Wednesday, 28 August 2013

To Model or not to Model?

My daughter has wanted to get into modelling since she was about eight years old, but I was never comfortable with the idea so I did what I could to keep her busy. She danced. She competed in dance.  She socialized with dance friends. And she went to school and slept. But now that she is in an arts high school she is surrounded by talented people...many of whom act, sing or model professionally. It appeared that it was inevitable. The time that we would have to give in was nigh. 

My husband and I believe that there comes a point in children's lives when they have to start making major life decisions...with our guidance, of course.  If children don't start learning how to make decisions when they are small, and develop those skills as they grow, then how can we expect them to make the hard decisions as adults?  It is easier to learn about decision making when the consequences are less life altering and damaging. We started by giving them small decisions when they were young and then as they grew, so did their decision making skills, and we started to give them bigger decisions to make.  

In Kindergarten they got to choose the clothes they wore to school...even if the choice was a tiara or the occasional Snow White costume.  Let me tell you, there were a few of those days with our youngest daughter.  In middle school they got to decide on the future of their extra curricular activities.  Until this point we gave them access to as many extra-curricular activities as possible (drama, fencing, ballet, musical theatre, tap, Aikido, ballroom dancing, etc.)  so that they might choose their own path.  We guided them, but let them take the lead in the decision making process.  By grade eight they got to choose the type of high school they wanted to attend...mainstream, arts based curriculum or gifted curriculum.  So far they have all chosen an arts based curriculum (drama, dance and strings).  In each of the cases we addressed the pros and cons of each of the decisions, and then discussed how to weigh each of the pros and cons.  You remember the saying, "if you love something set it free"!! I couldn't believe how difficult it was to do.

We knew that it was inevitable that our daughter was going to get serious about modelling and bring up the topic at some time or other. But we thought we had more time. Truly we did!

Last week Katie pulled me aside and said she needed to talk to me. A feeling of dread washed over me. What could she want?  A dozen horrible thoughts rapidly rushed through my mind.  As I walked into her room she shut the door behind me. When she smiled I realized that everything was going to be ok. She wasn't getting a tattoo and she wasn't quitting school! She told me that she had done a lot of research about modelling and she had found an excellent modelling agency that had a great reputation.  She had filled out an application and they had called her back a few hours later. She missed the call because she had left her phone behind (quite a rare occurrence). She wanted to know what we should do.  I took a deep breath, looked at her hopeful expression and I quickly thought through the options.  I told her that she should try to call them back.  She had to leave a message because they were closed for the evening.  The next day one of the agents called us back and we made an appointment.  Was this the beginning of the end?  Was I going to lose my sweet darling daughter and gain a pretentious diva?  She has already ventured into dark depths of puberty and we, as parents, have been relatively unscathed at this point. Would modelling change her?  I believe my daughter has enough common sense to stay true to her sweet self.  Would this ruin her, or expand her horizons? Time will tell.  I will keep you updated.