So, you've decided you want to get your child into the modeling business? Now what? Follow these five simple steps, and soon your kid could be earning income as a model and saving for their future.
1. Be realistic. First, be honest with yourself about your circumstances. Your child should be free of scars, visible birthmarks, or defects. Even features and standard size development are preferred. Yet a quirky looking child can become a model just as easily as a traditionally cute child. Your kid must be friendly and obedient. If not well-behaved or comfortable with strangers, they will not succeed in this business. You should live near a major metropolitan area. If you cannot commute to a major city on a daily basis, you will need to relocate. I travel at least an hour in both directions to attend look-sees and auditions in the city of Chicago. You or a caretaker will have to have a flexible schedule to drive your child to auditions on short notice. Resources are also required (transportation, money for photos, internet access). For example, one of my agents communicates exclusively via email.
2. Find an agent. Research to find the most reputable agencies in the major market closest to you. The major markets are New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago. However, Atlanta, New Orleans and many other locations are also generating a lot of opportunities. Do a simple internet search of “reputable modeling agencies” in your city. A rule of thumb is that you should never have to pay any money to an agency to be represented. Cattle-call auditions held in local convention centers and hotels are often not legitimate. I have worked with several agencies over the past five years and none of them have asked me for money for anything—-ever. Their commission is taken out of your paycheck.
3. Follow the agency’s instructions. This may sound obvious, but common sense and objectivity often get lost when we fear the possibility of our child being rejected. A good agency will tell you exactly how to submit your child for representation. Usually, the detailed instructions can be found on the agency’s website. If they are old-school, you may have to call them and they will instruct you. Most agencies will have you submit snapshots of your child on-line or via snail mail. You can include a short letter of introduction and a “baby resume” if you like. Keep everything short and simple. Agents are always pressed for time and working under deadlines. Also, submit more than the requested amount of photos. Parents who cannot follow instructions will fail in the modeling business.
4. Submit your child’s photos. Increase your odds and make efficient use of your time by submitting to all of the potential agencies within a week. Be patient. It can take up to six months to hear from anyone. Do not re-submit or call with inquiries. If they are interested, they will contact you. Once you get asked to bring your child in for an interview, be prepared to sign a contract on the spot.
5. Sign a contract and get ready! Prior to the interview, learn the difference between exclusive and non-exclusive contracts and their pros and cons. Prepare your child for the first audition, even if you haven’t gotten one yet. They could send your child on an audition the same day you are signed, so you need to be prepared at all times.
Staff Writer: Holly Lowe Jones