My oldest had an appointment with a talent agency in Chicago yesterday. The whole “modeling” ball got rolling because my sweet little girl had seen Eloise goes to Hollywood and promptly proclaimed,”Mommy, I want to be a Movie Star!” I sorta giggled to myself, because it just sounded funny to hear a 3 year old say those words. I’ve always been one to encourage my children to follow their dreams, so if that’s what she wants to be, who am I to tell her no? I am just a vehicle for her to use to achieve her goals and realize her potential, isn’t that what us Mommies do? We tell our kids that they can do and be anything, so if they actually decide to follow our advice..well, its time to put up or shut up. I never back down from a challenge, no matter how impossible the task may seem. I’d say becoming a professional actor is about as likely as becoming a paid published writer. I figured you gotta start somewhere and she’s cute, so let’s try modeling. She loves having her picture taken and I thought, an easy way to slowly move into that industry. In Virginia, a nationally affiliated agency wanted her almost immediately and we were so excited. My daughter only appeared in 1 commercial but, hey that’s 1 more commercial then most of us,right? So,we relocate back to the Midwest and our agency in Richmond gave us a local contact in Chicago. The day of the interview, we drive downtown, both of us a little nervous. I was nervous because it was a new agency and I am hypersensitive to the fact that I can’t control what comes out of their mouth..for example; at the meeting in Virginia, I told the agent, “Look, if you are going to have any criticisms of her …those are for my ears only! Those can not, under any circumstances, be stated in front of her. You can’t unring a bell and I don’t want my 4 year old having her self esteem demolished!” There were no criticisms but my obligation is to my baby and I had to put that out there. Here we are 7 months later , right back where we started. I went in there a little anxious, to say the least. My daughter was a little overwhelmed from being in a new environment. We walk in, assess the situation ( its all very downtown). Our enthusiastically chipper agent comes out to greet us. He escorts us back to the glass office (it felt like a fishbowl). The first question out of his mouth was, “Do you want to be a model?” “Why?” OK, wow, rapid fire for a 5 year old. She answers ,”I don’t know” (She was in full on bashful 5 year old mode..brilliant) “Do you like having your picture taken?” “Yes, I do!” and she flashes him a giant grin. Then he says, “Let’s go meet some other people,without Mommy. Mommy will stay here” In my head a plethora of questions flooded my mind , ” Why no Mommy? What’s wrong with Mommy? Where are you taking my baby? I don’t know you!” I got the feeling he didn’t like me. Then I realized he was trying to gauge whether or not I was a crazy stage Mom forcing her baby to live out Mommy’s dream. I felt slightly insulted. When he returned, he was all smiles and giggles and announced that they would love to represent my little girl. I am assuming the jaunt away from me also served as a second opinion by another agent and also to see whether or not my daughter would freak out with me out of her sight. I was excited that they wanted to represent her but at the same time annoyed that they would think I could be a stage Mom:( I understand his concern, after all who wants a kid who is being forced to do this? I am sure there are lots of Mommies who come in there and force their kids to be in modeling/ show business (Lohans, Spears, Simpsons all come to mind) but not me! This was her idea. I am only trying to be supportive but yet, I was getting analyzed like I was a potential monster and my child was a victim of Munchhausen by proxy syndrome. I felt dirty and it took away some of the joy of the occasion. For the record, I am no crazy stage Mom…just a Mom, trying to give my children all of their little hearts desires. Maybe a crazy Mommy but I could care less if she is a model, an artist, a doctor,a teacher, a librarian..as long as she’s happy and loves what she is doing.
If nobody has any objections, I believe I might be of service.
by Deborah Cruz
written by Deborah Cruz
Latina. Girl mom of 2. Married to my college sweetheart.Digital Storyteller. Lover of travel, food and fashion. Chicago girl. I write because it's how I process the world. I share because I want you to know that you're not alone.