Would You Let Your Daughter Model?

Frankly, after the whole outrage over Thylane Blondeau, (and Eva Ionesco long before her) I can’t imagine letting any child of mine model until she’s say… 40. At which point, having her naked chest covered in beads will be a proud statement about female liberation, the fact that there are still beads on the planet 50 years from now, and, last but not least, a statement of all-too human rebellion against the inevitable robot overlords.

However, until then, if I have a daughter, I think I’d prefer to keep her out of an industry that seems like it’s increasingly willing to exploit very young girls. Well, okay. At least until she’s 18. I suppose at that point you’re an adult and can make your own decisions. Certainly I’d probably avoid flinging her into the industry at a really young age.

However, many people totally don’t feel that way! I know this because, long before I was in any way involved with TheGloss, about 4 years ago, there was a post entitled “Be The Next Baby/Kids Gap Star”. About once a week someone leaves a comment on that post looking to submit their children, and asking if the contest is still on (no, it is not, and leaving a comment on a webpage that merely links to the contest will not skyrocket your children to super-stardom, because I am not a modeling agent). For example:

I have a beautiful 3 year old. She loves clothes and fashion. She is has a wonderful personality. She recently had her first photo shoot done and she loved the camera. The camera also loved her. I am looking for her to be a model. Please contact me. Thanks

I have a beautiful 4 year old daughter, McKenna. She is a very bubbly little girl and really photogenic. McKenna has had professional photographs done for every holiday, bithday or just for fun and I can honestly say not one of them has ever turned out bad! I would love to share some of her photographs with you and I hope you love them as much as I do! I hope to hear from you soon and I would love to send you some of her most recent photos!! Thanks!

My daughter shay she so lovely , she’s 4 1/2 years old taking pictures that’s her thing very talent every time we go sears for photo shoot the photographer start going crazy over her. thank you hope to hear from you.

WHY DO THESE PEOPLE WANT THEIR CHILDREN TO BE MODELS?

Sorry.

I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with them – they all sound really pleasant and good natured! And I’m sure all their children are beautiful and the Sears photographer’s enthusiasm is completely heartfelt and genuine. I guess I just don’t see why thrusting a four year old – who seems really too young to beg for the opportunity to shine – into a limelight is something people are so eager to do.

Perhaps it would make more sense if they were models, photographers, agents or make-up artists themselves, and they wanted their children to be in a similar milieu. That makes sense to me! However I’m pretty sure that the people offering to send me – a complete, possibly perverted stranger their 4 year old daughter’s pictures – aren’t those people. Also, for heavens sake, stop that. Just stop it.

Is it about the money? Models… don’t generally make that much money.  The top ones do, but they are few and far between. You can read our friend Jenna Sauers’ post about living in model dorms with no electricity. If the idea behind turning your child into a model is “it will pay for their college education” there are probably more effective ways to go about securing those funds. Like sending them off to work in a factory and telling them it will be like hanging out with Willy Wonka. They’ll never know the difference!

Is it about glory? It is a Momma Rose thing? Do they imagine people running up to them saying “Oh my god, you’re ——’s mother!” No one will do that, because no one ever does that. All that lifestyle will entail for you is, most likely, sitting awkwardly at photo-shoots where no one wants you around (if you’re a good parent) or just dropping your underage daughter off at photo-shoots (if you’re a somewhat irresponsible parent). None of that sounds like fun. That all sounds awful.

Look, I understand why children might want to model. I understand why their parents might consent to children who desperately want to do something. But there seems like a difference between giving in to a 14 year old pleas, and trying to set someone down a life path at 4. Even if the guy at Sears thinks it’s a great idea.

But I could be overlooking obvious facts like… well, perhaps you’ll fill in the blanks for me. Why do these people want their children to be models? What is the upside here?

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    • Cait

      money, honey! People think that the next job for their child is the one with the big bucks, or that their child is just around the corner from a big break. Granted, it’s true for maybe one child out of every 100,000 but everyone thinks that their kid will be ‘the one’