Most parents think their children are completely adorable. Maybe they've even had friends and family members tell them the same, and encouraged them to look in to a modelling agency. Being a child model isn't as simple as thinking your child is more adorable than the ones you see posing on the front of diaper boxes and in Target catalogs. It can often be demanding not just on the child, but on the parents as well. If you're thinking of looking in to modelling agencies for your child, here are a few things you should know before you get started.
If you're interested in looking in to potential modelling agencies for your child, you need to do your research first. Online research can lead you to reputable agencies in your area which will request an online form be filled out. They will typically request you send in a variety of pictures of your children. Unlike adult modelling agencies, these pictures do not have to be professional shots of your child. They should be clear and straightforward with no props or additional distractions.
Charles Ramsey, the former owner of Product Model Management in New York City tells Parents Magazine that there isn't a specific 'look' for kids in the modelling industry.
"Many advertisers actually prefer an average-looking, kid-next-door child," he said, adding that those children who wear typical sizes in clothing get the most work. Where you live can also affect how often your child works.
"It's crucial that you're available at a moment's notice, we usually only have about 24 hours notice for an audition," Shannon Escoto, director of the children’s division at JE Model Management, Inc. in San Francisco told Parents. "You have to be willing to do the drive. Clients don't care where you live, they just need you to be on set on time."
Escoto also told the magazine that parents need to be wary of scams and do their homework to ensure they are not only signing with a reputable agency but they're not accepting any job requests that haven't come through the agency. She says the first red flag parents should look out for is an agency asking you for money up front.
"Asking you for money up front is a red flag," she explained before adding that most agencies will take a percentage of your child's earnings from a job as payment. She also says to be wary of any agency that wants to sign your child without an in-person meeting. "If a potential agent wants to sign you directly from Instagram, and doesn't want you to come in for a meeting, that's weird," Escoto says. "You should be called in for a formal meeting and have that whole, real connection."
While you may have visions of your child's college savings account bulging thanks to their new modelling career, Escoto suggests that parents remain realistic in their expectations. An average job last approximately 2 hours, with the going rate being approximately $150 an hour.
"Kids make an average $150 an hour," Escoto told Parents. "It depends on the job and the client, but that is a standard rate. If they’re using [the shoot] for billboards or buses or ballparks or packaging, then the rate's typically a bit more."
Rejection is also a very real part of the modelling industry, and it's no different for children. Make sure your child hand handle the idea of not being selected for every job they audition for and keep it fun for them. At the end of the day being a child model may not be for everyone, but for those who love it and have supportive parents it can be a fun experience that can help pay for future endeavors down the road.