A Mother’s Thank You


I read, “Age Does Matter” you posted on your site.  I must tell you that I agree 110% with everything you wrote.

I have a 14-year-old daughter that also does modeling here and there, as you know, and I guide her with the same principles as yours. When I share your words with Shannan, she always agrees with your opinion.  She trusts you even though we live far away, and we value your knowledge so much.

To me, it gives me peace of mind that I am taking her in the right direction by letting her be a “model” sometimes, and really waiting for you to help her when the time is right. To Shannan, it gives her strength to be patient by really understanding the process. She is getting some experience she can use  to continue the journey and work full time as a model when she grows up.

This is a note, just to say “Thank You” again for you being a great professional and a wonderful person. I hope all the inspired teenagers, who want to work as a full time model one day, and their parents, have a chance to read your words about age and modeling, just like Shannan and I did.


Ursula and Shannan




AGE DOES MATTER by Trudi Tapscott

During this last show season, the conversation about the well being of models escalated to more transparency than ever before.There are lessons to be learned on all sides and no one is free of reflection to make appropriate changes. Some areas are more complicated than others.

It seems like a simple task to guide all entities to making the right decision, especially when speaking about the welfare of young people.  But when you look at all sides of responsibility, there are many opinions and points of view to consider.

That being said, the age issue seems simple. The CFDA guidelines requiring models to be 16 years of age to work during New York fashion week is the first step in the right direction, in my opinion. This is an adult business. There is pressure and money at stake for everyone involved when promoting a brand. Anyone who expects a 14 year old to manage their emotions in this environment is nuts. It can even be hard for an 18 year old.

A model is a part of something larger, but not in control of the outcome. They have a physicality that is desired and hopefully a personality that backs that up, but modeling is an elusive skill that is judged and accepted by a few key people. It is hard to explain to anyone who is not “in it” or been very close to the sidelines. So the skill that makes one model a success over another is not specific once the physical aspects and physique are met.

The grooming and basics for a model with true modeling potential can start locally or regionally on a small scale and at a young age. A teenager may be “scouted” at 13 or 14 years old, but does not need to be in a large market at that age. I tell my clients that it is practice or pretend modeling until you are old enough to manage the entire business and the pressures that go with it. It doesn’t make my advice, or me, popular at times. Sometimes, it gives competitors a chance to offer a dream and world of opportunity ignoring the truth to gain the confidence of an aspiring model and her parents. It is easy to say what they want to hear.

Scouting requires an eye and imagination, but bears the responsibility of preparing the potential model and her parents for the business. This means the cold hard truth if you are experienced and strong enough to be honest and patient. It is much like sports, acting, music or any other competitive business. You need to learn before you can compete on a high level. But you never really know how far you will succeed until you do it. Dropping out of high school does not rush you to the top quickly to reach success. The fall from the top can be hard. Fashion can wait until a model is old enough to manage the “elusive” elements and therefore become relevant. Beauty doesn’t disappear.

During fashion week a designer said, “where are the parents?” and I have often wondered the same from time to time. That observation is from an adult in the business of promoting his brand, and maybe should not be deemed as the ethical barometer. It is not a reason to ignore suggested guidelines about age requirements, which should be the law for minors, but it is not necessarily the designer’s responsibility. Because the shows are so exciting and have launched many a career, fashion week, which is really a month, has been the primary focus of scouts and agents for years; a goal of preparation and quick response, so to speak. It is a moment of fast recognition and face-to-face encounters with an important, seated audience. However, in order to make the shows really pay off, a model needs to be available for the shooting season immediately following. If you go right back to school, it makes a challenging scheduling to maximize the efforts. It is a grueling pace for anyone. Models are expected to be up early, be on time, look amazing and dressed with style, run from here to there and back, while always staying happy to be there.

The modeling business is not a reality TV show that happens in a capsule. It is a business that takes years within which to build a reputation, if you want a good one, and minutes to be rejected or cancelled. This business is not for everyone, no matter how beautiful you are. Ambition and desire can overcome the ultimate goal and shortcuts never assist in attaining a career. If you want to be a recognized top model, then you will be required to work hard, and hopefully a little luck will assist you with the right introduction at the right time.

There are photographers and clients who won’t book a model unless she is 18. They should be praised for applying a standard that works for them and gives them the opportunity to only work with models that are experienced and available.

Bringing awareness to the age subject, and a few other issues related to the betterment of models, is important. And yet, in order to bring about a discussion or debate, it seems impossible to do so without pointing fingers.

What I find dangerous is to collectively criticize. So I am glad some of the pitfalls are being spoken about in a reasonable manner, and hope that it is the beginning of positive change.

Fashion is a small and exclusive club for the most part, and a young model strives to be successful, possibly ignoring her inner voice. Powerful decision makers can be convincing and give the illusion that they like and care on a personal level. It is a job. A job that can develop some outstanding friendships, create an amazing life for a model and work with the great people creating inspiring images with a passport full of amazing destinations.

And in the end, it is work and that is why age matters.


Dr Herzog, M.D., Founder of Harris Center For Eating Disorder Reasearch

While I was working at DNA Models, I was introduced to Dr. Herzog. He offered a lot of guidance and information about this issue as it impacts models and the fashion world. What I liked about him most was his kind demeanor and his way of approaching the fashion industry on this sensitive subject. It helped that the CFDA and Vogue Magazine’s Anna Wintour were also working to set guidelines and bring the subject to the forefront.

Dr. Herzog found solutions within the industry and avenues for discussion as opposed to bashing and finding fault with everyone involved. I enjoyed being on the sidelines of his forum and was proud that the agency I worked for at the time, took the time to listen and suggest that models participate and lend their voice.

Read the update on the recent forum that took place in Boston:,b=facebook


Gina Wiberg – Her Story

by Trudi Tapscott

 It is surprising to me when someone who wants to be a model is under the impression that you are “plucked” from your hometown and somehow with magical dust will become a famous model. Or that a scout or an agency will see one family snapshot and determine you are the next big thing.

 Turning potential into an actual model takes time, guidance, patience and hard work. It doesn’t happen in one photo shoot.

 Recently, it occurred to me that the most interesting part of scouting is the process of a model evolving from a beginner to coming into her own, and feeling like a model. That single moment when we know she is ready to handle the job and the business.

 Gina Wiberg, from Utah, recently appeared on the show Scouted on the E! Channel with Erin Olson, who scouted her.

From the beginning, Erin knew that Gina had something special and uniquely different, but that she wasn’t ready. If what a scout sees doesn’t come through in a picture it is difficult to present a model to the best agencies.

First clue, this is a subjective business and timing is everything.

This is the first picture that Gina sent to Erin in November of 2010.

Erin immediately contacted Gina and started the process of explaining how it works and what she needed to do. First step was to get her hair back to its natural color. So in a few weeks, Gina sent this image to Erin.

Erin continued talking to Gina, and her parents, and they did a couple practice digital sessions so that Gina could learn how to move in front of the camera and what were her best angles. Gina had not finished growing at this point.

 In March of 2011, I came to visit Erin in Salt Lake City to meet all of her finds. At that time we were in the process of merging her scouting company and my management company. During that visit I met Gina. I took a couple quick digitals of her at my hotel to have as a reference for further conversations. We asked her to arrive with her hair natural.

Gina’s personality was always a huge asset. But she had some work and practice to do focusing on how to hold her head and her mouth.

At this point, it was clear that Gina had potential, and we discussed her hair and ways to increase her confidence. After a few digital sessions with Erin our goal was to test her with a local photographer so when she turned 16 we had material to present to agencies. Ironically, the local photographer didn’t happen first.

Erin spent a lot of time encouraging Gina and teaching her what to do. The next digital photo session, Gina was more relaxed and had her first walking lesson with Erin.

At this point, I started sending out Erin’s digitals of Gina. Agents felt that she was pretty and had good proportion but they weren’t convinced that she was ready. In other words, they weren’t quite sure. Then Gina had the opportunity to shoot with Chadwick Tyler, a NY based photographer who came to Salt Lake City. After this shoot, Gina was excited and committed to become a model. Shooting with Chadwick was a personal lesson and fun. He spent a lot of time with her. Each step, from the beginning to the present, is subtle and a transition that is impossible to explain without images.

Gina’s special and different qualities began to shine. She grew an inch over the summer, which gave her confidence, and her body proportion slimmed out. Gina was invited to participate in Salt Lake City’s Fashion Night Out event and be part of the advertising campaign.

The image that resulted from Gina’s participation on the TV show Scouted shows how Gina has grown. She is still the same, but different, relaxed and confident. That night after this photo shoot with Danny Christensen Gina called me, and her enthusiasm and excitement was through the roof. It was definitely a moment that gave both Erin and I a huge smile.

When Gina came home from New York, I wanted her to keep working in front of the camera. She was planning to go back to New York in the spring or summer and I wanted her to continue testing. So she worked with a great Salt Lake City based photographer Tessa Barton. These are a few images from that session.

The point is that it didn’t happen over night. Now Gina is very conscious of what it takes on the part of a model to create a great picture. Every shoot she gets better and although still a beginner in the eyes of most, we are so very proud of her diligence, enthusiasm, positive attitude and ability to understand verbal direction and put it to use. Beyond her beauty, Gina has great people skills, is confident, doesn’t take herself to seriously, treats it as a business and laughs a lot.

All we have to say is Holy Cow!

Gina is represented by Stars Model Management in California and One Model Management in New York

Wyatt in Kenton Magazine “A Man’s World”


STYLIST // Erin Olsen

HAIR & BEAUTY // Janelle Corey

Courtesy of Trudi Tapscott Model Management

Wyatt is represented by IMG Worldwide


Gina Wiberg was “Scouted” by Erin Olson

Gina is represented by Trudi Tapscott Model Management

She recently appeared on the TV show Scouted

She has also been signed with Stars Model Management in California

Photographer: Danny Christensen

Erin, Lauren and Matt braving the cold for pictures #model #scout

Erin Olson (@ErinScouted)
12/10/11 1:14 PM
LaurenD shooting at Saltair in the cold! Looking nice and warm, ha! Can’t wait to see more Matt @tapscout

Lauren D. for FNO SLC


Photographer: John Paul

Casting: Madi Slagowski

Courtesy of Trudi Tapscott Model Management

Gina W. for FNO in SLC

Photographer: John Paul

 Casting: Madi Slagowski

 Courtesy of Trudi Tapscott Model Management

Thanks to the mothers…..

So it is not Mother’s Day, but it is Back To School… Summer is over, schedule’s settle into chaotic normal, and without the Mother’s who support our Models we wouldn’t accomplish what we do. We know what you do to help all of us, and we just want to say

Thank you.

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.  ~Washington Irving