22 May

Benefits of Child Modelling

Whenever the terms ‘child model’ or ‘child star’ are mentioned, the first things that spring into people’s minds are thoughts of spoiled little divas, demanding little brats and overbearing, pushy stage mothers trying to reflect in their children’s glory. While these negative stereotypes  and other factors, such as eating disorders, over-emphasis on outward appearances, potentially missed education and issues with self-esteem can be very real problems, being a child model also has a wide range of benefits.

Time and time again, children who get involved in child modelling cite it as one of the best decisions they have ever made. Parents of these children are similarly full of praise. The industry, however, is looked upon unfavourably and is unfairly criticised. People with little or no experience of child modelling are constantly criticising something which they know very little about. Because of this child modelling has seen the result of people assuming the worst and making false assumptions. As a mother of a child model I will try to shed light on some of the benefits that child modelling can bring to your child and your family trying to break away from the negative stigma.

  1. Financial gain                                                                                                                                                                     The first big benefit is financial. You may think the idea of your child being in possession of hundreds of Rands is quite terrifying! However, many parents open savings accounts for their young children and pay in the money for them to spend when they are older. This could be put towards university education, a car or event travel.  The financial benefits from child modelling are quite large and are one of the reasons why it is so popular. Remember that you are going to have to pay your child’s modelling agency a joining fee or commission for each job that they help your son or daughter to secure.
  2. Building Self-Confidence                                                                                                                                          Modelling can be especially beneficial for shy children, being a model can help children to come out of their shell. They are typically expected to easily and comfortably interact with all sorts of different people on set, including photographers, other competitors and casting directors and not to mention the fun kids have on set. By treating each casting call they attend as a chance to walk tall, speak clearly and smile cheerfully in the presence of others, they build the confidence they need to succeed not only as a model but also in life. Parents can assist by praising them for their efforts. Helping your child understand the importance of being comfortable in their own skin is something that also helps build their confidence as an individual person. Modelling for kids is normally fun and interactive for the child, and when a child does something they love they develop their own self-confidence and self-worth.
  3. Dealing with Competition                                                                                                                                      Children often have to compete against other aspiring models. While this can occasionally be stressful to say the least, the overall benefits of these experiences cannot be denied. Not only will a child learn from failures, allowing it to improve problem solving skills, find ways to improve and the importance of always putting in a good effort, it will also teach them to lose competitions gracefully, as they begin to understand the basic elements of good sportsmanship and fair play. The reward is also great when they win a competition or get booked on a modelling job.
  4. Listening and following Directions                                                                                                                         It is critical for any child to learn how to listen and directions too follow them. Models in particular need to follow instructions given by photographers, for example, and praising a child for the willingness to listen and follow the given directions will encourage them to always be attentive, making it easier for her or him to co-operate with others. Naturally, this ability to follow instructions precisely will come in handy in whatever career the child may ultimately choose to follow.
  5. Coping with Rejection                                                                                                                                               One of the hardest lessons a child has to learn is to accept rejection. This is, however, a crucial part of growing up, as it helps a child to understand that he/she cannot always have what they desires. Along with this the child will not book every job from every casting they go to, so dealing with rejection is also a huge factor that can build your child’s personality. Rejection also emphasizes the importance of being a good sport, and a child should always be encouraged to congratulate those who have landed the job/won a pageant. They should also be made aware of the fact that their parents are proud of them no matter what. The bottom line is, if a child really does want to be a model, they should be given the opportunity to enjoy this. Making the whole experience fun for the child is vital, if these benefits are to become a reality.
  6. Valuable time spend with your child                                                                                                                   Child modelling gives you some valuable time to spend with your child. Child modelling agencies will expect that as the child’s parent you will be willing to take them to and from photoshoots and casting calls. You will spend valuable time traveling to casting and waiting to be seen at auditions with your son or daughter. In the modern day, parents are spending less and less time with their children, but modelling provides a platform for you to bond with your child.

As a mother myself, I was a bit reluctant to allow my daughter to start modelling but it was the best decision I have made. She started at the age of 4 years and has won numerous titles, such as Miss Mini SA, Miss Mini Million Dollar, Miss SA Top Model, and many others. She was also the junior overall Best Spokes Model at Miss Toddler and Tween. While she was excelling in pageants this also followed through to her school work and in the classroom from the confidence she picked up from her modelling.  She received the Best Public speaking award in her grade and a letter from her teacher saying that my daughter finds maths too easy and that they going to make it more challenging for her.  From grade 1 – 3 she has been in the top 5 in her class. She is now in grade 4 and was already top 10 in her grade for the 1st term.  She is living proof that you can be a model and excel tremendously in school as well.

Joining child modelling agencies is simple and pain free and it could be one of the best things you and your child ever decide to do. The benefits of modelling are numerous and you should be wary when listening to the negative press that models and child modelling agencies get on a daily basis.

I suggest The Model Academy, who specialise in training and preparing childern for the modelling industry, check them out, visit, www.modelacademy.co.za