Being a mom is an endless job, but fulfilling. And joining our kid's journey is one of the responsibilities of being a mother.
As a stranger in a foreign land (here in Italy), oftentimes my friends or acquaintances asked me about how my little one got into the fashion world. I always say, it's just "LUCK". Not everyday people stop and say "My compliments, your daughter is so beautiful". Whenever i hear those words from strangers whom i just bumped on streets or bus, tram or subways, i can't help but be so proud. "Thanks so much", i always reply. Remarks as, "She looks like a model", or "She should be in the magazine"..etc. I just smile. I didn't wish for it, honestly. Never even think she would be in this fashion world. Then again, i agree with the "LUCK" thing.
"I think i saw her somewhere..." phrases like this now are not new to me. With a smile, i reply, "Yes, she did appear in some magazines...". All these things makes me a proud mom, though it's not a walk in the park.
Think again. Modelling sounds fun, but never easy.
Here are some you need to know if you pursue your kid into the fashion world.
(Note that i am talking from the european point of view)
1. TIME COMMITMENT
Pursuing a modelling career for your kid will take a lot of your time and energy as well. You have to get your child to casting calls. Sometimes 2 or 3 day notice, or sometimes last minute call. Then you have to travel, have your child absent from school and have yourself be absent from work, too. If you are ready for these things, then go for it. I am luckier, i only have a part-time job now, so i have much time for my child. During her big job for a catalogue we have to be outside the city for 2 days, so being in a hotel and travelling far took me a lot of energy. Be prepared.
2. RIGHT ATTITUDE & DISCIPLINE
There can be a lot of waiting around during castings. As a parent, you have to be extra patient. You have to be as much as possible punctual to the castings/auditions or appointments. Plan ahead. Think of the traffic and make sure you know exactly how to get to the place fastly. I for instance, checked the place right away thru google map and if i have enough time, i go to the location first, one day before the casting so i won't be lost.
Be patient too about your kid. My daughter's only 1 year old and 10 months when she met the fashion world. She doesn't have any idea at all (nor am i) of the how-to's, so expect the child to cry, starve and show impatience. They're kids! Find a way to make them feel it's like a fun game. Be ready to diverse the child. I always bring some coloring books or toys for my daughter, at least she won't be annoyed for the long wait.
3. FINDING AN AGENCY
This is the hardest part. There are hundreds of modelling agencies around. Be informed well. Ask someone trusted, like fotographers, make up artists, moms with child models, etc. Some good and big agencies will ask for the required registration fees, it's just policy. And some won't ask, better! But if an agency ask a payment of 300-500euro, TURN and RUN! It's not worth it. The normal rate for commission is 20%. The child is paid (usually in 3 months from the date of the job) minus the commission.
It may take a few attempts to find an agency that thinks your child has what it takes.
If an agency is interested in representing your child, read any contract carefully and be sure you understand the terms. Also make sure the agency is licensed and bonded.
Lucky enough i found the right one! Zendra is currently on an exclusive contract with petit model for 10 years. http://www.petitmodel.it/.
Agencies sometimes provide a fotoshoot to provide photos for the child's portfolio. Some may refer professional photographers or studios for a nice foto. Obviously the agency will use the foto to represent your child. Think again of the expenses. You can't just have a foto by paying cents. It will cost a lot, as part of the commitment to this endeavor.
Don't ask me how much a professional fotoshoot costs =). Kidding!
Here are three of the best photographers that models prefer. My fave is the first one, not only they're economical, they also became my friends!
5. CLOTHES, SHOES & ACCESSORIES
Much as you would invest on fotos, you would of course invest more on clothes, shoes and accessories. Fotoshoots doesn't mean just posing. To look good, it means wearing fashionable wardrobes, so be ready to have your budget.
From this reason that i have been sweeping unique shops and branded stores for kids. I become a window-shoppa-holic! =) being informed with the dates of sale helps.
6. CASTING CALLS
Hopefully, your phone will ring and the agent will tell you, "there's a casting" for your child. There are different types of casting.
Request casting, means the client knows the specific look they want -- a 5-year-old girl, with blonde hair, for example -- and invites only kids who meet that criteria. These calls are usually well-organized with minimal waiting.
Open castings are a different story. They can be very crowded, since many different agencies send all of their clients who fit the call. There have been times when my daughter and i checked in and were the 500th or so. Think about that wait. I always let my daughter play with some kids her age. Since we've started castings, she became more sociable.
Some tips during castings: don't bring stroller as much as you could. if the room is crowded, it would take up a lot of space. Chances are, kids will bump into it, and some moms will have their "faces" at you. Second, don't bring the whole family. Your child is the only important person to be there. She might get conscious too when everybody's around. Plus, the castings always request for 1 person per child, as much as possible to avoid overcrowding. And lastly, don't hover your child as the photographer is working with him/her. The photographer wants to see that your child can be separated from you and pose independently.
7. DIRECT BOOKING
The best thing is when your child has been booked for a job directly from the photo presented by the agency, avoiding the casting call. fortunately, the very first job by my daughter for the magazine cover was a direct booking. The store owner contacted directly and i was so excited! Fotoshoot was scheduled right away when i said yes! I can't described how proud i am of my daughter. She has just turned 2 years old then.
8. HANDLING REJECTION
If your child doesn't get the project, do not get discouraged! Keep in mind the casting director may have wanted a certain look or that your child was the wrong size for the job. Being "optional" is an irky thing because it's like 50-50 chance your child will get the job or not. Oftentimes, it ended up to "no-job". My daughter had so many options before. So, from then on, if they called my daughter as "optional", i didn't hope anymore. But of course, LUCK is always a big factor.
It is imperative that older children understand that if they are not chosen, it does not mean they are not good enough or pretty enough. It simply means that the casting director wanted a girl with blonde hair or a boy with freckles. Make sure your child is emotionally able to handle rejection because that is part of the job.
So that's it. Some points to ponder when you get into the fashion scene. Our kids might have their own roads to conquer. One could have been a swimmer, singer, dancer, actor/actress, model, or any other side jobs, but the most important thing is, we, as parents, as mothers (who take more of this mom-duty) are always there to support them morally, spiritually, mentally, psychologically and of course, financially. As long as they enjoy what they are doing, let's join them!
Goodluck to us!