How to Get Child into Modeling

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I want to be a model!
I want to be a model! (Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

The wrong way to get your child into modeling is to fall for the so-called talent agent who approaches you at the mall to tell you what a beautiful child you have. This person is likely to subject you to a high-pressure sales pitch for modeling lessons or photographs that could cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars, according to the Federal Trade Commission. There are better ways to get your child into modeling.

Evaluate Your Child's Personality

A child’s personality affects whether she is booked for modeling jobs as much as her looks. Kids need to be outgoing and well-mannered, and take direction well. A child also needs to speak well to the people doing the hiring and stay focused on the task. Small kids could have an advantage because they can pretend to be younger for assignments but will likely act more mature because they are older. Shy kids typically aren’t picked for modeling when competing with kids who smile, laugh and display their personality.

Drive to Succeed

The child needs to want to be a model -- the parent's wishes won't suffice. A child who is pushed into modeling to please a parent usually doesn’t have the inner drive that a child who truly loves to model does. This comes across in interviews. Kids need the drive to model and succeed, or they won’t do well in the industry, said Patty Fleischer, owner of a New York modeling agency, in BabyCenter.

Prepare

It takes an organized, responsible and dedicated parent to get a child into modeling. A model’s parent can expect to drive the child to auditions and wait around. Having enough free time to devote is essential. Your child also might be offered a modeling audition with little notice, which might require you to drop what you’re doing and go.

Take Photographs

You need photographs of your child to see an agent, but you don’t need to pay top dollar for them. Take your own snapshots that include headshots and a full-body pose. You typically don’t need professional headshots to get a young child into modeling. Plus, you would need to change them too often as your child grows. Simply provide a photo of your child facing the camera and wearing no makeup or props, such as sunglasses or a hat.

Find an Agent

Look at websites of child models to find out which agencies they use. Check with the Better Business Bureau to determine whether the agency is reputable. You typically need to live within 200 miles of the agency to be represented. Send agencies photographs of your child along with a letter stating your intentions. Write on the back of each photograph your child’s name, age, clothing size, hair color, eye color, and your name and address. Never pay the agency upfront. Modeling agencies make money after your child works by taking a percentage, usually 20 percent, of the earnings.

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