good luck to you and your daughter.


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