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Girls Head Off to Modeling Camp for the Summer

Girls Head Off to Modeling Camp for the Summer

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.

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Charlotte McKnight

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6:40PM PDT on Aug 14, 2012


4:14AM PDT on Aug 9, 2012

Alisha W.

ah. maybe we just need to get rid of the need and demands for "feminine skills".
not learn them.
lady like behavior are demands of the controling world.


9:54AM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

and you wonder why US teenage girls have have problems with body image and eating disorders

7:23AM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

As feminists, we tend to assume that all girls need to be exposed to more activities that involve being outdoors, sports, or STEM subjects, but that isn’t always the only thing they need. I took a few modeling classes as a kid, and it was a great experience for me. I have always been a tom boy, and my mom wasn’t exactly the most feminine woman on the planet. At 12, I was lacking all kinds of feminine skills, and modeling classes taught me some of what I was missing. Without those classes, I would have had no idea how to apply makeup to cover pimples when I went to prom. I wouldn’t have known how to walk in a formal dress (a required skill for my high school choir, where I made some of the best memories of my childhood). Those classes taught me how to style my hair, pick out clothes that flattered my chunky middle school figure (so that I felt more comfortable) and the teacher even helped me work out some of my southern drawl so that people could understand me – which now helps me do my job. I never wear makeup and avoid dresses and heels like the plague, but I’m glad I know how to use those tools when I need them. Girls need tools. I didn’t need to acquire tools that helped me learn to work on cars or get interested in science; I needed tools to help me be comfortable as a girl.

6:20AM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

There's no avoiding the fact that some girls will be interested in this profession. Perhaps the camp will teach them a bit of the reality while having some fun. At the very worst it will teach them a bit about grooming, poise, responsibility, and work. As long as there are no inflated egos nor expectations, I see it as a fun alternative to traditional camp.

6:00AM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

good thing, places like band, acting or art camp are far superior and much more producive. all those things give joy to the world. modling just is for selling, it cause pain and sadness and at times suicide.

they are teaching these children how to be murderers by-proxy.

"she was so much prettier than I, so I died, why didn't they have more camps for me?"

let's play a game.

am I being whole heartedly serious or joking? I'm terrible at roleplay and creative writing. but I'ts good to see if I can act like others. it will help me craft personas.

8:17PM PDT on Aug 6, 2012

sounds like various modeling schools of pay us a fee to get you started and...nothing for most

5:02PM PDT on Aug 6, 2012

I think a self esteem camp and being an independent person and self reliant camp would be a good thing to teach at this or any camp.

4:36PM PDT on Aug 6, 2012

maybe not modeling, but self-esteem camp???

4:36PM PDT on Aug 6, 2012

maybe not modeling, but self-esteem camp???

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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