As the day is quickly approaching for my daughter/client to depart for her new home on the east coast the pit in my stomach is becoming increasingly deeper. I have been busying myself with countless projects and never ending to do lists to keep my mind off the inevitable. While it has served as a mild tonic, occasional bouts of tears still break way in my alone time. This week I watched her struggling through the doorway with large flattened U-Haul moving boxes, the reality hit me and I could only sit there motionless. I took a deep breath, let out a whispery “Whoosa” and found solace in what I know and believe deep in my heart… She knows who she is.
Knowing who you are as a model does not mean you will not make mistakes. It does not mean you will never need advice from advisors, mentors, agents, management or your Momager. What it does mean is that you have a sense of self that only comes with maturity. It also means you approach the business with a confidence that only comes with years of work and experience. It is an advantage than many younger models have yet to develop. It is a muscle that is only developed with life experience and ultimately will help them avoid some of the pitfalls of the business.
Ideals of self-worth and inner beauty may sound philosophical and overly poetic. However the modeling industry is a highly competitive, fast paced and often demeaning business. The frightening stories of drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, wild partying, scammers, and sexual predators lurking in the industry are heard in all modeling circles. It is easy for a model to get caught up in a world less than glamorous while attempting to personify glamor for the world to see. Every Momager and parent who sends a child off into this business grimaces when thinking about the possibilities. Add to that the non-nurturing nature of model management and that makes the culpability of Momager’s even more daunting. Why would anyone want their child to pursue this profession? The truth is, many parents would prefer that their child take a different path but the love and support outweighs the fears.
Despite all the facts, the artistic expression of modeling will never stop. Similarly, there are countless stories of singers who have been ripped off by music industry, but that hasn’t stopped people from pursuing careers in the business. New artists are being discovered, recordings are still being made, concerts still come to town and every year someone will win ‘Best New Artist at the Grammy’s’. The modeling business is not dissimilar. It is a business that will never go away and models are pursuing this business more than ever before.
With all of that negativity how do you know that your client won’t follow in those footsteps? How do you make sure your client knows who they are and will avoid these pitfalls? There are few things you need to ask yourself and your client:
1. Watch for signs of insecurity. Be certain your client does not have body image issues.
2. Watch for unhealthy practices like avoiding meals, extreme dieting and excessive workout regimens. If it appears unhealthy to you, it probably is.
3. Does your client have other unhealthy habits like binge shopping, drinking, excessing partying, or smoking?
4. Listen for negative self-talk. How does your client handle rejection? Are they crushed by negative critiques? Do they become depressed or moody when rejected?
5. Do personal issues affect their work ethic, i.e. disagreements with friends or breakups?
6. How is your client’s energy level? Can they handle rigorous schedules?
7. How is your child’s moral compass? Do they have a spiritual life? Are they firmly rooted and grounded in a form of faith or belief?
8. Does your client have outlets – journaling, artistic, yoga, hobbies, etc.?
If you see signs of any of these behaviors, address them and have an open discussion with your client. Let your client know your concerns and voice your expectations as a parent and as Momager. Wait for signs of improvement before sending your client off to another city to work. Modeling is not the solution for any issue. It is another complex layer of responsibility and a strong sense of self is the only way to be successful.
Even if your client is a bit older, it is better to wait until they are ready than to send them off when they are not mentally or emotionally ready for what may lie ahead. As a Momager, you will always worry a bit because that is what parents do. However, knowing that your client has a sense of self will help you sleep at night when they are far away from home.