Creative Child

Child Modeling and Why It's Probably Not for Me (or My Kids)

by Deborah Song on Nov 21st, 2014

Continued...

What’s more, all of the other parents seemed to know each other.  It soon occurred to me that they had done this before.   They probably do this all the time, I thought. With portfolios in their hands, they seemed to breathe a more relaxed air and spoke in audition vernacular.  “He had a slight wardrobe malfunction in there,” one woman quipped while leaving her audition.  I began to feel very out of place. 

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Forty minutes later, we were finally next in line.  They ushered us in and we found ourselves standing in front of a panel of three people behind a desk, much like American Idol, with one cameraman off to the side.  One of the men sitting behind the desk in a collared shirt asked the girls simple questions like, “How old are you?” and “What’s your name?” The giggling didn’t yet ensue but I could see it bubbling up in their faces.

They asked the girls to brush their teeth.  No props were given.  My excited daughters started to giggle, one chuckle igniting another until they could do nothing but look at each other and laugh. They had completely forgotten what they were asked to do. I tried to redirect their focus but to no avail.  When the producer asked them to try again, they played out some motions that looked more like karate moves than routine bedtime habits. After a couple of strokes, or punches really, my younger daughter grabbed my legs.

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Next, my daughters were asked to pretend to sleep. Maybe this part of the audition would have gone better if they fell asleep easier in real life.  But true to reality, they kept popping their eyes open and asking for mom and dad.

When the audition was over, I hugged my girls for a job well done. But I knew they did not get the gig.  Child modeling takes much more than the biased gaze of an adoring parent, I realized.

Not getting the gig wasn’t disappointing for me because I wouldn’t have chosen them either.  But I began to wonder how I might feel if my kids weren’t chosen after what I thought was a great audition.  I might have phoned in an angry PTA-esque complaint to the company!

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The experience was enough for me to realize that child modeling probably wasn’t for us. Not only does it take a certain kind of personality and temperament for a child to make it in this business, but it also wasn’t for me as the parent. Child modeling can’t be thought of as a business and that’s precisely how I approached it.  It has to be a hobby or something the girls and I both enjoyed.  And while it's not like we did not enjoy the experience (gauging by their fits of laughter), I know we could have had a more enjoyable time somewhere else on a Sunday afternoon! Think the beach, a museum or even the supermarket to be quite honest!

Deborah Song is a Los Angeles-based writer and the mother of two girls. She received her master’s in journalism from New York University and writes about parenting, business and kid entrepreneurship. You can read more of her work at lemonadepost.com.

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