Ready. Smile. Click!
You might think that being a model is as easy as 1-2-3 but there’s more to this profession than meets the eye. Especially when we are talking about child models, the ante is upped as there are sensitivities and crucial information that you need to know as parents or guardians of a young child who wants to get into the world of modelling.
Apple of the Eye
As parents, you think your dimpled darlings and curly-locked children are the most beautiful beings in the world. You think that they deserve a billboard on the highway and grace very cover of a magazine. True as that may be, not all brands or products may need the kind of beauty your child has.
Truth is, child modelling is not just about looks.
Modelling, especially when it involves children, requires a thorough understanding of the ins and outs of this industry. Below are some key details that will hopefully guide you along should you want your child to pursue modelling:
1. Is your child ready?
Is your child ready to be a model? More importantly, does your child want to be a model?
Children have different personalities. Babies, toddlers, and teenagers all have different temperaments as well. Some kids revel to be in the spotlight while some take a while to warm up to people.
It is also not enough that they are sweet and friendly. Children who make it in the modelling industry listen well and are usually good at taking directions. They should also conduct themselves well and exhibit good behaviour.
Can your baby handle being around strangers? Is your toddler ready to listen and pay attention for a longer time? Is your pre-teener patient enough to endure long hours? Can your teen handle being passed over someone else?
These are some of the questions to help you assess the readiness of your child. If they lack these important traits, then perhaps they are not yet ready to face the camera.
2. Are you ready?
Aside from checking on the readiness of your child, it is also important that you ask yourself if you are. Modelling will take time, energy, and resources and as a parent, are you ready to give these just to see your child in the limelight?
Most of the work involved in child modelling actually lies in the hands of the parents. There will be a lot of driving and waiting. There will be the endless forms to fill, auditions and castings to go to, and paperwork to pore over. It may entail travelling. Usually, this line of work works best for parents with a lot of free time on their hands.
You should also consider your emotional readiness as well as that of your child. It will take several nos before you get a yes. All the waiting can be quite taxing. There will be times when your child will be passed over. Can you and your child handle disappointment well? Are you both emotionally stable and ready to take on the highs and lows in your modelling journey?
3. Who is this for?
Also, is modelling what your child wants or what you want?
It is easy to see if your baby enjoys being the centre of attention but for older kids, they might be modelling simply to please their parents. Could you be unconsciously imposing what you want on your child?
If your child is shy and unwilling to work with people, then there is no point in forcing them to pose and smile in front of the camera. It won’t be enjoyable for them and it won’t be as productive for the whole team as well.
It is best if your child is the one who expresses interest in the profession as they will have a better time going about the responsibilities it entails. When they enjoy what they do, it will be easier for everyone else involved.
4. Taking Care of Yourselves
When you have determined that you and your child are ready to take on the modelling world, it is crucial that you take steps to protect yourselves.
There are opportunistic vultures lurking around to prey on would-be models. They promise this and that but end up simply taking advantage of you or your child. It is good to be aware that these scammers exist so you can safeguard yourselves.
For starters, never pay anyone up front to get your kid into modelling. Seek a reputable agency who can represent your child well to clients. Those who charge so you can get work is most likely not a legitimate agency. Know that legit agencies only charge a percentage of your child’s fee.
A thoughtful and caring talent agency will keep your child’s best interests at heart. Your child will work under a contract that you have agreed to and will work according to industry standards. If your child is under 15 years old, a responsible talent agency will also help you secure permits for the talent to miss school when work hours fall on school days.
A Star is Born
Some kids are born to be stars. Some may need polishing and honing but the light inside them will surely show. With proper care and guidance from parents, mentors, and well-meaning people around them, they will surely shine.
It is important to remember though, that while some stars sparkle in front of the camera, some gently glitters behind or around it. Children are unique and they all have their own brand of starlight. Whether it is in front of the lens or not, what’s important is that you help keep that light burning with your unconditional love and support.