Everyone thinks their baby should be a baby model. EVERYONE, including people in their circles. People were constantly telling me that Ella is so adorable and that I should put her in baby modeling. It’s a common song and dance, but the outcome isn’t that straightforward because it’s not as simple as having a cute child.
Baby casting takes time (expect to take time off work at a moment’s notice), work, commitment, patience and a baby that is up for task and by now you know that babies are temperamental little things. My daughter went to a casting at 6-months-old and bombed, which wasn’t the outcome we expected.
Check her out right after the casting completely over it:
I never planned to actively take Ella to castings, but the opportunity just popped up (for a reputable children’s clothing brand). I work in entertainment media, so admittedly, it’s easier for me to find these types of opportunities. We thought Ella would be a great baby model because she’s “so cute and chill.” I replied to the email and followed the instructions that were given (answer a series of questions about the child’s age, etc and submit photos), and the agent responded saying that she wanted Ella to come in for a go-see the following Monday. Be aware that you have to be available at a moment’s notice, which means you’d have to take time off of work. This particular go-see happened to take place on President’s Day, a holiday, and if Ella had booked the job she would have had to be present for a fitting shortly after the go-see and then the shoot a day after that.
What’s a go-see?
You’ve probably heard this term on America’s Next Top Model. If not, a go-see is literally what it sounds like. The casting agents view their subjects. Go-sees can take all day. However, they do try to make them go faster for babies, but that doesn’t mean it will always work out that way. Make sure your baby is well rested, well fed, and well entertained because you never know how long you might be waiting as go-sees can be unpredictable. It’s also important that you refrain from dressing your child in a distracting manner. Keep them as simple as possible so, no bows and frills, and no costumes unless otherwise asked.
In Ella’s case, her father happened to take her because I wasn’t able to really walk that day (that’s a whole other story). He said that there were a lot of parents with their babies, but for the most part things ran swiftly and smoothly (he was out in 30 minutes).
The casting agent held Ella and talked to her while someone else took her measurements. Ella was not having it. Remember that bit about being well-rested? Ella was not. She was in the middle of a sleep regression and literally slept for an hour, maybe two. She didn’t sleep at all on the journey to the casting and was generally very cranky when other people attempted to handle her. Actually, she chose the casting to be in a mood where she only wanted daddy. This was not the chill baby we had come to know. Since The casting director tried to work with Ella. She instead allowed my husband to hold her while she talked to her to get a sense of her personality and the person taking measurements continued as someone else was taking photos.
Aside from good looks, they also look for personable babies–babies who would be calm in a situation where they are being handled by a lot of people and where they could be okay without clinging to their caregiver. Again, we were used to Ella being chill. As far as we knew, she was all of the above, but that just wasn’t her day.
Just so we’re clear, this was an opportunity sent directly from a casting agent, not one of those mass auditions that’s out to get your money. Actual agents won’t charge you anything until you book a job, fyi. Had Ella been booked, she would have been paid $125 per hour and the agents would get a 20% finders fee. Yup, the money is good (put away in a college fund good) if your child gets booked.
I’m not going to lie, I was disappointed. I didn’t expect to be disappointed because I went into it casually, but I was. There will be more castings and perhaps Ella will try again at some point, but it was a good lesson to learn.
Having a cute kid but that just isn’t enough. Now you know.