5 reasons why I will never let my kids be child models

When I first became a mum I lived in the inner city of Sydney next to a massive shopping centre. One morning I was pushing my pram towards the centre, dreaming of banana bread and a skim cap, when I saw a crazy-long line of mums, babies and toddlers. Were The Wiggles performing that day and I’d missed the notice?

I asked one of the mum’s what was going on and she said there was a competition being run by a popular baby brand to find the cutest baby possible to be part of their next campaign. These mums – who probably should have been at home putting their babies down for a nap or making sure they didn’t put anything except toys in their mouths – were lining up for HOURS waiting to see if their baby was the cutest. They were then harassing family and friends to vote for their babies.

My son was cute but I didn’t consider lining up even for a second. Why would I put my baby up to be judged by others? Why would I do that to him?

It’s bad enough when they are babies. As our children get older, what sort of message does it send to them when a large part of our discussions with them involves how cute or pretty they are, how great this photo is or that, how they should be careful not to fall over while playing because they have a job the next day. What does it do to our children when we decide, on their behalf, that they will be child models?

Philip, my oldest, was cute but covered in eczema so even if I’d entered him in the competition he never would have won. It was with my second-born Giovanni that some family and friends suggested he be a child model.

“Giovanni has such a great smile.”

“You should put him in TV commercials.”

“You should take him to a modelling agency.”

Hell no!

5 reasons why I will never let my kids be child models

1. Modelling is shallow and vain, which is fine for those who can put it in perspective, but how does a child even begin to understand that how they look is part of their life, not all of it;


2. What happens when they are spat out by the child modelling industry at the tender age of say, 10. What does that do to their self esteem;

3. Children should learn their value not by how they look but by what they can do. Looks fade but talent can last forever;

4. The jobs can be hard. The children are put in unfamiliar locations and then parents have to work hard to make sure they give the production team the right emotions. I’ve had a little experience with this filming videos with my children. It’s hard enough to do in their home environment;

5. It takes away part of their childhood. Instead of spontaneous emotion they learn to look happy, sad, lonely…it doesn’t send the right message to them. We want them to feel their feelings not to manipulate them.

A great photo of Giovanni but normally he hates having his picture taken

A few of my friends have signed their kids up to agencies to do catalogue shoots and for the most part it seems to be okay. They make a bit of money, they have some impressive photos to hand out to family and friends, except when their kids aren't in the mood that day, they don't like the toy or clothes they are promoting and say so, loudly and a group of strangers try and entice them into the appropriate actions with toys, treats and begging while the mum looks on, mortified.

Philip, cute but not a natural in front of the camera

I don't want my children to EVER worry about how they look. I don't want that for my boys and now that I have a daughter I feel even more strongly. No modelling, ever.

Sadly, my children are very cute. If only they'd been born a little less cute. Then, I wouldn't have to worry about them being tempted to take on such a job.

Caterina loves the camera

Would you let your kids be child models?