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breaking into modeling??

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

I know it is rather un-Mothering like and is not quite our style either but I keep thinking our DD (2 years) would love to be so social and be the center of attention. Plus, we need money and she is cute. I expect that in the end we would feel uncomfortable promoting most junk but I wanted to look into this. Anyone know how to look into having your child do some modeling? Something safe and not a scam?

post #2 of 27

Step one: Live in LA, NYC, Chicago, or easy driving distance of those places.

 

Seriously, if you don't live in a city with a lot of major advertising agencies, getting child modeling work is going to be more effort/expense than the return.

 

Plus, the kids she'd meet would change from audition to audition, and would be competition, which would color your ability to be friends with their parents even if you saw the same kids all the time. 

 

 

 

post #3 of 27

Having modeled briefly as a young adult, and as the good friend of a former globe-trotting model, here's what I can tell you from experience:

 

Get in touch with a reputable modeling agency such as Ford, Wilhelmina, or Casablancas, and ask them to put you in touch with a local rep. 

 

Some cities have local agencies, and if you're thinking about going with one of those, be sure to call the better business bureau to find out about the agency's reputation. 

 

Model search tours are sometimes legit, but rarely pan out. Don't spend money for leads.

 

The industry is unforgiving. There are a lot of cute kids out there, and you aren't the first parent to think your kid can/should be a model. It's a very competitive industry. You need to prepare yourself (and your daughter) for rejection, because it happens, even to the cutest of kids. 

 

Above all, don't expect to lead a cushy lifestyle if she does get signed. Sapphire Chan is right-- you will spend a lot of money traveling to/from shoots if there's nothing local, and models starting out are responsible for having their own headshots and other promotional materials, which = $. It's pretty rare for a kid to get signed and have everything handed to them-- there's a "pay to play" expectation at the entry level, which means you'll spend money to make money.

 

If you are realistic going into the search, you stand a better chance of being successful. Good luck.

 

 

post #4 of 27

Yeah, at the very least, you'll start out paying for professional pics of your kid.  And modeling/acting is VERY tedious work........standing around for hours, taking the same shot again and again, etc.  And school-aged kids end up missing a lot of school for auditions and the acting itself. 

Plus, honestly, if your kid does the work and you take the money, she will probably be resentful of that when she is older. 

 

post #5 of 27

Also, the attention she'd get would not be attention from people who care about HER. Maybe some more saccharine-sweet talking involved, but the photographers and things will view your child as an object.

post #6 of 27

Im sorry but YOU need money so your dc needs to get a job, is what Im reading.  "plus, we need the money and she is cute".  Thats just wrong on so many levels for me. Im sorry...

 

If you want your dd to do something fun, try a kids acting class, try a dance class, preforming arts are a great place for kids to have fun and learn what the stage is like.

post #7 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by kfillmore View Post

Plus, we need money and she is cute.


This part worries me. I don't feel that parents needing money is a good reason to get your child into a business like modeling. Not to mention the fact that it'll probably be a money DRAIN for a long time before she starts earning anything (if ever). And not to mention the fact that if she does earn anything, that's HER money, not the family's. 

 

If your DD is outgoing and loves being the center of attention, there are plenty of outlets for her -- children's theater, dance, etc. 

post #8 of 27

My knee jerk reaction is....yuck.  Why would you even want to do that to your child??

 

I worked in corporate retail that had a huge catalog business and I would see lots of kids models for the photo shoots.  They are grueling, boring and long.  IME, there is nothing social in them at all, it is all forced camaraderie. In talking with the moms catalog work is often the stepping stone to "bigger"modeling jobs so there is a lot of pressure. Often catalog shoots are cattle calls where hundred of kids show and maybe 10 to 20 are chosen. Of those only half might actually get the job/get paid. 

 

The pressure comes from the fact that these moms have invested literally *thousands* of dollars before their kid has gotten their first gig.  Professional photo shoots, professional quality photos and modeling books, dance classes, acting classes, clothes, hair, makeup. Plus as another poster noted you don't get reimbursed for travel costs.  We had moms who traveled from nearby states and stayed in a hotel, often on the road for days at a time.  It all adds up to big $$. 

 

We didn't pay for hair/makeup so the parents brought their kids all "done" and would need to adjust based on the needs of the shoot.  So the moms need to be skilled in hair makeup and be fast at it too. We didn't sell shoes and were not going to invest in the variety and sizes needed plus fashions change.  Parents were expected to bring all different types to the shoot, as well as tights, hair accessories and the like.  Not having the right accessories (pristine and current fashion) could get your bumped. 

 

Kids are rarely given multiple attempts so they need to get to work right away.  No time to warm up, no time for tantrums, tears, etc. Sure the photographer will make attempts to makes the kids at ease, to get them smile but time is money. That why we might choose 20 but only use 10.  The others are back up for poorly behaved kids (and parents!).

 

So if you are serious be prepared to invest a lot of time money and energy.  More importantly be prepared for a lot of rejection. Comes with the territory. 

post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by zebra15 View Post

Im sorry but YOU need money so your dc needs to get a job, is what Im reading.  "plus, we need the money and she is cute".  Thats just wrong on so many levels for me. Im sorry...

 

Also it's illegal. This is a huge grey area, but in the strictest sense, parents are not permitted to use their children's income as "family money." There are all sorts of ways to bend this rule, which you see with child stars whose parents bankrupted them, such as "well, we *needed* to live in LA because of her career, so we used the money she made to pay for her $2.3 million house." You can't just use your child's income to pay the family's general bills, though. There are lots of laws surrounding how children's money is to be used. I've always thought that if our children did any modeling that we'd just put the money in basic investments for them to use when they're adults and save a small amount for them to use as spending money.

post #10 of 27

I agree with pp's as to the cons of modeling.

 

Just want to add that you may not need to invest lots of money in headshots right away IF you do live in NY, Chicago, or LA. And IF you have a good agent, simple polaoroids or other basic digital snap shots of what your kid really looks like-not glam shots and not shots of your kid in a whole bunch of different outfits or as different "character types"--should be fine. Kids change so quickly spending lots of money on headshots is a waste. UNLESS your agent (remember, your real legit agent) advises it.

 

I've worked in casting and I used to be an actress and my DD did auditions when she was a baby. We never had to have real headshots for her. By the way after a few auditions we stopped doing it. It was all perfectly legit stuff but I just didn't like it...not the life I wanted for my DD.

 

ETA: OP, You did ask about how one would go about doing this, not whether or not people thought you should pursue it at all, so I just wanted to add the following: As far as finding an agent, again it really depends on where you live but what you would do is call an agency, ask if they represent children, and if so what would be the process of submitting your child for possible representation. They'd likely say you can send in a snapshot with the childs age and your contact info on it, then they'd basically just look at the picture and decide if they were interested in meeting your kid. It's pretty arbitrary. I would try to be relaxed and friendly on the phone not nervous or pushy--nervous or pushy is a turn off and casting folks and agents in general have an attitude about parents who bring their kids to auditions etc.


Edited by Shaki - 4/12/11 at 6:41am
post #11 of 27

Really, if you need money and her to have lots of social time, it sounds like you'd be better off starting a home daycare. =D

post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post

Really, if you need money and her to have lots of social time, it sounds like you'd be better off starting a home daycare. =D



In-home daycare would definitely be a less stressful and more realistic path to income and playmates! thumb.gif

post #13 of 27

Confession: I have worked in child modeling in NYC.

 

You don't need expensive glamour shots. Home snapshots are fine. Toddlers just need to be photogenic enough and should be able to make eye contact. Advertisers are NOT looking for overwhelmingly adorable kids (babies who are super pretty distract from clothing). TONS of moms want into this so if your kid is irritable or fussy on the day of a photo shoot, you're out. There are other hopefuls waiting in line as backup.

 

If your LO likes being around a lot of people and can follow some simple verbal instructions and you think it'd be kind of fun, it might be worth looking into.

 

 

post #14 of 27

also one more thing before you spend any money or time on this.

 

... check in with a very good agent...

 

and see if your child meets the criteria agencies are looking out for.

 

sometimes your child might be too ____ or not ___ enough for the needs of the modelling agencies at the moment. it could be a skin colour thing or ethnicities.

post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by kfillmore View Post

I know it is rather un-Mothering like and is not quite our style either but I keep thinking our DD (2 years) would love to be so social and be the center of attention. Plus, we need money and she is cute. I expect that in the end we would feel uncomfortable promoting most junk but I wanted to look into this. Anyone know how to look into having your child do some modeling? Something safe and not a scam?



I don't care if it is modeling, or Girl Scouts, or Cheerleading for Charity, if you need money, this SOOO does not need to be your DD's responsibility. 

post #16 of 27

 

 I suggest dance classes. She is at a good age to start taking them. That is a good socila outlet.

 

As for the not having money part, that isnt conducive to getting modeling gigs. You will have to pay for gas, motels, picture etc...

post #17 of 27

And let me give you a particular example of how acting was for me.  I did a commercial for a brake company.   I was 5 or 6.  The commercial was filmed in the winter, but there was no snow on the ground.  However, since the ad was going to run in the summer, I had to be outside in a T-shirt and shorts for the entire filming. (Of course I was freezing.)   And then we had to do multiple takes of the car coming at me and stopping at a very short distance (now they'd have film editing techniques, so the car wouldn't have to get as close.)    It wasn't "fun" and I didn't enjoy being the center of attention, and I was too cold and scared to care that anyone thought I was "cute" at that moment.  Don't make cute = exploitation. 

post #18 of 27

You need to be in LA or NY that is the real work happens.

 

I dated a photographer and knew a lot of models in LA. I have a lot of friends who work in the industry.I knew a lot of child actor and model wanna bes. As an adult, I know a lot of actors.   It is honestly a pretty gross and sleazy business, and it wouldn't be something that I would ever let my kid be in.

 

The money your kids amke is supposed to go into a trust. It isn't all that well regulated for child models but it is supposed to be for child actors.

post #19 of 27

Should add that you are really, really unlikely to make any money at it. Modeling and acting cost a lot of money. Most people involved in it are in it for the vanity and glory. It costs them money to participate.

post #20 of 27

I don't know how likely you are to make money, and I've heard you should not have to pay money to do these things, other than the pics. If I were you, I'd do a lot of research bc there are many promises in this field, with little return for the majority of people. 

 

  I just wanted to add that children have helped their parents make money for centuries and all throughout the world today.  My dad had to quit high school to work as a migrant farmer so his younger brothers and sisters wouldn't starve.  I cannot imagine my dad saying to his parents, "This is not my problem."  That's the way it was and is for a lot of families.  I have no idea what the op financial situation is, but times are tight for many families. If you can make money without compromising your familial values (toddlers and tiaras type stuff), than I think it is an option you and your family could discuss. 

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