Things Left Unsaid 02: Modeling / by Kate Brightbill

Today, I'm staying away from the serious, and talking about a fun "thing left unsaid" in our lives. I'm sure you've seen glimpses on my Instagram, but today I'll tell you a bit about my kiddos being models. I've never come out and said it, but there you have it: they are, technically. 

There's a stigma attached to child models, and while I'm sure the nutty stage moms and pushy families exist, it has not been our experience with the San Francisco modeling community at all. Photo shoots have been a big part of our lives in 2014, but I can't guarantee next year {or even next week!} will bring any more bookings. It's fun, but it's a fickle industry too! People ask all the time if I can connect them with brands and agents, and the short answer is, "not really." Each agency has gaps in certain ages or a "look" that they would like to fill... if I refer someone who has a 5-year old to my agency who is really looking only for 3-year olds and 7-year-olds, they may not be signed. Not because the child isn't adorable, but because their sizes are just not what is needed right now. It has so much to do with timing!

So what is it like behind the scenes?

First off, bookings are not well in advance. We sometimes get notice that the girls are "on hold" for a day or a week, but sometimes we get an email or phone call the night before asking someone to be somewhere the next morning at 8:30am. It's also not a predictable industry, that's for sure. Auditions are unpaid and necessary in most situations... but once they book the job, more jobs often come of them. Maggie booked Old Navy and Gymboree every month for a lot of the year this year, and she only had to audition once for each! Two-years old is a BIG age, in our experience. They are in the prime of toddlerhood, and if they love shoots, they'll be successful. Sophie started at 4, and had several calls and shoots her first year, and then had almost no auditions for about 9 months, and now she's back to getting calls and bookings. It's really just about timing, ages, sizes and look! It's nothing we can take personally. It's all cyclical. 

All children have a teacher on every set by law. They are the child's advocate who steps in if they see children getting tired, needing a snack, etc. They also help school-age children with their school work. For the baby and toddler age, there is also often a child-wrangler. The wrangler is the entertainment for your children... the one making them laugh hysterically, entertaining them with balloons, bubbles, songs, and just being high-energy fun. It makes or breaks a shoot to have the best wranglers on duty behind the scenes. Kids absolutely adore these people, and it makes the entire experience fun for everyone. Sophie is no longer at an age where she needs a wrangler on set, but they often provide the child's song choice, and tell jokes while they shoot, and she has a blast hamming it up for the camera. 

This isn't something we're taking too seriously, but for now it's FUN. If your schedule is generally flexible, and you have outgoing children who are fine with standing still, pursue it! If your child is reserved or incredibly strong-willed, it's just not worth it.

Though my kids enjoy it, they're too young to really show whether or not they're truly passionate about it. We'll just ride the wave while we're here, and we can see whether or not it'll be something they continue as they get older. ;)

My favorite part of it is the pictures, so here are some favorites!!