A child is not exactly renowned for giving a good (purely financial) return on the parents’ investment. That is, unless the child starts earning his or her keep with a lucrative modeling contract.
Per the WSJ, one modeling agency’s child division says the number of applicants has gone up 50% in recent years, and the economic crisis is a big reason why. Parents, eager for their children to be stars and reap in some financial rewards at a time when extra family income is especially welcome, are apparently flocking to kids’ modeling agencies—and they’re paying $200, $400, even $1,000 for photo shoots that will hopefully help their offspring hit it big-time.
Is this a wise investment? No. Do modeling agencies attract a ton of delusional parents? Yes. Beyond the risk of children facing rejection, many families discover that only a very select few kids actually make money modeling, and that pricey photo shoots are a waste of money. Some tips from the WSJ:
Consumer advocates caution that parents who are new to the business may be vulnerable to schemes that seem to guarantee fame and fortune but fail to deliver. Last month, the New York State Consumer Protection Board urged parents to be careful when signing contracts with talent agencies that promise stardom.
“Everyone wants to think that their darling is the most talented,” says Mindy Bockstein, the agency’s chairperson and executive director. “They get inflated promises or ideas of grandeur. Sometimes that gets the best of them.”
For instance, some outfits pressure parents to leave a deposit or to purchase head shots or acting lessons from the agency or an affiliate. The Consumer Protection Board recommends that parents ask for a list of its successful client representations and request written references about the company from clients. They should be wary of agencies that ask for money up front.