Updated: Jun 19, 2020
by Dr. Joanna Simpson
Signing a contract on behalf of your sweet 11-year-old, to allow her to enter the world of modeling and become an “industry kid” is a bit daunting. It was no different for me, with Jules, although I thought I would have an advantage. I didn’t.
Jules started dancing when she was 4 years old, and right away people began talking about how she “looked” as a dancer more than they talked about her actual dancing. It wasn’t that she didn’t dance well – she did, took to it like a fish to water. But, she had long lines, a shy smile, and hooded blue eyes that could make you forget what you were saying. She was beautiful, and like all mothers, I knew it.
When she turned 10, Jules was already 5 foot 7 inches and it was obvious to all around her that she should model. She was now a competitive dancer and already in the spotlight, with sparkly costumes and makeup. She performed solo on-stage numerous times. I was a seasoned dance mom. This is what made me think I had the advantage when I was sitting in the gorgeous offices of Ford Robert Black in Scottsdale, AZ. I thought, “I can sign these papers and they’ll take beautiful photos of her. Easy.” But, then the lovely Jessica sat down with me, to explain a bit about what it means to be a model in today’s time.
Jules would need to maintain an online presence that was appropriate for a young girl, but because of her height and looks, she’d be marketed more as a teenager. In addition, photos of her would need to be professional and her accounts would need to be active. And, I’d need to help her get as much “experience” as possible. 9 months later she has over 20k followers on Instagram, an active FB profile, has traveled to LA to walk the runway, and has done many local shows. What a ride!
One difficult part of being a “momager” has been for Jules and I to strike a balance with her social media profiles. Each account is on both of our phones, so I can see any messages sent to her or from her. We started by following some of the other models in development with her agency and THANK GOODNESS for that. The momagers on those accounts were so friendly and really helped us feel like we had a new family. I declined messages from multiple creeps and many scam artists and still do so daily. Once we were fooled into thinking a Wilhelmina scout was reaching out to us – luckily, we had her agent Jessica to vet any potential scams.
We quickly learned about photography, and posing, and how to obtain brand ambassadorships with both local and national brands so that we could then move into some runway shows. I spend much more time on her social media than she does, as I’m trying to look for opportunities that she can squeeze into her schedule. Speaking of her schedule – she must balance school, competitive dance, and modeling. Jules loves all three of these but, as her momager, I put school first. Then, she can choose between dance and modeling. She can’t be everywhere, and she still needs time to play. Plus, we like to do things as a family. I shoot for one weekend a month where we have nothing scheduled so we can go catch a movie, go shopping, or go to a zoo. It doesn’t always happen.
When I’m not maintaining her social media or her schedule, I’m emailing her agent to see if there is anything we need to do to update her portfolio, or any opportunities to get her more experience. Of course, I also have a day job, a son, and a husband that I tend to as well! HAHA. Being a momager is amazing and busy and scary and fun – but mostly, it’s about being a good mom. Just follow your instincts and be hungry for the opportunities. The rest will fall into place. Oh, and go visit @julesmodels and give her some love!