what’s a kid got to do for a little representation?

I would just like to say upfront: I am not a stage mom. I mean, yes, I wanted to be a model when I was a kid (and a teenager, and an adult…) and yes, I have the totally unbiased opinion that my kid is the most gorgeous thing under the sun…but it is utterly without agenda that I brought him to an agency today to see if he has a shot at being a child model. He’s a big old ham, and he loves having his picture taken, and he loves people, and he loves dressing up. And seriously, my kid? Extremely attractive. I figured I’d give the baby modeling thing a try, and if he doesn’t like it we’d just drop the whole thing. If he does, then yay, right?

Except that once the agency chick actually got me into her office, I began to get the feeling it wasn’t exactly what I was going for. First, she seemed strangely effusive for someone who screens applicants. Somewhat more like a salesperson than a talent agent. What would she be selling, you ask? Representation, of course!

“The fee isn’t for representation,” she said. “It’s for the classes and complimentary test photos.” Non-negotiable classes and test photos, but who am I to judge? Other than the sucker who’d be handing over the money, of course. $295, due in two installments (a week apart – I don’t know, either). The woman’s eyes glistened ever so slightly when she talked about all the wonderful things my fee would be getting me. Classes! To learn how to take head shots! And then head shots! But not a comp card: that I would have to create myself. Hence the classes. She handed me a binder full of ads featuring children represented by the agency, and then she told me again that my child looked very alert.

“I bet he gets fussy on the bus, though, right?” The woman couldn’t get her head around the fact that we don’t have a car. When I first told her that, she said it would be a problem: “How will you get to shoots? On the bus?” as though I had suggested that we would be traveling via skateboard. She kept coming back to the fact that we take mass transit everywhere, repeating several times “You must really be smart to figure out all the buses! You must really know what you’re doing!” Perhaps she feared that a woman who can navigate the bus system would be savvy enough to realize that any agency that charges a fee for representation – excuse me, classes – was not what we in the know like to call reputable.

On the way home Ellison was doing his usual flirting routine with everyone on the bus, and I thought to myself again the kid’s got something. I think I might just call a couple more agencies. You know, just for fun. We might not want to pay for representation, but we still think it would be neat.

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