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Published April 11th 2015
Rich & Famous, Gregarious or Just For Fun
Modelling agencies: Every parent knows that there is only one child in the world that is absolutely beautiful; that there is one child that is the sweetest, loveliest child in the world; and every parent knows that that child is theirs.
*Image from munchkins agency website
Some parents believe that their child would really enjoy and benefit from being part of child modelling. If you feel your child is one of them, then I have some advice to share with you.
Choosing Your Agency:
The first thing is to choose a modelling agency (specifically for children in most cases).
At the bottom of this article is a small list for Melbourne/Victoria, but before you get started on selecting an agency, there might be a few other things for you to consider.
When enquiring with agencies for your child, please make sure you ask them about all of the associated costs involved, including the cost of applying to the agency, and whether or not they have a joining fee.
Some agencies will not charge you a joining fee, but they may have expensive photographs and vice versa. You could also ask what clients they work with, and the style of work they do.
But getting back to the money, ask them what percentage they take. Most child modelling agencies will take around 20 percent but it can be more. It is important that you understand these fees before you begin.
Another good thing to ask them is what are their payment terms. For example, when will your payment be made, and will it be sent by direct deposit or cheque. Some agencies may only pay you once every six months.
Scams and con artists:
It is unfortunate, but they are agencies that are primarily there to make money from your joining fees. This can be heartbreaking for you and the child. See if you can talk to people who have had work through the particular agencies that you are enquiring about.
Sometimes it is difficult to understand a business that does not have your best interest at heart; one of the things to be very wary of is when agencies ask for money up front. Most reputable agencies will not start collecting fees until your child has already worked, at which point they will take a percentage of each job that they do. A yearly joining fee may be applicable.
If your agency is asking you hundreds or thousands of dollars for videos or fancy photographs of your child before they have even done any work, which they will claim they are sending out to potential clients, this is often an indication that they are not acting with integrity.
Once you have decided on a modelling agency, you will need to get some photographs done and sent into them. At this early stage, most agencies will only require photograph you have taken yourself rather than professional images.
In taking the photos yourself, make sure that they are clear and in focus, and that at least some of the photos show your child's face clearly.
*Image Bambini modelling agency
The agency may use the images you have sent in or may call you in for a photoshoot. If a photoshoot is required, make sure you ask about any costs associated with this, and how often it will need to be done.
As children grow quickly, and their facial features and body shapes change rapidly, some agencies may require reasonably regular photographic shoots.
Once you have had the photographs done, make sure that the photographs are visible and depicted on their website.
Some states may require permission slips from the school for your child to take days off school to do modelling jobs. It is important that you understand these requirements and keep your school in touch with the agency if this is required.
Mementos and keepsakes:
Once your child has completed the first job, it is lovely if you can get a copy of their work. If it is a brochure or a catalogue, you might like to collect a copy once it is printed. I have an image in mind here of proud parents coming home with 400 KMart catalogues in their trolley.
If it is on film, perhaps you might be able to get a copy of this from the client.
This will be a fun keepsake for you to look back over, and should your child choose to continue with their career in modelling, it may become part of their portfolio.
Keep it fun and real:
One of the most important things in choosing a child modelling agency is to make sure that your child enjoys this type of work, and that they are having fun. They will have up and down days, but if they do not enjoy this work, there is really no point in putting them forward.
It can be difficult, but it is important not to take rejection to heart. You will need to instil this in your child, for agencies and clients will not usually be there for them in this manner.
If you do wish to help your child follow a career in modelling, you must prepare them, and yourself, for the certainty that someone is going to reject them at some point. It may happen immediately with your photographs, or later, at various interviews or casting sessions. It is important that you have an upbeat, positive frame of mind and recognise that this is just part of the process.
Remember, if your child is going for a particular advertisement, especially on television, they will be looking for a specific type: they might be after a child who is extremely slim, or one who is extremely chubby. Either way, your child may not fit the bill, and it is important for you and them to understand that this is just something a company is looking for, rather than a judgement on themselves at this point. Explaining this to your child is vital to their emotional well-being.
How much money are we actually talking about here?
Prices will vary drastically, depending on the work and the agencies or clients the jobs are for. Most Australian child models will earn approximately $95 an hour for catalogue work. However, they can earn up to $10,000 dollars a day for television commercials with elite modelling agencies. Some billboards will pay up to $1000 for the use of the photographs, which may only take an hour.
Modelling is not for every child, but for those with a gregarious personality, it might just be a perfect fit.
Here are a few suggestions of children's modelling agencies in Melbourne and Victoria for you to peruse.
These options are enabled here for advice only, please thoroughly investigate the various agencies yourself, and determine whether they would be suitable for you. This list is simply a guide for you to investigate further yourself.
Also be aware that many of these agencies may require exclusivity, so please choose wisely, as you will not be able to join multiple agencies.
Bambini talent group has offices in Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast. They take children, from babies to 17 years of age.
Munchkins is more of a talent agency for children, and a modelling agency, although they also accept Mums, Dads and Grandparents in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.
Casting Kids - 3 to 16 years, and their families, for modelling and television work.
Bratz is a modelling and talent agency for children in Melbourne. They do fashion catalogue work, campaigns, television commercials, and film.
Chadwicks is one of Australia's leading modelling agencies. They are located in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth. Run originally by Peter Chadwick, who has a reputation as one of the most respected and well-liked people in the modelling community. This agency has been around for approximately 30 years. It was the starting place for Elle Macpherson, Rachel Hunter, and Megan Gale. Whilst not specifically a children's modelling agency, it is certainly worth a mention in this list.