lights, camera, action…

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But let them decide!

By Olivia Wilson

Does your child love the spotlight?
Have you got a little superstar on your hands?
Ready to kick start your child’s dreams?
Let Your Kid Shine!
Become A Star Today!

You’ve seen the tag lines that modelling agencies use to target parents. And if you’re anything like me you cringe at the thought of children modelling! I actually despise seeing children wearing tonnes of makeup, hair sprayed so much it doesn’t move, and donning really inappropriate outfits. Modelling was never on the cards for us, and boy was I vocal about it… until recently… when I signed both my son and daughter up to a Melbourne Talent Agency.

“Why oh why?”

People quite often ask me why I signed my kids up to a modelling agency. With a daughter who has suffered with terrible anxiety and PTSD I guess it does seem like a strange thing to do. Shove her out there, in front of the cameras and put her in a position where she faces rejection at every turn. (Wow, now you come to mention it) I guess, my first thoughts were, they’re gorgeous and everyone needs to see them… then I thought more rationally “the moneeeeyyy”, then I read lots of articles about the good, the bad, and the ugly side to child modelling, was totally put off, they moaned, I signed them up! They wanted to do it!

As a parent it’s easy to think your children are more beautiful than everyone else’s.” No one has eyes as stunning”. “Oh he is so handsome.” You know how it goes. We all adore our babies and Nana agrees that they’re better looking than everyone else…in the world! There are a lot of pushy parents out there, who have the next top model sitting in the high chair spewing broccoli puree at them but, for the record, that’s not me. At all! Yeah I think my kids are ace (when they’re being good), but I’m no Dance Mom!

My children are by no means the sort of children who chat confidently to anyone. They don’t demand the spotlight, they aren’t talented dancers, dedicated actors or even superstars in the making. They’re just two ordinary (totally beautiful, just kidding…)  kids, who wanted to have a go at something new.  This wasn’t about incredible good looks or extreme confidence; it was about the children having the opportunity and if it worked, great; if not, no biggie!

It sounds very naïve to say no big deal if it doesn’t work, and I was acutely aware that the rejection could be an issue, especially as they are only ten and seven. However, I was also aware that the acceptance and the experience alone could be a wonderful thing for both children.

I am a firm believer in ‘everything happens for a reason’, and sitting in front of six separate offers of representation from agencies made my mind up. We had to let them give it a shot. It’s incredibly easy to ‘helicopter parent’, and shield our children from anything that may upset them, but really, what is that teaching them? Plus, there was always the chance that they’d blossom!

Two months in, a few modelling jobs, and a few unsuccessful castings, the most important thing I have learnt since signing my children up to a “talent agency” is, they must WANT to do it. If they really want to be there it makes casting a lot less stressful, and jobs a lot easier to get through. A child’s personality absolutely affects whether they get booked or not; so a tired, bored, unhappy child will most likely be overlooked. There is absolutely no point trying to get a child of any age to sit through a six-hour film shoot, if they just don’t want to be there. Evaluate your child’s personality, ask yourself if they have the drive to succeed, and prepare them.

For our family it’s worked. It turns out the kids absolutely love the spotlight, they adore being in front of the camera and enjoy meeting new people. To be honest it’s mostly been a huge confidence boost for both of them. They wanted to give it a go, and they have grown in so many ways since starting. Yes, there is an element of disappointment when they miss out on a casting, but the way we deal with this is how we promised them we would. There is and never has been any pressure on them to get to the top. Just like anything in life, we get what we get and we don’t get upset.


Olivia Wilson is a Melbourne based freelance writer who has created a campaign to raise awareness of and educate people about the severity of Childhood Anxiety after experiencing a lack of compassion for her own anxious daughter. Hanging Out With Mermaids offers support to parents of anxious children, and resources for anyone living or working with an anxious child.

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Peninsula Kids – Winter 2019

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