Smile. Pose. Click! Repeat.
There are probably millions of children all over the world who go through this process as child models. From being babies until their teen years, these kids face the camera and get featured on numerous ads. It doesn’t matter if it is on print, on TV, on billboards or online. They grace the screens and pages of what people see and hear every day. They are young and bright and shining like the stars.
The Sum of All Parts
You may want your child to be part of this adorable group of youngsters. Your child may have told you about wanting to become a supermodel. Agents may have walked up to you and invited you to go to an audition. Whatever it is that may have planted the seed of child modelling in your mind, you must know that the world of modelling is not as easy as it looks.
It may seem glamorous but modelling insiders will tell you that is not always the case. True, it comes with the glitz and glamour of being in the spotlight, but it also entails a lot of hard work, persistence, and emotional security.
Before you decide to usher your child into the doors of child modelling, it would be ideal to ask a modelling agency questions that will help you discern if modelling is something you and your child can do. Go online and search for a reputable child modelling agency website where you can read up on topics such as how to be a child model, what to expect from an interview, or why you need an agent.
To help you out, here are three simple considerations you should think about before getting your child into modelling:
1. Your Child’s Readiness
You may think your child is God’s gift to mankind and that may be true. In your eyes, she’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever set your eyes on. That is all well and good but you have to know that modelling agencies and clients do not get child models based on face value alone.
Modelling is a tough job. It will require models to have enough stamina and patience to withstand long hours of shooting. There are times when it takes hours to do makeup or to choose and fit clothes, or to get to the pictorial location.
It may take several tries just to get one perfect shot. You may have to wake up very early in the morning for really early call times. There will be high tension, there will be tempers flaring, and there will be so many situations that will require gumption. With these in mind, ask yourself if your child is ready for all of this.
Assess your child’s personality. Is your child patient enough? Can your child easily understand instructions? Does your child have the ability to stay put and listen to directions? Even if your child is only a baby, check if he or she is keen on being around a lot of people. Does your baby cry when held by others? Or does it coo and love attention?
Carefully explain to your child what to expect during castings and during photo shoots. Then ask if it is something they are willing to try.
2. Your Role as a Parent
While it is your child who will be smiling and posing in front of the camera, it is you who will be left to do the nitty gritty stuff behind the scenes. There will be several factors that you have to consider when your child enters the modelling milieu.
First, is it really the child’s wish to become a model, or is it yours? Remember that forcing a child to do what you want may only lead the child to abhor modelling in the future.
Then, you also need to consider the costs involved. While you are not required to hire a professional photographer to take photos of your child, it will provide an edge if you can have professional looking shots to submit to agencies. Also, you might have to spend on clothes for when you go to auditions as well as food and transportation expenses.
There may even be a chance that you might have to relocate (especially if you are dead set on your child making a career out of modelling). Before you call your trusted interstate moving services provider, thoroughly think about your decision first and see if it is really worth the move.
Another thing to consider is your schedule. Are you willing to drive your child around to auditions, casting calls, or call-backs? Is your schedule flexible enough to allow for last-minute calls or location shoots? Most of the time, at least one parent has to make the commitment to go with the child to all their modelling appointments.
3. Choosing a Reliable Agency
One of the most important things to consider is getting a trustworthy modelling agency to represent your child. An agent will be crucial when negotiating on your behalf and making sure to find a client who will provide the best working environment for your child. They will also be the ones who will take care of organising work permits or ensuring that child labour guidelines are met.
When you are choosing an agency, make sure that they have years of experience representing child models or actors. Their exposure to numerous projects involving kids will certainly come with the wisdom to look out for your child’s best interests.
Go only for reputable agencies based on the recommendations of your family and trusted friends or through online reviews. Go through their portfolio and, if you can, check with the clients they have worked with before.
Make sure you are also clear with the requirements. There will always be a contract when you sign up with a legitimate agency. Ask questions and be clear on every point in the agreement, including the commission and/or whatever fees it may involve.
Onward to Success
When you have carefully gone through each point in the abovementioned tips, then you can make a decision. It is better to thoroughly weigh the pros and cons before deciding to allow your child to become a child model.
Being well informed about the industry will better equip you in facing the possible challenges that you may have to face as you enter the modelling universe. Armed with your knowledge, you can also better protect and safeguard your child’s interests. This way, they will have a better chance to enjoy the opportunity and model their way to supermodel stardom.
Adam Jacobs is the Managing Director of Bubblegum Casting, the longest running agency specialising in babies, children and teen talent in Australia. Bubblegum Casting works with some of Australia’s biggest brands, media properties and agencies to secure talented children to work in Television, Film and Modelling roles.