Despite – and perhaps because of – being a short, thickly built and awkward ‘tween’ (not a term we used then), I loved loved loved fashion magazines. I would study them cover to cover, especially during the summer, when I was unencumbered by school work. As an only child with a stay-at-home mom, I had time on my hands during the summers and my mother and I both loved to read. For the first few days of each monthly magazine cycle, my reading just happened to be fashion magazines. Elle, Glamour, and Mademoiselle were my favorites; probably because of the emphasis on health and beauty aids and “what to buy” columns. (Vogue and Cosmo would come later – couture and sex tips weren’t really on my radar yet. Fun fact: the first check I ever wrote from my first checking account was for a Cosmo subscription.)
So, like many American girls, I was drawn into the unattainably gorgeous world of beauty and fashion. I knew I could never be a model, but I daydreamed about it nonetheless. I knew I could never be on TV or film, but I daydreamed. (I even created roles for myself on sitcoms; Blaire Warner’s younger sister, duh!) As I got older, I got more distracted by school, driving, work, driving, and friends (did I mention driving?) and my obsession with magazines waned. My daydreams turned more into college admissions obsession and, during the ensuing years, I was preoccupied with work, marriage and children. I was certainly not the type of person to resurrect those daydreams and replace myself with my children. Here I am, though, a model mom. Though I know my tiny daughter (and by tiny, I mean 10th percentile for height for her age) will never be a teen or adult model, there had to be something that intrigued me about those glossy pages for me to pursue any type of modeling for my child. Though I don’t always like to admit it, I’m sure all those hours with all those magazines played a role in my decision to take the plunge and submit photos. After all, that flawless airbrushed skin you see on magazine covers? Little kids actually have that skin.
My long-winded back story is relevant here: where did I begin? Well, with all of the modeling agencies I had heard of from my days of studying the great supermodels of the 1980s. Ford, Elite, and Wilhelmina were agency names that rolled off my tongue, so I looked up their addresses online and read about submitting photos. Ford and Wilhelmina had children’s divisions; Elite did not. I ordered some prints of photos from Walmart (3 or 4, I forget, but I've included one of them below) different looks, wrote my daughter’s name and my contact info on the back of each with a Sharpie, and put them in the mail. Like the toaster oven commercial says, “Set it and forget it!” Right? Welllllll…not really.
I mentioned in my prior post about child modeling that I get focused on something and go all in. While the mail was snailing along, I turned to the internet. I think back to those hand-addressed manila envelopes and realized I knew nothing. NOTHING. Because I met…dramatic pause…backstage.com.
Next time: what I learned from Backstage about submissions and agencies.