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My first commercial and all I got was this sparkly new hairpin

by Deborah Cruz

My 4 year old daughter has wanted to be a “movie star” since she saw Eloise goes to Hollywood. Not that I think she really knows what that means or what it entails but I have convinced myself that I will never be the shatterer of hopes and dreams when it comes to my girls. If they want to do it or be it, I’m going to support it because we all need a cheerleader.To help her achieve this lofty, if not almost impossible goal, I submitted her photos to a prestigious modeling agency, they called us in, and then they agreed to represent my 4 year old.She is pretty cute, if I do say so myself:), and I figured what a better place to start than some print work. Of course,fast forward a couple months later, she books her first job. Its a commercial. Amazing right? No, well, it was to us. She was excited, our friends were excited, our family was excited, myself, I was too exhausted from organizing an unexpected relocation to really comprehend how exciting it was. It was to be a commercial for a local car dealership. We were in set the mandatory 15 minutes early, of course we had been sitting outside in the car for a 1/2 hour before that but we couldn’t come in, per instructions from our agency. Apparently, its unprofessional.We walk in the door with our 4 outfits they asked me to bring, of course they left her in the faded jeans, ugg boots, and long sleeve t-shirt and navy polo she walked in with. Oh, that is with the exception of removing the polo (which was the only cute part of the entire outfit because it was the riding to the shoot outfit..not the actual outfit for the shoot:) I was all very surreal, hair and make up on my 4 year old.She sat straight in the chair , jibber jabbing the make up artists head off. We exchanged niceties and she told me how bright and beautiful my daughter was, something a mother can never hear too much of. Then we began the actual shoot, or what I’d like to refer to as “the train wreck of 2010”. My daughter was “the daughter”, to the family in the commercial. There were like 10 adult actors and my 1 child, did I mention she had never even done a print booking. Talk about putting all of your eggs in one basket. Jeez. It starts out the pretend Dad has to lift my little girl into the back of a pickup.Oh my, poor guy. My daughter is very tall for her age, she is like 45 inches tall and around 53 lbs. She is rock solid. This guy was about 5’10” and having trouble lifting my child. She was more than half his length and its awkward to lift a kid that tall, I should know. I looked on with pity and horror as this man struggled.My daughter just sat there, like a deer in headlights, except for the occasional cheese she tossed in the general direction of myself or the camera ( which she was not suppose to be looking at because she was supposed to be looking at her damned fake parents!)But I stood there, silent watching it all happen because Mom’s (like children) are on set to be seen and not heard. I was there strictly for moral support and legal reasons.They eventually finish the 15 or so takes, my daughter is totally confused by the people moving their mouth feigning conversation with no actual sound coming out.It was all very overwhelming for her. The bright lights,the strange man lifting her up..which by the way, every time he lifted her up, her shirt lifted up on her belly.She’s 4, so she paid no attention, but the adults (not even the fake Mommy…oh, you so know she doesn’t really have children)not one of them thought to pull her shirt down or tell her to do it. It was very frustrating.This could go on for days and it felt like it did. Let’s just sum it up by saying she is 4! She was tired , she was hungry, and she was overwhelmed but she didn’t have a meltdown, and she didn’t cry, and she didn’t act like a brat.She did everything they told her to do, to the best of her 4 year old ability. That was a long day and there is so much more that I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you:) She did ,however, at the end of the day, as we were leaving the shoot look me in the eyes and say, “Awww, dang it Mommy.It was my first commercial and all I got was this sparkly new hairpin!” I chuckled to myself, I guess that paycheck and all that excitement didn’t count for much..because , in her mind, all she got out of the day was “that sparkly new hairpin”. I asked her if she wanted to still be a “Movie Star”. She said ,”Sure Momma. I bet when I’m on Disney channel, they’ll give me all kinds of sparkly(SPark-A-LEE) new hairpins!”LOL. Keep on dreamin big, baby!
Disclaimer: This is in no way, shape, or form a dig at the process or my agency, this was about the train wreck that I had to watch my kid be part of because of her inexperience. It was like helplessly watching a car slide off into the ditch.Or watching your baby fall when learning to walk for the first time.It was inevitable, and you couldn’t stop it, it was just the circumstances and our naivete. We are looking forward to the next time, we’re going to fishtail…on purpose!

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Frances 2010/02/08 - 5:31 am

Oh my, this made me laugh so much! I felt like I was really there with you! (I wish there were pics!)

Your daughter is such a character and a good sport. I've done TV appearances and photo shoots (I'm a magazine editor) and all the fuss can just be overwhelming and exhausting! Your girl, she's just too cool. She just might become a star yet!

Truthful Mommy 2010/02/08 - 10:44 am

Thank you! My Bella is quite a character. I ,too, wish I had some photos but I couldn't be the crazy stage mother, so no real photos. I did however snag a couple on my cell phone, I may have to upload here:) My poor baby, I believe she can be whatever she puts her mind to…she's a lot like her Mommy in that way. You, having done this before, can certainly understand the confusion it poses for a child, especially the mouth moving/ no sound coming out from the adults..it completely blew her mind. She looked dumbfounded. At least for the next one, we will both have a better idea of what to expect.


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