Raising a Confident Kid / Tween / Teen Model

Once a month I host a radio program titled, Parenting the Talent. I have blogged before that I was inspired to do so as a way “pay it forward” to parents and professionals who helped our family when my daughter, Natasha Sattler  was first starting out as a professional actor. Today I had the opportunity to interview Marlene Wallach,  CEO and President of the Wilhelmina Kid- Teen Modeling Agency and author of an array of self -esteem and inspirational books aimed at the tween-teen audience.

Marlene, who hails from my native state of New York and makes me yearn for “home” with her New York accent, gave tons of sage information during our interview. Much of this information is available through her very cheery and comprehensive website geared for the tween and teen crowd – Just Ask Marlene or JAM! On the website one can check out her book which offers the “411” about beauty, fashion and also provides help for those kids who are having a difficult time with self-esteem during the tricky adolescent phase of life.

Below are the highlights of our interview. To hear the interview in its’ entirety please go to iTunes (press the June 28th tab)  or Blog Talk Radio. 

Marlene provided solid information which included the following important words or wisdom for parents and aspiring modelsL 

1- Modeling involves the WHOLE FAMILY.  The entire family will be impacted when one or more members becomes a professional model. Therefore, the WHOLE family needs to understand that changes will occur to family dynamics and routines. Also, commitments need to be honored, even when there is a class trip planned or other event.

2- Education is important. Marlene did not advocate for homeschooling when it came to professional models because of her concerns with socialization. However, she understood that sometimes circumstances necessitate home educating a child. She did mention that summertime was the busiest for kid models with back to school, Halloween and Christmas holiday print and commercial jobs. Therefore, many kids are working models during the “off season” where schooling is concerned.

3. Headshots that look natural are key for older tweens and teens.  And a quality snapshot is acceptable for younger children. (Leave the makeup bag at home! If you are 12, look 12 in your photo.)

4. Parents within the special education community wrote in prior to the show with some questions.  Some have children with Autism or Downs Syndrome. Louise asked Marlene about the likelihood that children with special needs would find regular assignments within the modeling world. She indicated that children with special needs are a niche market and while some companies, such as Toys R Us, conduct many print advertisements with inclusion in mind, most print ads do not incorporate a large number of children with exceptional needs. Yet, Marlene did add a caveat that children who are cooperative, take direction, are able to demonstrate sound reading skills, have parents who are easy going and they too “follow directions” will be more successful in the modeling world.

5. Modeling is an investment.  Parents should be aware that there are “start up fees” such as headshots and resumes.  Also, maintenance fees, such as for travel or wardrobe.

Meet Walden, age 16 and working professional model

1. Marlene noted that most modeling agencies choose 90% of their roster of kids to represent via photos they receive. Traditional “snail” mail is best. Open call does not generate as many contracts as many believe. Marlene gave an example that at a recent open call her agency conducted they interviewed 1500 kids. They signed 30. And of those only five will have regular work. This is not a career for the weary (child nor parents).

2. Marlene advised Walden to make her audition remarkable.  Walden asked how she could best leave an “impression” with the agents when they see so many “new faces” during an open call.  Marlene suggested that she tell a joke or say something that would quickly show her “personality” and help agents to recall her name, face and the lasting “impression” come the end of a busy day when decisions need to be made.

Here is how YOU can learn more about our guests from today’s PARENTING THE TALENT:

To  connect with Marlene or book her for a speaking engagement contact her via her website. Marlene is available to speak about raising a child model, self-esteem with tween and teen girls and other related topics.

To learn more about Marlene’s Tween Lifestyle Collection of books on beauty, fashion and self-esteem go to herJAM website, too!

Ask her a direct question here: justaskmarlene@gmail.com.

To connect with Walden please contact her representative at the UR Supermodels (management group)  

♥ Also, at the beginning and end of this show we gave a shout-out to a niche clothing store with “groovy clothes for all ages”-  the NEW VOGUE SHOP in Wellsville, New York. They generously will give a $50 gift certificate to the FIRST PERSON who goes to their FACEBOOK PAGE and posts the following:  ” I listened to PARENTING THE TALENT and the code is FASHION

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out ALL the 411Voices.com  radio shows, hosts, and much more!

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