Could (should) your child be a model?
It can be a fun route to extra pocket money, but go in with your eyes open.
Bee was convinced that her friends weren’t just gushing. Her child was ‘fair of face’, and she took her along to a local modelling agency. 

Within a short time her daughter had appeared in several print and TV ads, and earned some extra money.

I have seen my children happy to act naturally in front of camera and lighting crews when I’d been convinced that they were too self-conscious to do so. You’d be surprised how easy it can be for your child to model.

How to get your child model started

  • Some agencies charge a registration fee - don’t pay too much. Usually this fee covers a portfolio disk, too
  • Castings may not result in work and take up time
  • The hours may be difficult to manage if you are a working parent
  • A good casting agency will have agents available for experienced models
  • Earnings range from a few hundred rands for a photo shoot, to thousands of rands for TV advertisements, depending on hours worked, and other factors
  • Always double-check contracts, and, if the role is a big one/on an ongoing basis, have an entertainment lawyer check that the contract is fair before signing
  • Don’t take your child out of school for a shoot without first asking the principal, in writing, for permission. If the shoot goes on over several days, ask for homework for your child
  • Always ensure that your child is safe from compromising situations- agencies should allow you to be present during the shoot
Some issues to consider:
  • Do you commandeer their earnings and spend them on, say, furniture?
  • Do you start an education fund with the money they get for looking mischievous?
  • Is this money theirs, or, as their legal guardian, yours?
  • Do you select the products and brands which your child will be advertising?
  • How do you balance sibling personalities say, one is able to perform, the other, not?
Like most things in parenting, these questions are up to you to answer. While your child may have the natural confidence or physical attributes to be a successful model or even actor, the responsibility still lies with you as their parent to ensure that they are not put into compromising situations, or that the whole experience becomes one of embarrassment or resulting in an unhealthily enlarged ego.

You can shop around for an agency (ask friends or look online) which allows you to be involved as much as you’d like to be. Find people who will be sensitive and caring about your child, and who will not treat him as a commodity. You don’t have to go with the first talent spotter who fills your head with flattery.

If you go into the experience with your eyes open and a responsible attitude, you could have a fantastic time with your child: he could have a stepping-stone to an education, or some memorable photographs, and you can have the pleasure of seeing him growing in confidence and appearing in magazines or on TV.

Would you consider letting your child be a model? Share your thoughts and experiences below.

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