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 a few headshots back from our session with one of the most talented world-renowned photographers that I’ve met, Isa Battaglin (LillyKPhotography) who also happens to live in my neighborhood- yes, call me lucky!! She took the most AMAZING headshots of both Ava and Leah, so I chose my favorite of each and posted them to their Instagram account. 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 with LillyK, 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! And if your looking for a recommendation, I couldn’t be happier with the one that started it all for my girls!
Pics above by LillyKPhotography