BY NADIA CARRIERE
Marlene Wallach, the President and Owner of Wilhelmina Kids & Teens, one of the leading modeling agencies for children from newborns to teens, takes pride in nurturing young talent in both the modeling and talent industries. Marlene has shared her expertise on outlets such as NBC’s The Today Show, ABC News, Fox News, Access Hollywood, and Bravo, among others.
Ms. Wallach is also the developer of justaskmarlene.com, a rich and safe website full of content for young teens and tweens. In addition, she is a published author of 4 books and was recently been named the Bonne Bell Beauty and Lifestyle Expert with an on-line monthly column!
This weekend at the recent Next Direct & Wilhelmina Models Children’s Model Competition 2010 finals event at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, CA. Marlene took some time out of her busy schedule for an exclusive interview with Child Mode and answered questions on her recent partnership with Next Direct, what she looks for in a child model, beauty pageants, modeling and advice for kids looking into starting a modeling career.
CM: Tell us about your partnership with NEXT DIRECT.
MW: Next Direct Children’s Model Competition 2010, the partnership with NEXT DIRECT and Wilhelmina Models, is very special in that the model search provided an exciting way to introduce the U.S. market to NEXT DIRECT, the London based online leader in children’s clothing apparel while giving aspiring young models from all over the country a fun-filled modeling experience and memories for a lifetime whether or not they plan to pursue a career in modeling.
CM: What do you look for in a child model? How do you know if they have “it”? What makes the right model stand out?
MW: When I meet with aspiring models, the first thing I am struck by is their natural beauty and the twinkle in their eyes. Other factors that enter into it is their personality, how they light up when they’re in the spotlight and whether or not they’re photogenic.
CM: Beauty pageants and modeling are quite similar. Can you explain the difference between the two?
MW: Beauty pageants and modeling are actually very different from one another. Beauty pageants involve multiple competitions with prize winners organized by a presenter….modeling is a career.
CM: Many agencies are asking for money up front before taking photos or “considering” a client, is this legitimate?
MW: At Wilhelmina our agency services do not include photography. We make money only when our models book a job, they pay us a commission for each of their bookings. If you have concerns about whether or not an agency is legitimate, I always suggest you ask for referrals and check with your local better Business bureau.
CM: What should parents do before contacting an agency for the first time? Where do they begin?
MW: The first thing a parent should do before contacting an agency is to determine if their child has the right temperament for modeling. Do they follow direction, are they comfortable with strangers and will they behave when they’re away from their parents. Next you have to think about whether there is someone to take them on Go Sees day in and day out. You should also thing about how a career in modeling will affect the rest of the family. A family meeting is a good place to start in order to best determine if this career is the right fit for your child and your family.
CM: What is your advice for young girls or boys looking to start a career in modeling?
MW: My advice for young girls and boys interested in starting a career in modeling is to get as much experience you can performing in front of people. That includes the school play of the band, the chorus or choir and dancing school, and community theatre to name a few. Being at ease in front of an audience is a great start. At the same time you should talk to you parents about whether they think a modeling career is right for you.
Be sure to visit justaskmarlene.com where you can become part of a huge community of girls from around the world and get the inside scoop and greatest and latest tips on modeling, fashion, beauty, fitness, and self-esteem.