Most parents have looked at pictures of their children at one time or another and thought he or she could be a model. And none of those parents would be wrong. Because child modelling is not at all like the adult business, where legs, arms, faces and bodies have to fit a ridiculous ideal. The most successful child models are those who simply like acting and being photographed and have enough patience to wait for adults to work out what they want from the photographs.
And there, of course, lies the problem for parents who think they have potential models. The only way to find out if your child is going to take to modelling is to try it. And the best way to try it is via an agency: get your kid a job and see what happens. The big modelling agencies all handle children and do not demand exclusive rights over your child. They do not charge listing fees but do take a commission - usually 20 per cent of the fee for any job they book. Any agency that asks you to pay to list your child should be avoided. Try Elite (tel: 2850-5550), Catwalk (2598-0663), Calcarrie's (2543-3380), Models International (2529-6183) or Starz People (2536-0225).
All will ask for 10 to 20 photographs of your child, showing his or her face clearly, and will ask for details like names, date of birth, hair and eye colour, contact address and phone number.
Once the agencies have the pictures, you may never hear from them again, but usually you will be asked to take him or her to castings. These are not jobs and are usually organised by asking several agencies to send every child with particular characteristics to be measured and photographed by the production company commissioned to do an ad. You may be asked back for several 'second looks' and still end up with nothing because a marketing manager thinks your child is too blonde, or too Chinese, or whatever. All this means you and your child must really be interested and enjoy this as a sort of hobby. The vary between jobs, but $500-$600 an hour is common. Most jobs last two to four hours.