Myself, My partner and our little guy are all signed up with agencies as a family to do modelling. This is just something I have always done as I was always with agencies from being very small, starting with Pampers Adverts! A lot of people will have opinions on parent’s putting their little one’s with agencies and letting them do modelling. I think most people think that it is a case of pushy parents wanting their child to be a model, so they can be like, my baby is so good looking and he actually does modelling. Although for some parent’s yes this is totally the case, in reality a lot of the time kids doing modelling can be a great thing. I have been with agencies my entire life, I even did modelling as a full time career when I was about 17-21 years old (when I was super skinny and pre-child!). One thing I will say is, I NEVER regret my mum signing me up with a modelling agency. In fact I am so happy she did and I never once felt anything negative about it.
Kid modelling is not the same as normal modelling and it is actually very rare you get a modelling job that isn’t fun for the child. Obviously a lot of the modelling requiring kids is kid friendly stuff, like toys, sweets, fun places to go, even kids clothing can be fun too. Not every child will be happy to be centre of attention and told what to do and when for the camera. So if your child isn’t a fan and you still push them to do it then yes that is when it’s no longer about the child and more about the parent. However there are plenty of children who love being little posers and it can be a great experience. It is also great being able to put the money they earn away to save for their future. My mum had quite a bit saved for me thanks to modelling. Most of the jobs I don’t even remember doing to be honest. The other great thing is that a lot of the time if modelling clothes or doing toy/sweet adverts etc they get to keep them (or will have at least played with or ate plenty whilst modelling).
I always knew when I had little man that I would be putting him forward for modelling jobs, just like I did as a kid. I always said however that if it was not something he enjoyed I certainly would not be taking it any further. He had a few brilliant jobs with us when he was a baby, starting with a video and photo shoot for Haven Holidays ( you can read all about it here). This job was brilliant money for us all, we got to travel right to the other end of the country and stay 2 nights in a hotel all provided for us and then we got to spend time at a Haven site, eating, drinking and having fun whilst they captured the moments. Although they told us what to do and when, it was so so fun and most was us just talking away and being handed drinks while sitting in the sunshine or in a spa. Reid absolutely loved it and even kept showing off to the cameras and laughing (at only 1.5 years old). Another amazing job we did was a tv advert for ao.com (read more about it here). This was when little guy had just turned 2 and again he was absolutely brilliant and having all these big cameras in our house didn’t bother him. He did get a bit tired towards the end and I did step in as his mum and didn’t force him to do anything he didn’t want. The team were so lovely and totally understood when it stopped being fun for him and it was time to stop.
Reid has had some other jobs since then and does love showing off for the camera. I wondered if this would still be the case as he got older and especially as he was well in to the terrible 2’s. I did worry that as he got more independent, more bossy and more aware of things whether he would still want to do it. So at 3 years old when we received a casting for a modelling job for him (last week) I was a little worried as to whether he would want to do it. He hadn’t done a casting before and this was for a very well known clothing company. I didn’t know if a casting would be very fun for him, whether it would be scary for him and we would have to travel all the way to London. This terrified me as I personally get very nervous travelling so far and have hardly ever been to London, let alone by myself with Reid. After some thought I decided I didn’t want to hold him back because of my own insecurities. I bit the bullet and booked train tickets to London and put aside my fear. I also decided that as this was a proper casting and a very big one at that, this would be the deciding factor. This would determine whether to keep going with the modelling thing for him. To say I was nervous was an understatement and the fact he had just started coming down with a cold and was slightly ratty did make me doubt myself.
I decided to treat our trip to London like a fun day trip for the two of us. I started off telling him we were going on a train and that we were going really far away to go do some fun things. He got quite excited and I tried to keep that excitement going the whole time. When we got on the train he was really happy and chatty and I was surprised how I managed to keep that energy going throughout the 3.5 hour train journey (a lot of sweets did help). I kept explaining what we were going to be doing when we got there to try and normalise it. I didn’t really know how to explain it but said we are going to go and have some food and go for a walk. I then told him we were going to see a nice lady and man who would like to meet him because he is a little cutie. I told him they have a special camera and would love to take some photos of him because he is a cool dude. He seemed very fine with it and not at all worried or confused, he just said ‘I’m very handsome’ (not at all vein). So far so good, although getting closer and closer to arriving in London did have my stomach in knots.
I realised that The place was 5 minutes walk from the station and I decided to brave it and after turning on my phone’s sat nav, I took a deep breath and started walking around London, apologising like an obvious non-Londoner every time someone bumped in to me. I was surprised at how quickly I found the place and I was an hour early, so stopped off at a little Pizza place nearby. Little guy was in a very cute mood and had the whole cosy little restaurant smiling at him and laughing at his cheekiness. There was no kids menu so we just ordered two huge pizzas…we should have just ordered the one as they were very big! It certainly didn’t stop little dude shovelling in slices bigger than his head and finding it hilarious! After finishing pizza (and ice cream) we popped in to their loo’s to change him in to a nice clean (non-pizza covered) shirt. He was looking very cool and he certainly knew it as he posed for photos in the toilets. I was very pleased I came prepared and didn’t put him in it this morning like the Mr suggested. He really did look just the coolest and it just makes me laugh how much cooler my own toddler is than me!
When we arrived at the casting I was very on edge again. At this point I was still worried as to how he would be feeling. The first sign of looking uncomfortable and I would have left and that would have been that. But he waltzed in to the building shouting hello to anyone around and happily followed the woman who met us. We were taken down in to a room with quite a few other children sat waiting with their mum or dad. They were all just little cuties and such beautiful children. Reid confidently climbed up on to a chair and started pointing and saying ‘who is that’ very loudly and pointing at another child passed out on a chair saying ‘that boy is asleep’ (toddlers love to point out the obvious..to the world). A little girl came in and sat next to him with her dad. He started waving and saying hello and trying to start conversation with her. He was very clearly relaxed and content and not at all worried which was good. I put Peppa Pig on Youtube for him and he just sat and watched it being good as gold until his name was called.
When it was our turn he needed his height measured and he happily stood against the wall and even started being cheeky going up on his toes to make himself taller. It was then time to actually do the casting and for them to see what he is like in front of the camera. I stood there right behind the photographer like some mummy cheerleader and but also a protective mummy bear over her cub. Making sure he still looked happy and smiley the whole time. He followed instruction brilliantly and It actually made me so proud of how he tried to do so well and looked like he was having fun. They asked him to spin around and he did it smiling and almost falling over. There was a time he was looking away from camera but pointing at something and smiling, I started saying ‘look at the camera Reid’ to which I was told (very nicely) to shhhh by the photographer and that he was ‘perfect’. Clearly the embarrassing mummy totally ruining his moment! Not once did my baby look even slightly uncomfortable or unhappy and I remember breathing a sigh of relief and within just a couple of minutes it was over. He had no idea what it was all about, all he knew was that he had fun and then we were off to do something else, like it was no big deal to him.
We left the casting and I came out feeling a mix of emotions. Relieved, proud, happy and exhausted. I can’t believe I had worried myself so much. I actually remember thinking, you almost held your son back because of your over thinking. I was so glad that I didn’t and I actually felt really privileged to experience a big casting like that with my own child. It was something to celebrate and be proud of. That he had been chosen to come for a casting, that he was actually selected by this big designer as a potential model for them. Regardless if he gets the job, that alone was really great! All children are beautiful but it certainly doesn’t hurt you as a parent to know other people think your child is beautiful too. I actually felt so proud of him and loved that I got to share this with him and that we had both done something so different and I had pushed myself well out of my comfort zone for my boy. I was also so happy to discover his confidence with modelling and that he does actually enjoy it. I kept telling him that everyone thought he was gorgeous and he just kept replying with ‘ yes, I am handsome’! He certainly knows it!
After the casting we still had over 2 hours to kill and with being near to Kings Cross station, I soon discovered after a google search that there was absolutely NOTHING to do with children near there. I didn’t want to venture too far so had a little wander round. I had to try keep up beat as the poor little thing had to be put in his buggy and wheeled around for a bit. I decided to bring his buggy for piece of mind as I just worried that whilst I was stressing he might manage to slip away from me in the busy station or something. We did about 20 laps of the station, looking in the shops and there was just nothing. Not even a kids magazine I could buy for him. All of the stuff in the Harry Potter shop were too old for him, except for the owl cuddly toy (which he already has). He didn’t have a little soft owl on a key ring so we got ‘baby owl’ and we had great fun with it on the train. I also had a walk around near the station and found a little enclosed grassy area where he could stretch his legs. I soon discovered that it was a meeting point for homeless men and noticed lots with brown paper bags drinking alcohol and very quickly left that area. We ended up going in Macdonalds and having another Ice Cream. I was really clutching at straws at this point but that was the most family friendly place around.
When we had only about 40 minutes left until the train was coming we went back in to the station and just waited around for the train. Little guy passed out in his buggy and stayed asleep until about 1 hour in to the train journey. It wasn’t ideal as it was a packed train and I couldn’t get to my seat with him whilst he was asleep in his buggy. We did eventually manage to sit down after about an hour and by then I was just exhausted and desperate to get home. He woke up and was actually in a really good mood considering it was about 5.30pm and getting quite late. We had a really fun journey home with baby owl and he was belly laughing and singing the pen pineapple apple pen song. We really did appear to be two peas in a pod. It was nice to just have time us two with not much to entertain us. I actually forgot to bring things to keep him entertained on the long journey but it worked out as we had such a laugh and sang songs and played games. He was my little friend and was just making me smile constantly all day. He had far too many sweets and chocolate that day and I had really exhausted myself but it was totally worth it.
I hope if you are reading this and thought about starting your child in modelling then it has been insightful for you. If you are thinking of joining agencies feel free to get in contact on my contact page and send me a message/email to ask any questions. Please be careful with who you sign your child up with and DON’T PAY ANY UPFRONT FEES! Any good agency will be free and take your child on with the idea they believe you will make them money. Or they will have some fee’s that they offer for you to take out of their first job. Some may charge a small amount to do a test shoot to see how your child is on camera, but make sure to research the agency first before paying this.
Agency : Kiddiwinks