Does Your Model Know Who She Is?

girls-407685_1280As 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.

 

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Date Night with My Daughter

One night last week, my client and I decided to go out for a Mother/Daughter date night. The date for her relocation is fast approaching so we have been trying to spend as much quality time as possible. The rest of the family already had plans so the stage was set for girl’s night out! After all, dating your young adult daughter is supposed to fun. It’s a time to let your hair down, share secrets, laughter and revile in the unique bond the two of you share. Times have long passed from the gloves, pearls and pocketbook cinema-179743_1280carrying type of mom that my grandmother was. We have progressed much further than the “mom-jeans” wearing mother I had in the 80s. Now is the time of the new age mom who wears red bottoms, isn’t afraid to undergo the knife to look a few years younger and isn’t embarrassed to talk about her Brazilian wax with her teenage daughters.

 

I was not afraid to channel my inner Kris Jenner when my daughter and I agreed to go see a movie. We decided on the young sexy urban drama ‘Addicted’, starring Sharon Leal, Boris Kodjoe, William Levy and Tyson Beckford. I thought it was a good choice, we have watched several Lifetime movies together, enjoy an occasional Snapped marathon and generally have the same cinematic taste. So it seemed like a perfect film to take in together. After all, we are a tight knit mother daughter duo and this is 2014! I was excited about a perfect night out.

 

What started off perfectly, quickly took a turn. The first strange phenomenon occurred when my daughter purchased tickets for us, with her own money. I was still recovering from this as we entered the theatre and she went off to the concession stand and I searched for seats. I embarked on the theatre and found perfect seats dead center, and she joined me moments later with popcorn and extra-large Icee’s in hand. We nestled into our seats, watched the previews and I couldn’t help thinking how grateful I was to be sharing this time with my oldest daughter and how much I would miss these evenings two short weeks from now.

 

As the opening credits rolled so did my concern when I saw “Zane” was the writer and producer of the movie. I am very familiar with Zane and read a book or two that she authored in my younger years, but her literature is certainly nothing I would share with my daughter. Since this is a movie on the big screen with no explicit rating, I thought maybe, just maybe it will be toned down some. Surely there wouldn’t be a Zane-esk movie on the silver screen! Was I ever wrong. Moments into the film, a true Zane scene appeared on the screen.   Suddenly my daughter didn’t seem like an adult at all, and with each graphic scene of the movie her age appeared to be reversing. As the movie progressed, I was watching the movie with my two year old toddler and the guilt of watching sexually explicit scenes with her by my side was overtaking me. I squirmed more and more with every scene, not from the delight of William Levy’s exposed physique, I was squirming because I knew my daughter was watching me. I attempted to give her a smirk but my expression probably looked more like I had caught a whiff of rotten eggs.

 

At a point in the movie I wanted to just suggest we leave. But if I did so, would I be a mommy prude? Is there such a thing as mommy peer pressure? Have I let the images of Modern Family cause me to be ashamed of standing up and saying, “I think this isn’t something we should watch together.” Yet I continued sitting there, watching and suffering and checking my cell phone to see how much how many more minutes of delight I would have to endure.

 

I am not in denial about what my child may do when she is out with her friends. She wasn’t raised on a farm in the Amish countryside. Who knows what movies they go to see and what happens on girl’s night out. She is over 18 and now she is free to choose her own entertainment without my approval. I couldn’t help wondering if perhaps this the norm for her. Then at a point more than midway through the movie, my daughter looked at me and I realized she was just as uncomfortable as I was. She didn’t want to be there with me just as much as I didn’t want to be there with her.

 

I realized on Mother/Daughter date night that I am not quite ready to be the metro mommy. I grew up in a different era and I won’t be walking the streets of New York City with my daughter wearing black sheer designer baby couture. I am a conservative mom and I like it like that. While I want my daughter to be open with me and able to share anything that may be on her mind and heart; I am okay if she doesn’t include me in girl’s night out and or invite me to see any future installments of Addicted. I think what we both realized that night is that we are good with our relationship just as it is. We will stick to Twilight marathons and Hunger Games sequels. I may be a Momager, but I am no Kris Jenner.

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