When looking to get your child into the modeling business there are a few questions you need to ask yourself before proceeding? The first question you should ask yourself is what you,your other children, your husband and the child are willing to put into it. Although this is something for your child, your family support and participation are very much a part of it. I have been in and out of this field for many years. All this information I am going to give you is my views and strictly my own personal experiences and others will have there own.This is a totally true story!
Did you answer that question? Modeling is a business and if you are one of the lucky few it is very profitable, but most times when you are doing it for your child, do not expect the golden egg! There are guidelines to what each job pays, the money must go into a trust, and the pay in the beginning is small. The payouts in the beginning are large, your child must have their marketing tools such as pictures done to make comp cards which depending on where you live could be as much as twelve hundred dollars to as little as five hundred dollars when all is said and done. The original snapshots that you send to agencies are not what is used to obtain work. Professional photos are the industry standard and any modeling agency you go to will expect you to get them!
Let me give you a little bit of background, my daughter is now eleven years old, she has been in pageants and has done well since the age of six and decided she wanted to model, so I did the search, I looked online and in the yellow pages to see who accepted children and submitted her to every agency in the state regardless of where they were just to see what happened. I also took a gamble and submitted her to two of the top 5 agencies in the United States. My daughter is simply beautiful, she just has it, that special something, everyone comments on her and If I were not her parent I would too. She is 5’2″ tall and 88lbs, long dark hair and almond shaped intense dark eyes that one would expect from a model. She is half Asian and half Caucasian with a pretty smile, straight teeth, beautiful hands and great skin. She carries herself well and her manners are impeccable. Now mind you my daughter did not know the difference between a big name or a hometown agency, she just wanted to model! Being in this field I felt a big name may be the way to go, and I wanted what was best for my child, I was very sorry for this mistake and yes I will say mistake because I also fell for the brass ring even though I knew better! Why a mistake you ask, let me tell you had it went. Like I said before when I submitted my daughters photos, I submitted to every agency in the state and waited to see who called regardless of how far they were. 5 hours takes me to the very bottom of my state and that is where all the big names are even though this is a secondary market, meaning we do not live in New York or California! We had only one turn us down and I felt this was a sure sign of success, so off we went on our five hour trek, actually we made a weekend trip out of it and were excited that a big named agency one of the top in the country would want to see us.
On a Friday morning we were off to the agency in a building I would never have stepped foot in let alone rent, in an area that was less than desirable, and went in to have our interview. We sat in a room on hard chairs and listened intently to the agent telling us what was expected. My husband was very surprised to find that most of the work was on schooldays (we feel school is very important), and mostly during the day (what about work)! A call could come the day before a shoot and we are expected to attend if we accept the casting call, and how this could be anytime of the year even on the family holidays that we all cherish so much. I as a photographer was not allowed to take her photos as the bigger agencies often use their own staff photographers and comp card printing companies (due to copyrights) even though we pay for them! They set us up for a test shoot the next day since their photographer was working on a Saturday and he could squeeze us in since we lived hours away, and we had to pay in cash that day and we did! We went back to our hotel and even though I had a voice that said to me this is a long drive, the lure of the big name had me in its’ grip! We awoke the next day to rain, a steady slow dripping rain as not to call off the photo shoot as we were told it makes for better pictures! So off we went to the meeting place, a park not far from us with no bathrooms in which to change. There were several other children also awaiting their big chance with excited moms fluttering around prepping them for the shoot. We had a hairdresser who the agent knew since she was in grade school, a stylist, also a personal friend of the agent, and an ex casting director turned photographer taking the photos since we were told he knew what the casting directors wanted, again that nagging voice in the back of my mind and again I pushed it away thinking they new what they were doing! We had to change in the back of the car with the agents rushing us stating that we needed to work on timing since at fashion shows you need to change quickly, my daughter is eleven is what I wanted to say, but no, I kept quiet and never did I shoot a model and expect her to change in the car for such an important shoot, her comp cards! This weekend cost us over eight hundred dollars! We left with an exclusive contract, meaning she could not accept any work from any other agency for six months and it automatically renews every six months. Okay, agent said she is a beautiful girl, will get lots of work, pictures done, comp cards being printed, we are now on our way! Wrong! Way wrong! I have heard from this agent a total of two times from her to me yet I emailed every few weeks to see what was up as instructed to do. Now don’t get me wrong, every time I emailed her she did answer, only half of my 2 or 3 questions were answered but she did make an effort not to make me feel like I was being ignored. This whole time the season is going by and no work to show for our investment and the company website fees are building and I now owe them an additional one hundred and forty five dollars! The next to the last phone call I received from this agent went like this; I don’t know why your daughter is not getting any work, maybe she is not right for our clients, you owe us one hundred and forty five dollars and we are taking her web page down until it’s paid, thank you goodbye!
Now mind you I know this is a cut throat business, but I did everything right and still got scammed, by a large very well known agency! I even think I called her back so she could scam me some more with getting new pictures done since I had sent her new shots of my daughter and she had grown, I almost fell for it again just because there was a well known name on their door. Since than we have chosen to go a little closer to home, my daughter is building on her college fund, and very happy with her new agency. She loves being a model as it comes from within her and projects outward to the camera. Best of luck and future endeavors and just because the agency is world renowned, you too can be scammed!