By Laura Thomas at Theatre Unboxed
A relatively new phenomenon, child modelling can be a murky world of attention-seeking parents and cash hungry agents who know the potential of top-end advertising campaigns. Young models can earn anywhere up to £10,000 for only a few hours work so it’s no wonder thousands of mini-Kate Moss’s are ready to fight for those few coveted magazine spots. The reality is that you might find you’re spending more money on getting to the auditions than your child actually earns.
Who are the successful few and what exactly do they have to do to be a successful child model? Symmetrical faces are often required. Or for adverts, a quirky look and a larger than life personality will make them noticed (the sort of child who starts conversations with strangers in a park and proceeds to eat their picnic).
There are, of course, children who make a regular income from modelling, and with Next and Boden constantly changing their designs in playsuits, a ready supply of experienced, reliable models can guarantee sales – until newbie models realises ninety percent of the ‘fun’ is standing around, they pack less of a punch on camera. Then there’s the waiting around for the pictures.
You might be lucky and see your little cherub gracing the small screen before an episode of Coronation Street but there will always be those who end up on the cutting room floor and Granny’s been watching the adverts for days on end and now nobody believes your child was picked in the first place.
Should you face facts that someone else’s child was more attractive than yours, or do you plough on to the next audition? Certainly, there will be unscrupulous agents, ready to take your money for updated photos and to massage your ego. Parents are unwittingly relieved of thousands of pounds for unnecessary photos and the promise that auditions will line themselves up.
The reality is that very few are suited to the industry and unless you’re short of paint drying to supervise, it’s almost always a fruitless endeavour. Still, if you make the Next catalogue, you’ll always have a lovely reminder of the day you set the alarm for 5am, sprinted across a congested underground and waved your arms manically behind the camera to elicit a smile from your small child who’d rather be at home watching Peppa Pig.