Summer camp is one of those quintessential American traditions, typically filled with arts and crafts classes, swimming races, and lip-synched performances of pop songs. Themed summer camps, such as horseback riding camp and even engineering camp, are also popular. There are even camps for aspiring teenage models… but is modeling camp as beneficial or empowering for girls as a traditional summer camp experience?
Modeling Camp, the most well-known program for young girl hoping to learn about modeling, was founded in 1995 and offers programs in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Toronto, and McLean, Virginia. Camp sessions are generally four days long and include workshops and sessions on the fashion industry, modeling techniques, and photo shoots. There are no height or weight requirements for girls interested in attending Modeling Camp, and most of the girls who attend have no modeling experience.
Is Modeling Camp good for girls?
The modeling industry has been criticized for its unrealistic portrayals of women’s bodies and for encouraging eating disorders and excessive exercise to stay thin. So is modeling camp good for girls? Testimonials on the camp’s website indicate that the camp can build confidence and help girls make friends with similar interest.
“Modeling Camp boosted my confidence so much! I now feel beautiful inside and out. I’m really excited to start the new school year with this much style and confidence. I love Modeling Camp!” –Taylor, Age 14
“I thought it was a fantastic experience and it gave me all the tools I needed to start my modeling career. It also gave me a confidence I never had!” –Mariel, Age 15
I spent 7 summers at a traditional, outdoors-based, all-girl camp, and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. Learning how to ride horses, water-ski, and sail helped me build strength and coordination, and living in a cabin with 7 other girls was great practice for making friends quickly. While Modeling Camp may be perfect for girls who prefer to be indoors and are interested in the modeling industry, I still wonder whether it builds the kind of skill set that a regular summer camp encourages.
What do you think? Is Modeling Camp a great option for a summer activity, or is it more harmful than helpful for developing girls’ self-esteem? Share your thoughts in the comments below.