By Donnella Tilery, a CuteKid Contest Judge and Founder of New Jersey Fashion Week
So you post a few photos of your little one on your Facebook page and what a nice surprise–you receive quite a few comments about your beautiful baby. Or maybe you’re in the mall, a restaurant or your favorite store and quite a few people comment your son is very handsome or your daughter is so stunning – and how they should be a model.
For most parents, this sounds just like compliments, but for you, this is something to pursue. After all, the world of modeling seems to offer many perks and even better, financial opportunities not just for a child but your family.
Entering the world of modeling for an adult can be quite intimidating, so it can be even more overwhelming when it’s your child.
At first glance, you may think you can just walk into an audition or casting office, but that is rarely the case. What I’ll be sharing in my post are a few suggestions to hopefully make the experience less jarring for not only you, but for your model in training.
1. Do your research – and I mean serious due diligence
The internet has made searching online simple with the touch of a finger. Unfortunately, it has also made it easier for scams as well as reputable agencies to be listed on the same search page. Just like you’d search for the right physician for your little one, you should do the same for an agency, photographer or casting.
Take the time to view the Better Business Bureau and not just their social media pages, which can be easily created to look exciting by someone that works at the company.
2. Can you commit to the requirements of the agency?
You may dream of securing a gig or shoot from a major department store, but that commitment comes at a price.
Think about the location of the agency – is it easy for you to travel to, should you have a casting? What if they call you last minute to meet the client?
Modeling is a business so find an agency that is nearby – that way if your child is called, it’s not a hardship or a missed opportunity just because you can’t make it to the location. If you live near Philadelphia, LA, Las Vegas, New York or wherever, find an agency in that area. It’s not worth your time, nor does it make sense to apply for gigs in Miami just because it sounds amazing.
3. Explain to your kids the modeling basics
It’s important to explain the fundamentals like how to walk in a room, take direction and how to respond if asked a question by a director or team. I’ve had kids come to my fashion show castings and while their parents wait at the door, tell me they don’t want to walk or frankly have no interest in modeling.
Everyone thinks their child is beautiful, articulate and photogenic – and you should encourage them, but forcing a kid to model is not the way to go. It’s frankly frustrating to waste my time especially when a casting person will see hundreds of kids in a day.
4. Be courteous
This allows me to expand a bit on my next point – rude parents or potential child models. Part of the industry is not just getting in a glossy, or walking the runway, you also have to consider building relationships, accepting criticism and facing rejection.
You never know in the industry who knows who or even where your next opportunity will come from, so being a sore loser at a casting isn’t the way to go.
5. Be prepared
Modeling can be a lucrative job for a young child but also makes for a character-building experience. Let’s face it, we all need to deal with the highs and lows of rejections when getting a job so coaching your child to know how to deal with this dynamic will make them a well-rounded person whether they decide to pursue modeling long- term or not. Along with that, keeping your sanity and dignity, makes them feel better and the process much easier between running from audition to audition.
Don’t forget to sign up for the CuteKid and browse our castings page!