Middle-aged models in demand in Central Florida

Local agencies say now is time to cash in on your age

ORLANDO, Fla. - When we say the word "model," you probably think about men and women who are young, thin and gorgeous. But local modeling schools say that times are changing and now may be the time for older people in Central Florida to cash in on their looks.

Open up any magazine and you'll see high-end items, like watches, cars, and clothing being advertised using older models.  The idea -- to go after consumers in their 40s, 50s, and 60s who can afford a high-end life.

Local modeling agencies in Central Florida say that television commercials are the best place for middle-aged men and women to break into modeling.

"You think about someone who is in their late teens, early 20s, 5' 11", size zero, and that's not the kind of modeling we have here in Central Florida," says Debby Tapia with the Maile Image, Modeling, and Acting School in Winter Park.

Tapia says the demand for older models has grown here over the last few years, mainly because of our biggest industries, like tourism and health care.

"There's hospitals, there's Disney, there's Universal Studios, Aquatica, SeaWorld, hotels," says Tapia. "Because when they cast for things, they cast mom, dad, kids, and grandparents."

So, if you've never done this before, but you want to give modeling a shot, where do you start?

First, go to a place like the Maile School, so they can help you find an agent.

"All you need is a headshot, you don't need to buy pictures or portfolios, you never pay someone money to get you jobs. That's a huge ripoff," says Tapia. "Anyone who wants you to pay money to sign with their agency, that's not a legitimate agency."

After that, businesses that are shooting commercials will get in touch with agents, looking for certain roles -- say, a man or woman, age 45. Then, if you fit that type, you audition.

Tapia says that they key to getting the job is to show up to the audition looking the part.

"If they're looking for a Disney mom, when you go into the casting, you need to look like a Disney mom," says Tapia. "I wouldn't go in a business suit, looking to be a Disney mom. I'd go in khakis and a polo shirt."

How much money can a model in their 40s or 50s make? Tapia says that every commercial is different.

But in general, it can be anywhere from $100 for a day's work, to more than $1,600.

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