Several of you have asked me to update about Willa's modeling career so here goes-
Oh internet. The lessons I have learned from this experience.
I hope that when someone does a search for "should my baby model?" or "baby modeling" or "child modeling" they will find this post so I can tell them why it is a horrible idea.
Here's what no one tells you about the child modeling industry- IT SUCKS.
Here's how it works-
You are at the clients beck and call.
Every day between 3-6pm the agency would call to tell us if we had any go-sees (auditions) for the next day. This means that you can't schedule anything.
THEN, if your child gets the job they don't tell you that you have a photo shoot until the day before.
So basically, you have no idea what you will be doing the next day until the night before.
For someone like me, who like to make plans, this will make your head explode.
Another problem- go-sees and photo shoots are scheduled for all different times, and they very often would screw with Willa's nap schedule. Willa is about a thousand times more enjoyable when she gets a good nap, so it always sucks when she is thrown off her schedule. There are kids who are good at going with the flow, and do well even without a nap. Willa is not one of those kids.
There are so many other stressful aspects to child modeling-
The logistics can be a nightmare.
Because most subway stations are not stroller friendly I usually take a cab or my car to the auditions and shoots. I've spent countless hours driving around in circles trying to find a parking space. I've gotten so excited about finding a space only to discover I didn't have any quarters for the meter. I once paid $32 for 31 minutes of parking.
I can't tell you how many go-sees or photo shoots we have shown up to only to discover that the building has stairs. I've had to beg strange men to help me haul the stroller up and down stairs.
Until recently we lived all the way on the east Side of Manhattan, uptown, and 90% of the go-sees and photo shoots were down town and on the west side.
I once dragged Willa and my husband to a go-see on a Sunday and sat there for an hour only to be told that Willa didn't qualify because she couldn't stand unassisted(she was 10 months old).
Another time we went all the way down town for a go-see for a company Willa had worked for three weeks earlier. I assumed it was for a fitting, but instead, we walked in and all they did was take a polaroid of her.
I was super pissed- a company who had booked her three weeks ago and had head shots of her needed me to screw up Willa's nap schedule and make a two hour round trip so they could take a polaroid? I don't think so.
These companies have no respect for you or your child. They don't care about your child's schedule. They just schedule everything and expect you to be there.
Recently, a company called my agency at 6 pm and told them that they wanted 5 kids (including Willa) at 8am the next morning, all the way out on Long Island. I refused (as did most of the mothers of the other kids). I would have had to wake Willa up at 5am to get there on time, when she usually wakes up at 7-8am.
The woman from Willa's agency was practically in tears because this particular company did shit like this all the time, and here she was at 8pm making phone calls. The company gets away with it because there are plenty of parents who are willing to do ANYTHING to make their child a successful model. I am not one of those parents.
Another aspect that's weird, for lack of a better word, is that you very rarely get to see the pictures from the shoots. They don't send you copies. I've had to search them out. I spent a while last night searching the internet for pictures of Willa. It's kind of odd to know that there are picture out there in the world of my kid that I haven't even seen.
Willa doesn't get every job that she auditions for. I handle this really well because we're not doing this for the fame and fortune. But, some parents get very upset when their child doesn't get a job. If you are going to be disappointed every time your kid doesn't book something, then child modeling is not the business for you.
The modeling industry is a strange word. Once, when Willa was shooting for the cover of a major parenting magazine (they shoot 4-5 kids and then pick the picture they like best), they changed her outfit because they thought her arms looked chubby in the sleeveless top she was wearing. She was 11 months old at the time.
So, where do we stand now?
Well, Willa is still technically a model, but we do very little work.
She is now on "by request only" which means that I only take her to auditions for companies who have specifically requested to see her because they have seen her headshot. I don't take her on any more huge auditions, or as I like to call them "cattle calls". You have to work for a while and book several shoots before most agencies will let you do that.
Lately we've only been working 1-2 days a month, compared to a few months ago when there were weeks when we were working 4 days.
Also, to be honest, when Willa was younger she booked a lot, but now that she's a toddler, and still pretty bald, she's not booking as much. People expect a child of Willa's age to have a full head of hair.
We're in a good situation now because I feel comfortable saying no and picking and choosing what we do.
So to sum up- The baby and child modeling industry has a lot of flaws. It's a ton of work for very little reward.