Guest blogger Jessica Katz: Babies are cute. Really cute. You can't help but want to take a million pictures of your little baby. Eventually, you start thinking, "My baby is cuter than that kid on the Pampers box." You start thinking about how easy it would be to launch your baby's international modeling career, and all the money you could put away for his or her college education ....
It seems really harmless, doesn't it? A few pictures in cute outfits, a few auditions, and most likely they won't even remember they ever modeled until you show them clippings from a catalog. But it might not be that way at all. In fact, it might even hurt your kid in the long run.
"Gossip Girl" star Taylor Momsen blames her parents for robbing her of a healthy childhood, insisting that they are the reason she's so dark and miserable nowadays. The actress and Pretty Reckless singer was quoted as saying, "Everyone's like, 'Wow, why is she upset? Why is she miserable?' My parents signed me up with Ford [Models] at the age of two. No two-year-old wants to be working, but I had no choice. My whole life, I was in and out of school. I didn't have any real friends. I was working constantly and I didn't have a real life."
Then again, she did end up on "Gossip Girl," which may have never happened had she not had a push from her parents. And where would she be today without that? I have to admit that I have heard, several times, that my daughter should model. She has the biggest blue eyes and loves the camera. And with the prices of college always in the back of my mind, it has been tempting. So I asked a friend who got her son into modeling what she thought.
"He loves the camera, he is a ham and he can make a lot of money," she said. "He made $850 on his first job [a Kmart Easter ad] for two hours' work. We have only booked a couple of jobs and we have gone on a lot of auditions. The money goes straight into a trust for him. and I can't touch it."
She spends a lot of her time driving him from audition to audition, making sure he is in a really good mood, that his hair is cut (for $30 a pop) and that he is totally put together. It is sort of exhausting just watching her. Then again, he could be the next Jake Gyllenhaal ....
However, kids are only kids for a short while. They have the rest of their lives to work. These are supposed to be the most carefree days of their lives. It is not supposed to be a stressful time. And kids should never feel like workhorses.
There's no shortage of stories about child stars gone wrong (Lindsay Lohan), and very few about those who went right. If modeling can be a part-time situation and it isn't stressful for the parents or the child, then there is no harm in earning some extra money. After all, someone has to be on the Pampers box. Just make sure you can be a good mom even when you're a stage mom.