From birth, most parents are set on capturing every single moment of their little one’s life on camera. From the obligatory in the hospital bed shot to that first cute close up to post on social media; it’s only natural that at some point most parents gaze adoringly into their child’s eyes and think ‘my little one should be a model’.
However, how many go from thought to action to success are few are far between. London based child modelling agency, Bruce and Brown get between 500-700 applications a week from parents hopeful that they’ve created ‘the next big thing’ but with less than 1% percent actually making it through to a follow up call, the reality of what parents see and what an agency is looking for is vast.
However, you’re convinced your child has got what it takes (why else would you be reading this?), so you’re first port of call is probably Google.
You’ve typed in ‘child modelling agencies’ and are bombarded by a long list – Where do you start? Perhaps you’re doing a bit of research first, before you throw your child into the glamorous world of fashion and advertising (Spoiler Alert – it’s not glamorous!) and have ended up here.
Either way, arming yourself with as much information as possible is probably the best idea. So, before you print out fifty adoringly cute pics of Sid/Sam and post them out to the agencies, you need to take an honest look at the product – that being your child (and you).
Your child will need to be confident.
They do not need to be able to walk into a room full of strangers and address the entire space; they might even (if they are under five) still wrap themselves around your legs trying to hide. Importantly though, they need to overcome this shyness – ideally within 5 minutes at a casting, or a bit longer if they’re on a job – first impressions count. Your child will need to work in a space with lots of grown-ups, all with a job to do (and the pressure that the right outcome/shot/footage is needed by the end of the day), so a child who is confident is a must.
Time is money and waiting for a child to be ready is not always an option. So, be mindful of is your child confident? Can you leave him/her alone or will he/she get upset? Nobody from the set to the studio, at the agency or at your home will want an unhappy child in any circumstances so think long and hard – will your child enjoy this and have they got the confidence to do it?
If your child is to become a model, you’ll need to take him/her to castings. These can be all over the place so you will need to be flexible in your lifestyle. Can you or someone else take time off from work? Is there someone to look after siblings etc.? Are you willing to take the bus, train or tube or drive two hours to a casting that might only take five minutes? Be realistic in what you can and can’t do.
Learning to let go (a bit)…
This is a hard one. You are putting your child into an industry and to some extent ‘handing them over’ to work with professionals. You might not even be chaperoning your child to the job so you’ll need to learn to let go a bit. Most children behave differently when their parent/guardian is around so more often than not, you’ll have to keep out of the way and let them get on with it if you’re ‘on set’.
Parents who are over eager, giving direction to their child on a shoot for example is a definite no. You’ll need to instinctively know if and when you are needed by the production team and by your child. There are guidelines in place to ensure your child’s best interests are met and as previously mentioned a happy model is the best kind of model amounting to the best outcome so trust those who your child is working with and let go as much as you have to.