How to become a model in Seventeen magazine, Part 3

betty ming liu Inspiration, Relationships 15 Comments

My daughter, now 17, is modeling right this minute in Seventeen magazine for the third time. She’s  17, in Seventeen…sweet!!!

The experience taught both of us even more about how she can get out there to catch her own dreams. After all, never too young to learn persistance, patience, disappointment, failure — and the glory of  perseverance. More on that later.

First, the photo spread, which is in a special, long-running prom issue published annually by the monthly magazine.  It went on newsstands in early January and is available through April. The first glimpse of Gabi is in the table of contents:

Then, you’ll find her in the “rock your prom dress!” feature on pages 228-229, demonstrating a workout for legs! arms! abs! butt!

Here’s a closeup from p. 228:


You know the best part of seeing Gabi in Seventeen? I did NOTHING. No helicopter mom behavior on my part, which I’m proud to say.

Whenever an editorial intern or editor has called or emailed Gabs asking her to send in new photos of her hands or full body shot for possible upcoming shoots, she’d snap new pictures on her iPhone and send them in. When she didn’t hear back, she would email and call — only to hear “thanks, but  not this time.” Yes, disappointment over and over again.

And that was GREAT. The ability to pick ourselves up after moments of disappointment is a critical life skill, wouldn’t you agree? Gabi has learned the value of keeping in touch by email, to say hi and ask if there was anything they needed. She now understands how important it is to stay on the radar of decision makers and others who are important to us.

Another lesson: Getting what we want often comes in a progression of steps. The modeling dream began in 2011 after Gabi responded to a call for readers to appear in Seventeen’s pages as unpaid models. She found out about it via Seventeen’s Facebook page. So girls, if you want to model in Seventeen, be sure to like the magazine on Facebook (by liking, you will be sent invites to special events, like modeling auditions). It’s also essential to read the monthly issues of the magazine in print and online.

The first photo shoot in Manhattan was so exciting and glamorous. You can read about it and see the behind-the-scenes photos I took by clicking on an earlier post here. We were there for most of a day. In the end, Gabi was featured just once, as another pretty little headshot among six girls that were also modeling hair dos on a single page.

Afterwards, the magazine would occasionally call and email, which is when she learned the art of staying in touch. For the second shoot, I couldn’t go with her because I had to work and we were both really sad about that. So she got on the train by herself to the city and handled the shoot alone — which turned out to be a confidence builder for us both.

This time, the outcome was even better. Instead of sharing a page, she had a page all her own. I blogged about it and added photos on another earlier post, here.

And now she’s in multiple pages, with multiple images for 2013. By this latest third shoot, she was an old pro at going without Mommy…

As I sit here typing all this and uploading photos for you, it feels like a miracle to be in this particular emotional space. That’s right, world, I did NOT micro-manage my child the way my strict parents bore down on me. Telling her what to do has always the easy part because control freakishness is in my DNA (although she hardly listens to me anymore). The tougher practice is to Let Her Have Her Own Space To Do Things Her Way.

So here’s to letting go of clutching onto people, outmoded values and memories that no longer serve us. Get that stuff out of the way and suddenly, there’s room for wonderful new experiences, especially with those we love the most.  xo

Comments 15

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    A friend of mine who is the father of three daughters just sent me an email saying that having models in his house would be a nightmare, not a dream come true. Haha!

    Well to be honest, I argued against this modeling idea for a long time. It seems so frivolous, esp since my teen years were all about being Ugly Betty. But that’s part of what I’m learning: To move out of the way and let my daughter be who she is.

    Seems to me that one of the hardest aspects of parenting is to NOT live through our kids.

  2. How exciting for Gabi! I can’t wait to see the edition in print, in person. This has been fun for your daughter and a practical lesson for you both. Sometimes, some things in life are about the learning experience, and sometimes, other things should be JUST FOR FUN. How cool to have both!

    And Gabi looks great! Go girl! Thanks for sharing your good times with us.

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  4. Congratulations to you both.

    It must have been hard to sit back and let her do so much on her own. And look at all you each have to be proud of. She is quite a girl. I hope I can grow to be a mom to have such a self-reliant and resilient daughter. And lovely. And hard-working.

    Happy days!

  5. She looks great, and what abs! Let’s not forget, feminism is about options. If she wants to model, her success should be celebrated. She’s your daughter, Betty. I’m sure she’s got great values. And, even if you didn’t hover, you get a lot of credit for her character and determination. Good work, Mom!

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    Amantha, she gets so annoyed at me now when I want to do stuff for her (unless of course, we’re talking about bringing her meals or doing the dishes for her, etc. haha). I’ve been talking to some of my other mom friends with high school seniors. We are wrecks over having our kids leave home for college! Of course, they can’t wait to go…they need their space but it’s hard!

    Thank you, Fran. I guess I hover more than she wants but I can’t help it …. I’m a mom, for crying out loud. The abs are the result of doing sit-ups. The child does push-ups on her own too. I should learn more from her example.

    Laura, sometimes she goes for the ice cream but she really, really does care about exercise. When she was younger, she loved soccer. Then she loved dance. Now it’s the gym. Having her around really motivates me to make an effort because the last thing I want is for us to be somewhere together and have people say, “Oh, is that dumpy old lady the mom?”

  7. Betty,
    Three times! Congradulations!
    I got a kick out of the “hovering mom” notion. We sort of had “two” sets of kids. There was a 13 year gap between my younger sister and my little brother. My mom had a tubligation that failed. Mom took it in stride wrapping up the hospital bill (which the doctor paid) in a “congradulations it’s a Boy” card. Dad said that having one batch of kids to “learn on” helped a lot in raising my brother. He was able to spoil my brother more and not worry about the “small stuff” (my brother went through five bikes I found out, having broken the frames)

    It is good that kids find a passion in life as Gabi seems to have. There are far too many people who have not found that joy in their lives. We were not designed to be unhappy.
    It is also cool to have someone you know who is well known. My little brother was/is into skating/boarding and that led to his job as head designer for DC shoes, a job he loves.
    I think Gabi is going to do just fine.

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  8. congrats to your daughter!! :) shes soooooo beautiful :) im so glad you posted about all 3 of your daughters experiences! i’ve been interested in going to one of their castings and I’m actually planning to go their next one! :) I was just wondering, when your daughter went to one of the casting calls, what was it like? I’m kind of nervous and all your posts are really helpful! thanks! :)

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      Aw, thanks, Kat! We went to only one real casting call. It was rather insane…pretty young girls lined up down the block on a Manhattan street. When we finally got upstairs, it was over really quick. A few editorial-type people asked her a few questions about her interests, what high school she went to, etc. Then a photographer took some quick photos that showed what she looked like.

      A lot of the girls were dressed up in crazy spike shoes with heavy makeup, attempting to look their party best. If you ask me, this is always a mistake because that’s not the look the folks in charge are searching for. They are interested in your natural ability to give them whatever look it is that they want. With all that makeup, these girls were masking their real appearance. It came off as a sign of well-intended inexperience. So go with as little makeup as possible and don’t feel a need to dress up!

      For Gabi’s initial Seventeen connection, there was no casting call. At least not in person. She was asked to submit a few photos. And here too, she fussed about makeup etc. — I insisted she just send some shots from her iPhone. One of them was even a bit fuzzy! But it conveyed a lively connection to the camera, a sense of her personality. She is a teenager and needs to project the fact that she’s a lively teenager. Whenever the editors asked her availability for subsequent shoots, she always asked her to submit updated shots. By this point, she was comfortable having a friend (or sometimes me) take an iPhone shot of whatever they asked for. Once they wanted her hands. Usually they will ask for an updated full body, head-to-toe. And like I said, more often than not, she didn’t land the shoot.

      I have no idea of your age bracket but Kat, you are already conveying personality. So just go with it. Be natural and enjoy the experience. Good luck!

  9. Hi Im going to a casting call for seventeen this upcoming week and I was just wondering what your daughter wore to her casting call cause i am having trouble deciding what would be appropriate

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      Congrats, Chloe! Gabi went to one of those….what we realized was that it’s very important to go looking very natural. A lot of the girls wore tons of makeup, stiletto heels and “hot” outfits that made them look like they were either going clubbing or ready to hit the streets as hookers. When I watched the staff reaction, they seemed most interested in the girls who looked like teenagers — very little makeup or none at all. They want to see what kind of presence you have, your confidence — that’s the most important thing to wear to the casting call!

      Of course, they also want to get a sense of your body. Jeans are fine. But to give them a look at your legs, maybe shorts or a dress. For a top, they will want to see what kind of waistline you have so a clingy tank top under a blouse or something might be in order.

      Can’t stress enough the important of your personal confidence and personality! That’s what they’re going for. And even if you have that, there’s the issue of The Look. Who knows what they’re looking for, it’s a crap shoot! So go have fun and enjoy the experience. Good luck!

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