Act Your Age

Act Your Age
Dr. Phil checks in with the two families competing in the Ultimate Family Weight Loss Challenge.

"My daughter, Tracy, wants desperately to be Miss Hollywood. She's modeling in way too skimpy lingerie, and her photos are way too sexy," says Kelly of her 17-year-old. "I was shocked when I saw some of the photos. The lingerie photos are too suggestive."


"I want to model. It's so much fun. It's challenging. You get paid to feel good about yourself," says Tracy, who created her own Web site. She says that her mom misunderstands the photos. "She feels that I'm just trying to sell sex, when I'm really trying to sell myself. Your body is the product."


Kelly worries about who views her daughter's Web site. "There's stalkers and pedophiles out there that could take advantage of a young girl."


Tracy, who plans on moving to L.A. once she turns 18, says she takes precautions. "I have never been to a photo shoot alone," she says. "I'm smart enough. I know what I'm doing, and I know what it takes."


Kelly realizes that once Tracy turns 18, she can't stop her daughter. She turns to Dr. Phil for help. "My daughter is way too young for this type of modeling. Is there a more normal way she can follow her dream?"

"You said, 'I know what I'm doing. I know what it takes. I'm very clear about that.' How is it you came to know that?" Dr. Phil asks Tracy.

"I've done a lot of research in the fashion industry on my own. I've met with a lot of very helpful, licensed modeling agencies that have guided me and have given me the knowledge and the skills

to pursue a career in the industry," Tracy replies. "My mom looks at it like I'm selling myself in a sexual way, and I look at it like clients who work with the agencies that look for models. They want beautiful models to fill out the clothes and to show the design of the clothes."

"The thing that worries me most is that you say, 'I've got this figured out,'" Dr. Phil tells her. "In my view, you don't even almost have a partial clue of what kind of game this is that you're playing or you're going to get in. That doesn't mean you shouldn't get in the game. It's just that you need to recognize that you don't know what you need to know."

Tracy says that she has been signed to non-exclusive contracts with modeling agencies, and Dr. Phil asks her, "How much money have you made total in your modeling career?"


"I'd say a couple thousand," Tracy replies.

Dr. Phil addresses Kelly. "If you're concerned about this and you think that it goes too far, why are you letting her do it?" he asks. "If you think it's inappropriate as the mother, as the leader, as the decision maker, why are you not putting up stop

signs?"


"I do put up stop signs. I don't let her put everything on there she wants. We go rounds about it all the time, and she thinks that there's nothing wrong with this," Kelly says. "The photos in the very beginning, I didn't have any concerns with them. But the further she went, the more sexy and provocative the poses were. She just feels that there's nothing wrong with them. My concerns are the stalkers, the pedophiles."


"If you don't like it, if you think it's gone too far, why are you not shutting it down?" Dr. Phil presses.


"She feels that she has to do this to get her foot in the door and I'm coming to you for guidance," Kelly replies.


"I understand. And I didn't ask you what she wanted. I asked you why you didn't shut it down if you think it's inappropriate and puts her in harm's way," Dr. Phil reiterates. "You're trying to find some middle ground where she can do what she wants to do but not go too far ... I understand, I'm not saying I totally agree with that, but I understand the rationale behind that and that's not an unreasonable approach."

"You say that your product is your body," Dr. Phil says to Tracy and she agrees. "That's so wrong! Your product is the product you're selling. If you're standing in front of the Buick, the product is the Buick."


She stands her ground, "But they need to see your body form. They need to see the body and you know, visualize, 'Is this the body I want wearing the lingerie?'"



"Are you telling me that that is not a provocative pose?" Dr. Phil asks, referring to one of her photos.


"I agree with you, it is a little," Tracy says. "It's fun. It's a role, but nothing is showing. It's acting. Modeling is also acting. You're getting into the clothes. You're working the clothes. You're showing off the clothes."


As for who's viewing her photos, Tracy says, "I can't help who is looking at my Web site. When you're on the Internet, anyone can see you. I realize that."

"One in five children on the Internet is sexually solicited and that's not just the ones that have provocative pictures in a little girl costume," Dr. Phil points out. "You've gotten in a little girl costume, like a little school girl, and struck a provocative pose. That's not good. That's the wrong message."

Dr. Phil introduces Patty Fox, a former model and a fashion director for the Academy Awards, who offers her thoughts.


"When I first looked at the pictures without being told, I thought you were heading toward soft porn," she says. "I also want to say one thing that really is necessary to

succeed in this business and that is drive and determination."


"I have that!" Tracy interjects.


"And Dr. Phil is correct as far as the product — it's not your body," Patty continues. "You want to be able to say yes or no to certain projects, but if you present yourself that you are selling your body, that's the only kind of project that you'll be offered." Patty notes that some of the outfits Tracy's wears are nice, but the pose is the problem. "That sends the subtle message of what I was saying that, 'I will do soft porn if you ask me.' It's really, really important to be honest."

Patty has a suggestion. "The idea of a bathing suit would be more appropriate, especially for someone your age just starting out. A bathing suit versus lingerie. It's just nuances, and that's where you're missing a little bit," she says. "You've got that drive and determination, but don't let that take you down the wrong path so that you might miss some suggestions that will be

helpful to you."


Tracy replies, "I think that you guys have given me a different idea, a different way to go about trying to get into the industry, a different way of taking different clothes and material and showcasing it in a way that's not suggestive. And I think that's fair. I don't know everything, but I know enough."


Dr. Phil addresses Kelly. "As parents, I think it is our job to guide and sometimes it is to contain," he says, especially when it comes to cutthroat industries like modeling and acting. "You really have to be very careful to protect her, perhaps even from herself if she doesn't see around corners the way that others do."


Tracy defends herself: "I think everybody looks at me like I'm just a typical teenager and that's not me. I work very hard. I'm very career focused and I want everyone to know that."


"I have no reason to tell you something that would block your dream or hurt you. Patty doesn't. Your mother doesn't," Dr. Phil tells her. "We just want the best for you. Just weigh it carefully."