If you think your baby could be a working model, baby modeling agencies can help you jumpstart your little one's career. Managing your baby's modeling career takes time and the right resources, so Carolyn Nikkanen, President of Carolyn's Kids Model & Talent Agency, has some baby modeling tips and advice that can help you get started.
Top Baby Modeling Agencies
Carolyn says to join a baby modeling agency, babies must live within about two hours of major markets like New York City, Los Angeles, and Toronto. Take a look at the top ten modeling agencies and see if they have kids divisions and accept babies. Most top baby modeling agencies follow the same protocol for finding new talent suggests Carolyn:
- You submit photos of your baby along with information like age, description of look and personality, and measurements.
- The agency contacts you if they are interested in your baby and calls you in for a meeting.
- If the meeting goes great, they'll offer a contract for representation.
Wilhelmina Models Kids & Teens
One of the top international modeling agencies is Wilhelmina Models, which has offices in New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, and London. Wilhelmina Kids & Teens represents kids of all ages from newborn to teen as models and/or actors. You can submit photos of your baby and their basic information via an online form on the agency's website or via regular mail. They'll reach out to you if they would like more information.
New York Model Management Kids Division
Top modeling agency New York Model Management has a kids division that represents babies starting at six months of age. You must live within two hours of New York City to get signed with them. Get started by emailing three to four snapshots and your babies information to the agency. They'll get in touch with you within two weeks if they're interesting in meeting you and your baby.
FunnyFace Today Inc.
With over forty years in the industry, FunnyFace Today Inc. represents babies as young as newborns in their youth division. Their office is in New York City, so they suggest you only apply for representation if you are able to make several trips per month to the city. You'll need to upload two color photos and fill out the online form to submit your baby for consideration. The agency will email or call you within two weeks if they are interested.
Scallywags UK Baby Modeling Agency
According to Carolyn, Scallywags is a "very well known" baby modeling agency in the UK. The agency is based in London and has been representing babies, kids, and teens as models since 1984. To gain representation by Scallywags, you'll have to apply online by including pictures of your baby and pertinent information like their age and measurements. From there you'll be contacted within about a week if the agency thinks your baby has potential as a client.
Finding Baby Modeling Agencies Near You
"Most of our babies come in by referral," says Carolyn. That's why one of the best ways to find baby modeling agencies near you is to ask other parents in the area who have baby models for recommendations. You can also search the internet for agencies in your city or nearby cities that represent babies. Carolyn suggests looking at the following information to determine if a baby modeling agency is reputable and trustworthy:
- How long the agency has been in business - The longer, the better, because it shows they are doing something right.
- Who their clients are - Look for recognizable names such as Gerber, Disney, or Huggies.
- How professional their website is - Does it include all the information you need?
- Where their office is located and how professional it looks - If you can't drive by or stop in without an appointment, do a Google Earth search to see the general location and outside.
- The overall tone of the agency - Does it seem friendly and fun or cold and closed-off?
How to Avoid Baby Modeling Scams
As with anything else you do, trust your instincts. While modeling can be a lucrative way to put money in a savings account for your baby, always be aware of the fine print. Check for reviews from families or trusted organizations like the Better Business Bureau and have an attorney check over any contracts before signing with an agency.
- Reputable and successful modeling agencies don't have to look for models. If you have an agency trying to recruit your baby, chances are they aren't legitimate.
- Watch upfront fee requests. The modeling agency you use should get their money from commissions your baby has earned from real modeling jobs.
- Don't fall for promises disguised by modeling classes or photograph sessions. Classes and photo shoots are how these companies make their money.
- A legitimate modeling agency should be available to multiple advertisers. This means that advertisers frequently choose the agency from a list, and your baby will be made available to a multitude of advertisers and jobs.
- Avoid agencies that want you to use a specific photographer.
- Watch out for agencies that promise exorbitant amounts of money. While your baby may eventually break into big time modeling, she will more than likely start out with smaller paychecks.
- Be aware that there could be excessive travel fees, so find out what expenses will be covered before you sign.
How to Get Started With Baby Modeling
You've been told over and over that your baby should be a model. You think you might be interested, but where do you begin? While babies are typically kids ages newborn through twelve months, agencies like Carolyn's Kids usually represent babies up to three months old unless their clients are looking for older babies.
Step One: Take Some Great Photos
According to Carolyn, babies don't need professional headshots to get into the modeling industry. "The photo is key," shares Carolyn and it "must be a good snapshot" you take that shows your baby's personality and excludes " hats, sunglasses, bows or naked shots, or food on the face." Make sure your baby is smiling and the photo is focused on his or her face. Since babies grow and change at a rapid rate, you might be required to submit updated photos every few months.
Step Two: Submit to Modeling Agencies
For most modeling jobs with larger companies like Baby Gap, Carter's, or Pampers, they only book models through agencies. This is why you'll probably want to start by finding an agent.
- Gather your baby's personal information like name, age, size, special features, and personality traits.
- Identify your top agency choices and submit this information based on the submission process outlined on their website.
- If you're lucky, you'll get your baby signed.
Step Three: Attend Castings
Baby model castings "are generally through the week during business hours," says Carolyn.
- Parents will need to have a flexible schedule and the ability to travel to nearby locations for castings.
- Remember that auditions and castings don't pay, so you'll be responsible for your own travel costs to attend these.
- Keep in mind "Castings can have many babies submitted and many auditions and only one will get chosen."
Step Four: Book Jobs and Work
If your baby stands out from the crowd and fits exactly what the client is looking for, she'll become a baby model. Jobs for baby models can pay an average of $55 to $75 dollars according to Carolyn. Your baby's agent is typically responsible for negotiating pay for jobs, so they'll make sure your child is getting a fair wage for the work. Once your baby has landed her first job, she'll have a portfolio to show other clients what she's capable of.
Baby Modeling Contests
You might think baby modeling contests are the way to get your little one discovered, but they aren't an important part of the typical baby modeling career. Baby modeling agencies don't discover babies, they use standard practices of model submissions to find models to work with. Carolyn says "It can be a fun experience, and there are contests sometimes for baby clothing lines or magazines," but you have to watch out for fees since most don't have cash prizes and some contests put your baby in print without paying a fair wage.
Put Your Baby's Best Face Forward
The baby modeling industry is very competitive and even agents can't guarantee castings and bookings for your baby. If you want your baby to become a model, the best things you can do are to understand the industry, manage your own expectations, and present your baby in his best light whenever possible. Schedule meetings during times when your baby is typically happiest to give him the best chance of becoming a working baby model.