So it only took me about 8 months... well maybe 7... but now I’m finally starting to understand why everyone says this is such a CRAZY Industry to get into!
You can’t really put a price on all of the great people you meet and all of the friendships you form from being in this business. And I’m not just talking about those relationships that pertain to Ava and Leah. My girls are easy and love everyone! In fact they meet a new “friend” for 10 minutes at an audition or a shoot and are already asking me if this new friend can be their cousin, because a simple friendship just doesn't quite express the love they have for their new friend!
For me, however, I never would have expected that I’d meet some of the coolest moms around from being a part of this new world! Having people you can relate to and talk with makes the hours pass way more quickly when waiting for your kids to wrap at a shoot. And even aside from the moms, there are so many amazingly fun makeup artists, stylists and photographers that I have been lucky enough to get to know! It’s really like a huge community where we are all somewhat in the same boat... most of us can relate to this crazy lifestyle! Its really such a blessing to having your own built in support system wherever you go and mostly everyone is more then willing to offer advice or help with any questions you might have about the industry!
Aside from the constant criticism that my kids or I get on a daily basis (mentioned in our last blog post), there are other disadvantages to this business as well.
One of the biggest adjustments for me has been making the 5-6 hour roundtrip drive to LA in rush hour a few times a week! Luckily the kids don’t mind it as much because they are either doing their homework or watching a movie, but for me it’s been completely exhausting at times.
I’ve learned to try my best and use the time to clear my head, blast some good songs, or take the time to talk to my kids about LIFE! They can’t escape in a moving vehicle so it works to my advantage!
Another not so amazing thing about this new life are all of the expenses associated with it! A lot of people assume parents are making money just because they see their kids working a lot. FALSE! I know in our case and probably in most cases the parents are putting out more money in order to support their kids. Just filling up the gas tank ends up costing at least a car payment if not more every month. That combined with having to constantly grab a bite out here and there really adds up! And then there is the expense of professional headshots that are necessary if you want your kids to keep booking jobs. But I guess if you really put it all into perspective, the money we as parents put out now to support our kids in something they love doing, will allow them to make their own money they can use towards College or a car or a house in the future. So if you think about it, it’s really not so bad after all!
When I first got into the business like most parents coming into it for the first time, I knew absolutely nothing about it. I hadn’t done any research prior to signing my kids with an agent so I put my trust into those who I felt had a lot more experience in industry and who I thought could guide me and my girls in the right direction. For the most part, I was lucky enough to find some amazing people that offered us lots of great advice!! And for those who were there for us, I cannot thank them enough!! Unfortunately, I later had to find out the hard way that not everyone was so genuine and honest with us. The good thing is, it was a HUGE learning experience for me. One of the most important things I took from this whole experience is before trusting someone to guide you, make sure you know who you are getting involved with.
Some questions to consider before deciding who has your best interest in mind...
Guess who never asked themselves the questions above before trusting certian people to guide me as my girls in the right direction!? ME!
This by far has been one of the most stressful, upsetting, mind boggling, and biggest lessons I’ve learned in this industry so far. So make sure you don’t make the same mistake as me! Do your research! If something seems a little off with someone you think you should trust, go with your gut instinct. You might be surprised at how many people feel the same way you do! Odds are you probably aren’t alone in your thinking. Finding out you aren’t alone is almost like a Happy Birthday to you ;)
A phrase I will never forget. One I was reminded of daily growing up, that now as a parent myself I am constantly explaining to my own kids the importance of this very phrase. I have to say, never would I have thought that pictures of 7 year old little girls would receive almost as much backlash as the positive feedback they have been getting. It truly, honestly, blows my mind!
Believe me, I get it... when you put your family out into the public eye, you open up the door for criticism. Everyone is going to have their own opinion which of course they are entitled to. I guess for me what I don’t understand is why anyone would take the time and energy to leave the negative comments? Why not just find better use of your time... move on from the article or blog or Instagram page that is obviously upsetting you and find something you enjoy reading or looking at instead.
I know the best thing for me to do would be to just ignore the negativity and concentrate on the positive. Well I try! I do... I really, really do! But I’m a Capricorn from the East Coast... it’s basically next to impossible for me to keep my mouth shut! Especially when negative comments are being directed towards my 7 year old daughters or even our family as a whole. I’m fully aware that some people have nothing better to do then to sit behind a computer screen and put other people down, but it still doesn’t make it any easier for me not to want to fire back.
So what type of negative feedback are some of my girl’s pictures getting (if you haven’t caught a lot of the comments for yourself by now). These seem to be the 3 front runners at this point...
1- “They look so sad” :(
Hahahahahaha! Really? Have you met my girls? Obviously not if you are the ones making this comment. Much like an actor or actress plays a character for a movie or TV show, a model plays a part for a still picture. Each photoshoot has its own mood, theme, and concept. Some photoshoots require them to smile, laugh and playfully interact with each other. Other shoots that have that high fashion look require the girls to put on a more serious face. Does it mean just because they aren’t smiling they are sad, miserable or their childhood is being stripped away from them... uh NO!!! So although I appreciate your concern, just know my girls are fine! They are happy! They have an amazing childhood with lots of friends that they get to play with everyday! That a single pose does not define their personality or their quality of life. They are acting... and apparently they are pretty good at it to give off the impression that they are anything but happy go lucky little girls!
2- “Are they wearing makeup!?”
O. M. G. Makeup!?!?! For those of you making this comment, it’s clear you know nothing about the industry. So before you decide to criticize me as a parent or my girls for having a bit of makeup on their face occasionally, let me shed a little light on the subject. Almost every job the girls book through their agency, or any professional photoshoot they attend, there is a hired hair and makeup artist on set. Why!? Because that’s how the industry works. If your looking to get the best picture, you obviously want your model to look their best. Think about children at their dance recital... some of these kids at 2 and 3 years old have a face full of makeup. Why!? Because they are also required to look a certain way (with WAY more makeup might I add- fake eyelashes, bright lipstick, eye shadow and bold blush). But it’s part of the costume, they are playing a part... and the same goes for modeling! At a base level, kids are kids and sometimes they get a scratch and need it covered. Sometimes they get dirt under their chin when they’re playing and the makeup artist catches it. Sometimes their hair is crazy because it dried weird the night before and someone needs to fix it. I’m no professional so it’s a blessing when there is makeup artist on set. Do they cake on foundation and make them up to look like someone they aren’t? No! A little blush here, a little lipgloss there a little highlighter to catch the light, and they are ready to go! And even if they did wear bold colored makeup for some type of fun edgy shoot- so what!! Its fun for them! It’s every little girls dream to get made up which is why moms now-a-days pay an arm and a leg to have their daughters birthday party at some kids beauty salon.
3- Here’s a really good one... “Let them be kids”
This one might just be my favorite one of all. Making that comment about my girls implies that you know them, our family, their hobbies and friends and what makes them happy in life. Did you ever stop to think that maybe modeling actually makes them happy!? If not, let me be the first one to tell you... it DOES! Some kids enjoy sports or dance or playing an instrument. Some kids like to spend all their time staring at iPads, playing video games or watching TV and not communicating with the outside world. My girls enjoy sports and dance AND modeling. So what do they like about modeling? They like the new adventures we go on every week, never knowing where we will end up but looking forward to a new experience. They like spending time in the car with each other and with me... having some girl time together. They love compiling different playlists for our 5 hour round trips and singing along to all of their favorite songs while we enjoy each other’s company. They like when I pack them snacks or surprise them with a treat when I pick them up early from school. They love meeting new people everywhere they go and making friends on set, both adults and other kids. They love trying on the clothes and the accessories and yes, even getting their hair and makeup done. They love that companies want to send them products and accessories just for being them!
As parents we all want the best for our kids. We want them to find things they enjoy doing in life and support them on their journey. I didn’t decide that my girls were going to start modeling, they did. And if the day ever comes that they want to move on to something else, I will 100% support their decision to do that. But for now, kids or not, this is something that they enjoy doing! So don’t feel sorry for them... they aren’t sad, they aren’t missing out on their childhood and occasionally, yes, they wear a little makeup :)
“How did your girls get ALL of those followers....SO fast?” A question I’ve been asked almost on the daily over the past few months. At first I had absolutely NO idea. Instagram was something that I hadn’t used much before starting an account for the girls this past July. If you would have asked me 6 months ago if 300,000 followers was a lot... I wouldn’t have had a clue.
According to some of my friends (that were WAYYY more Instagram savvy then me) I needed to follow a few key steps in order to get my girls account up and running. Here are some of the things I was told...
So by following the steps above, in a little over 2 months time, the girls had their first 1000 followers. Then exactly 3 months after I started their Instagram account, they hit 3000 followers and I remember thinking... well that came a lot quicker then I had anticipated! The same day they hit 3,000 followers I had gotten my first batch of edited professional headshots back so I posted a couple up! It was like a wild fire... the girls’ followers doubled in no time and in only 7 days, Ava and Leah’s account had gone from 3,000 to 15,000 followers. I then decided to post a few more pictures from that same session, and 3 days later it jumped up another 10,000 for a total of 25,000 followers. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I remember thinking... is this normal? Is this a glitch? Am I going to wake up tomorrow and all of these followers will just be gone? It almost seemed too good to be true.
Eventually I ran out of pictures from that session and knew I needed to come up with a new plan if I wanted to keep their account growing. I noticed the pictures with both of my girls together were getting way more likes then the ones I posted of them individually. I also noticed the pictures getting the most likes were those that showed their similar features (especially those that accentuated their eyes) where they posed side by side. So once a week, usually on a weekend, I would take the girls out for an hour or so around the neighborhood to snap a few pictures that I would end up using to post to their account for the following week. I would borrow a couple of cute outfits from my neighbor who runs the childrens Pop Up Boutique and sometimes I would quickly style their hair differently in between shots (so it looked like a new day)! If I was lucky, I’d get 3 or 4 good shots that I could use to post to their account for the next week and that I could also give to my neighbor to promote her boutique. Win Win!
I then discovered a new tab on Instagram where you can see all of the pictures that other Instagram pages tag you in. I started noticing that some of the pictures I had taken were getting reposted anywhere from 10-50 times on other Instagram pages that had followers ranging from 9 followers to 9 million followers. And every picture that had been reposted was of my girls posing together, rather then alone, so I realized it was the “twinsfactor” that was contributing to their large following.
Now, a little over 5 months later, the girls have over 380,000 followers. Although I’m still no expert at this social media game, I’ve been learning a few tricks along the way. One thing I know for sure is it’s ALL about the pictures... so don’t settle for an average photographer because you want to save a few dollars. Spend a little extra, it will pay off in the end!
Having 2 agents is better then having one, right? Well that's what I thought anyway. MORE people working for you to get you MORE opportunities and MORE exposure. How could this be anything but beneficial to my girls!?
Everything seemed to be going along with my theory until I got a call from one of our agents. "Hi, we wanted to let you know we were able to get the girls straight through to a callback for a Barbie Audition tomorrow". Uh oh, I thought. Now what do I say. I had just gone to that exact same audition a few days before through the other agency. How did this get intertwined!? They assured me there wouldn't be a conflict and now here I am the new kid on the block having to figure out how to respond hoping that neither agency is going to drop my girls because of it.
So I went with plan A- be Honest! Really the only plan I live my life by. I was honest from the start with both agencies and told both of them upfront my decision to have the girls represented by 2 agencies. I was assured by one that there would be no conflict and explained that to the second before we signed with them. Both seemed to be ok with it until the day I got the phone call.
Luckilly, everything worked out in the end. A few hours later things were back to normal and I think I cleared my name from being the bad guy in this equation. It was definitely a bit stressful, but after lots of phone calls back and fourth and a few chain emails later, I think both our agents understood that I wasn't purposely trying to screw either of them over. I was a week or 2 into this whole new world and trying to navigate the best that I could. At one point I figured if either agency let us go because of it, they weren't the type of agencies I could see my girls working with. And they didn't. And in the end the girls never ended up booking the commercial anyway.
So... here's what I learned about having 2 agencies so close to each other. Sometimes there can be a mix up... like Barbie. It's not really anyone's fault but most likely the parents will be the ones that get blamed (as if i KNEW this was going to happen). Number 2... say you book a job with one agency that's not a huge job but you take it because well... IT'S A JOB! Then you find out the day before that you have an audition through the other agency with a potentially huge and promising client. You can't cancel the job that you've already committed to with your one agency but you don't want to upset the other agency that is setting you up on an amazing audition. So what do you do!? Don't ask me!!! I'm still trying to figure it out...
The day it all began...
Seven years ago the world, ready or not, welcomed my 2 little bundles of joy - Ava and Leah. They came 4 1/2 weeks early but knowing their personalities now it makes total sense that they would show up early, unnounced, and ready to take on anything! Fast forward to their 7th Birthday this year on 7/7/17. So many sevens...so many signs that this was THEIR year to shine!
For as long as I can remember strangers would approach me when we were out asking first if they were twins (No... they just look exactly alike ;). Their follow up would always be... "Wow they are so beautiful, you should really think about getting them into modeling." And I did think about it, I even gave it a good 3 month effort. When they were 6 months old (pic below) I signed then up with an them an agency in LA. But with a 2 year old son and a new set of twins, it was hard enough to get out of the door most days so my attempt back then was short lived and I decided it just wasn't the time.
This year was different. The girls were different. They finally had a personality of their own. They loved to preform their dance routines in front of an audience, any audience. Neighbors, friends, strangers... it didn't matter to them, they loved to be the center of attention (I'm not sure where they may have gotten that from!?!). Aside from the fact that I'm a huge believer in signs and have been told by almost everyone that 7 is a lucky number, I just had a feeling that this year was going to be a fun and exciting year for them. I presented my idea to the girls that if they were up for it, in addition to their dance classes and swim team practices they had every week, they could give modeling a try. I was not surprised at all when they started jumping up and down and couldn't wait to begin!
So 3 months ago, we decided to give it another shot! My neighbor had just opened up one of the most amazing children's pop up boutiques out of her garage, a few doors down. She had the most adorable clothing, shoes and accessories I had seen in a while. She needed some "models" to help spread the word on her new business and my twins were of course more then up for the job! Plus, I needed some new photos if I was going to get them an agent so I figured this would be a great opportunity for all of us!
I dug out my 10 year old Nikon camera from a bin in the garage, put a few waves in the girls hair, dabbed on a little blush, and out we went to take some pictures. Well I can't say it went exactly how I thought it was going to go. Ava would look at the camera while Leah would stare off into space... Leah would accidentally bump into Ava who of course thought it was on purpose and would shove her back. All and all though it turned out to be a success, surprisingly. We got a few good pictures at least for my neighbor to use for her new business and for us to send out to a few agencies that we were hoping may have some interest (pictures from their first photoshoot below).
Like I said before, it had been over 6 years since I had attempted to find an agent. I still had a handful or contacts, so I decided to start there. To my surprise, I heard back from almost every single one asking to set up a time to meet the girls.
Over the next week or two, we met with a few agencies to discuss the twins. (Side note... I have a tough time referring to them as "the twins" because although they are alike in a lot of ways they are so different in others so it just seems unnatural for me to group them together. But yes, they are twins so I'm making more of an effort to just get over it!). At any rate we decided to sign with two agencies... one in LA and the other in Orange County. We were under the impression there would be absolutely no conflict because they were in different counties and had completely different clients. It didn't take long to figure out that wasn't exactly the case....