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Modeling in the Rogue Valley

When Haylee Godfrey's parents signed her up for a class at IMD Image and Modeling Development seven years ago, she didn't realize it would become a career. "I came in with classes to build self-esteem," she admits. Now a very poised 17-year-old, Godfrey certainly has developed that self-esteem, modeling for numerous major shows and promotions around the country since age 10.

Theresa Pollman, president of IMD, says models begin their careers in a variety of ways. Some of their top models were the result of career days in area schools. "We do educational lectures around the valley," she explains which focus on self-development and teaching students to present themselves well in situations such as job interviews.

It was one of these "career days" that launched her son's career, says Jill Harju, mother of Sean Harju, a Shady Cove resident who has taken the modeling world by storm in the last year. Others have begun modeling after realizing their potential through image consulting or a photo shoot.

Do you have to be tall and young to model? Not at all, says Pollman. The real criteria? "A beautiful face, proportioned, physically fit and toned [body]," she sums up. "A clean, healthy look" is what she looks for. "There's a huge difference between being skinny and being fit." And there is plenty of opportunity for all ages. IMD represents models as young as 5 years old to senior-aged models, too.

If you think modeling may be for you, where should you start? Pollman recommends scheduling a consultation/interview to discuss your options and goals. Herself a model for 16 years, she knows that not everyone is cut out for modeling. "There are no guarantees in this business," she reminds. "I won't promise anyone they'll be a supermodel. I'd rather say 'I think you have potential.'" Along with their physical look, IMD lists "outgoing, responsible and reliable" as traits necessary for their models.

The next step is to build a "book" - a collection of photographs that will demonstrate your talents. "A modeling portfolio these days is made up of a lot of different looks," says David Gibb of David Gibb Photography in Jacksonville. It is a common practice for models to use "comp cards," a composite of several looks with contact information and vital statistics. It will have multiple shots on the card, says Gibb, to demonstrate a variety of looks or features.

One thing to keep in mind is that while a model does not pay for representation, there will be some cost to them, says Pollman. Costs for initial photo sessions or for training workshops will be the responsibility of the model.

As an example, a session to shoot and format a "comp card" can range from $275-$600, according to Gibb, depending on the number of locations and other factors. And most models do require some basic skills in preparation for camera or runway work.

While not everyone will end up on the runways of New York and Milan, there are opportunities closer to home. Pollman admits that though you likely won't make a living at modeling in the Rogue Valley, she represents a number of models that only work locally. "I'm trying to make them some money on the side because it's fun," she says.

Opportunities in the valley include some runway work but mostly promotional or stock photography jobs ranging from $15-35 per hour. For models like Godfrey and Harju, the price goes up significantly outside the valley.

Models come from all kinds of small towns around the world. Even the Rogue Valley. It's a career that can provide opportunities for travel, work experience, a source of income and opportunities beyond. Are you America's next top model?

"Every child is beautiful," smiles Theresa Pollman, president of IMD Image and Modeling Development, but not every child is cut out to be a young model. IMD represents a number of younger models and Pollman is quick to point out that "kids need to be kids."

When 15-year-old Haylee Godfrey (who's younger brother also models) travels for a photo session, her mother or grandmother travels with her. It also means that school determines her schedule. For instance, Godfrey says, during track season I don't work. After her senior year, Godfrey would like to relocate to Los Angeles to continue modeling but says she does plan to go to college, something Pollman supports for all her models.

And parents, too, have their concerns. Jill Harju admits "I checked Theresa out." But ultimately she told her son, "If you find out in a year it's not your cup of tea, what have you learned?" noting the business skills and travel experience that will have developed in that time.

Kids grow and their bodies change so above all, Pollman encourages her young models to know what they want, and whether saving for college or for a new car, points out that "this [modeling] can be a tool to the future."

Modeling in the Rogue Valley