Let the public flogging begin
I've been hesitant to write about this because I'm sure I'll get lots of lovely emails from some judgmental assholes, but here goes nothing.
Back in the beginning of November we were in Bloomingdale's returning some stuff, when we saw that they were having a baby model search. So, we decided it would be fun to enter Willa. We filled out a form and then she sat in my lap and they snapped a couple of pictures of her. She gave them a huge smile and that was it. We went home and forgot about it. Then, a couple of weeks later, the phone rang. It was the people from Bloomingdale's calling to tell us that Willa had won the contest. I was dumbfounded.
The prize was a full page ad in The New York Times.
So, a few weeks later Willa had her photo shoot. She had a GREAT time. There were other kids there- they were shooting another ad. She loved meeting everyone and seeing everything.
She gets really bored when we stay at home. She's happiest meeting new people and seeing new things.
Willa's turn came and they plopped her down on a pillow in the middle of this big set in from of ten strangers (photographer, photographer's assistants, buyers, stylists, etc.) and she just looked up at the camera and laughed and smiled. She was awesome.
After the shoot we were talking to one of the women from Bloomingdale's and she said that Willa should model. I said that I thought she might have fun doing it, but I didn't know how to get started. So, she picked up her phone and called her contact at one of the top modeling agencies in the world. She told them that Willa was great and that they should sign her. They asked me to email them a picture. The next morning (a Tuesday) I emailed them and less than two hours later they emailed me back and said they wanted to meet her on Thursday. We met with the agency on Thursday and we were there for about five minutes before they offered her a contract. It was all very surreal.
Now, my husband and I debated this and discussed every aspect. I honestly felt kind of weird about the whole thing. We also had 5 different lawyers read the contract (including two who work in the entertainment industry).
We decided to go for it for the following reasons:
1) As I stated above, Willa LOVES meeting new people and experiencing new things. She lights up whenever someone pays attention to her. On the few go-sees and photo shoots we've been on Willa starts bouncing up and down and screeching happily when she sees the other kids.
2) I looked into mommy and me classes in my neighborhood. They cost about $500-$700 (yes, REALLY) and they only meet once a week. We can't afford that. Even the libraries in my area make you register weeks in advance for story time and most of them only let you go once a month.
3) Willa modeling means people will pay her to have fun. We can put the money in an account for her and if anything ever happens to us at least she'll have a little bit of a cushion. Also, we are just getting by these days and we can't afford to set aside money to put in a college fund for Willa. I am super paranoid about Willa having money for school because I almost wasn't allowed to graduate from culinary school because my parents couldn't afford to pay the bill. It would be great if Willa made enough money to pay for her own college tuition. (Although, I highly doubt it because tuition will probably be a bout a million dollars a year by the time she goes to college.)
4) Once she is actually old enough to understand what modeling is she won't be doing it any more. We don't want her to turn into Jon Bennet Ramsey or Lindsay Lohan.
5) We will be donating a portion of Willa's money to charity.
6)We rarely focus on Willa's beauty. Sure, we occasionally tell her that she is cute or pretty, but mostly we focus on how smart and well behaved she is.
7) We will not compromise our morals. Willa will not model for anything that we don't support such as pharmaceuticals or meat and she won't have to wear any animal products. Her agency is really supportive about this.
8) It's also good for me to get out of the house and meet new people. Plus, I may pick up a few photography tips at the photo shoots.
9) The minute Willa stops having fun we stop.
If you are interested in seeing Willa's ads I will be posting updates on Twitter.