Monday, August 07, 2006

Baby Modeling....

Baby Modeling...there could be an entire blog devoted to this topic but it really isn't that complicated. It is just like any of the other categories of modeling in a "little" city; if you have a company that produces baby products that is based in your area (again with the headquarters thing), there is a good chance that there is a baby modeling market there. It could be clothes, diapers, food, toys or whatever. If not, then you are in a market like most American cities and the requests for babies coincides with the appearance of Haley's Comet.

Every week we get a couple of calls that sound like this (it is funny because nearly EVERY call starts with the same first few lines as if all the mommies are reading from a script) :"I am calling because I want to get my baby into modeling. He/She is beautiful- Not just because he/she is mine, but every where we go people stop and tell us how beautiful he/she is and he/she should model."

I have no doubt that every mom or dad that calls us has a beautiful baby. (most babies are beautiful one way or another) The problem is that if there is no company that needs to hire babies in your market to sell their product (be they pretty, ugly or seed of the Frankenstein), then there is no baby market. I have actually spent a lot of time explaining all of this to parents on the phone to have them say: "Thank you, we will call another agency."As I have said in a previous post: I don't make the news- I just report it.....OYE...It's a good thing I am not a drinker.

There is also the issue of: "Does the baby really need to be cute?" Answer: NO! If given the choice between an average looking baby who has a sweet disposition that will let a perfect stranger hold them verses one that looks like the genetic byproduct of Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt but who won't go to strangers or smile for the camera- the average looking baby will win every time. The subject of cuteness is moot if the baby can't "perform".

So who's gonna call me asking for a baby? The occasional extraordinarily patient photographer that wants to roll the dice and see if a 6 month old baby that they have never met before can be still, cooperative, and happy for several hours under hot lights while simultaneously getting poked, shuffled and prodded, while several strangers stare at him. Then there is the whole issue of dealing with the baby's parents, most of whom who have never experienced any of this before. (Yikkies- that is something for another post altogether!) Hmmmm... And we wonder why there isn't more baby work? LOL

AND there is a very small window of time that humans are even babies. A baby photo is obsolete quicker than a new entry in Nicole Ritchie's buddy list. If someone sends me a baby photo and I don't get a baby request until 6 months after receiving it then I can get pretty much get rid of that photo.

In a small city, babies are usually only cast to accompany a person who actually IS part of the target demographic for the advertiser (a 25- 45 year old for example). That being the case why not hire a 5 year old and make life easy? Why not indeed. :-) In small city markets like this, a 4-9 year old will get a lot more work than babies will(they will often get more work than preteens or teens for that matter which is fodder for another post). A child that is 4-9 is the right size to be photographed smiling hand in hand with a person that is 25-45 to simulate a happy little family. Happy Families sell stuff!

So the bottom line is this: You either live in an area where baby models are in demand or you don't. If you don't and you really, really, really feel a masochistic urge to immortalize your child on a jar of baby food then you'd better strap yourself in! It's a whole different thing trying to get your baby's mug in pantries or toyboxes around the world. You have just entered an alternate dimension- the Big City Baby Modeling Agency. That is so the subject of another post....

Copyright Ann Marie Stonecypher, All rights reserved


Anonymous said...

I guess everybody thinks their baby is beautiful enough to go into baby modelling. The trouble is, the ad man's views on what a 'marketable' baby is, is very often different to yours.

Ann Marie said...

LOL! A mother that didn't think their own baby was beautiful would be an anomaly to say the least and kinda scary to say the most. That "ad man" is also looking for a baby that is able to smile on cue, pretend that the pretty lady holding him or her that they have never seen before is their mommy and not cry, pretend that they like things that they don't like and stare at bright lights and strangers for hours while mommy is far away in a corner not even allowed to do finger waves. THEN that baby actually has to look like that mommy so there are casting issues that you may not even be aware of. There are so many more things that go into some of this it would make your head ache. But then sometimes they take one look at a baby and fall in love- just as you did- and if they don't, who cares- most of us didn't grow up on a gerber jar and we turned out okay. :-)