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4 Things You Need To Know About Your Child Modeling

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Like most parents, I thought my kids were so cute they belonged in magazines.  However, when I wanted to pursue little modeling careers, I found it challenging living in a small town, Wilmington, NC.  Even though the town was the home to Screen Gems Studios, it wasn’t where all the major castings were held.  I was left with social media submissions.

HOW IT ALL STARTED FOR MY KIDS

By pure luck one day when Safe Haven was being filmed, I saw they were looking for a three-year old girl and four-year boy fitting the description of my son and daughter.  I submitted their photos via email and forgot to include my contact information.  Next thing I knew my phone was ringing non stop with friends saying people from the movie are paging you on Facebook.  They want to know if anyone in the town is friends with Danielle Schaffer.

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That day my children went on set with Josh Duhamel, Julienne Hough and Cobie Smulders.  My kids were the younger versions of the principal actors for photographs within the home used on set.  It was an amazing experience and they were on set for a full day and shared a trailer with the stars.  I saw how natural my kids were and loved hanging out with Josh for the day, who wouldn’t?

The seed was planted.

Fast forward a few years and now we reside in San Diego, California.  What I did in this unknown territory was send my kids to auditions I found on social media.   Without an agent I had my kids walk in several local Gap runways.  This opportunity exposed them to the modeling world.  I took note that they were having fun, so I continued on.

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In the beginning, I did some digging and submitted their photos to casting agents for brands and I would directly book them.  I knew once I got an agent I would be opening Pandora’s box and the craziness would set in, so I waited till the baby was four months old.  I knew the phone would be ringing a lot more and I would be in LA a lot.  I needed to be mentally ready for this.  Heres what I learned:

1. PHOTOS

Kids do NOT need professional photos BEFORE they submit to an agency.  They can submit snapshots and then the agent can guide you with professional images, based on the kids look.   However, you WILL need professional photographs once you get accepted by an agency.  Kids change so much, from teeth falling out to growth spurts, so take your snapshots right before you are ready to submit, this way the images will truly represent who your child is.  My snapshots were always super cute because I love photography so I suggest submitting good ones.

No matter what state you are in (after you have the agent in place) you should google kids fashion photography just to see who is trending.  Whoever you find show him/her what you are looking for so that they do not have to guess.  Be sure to run it by your agent.  And spend the money.  Photographers put a lot of work into their images to make sure your kid looks amazing, so be prepared to spend.  I wrote about this in the past, click here.  But here is what I suggest you ask for:

  • two headshots (one smiling, one serious)
  • a body shot in fun clothes
  • and I truly love having an editorial style image which looks like a magazine ad
  • get two looks if you can (for example hair up and hair down)

Some of my favorite photographers in the “business” are:

2. ARE YOU READY?

Are you ready to get baby sitters for your other kids and hire people to help you if you have a large family?   Unless you live in NYC, or LA, you will be commuting to these places for the work.  So for me, I live in San Diego, and never realized that 100 miles could mean  five hours going home.  The struggle is real.  For some reason, leaving LA is sometimes impossible.  Are you willing to do all of this juggling for a five-minute audition?  If so, keep reading.

Another good thing to know is there is no notice about your casting call.  They can call you the day of or the night before.  I don’t know why Hollywood operates this way, but castings are most of the time happening with minimal notice.  So you can have doctors appointments, plans with friends, sports commitments and you will have to cancel last-minute on everyone and everything.  According to Natashia Williams-Blach (former model, actress & American Idol Finalist, “You must expect the unexpected, if you’re not enjoying the ride get off the train.”  You can hear more about her experience in the industry in her latest book, Mind over Model.

3. GET AN AGENT

Of course this is easier said than done, but its worth it.  I can definitely be described as a mama agent/photographer and even though my skills to hustle and photograph are quite good, I too need some agent help.  What I learned is that once you sign on with an agent, you better be prepared to work.  There is no one doing more juggling than me with four kids, a blog, two dogs and my youngest being 7 months old.  It’s hard, but I do it.

It’s as simple as this, signing on with an agent means you are READY to build your child’s career and you as the parent are ready to go the distance.  You really do not want to sign with an agent if you can’t super juggle your life.  You will be wasting your time and the agents time.

If you submit to an agent and they say no, it means “not right now.”  Do not give up if you think your kid has what it takes.  When people said no to my kids in the past, it made me go in a different direction, I certainly didn’t give up,  I signed with an agency that was right for us.

Here are the agents I would start with:

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4. PREPARE YOUR LITTLES FOR REJECTION

I never get bothered by rejection.  It’s innate in me as the momma bear to push forward.  I do that in my personal life and I certainly instill a light and airy attitude in theirs.  I always tell my kids to never be upset if they don’t get it and you will never know if you don’t try.  I also tell them to be happy for the kids who got it.  That child could have been on 15 auditions and this is his first one he got so we joke around in the car with a mini mock celebration for Billy Bob who got the job.  I keep the modeling world light and fun and they certainly feed off of me.  I am in no shape or form a competitive mom, and I like it better that way.   I am teaching my children what it is like in the real world and the more they are prepared the more they can deal with rejection without having a serious meltdown.  I always tell them, lets move on and see whats next, because when one door closes. another opens.  My children are living proof of this, if you don’t let it bother you, it won’t bother them.

There is always that one person who thinks they are utterly perfect- and that’s YOU!

I would love to hear from you, comment below and let me know your experience in the modeling/acting world.  Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!

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39 comments

  1. Love your kiddos! We are in Dallas and are trying to pursue modeling. We haven’t been able to secure an agent but the kids do light modeling for local shops/boutiques. The agents here all state to submit candid snapshots but your article says to submit professional photos. We work with a local photographer and I’m starting to think you are correct. Seems like a lot of her clients have been signed following head shots. I haven’t bitten the bullet to get headshots but I may need to.

    1. Danielle Lucia Schaffer

      Michelle my agent corrected me on this one and she says submit candid shots so i changed it in the article…. I am a photographer so I had uber adorable pics of my kids when I submitted…. The agents say candid… I say step it up a little… xoxoxo

    2. We are in Miami. In two days we have an interview with a top agency. World of kids. What should our 7 month old wesrcto her interview ? Thanks

      1. Danielle Lucia Schaffer

        Have your kids wear things you see in kids magazines…. I would stick with GAP

  2. Thank you! I was about to ask you about this very topic as my daughter would love to model. We are told all the time she should model and even get stopped in stores, airports and malls. We live in Chicago and I just didn’t know how to start the process.

    1. Danielle Lucia Schaffer

      yay so happy this could help you

  3. My son is a child Actor/model. (Mateo Franco) We love reading and seeing your posts! It is definitely a commitment and an adventurous journey. We also took your exact steps into the business, worked on solo bookings, auditions, rejections, direct bookings, agency calls. Non stop 5-10 minute auditions with 3 hour drive home. Augh! But my son enjoys being in the spotlight and traffic. 🙂 We have an appointment/interview with LA Models next month in June. .. wish us luck! Thanks for sharing every precious masterpiece of your kiddos! Enjoy the journey! Hope to see you all on set sometime.

    1. Danielle Lucia Schaffer

      awe i so appreciate you sharing this…. its tough but glad to hear other mommas journeys in this crazy business xoxoxo

  4. LOL, I wish I had seen this before we signed up with an agency. I thought it was just our agent emailing us at 10pm at night to go to audition in LA the next day (and we are in San Diego too). Your view point is so refreshing and does put everything perspective.

    1. Danielle Lucia Schaffer

      So happy I am not alone… and yes its crazy, a few hours before is nuts… but thats Hollywood… we mammas need a shuttle service or something
      xoxox

  5. What do I do if I live in Cleveland. Do I have to move ?

    1. Danielle Lucia Schaffer

      You have to find your local agencies and start there… Do you have any?

  6. Not sure what’s a good agency in Cleveland or who’s real

    1. Danielle Lucia Schaffer

      you would need to google your local agencies and follow the steps on getting the right pics and submitting…. you definitely have an agency…. just need to ask around and try reputable ones

  7. Hi Danielle. I love your post!
    We just started becoming interested in modeling and just spent a whole lot of money on professional pictures before submitting anything to agencies. I know your post says to submit candid regular pics, but will agents be turned off by professional pics?

    1. Danielle Lucia Schaffer

      no send professional pics…. its ok and send it to a lot of agencies… at first my kids were turned down then the yes came within the year GOOD LUCK

  8. Hi Danielle

    Your post was just what I needed to read! I have been submitting my daughters pics and feeling disheartened with the No’s . We are in South Florida and I know its booming here. You mentioned self promotion, where do I find casting info to do this any guidance would be so much appreciated!

    thank you again Carly 🙂

    1. Danielle Lucia Schaffer

      I am serious…. no means not right now….. google the best agencies by you…. get new pictures with an epic photographer though they say snap shots is all they need…. I say get new pics and keep submitting…. don’t give up mama

    2. Carly,

      We were in the Miami area. If you haven’t had much luck with the agencies, yet, I may be able to help.

      Let me know!

      Best,

      Miriam

      1. Danielle Lucia Schaffer

        I really love ZURI… but there are so many in the LA area… go with your gut for sure….

  9. Hi, Danielle!

    I am excited to send you this message because I found this article about 8 months ago when we were just getting our feet wet with modeling in Miami. Things were starting to go really well for my three children. Then…and here’s the IRONY…we found out we were moving to SAN DIEGO! I never forgot where you said you moved to because my family also was initially from NC, so we had that in common. I hope we can connect! It would be so nice to meet another family in our shoes.

    Best,

    Miriam

    1. Danielle Lucia Schaffer

      yay maybe coffee when I come up for air… soooooo busy with my four and deadlines

  10. Hi, Danielle.

    Have you had any casting calls in San Diego for your kids? Or are they mostly in LA? If possible, I’d like to stay local. Not sure if we’re ready for LA traffic.

    Thanks,
    Cathy

    1. Danielle Lucia Schaffer

      You can try to find local San Diego agents for local work, but most of the work is in LA. It’s so hard for sure…

  11. Hello, how do you manage time when your kids are in school? Are you able to skip school and go for auditions? We are in SD too and my concern is how we will be able to manage going to LA during the school season. Thank you.

    1. Danielle Lucia Schaffer

      We usually check into school and then I pull them out so they don’t get the absence but I work it out with the teacher… not easy

  12. Thank you!
    One more question 🙂 Can you sign with few agencies at ones? Is it legal? Do I have to have only one agency? We have got few offers from different places . Thank you for your help 🙂

    1. Danielle Lucia Schaffer

      You would have to ask your agency! My agency like exclusivity so I stick with one! Go with your gut!

  13. May I ask you, what agency do you work with? Thanks

    1. Danielle Lucia Schaffer

      We are with Zuri Model & Talent

  14. Lubię ludzi, którzy stawiają sprawę jasno

  15. Love your input. My son got interest form,the first SD agent I sent hos pics to. I’m hoping he will love it.. jughl8ng will be an issue as I work part time. But thid could be a thing for him. I think I have to try..

  16. So much good info! I’m thinking about submitting my baby girl for consideration… do you happen to know if there are any good/reputable agencies in Orange County (where we live)? A quick Google search came up with a few but I can’t find much info about them.

  17. Great blog! Just looking at starting my kiddo – who is almost 12 yr old (boy too) as he has become very interested. We have an appointment with an agent next week. – just wish he did it when he was younger but we didn’t pursue it. He really wants to do more acting so exposure would be great. He is a total ham, easy to photograph and loves to entertain, plus has no stage fright or a shy bone in his body –total Chicago City Boy!

    not sure where that came from.
    signed,
    SassyNChicago! (lol! as that’s my IG and Wellness Biz name).

    1. Danielle Lucia Schaffer

      Nice to meet you…. interview a few agencies and get him some acting classes…. its a fun ride enjoy…..

  18. What’s the average pay for baby models? How much do agencies take as their cut?

    1. Danielle Lucia Schaffer

      it depends on the brand… and depends on the campaign…. so it definitely varies…

    2. Danielle Lucia Schaffer

      it depends on the brand… and depends on the campaign…. so it definitely varies… agencies take 10-20 percent

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