Virginia’s Next Top Model

My goal for the kids this past month has been to increase their modeling exposure – – to provide them with opportunities beyond boutique modeling. While there are lots of “how to navigate the child modeling industry” and “avoid the scam” articles out there, not many really share the secret to breaking into this competitive world.

I initially started to get them appearances in magazines with paid photo “contest entry” fees. Five dollars here, ten dollars there – it adds up quick to too many investments with few payoffs. I mean, really, how many industry scouts peruse these independent magazines that tout that they are model source books? My guess is very few people are discovered in the smaller publications that include snapshots (and the previously published photograph that appears in every contest for an entire year after it is taken) in their issues. Publications insisting on professional quality are far more likely to draw attention, right?

But what about that kid discovered wandering in the mall, playing in the park, helping to walk the dog? Can we get just one serendipitous encounter – fate working overtime to make opportunities out of nothing? I cling to a thread of hope (though, I suspect, tramping through the mall or up and down the street is more likely to result in blisters and colds than discovery).

It leaves me searching for options. Book with an agency? Perhaps. There are *free* open casting calls in nearby cities (if you consider 1-2 hours travel nearby). An agency would surely see the star appeal of my kids, right? But the hubs of child modeling appear to be New York City, Florida, Texas, Southern California (and San Fran), and – would you believe it – Wisconsin. Will an agent agree to work with us and for us if every casting call requires a road trip and extensive time away just for the opportunity to be considered?

fallyall 7What I’ve found recently is that those networking skills that I severely struggle with building are essential. I’ve got to talk to people. I’ve got to stay active in social media – – to circulate photos and how-do-ya-do’s. I’ve got to seek out free contests and low cost opportunities to submit for publication with reputable, proven venues. It takes work.

We found POSE Modeling Magazine through a face book feed. One glance at their page revealed a glossy of a raised caliber from the pubs we’d previously worked with. Run by a professional studio photographer and film producer, PMM touts it’s changing with an evolving industry, seeking to raise its own bar to meet the demands of the market. It guarantees nothing – – win a contest with a snapshot, and you’d best have professional photos to submit for publication. Otherwise, the win is for nothing.

Would you believe Chi’s photo won? Yep. Took claim to the “I Model for Virginia” title.

To say we are excited is an understatement. She’s beautiful, I’ve always known this, but now she’s proving herself to be a model. With each appearance, each selection, my “Mommy says I’m beautiful” is affirmed by outsiders.

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