Written by: Jess Quarello
The question I get asked the MOST about Adeline is how I got her into modeling. I thought I would put the answer to this question in a blog post so that everyone can have access to the information in case they want to put their kiddos into modeling as well!
I grew up modeling from a young age. It was a wonderful experience as a kiddo and it gave me a lot of confidence in front of the camera. That said, when I moved to NYC the experience shifted a bit. The modeling world was so competitive and I felt so much pressure to stay thin.
Eventually, after 8 or so years of modeling in NYC, I decided to leave the industry and shift gears. I got married and became a mom and when I had Charlee, I never considered putting her into modeling. Reason one is the fact that she hates the camera and second, I worry about the pressure of it and the impact that being praised for our looks can have on young girls.
Fast forward three years and Adeline was born. I hadn't given modeling a thought for a long time but people kept saying how beautiful she was. I thought about the fact that her beauty is not what most people consider a "typical standard of beauty" and felt that maybe if I could get her face in a typical advertisement, then perhaps others would start to see her beauty first and her Down syndrome second.
I reached out to Jennifer Varini of the Sanchez Six and she graciously shared so much information with me. She told me how she got her daughter Sophia into modeling and how incredible the experience had been for her. I was inspired and decided to go for it.
I did my research and found that NY Models had an amazing reputation and worked with big brands. I submitted a few cute pictures from the submission button on their website and didn't hear anything for two weeks. Then out of nowhere, we were asked to do a zoom interview. During the interview, Adeline's agent walked us through the expectations and explained next steps. I had to do a number of things to get her signed (I will go into this later) and that was that. Adeline booked her first shoot four months later with Buy Buy Baby. It was incredible! Since then, Addie has worked with Target, Safety First, Skip Hop and others. She has been able to save money for her trust and absolutely LOVES it. She loves the attention and smiles for the camera. It's been a great experience for her and I am so proud of all that she has accomplished. It means so much to me that brands are including her alongside other neuro-typical individuals.
If you are interested in modeling for your little one, here are some tips, tricks and information listed below. Please note that this info may vary state by state!
- Before you sign with an agency, do your research. An agent should never ask you for money upfront.
-Typical agencies take 20% of your child's paycheck from each job. Do not sign with an agency that asks for more than that as they are taking advantage
-In order to have your child model, they must obtain a working permit and you have to set up a trust for them. This trust is called a COOGAN or a UTMA account. A lot of banks will set these up for you for free so don't pay for this trust.
-Your permit will need to be reset every year. Each state has different rules so ask your agency for advice and information. They should help you!
-Sometimes we get castings and bookings a day before. You have to make sure you are available to take your child to and from at a moment's notice.
-If you are unable to work on any given day, you must share with your agent. This is called "booking out." We book out for busy weekends, important appointments, and vacations.
-Before you officially book a shoot, your agent will tell you that you are "on hold." This means you have to hold the date for that specific shoot. Sometimes you book it, and sometimes you don't. Brands put models on hold in case someone gets sick or the client changes their mind on who they want to cast.
-You need to consider how far you are from your agency. Our agency requires you to live at least 2 hours from NYC. You want to make sure you live close to your agency so it is convenient for you to get to last-minute bookings and castings.
-When you submit photos for an agency, they want natural lighting and NO professional photos. They want to see how your child is in their natural environment with muted colors and no background if possible.
I hope you all found this helpful! I want to see ALL our beautiful children represented in mainstream media and advertisements. Representation and inclusion matter!