At Models & Moguls we sift through hundreds of celebrity biographies and its pretty obvious that those who get started early have a leg up.
According to Drew Pacholyk, who runs New York agency Kid’s Power, “Clients are not just seeking beautiful children. There is a big market for all types of children who are photogenic.”
Agents are booking child models for fashion shows, clothing catalogs, toy packaging and cereal boxes.
Regardless of your child’s age, race or shape, with a big smile, positive attitude, hard work and persistence, she or he can find photo gigs.
But keep in mind that most advertising and illustration photography is in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami and most child models live close to one of these cities.
If you and your child don’t, then don’t let that discourage you. But before you pack up for the Big Apple, here are some things you should do first:
1. Are you sure this is what your child really wants to do? Be sure this is her dream…not yours. Have a deep, long, heart-to-heart talk with yourself…and then with your child, as to whether this is a journey you are both ready to start.
2. Do You Have The Time? Much of your child’s success will depend on your having the time to dedicate to her career. Make sure you are ready to make the time commitment to get your child to casting calls, studio sessions and shows…on time!
3. Get Professional Pictures Taken! If your kid is over 10 years old, get Headshots. These photos will go to agencies and casting directors, who have to sift through hundreds if not thousands of pics, so don’t be afraid to spend a little with a professional photographer and get the best shots possible.
Pacholyk tells parents who contact his agency to send 3 photos: a closeup of your child’s face, a full-body shot, and a picture that shows the child in a pose, without toys, animals, hats, or costumes.
4. Find A Referenced Professional Agent.
Even if you don’t live in one of the Big 4s, try to find an agent closest to your city. Bust open the yellow pages or go on-line.
Put together a mailing package that includes cover letter, photographs and resume with phone number and email address.
In the cover letter introduce your child. Tell them her interests, hobbies and anything not mentioned in her resume. Let them know what your schedule looks like and and be specific about exactly what kind of work your child is interested in doing (ex. commercials, film, tv, modeling, print).
Staple the resume to the back of the headshot, keeping the smooth side of staple on the side of their picture. Be sure photographs, cover letter and resume are on the same size paper.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t immediately get a call back. Pacholyk’s agency gets thousands of calls from parents every week. You may not hear anything from an agency for 3 months. Meanwhile keep working building your child’s portfolio and resume and after 6 months, send out another package.
5. Signing To An Agency
If you do get a call back and are asked to send in more pictures…send them!
Pacholyk says less than half of parents actually send him new pictures when he requests. That means over half of would-be modeling parents sabatoge their child’s career before it even gets going!
When you do sign your child to an agency, be sure to keep them up-to-date with new snapshots when your child looses a tooth, gets a new hair style or shoots up a size. Agents cast child models for clients based on a certain look and it’s important that your child looks exactly the way she does in her photos.
How do you know if it’s a credible Agency?
Wild claims or promises about “making your child a star” or asking for money are usually bad signs.
Agencies get paid off commissions from the bookings the agency makes.
So when your child gets paid, they get paid. Most agencies charge a 10% to 20% agency fee.
Once your child is accepted by an agency, they will have her do some “go-sees”. These are kind of like auditions where the client will call in a bunch of potential models to pick the one who gets the job.
Most of your child’s appointments will be “go-sees” and though they are non-paying they are the only way to get the gig.
6. How Much Money Do Child Models Make?
Just to give you an idea, for photo sessions for educational material, your child could make between $60 to $75 an hour. Depending on the photographer she may only work 1 hour…or she may work all day.
Sessions for commercial advertisements may pay $600 for a half day and $1,200 for a whole day.
Magazines pay a little less. They feel that being featured on a cover is an honor.
Pacholyk has a model on his roster who received $8,000 for a television commercial and a child acting client who signed a $100,000 movie contract!
So if you and your child have the personality, work ethic, persistence and patience to stay the course with Modeling…the sky is the limit!