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July 6, 2020

Mum of 4, Claire Richardson gives us the parent perspective on modelling

We saw him on all the big music channels on TV.... super proud parents!

Name and ages of your children?

Liam 21, Lewis 19, Imogen 14 and Ella 3.

Where are you based?

We’re up in Derbyshire.

Who modelled and for how long?

Lewis started modelling first when he was age 9 and continued until he was 16. Imogen joined when she was 7 and modelled until she was 13. Ella started when she was a newborn and is still modelling 3 years on. They’ve been with Urban Angels from the start of their journey 🙌

Hi-lights for them?

Lewis loved his days modelling for M&S. He was a regular back then 🙂 Imogen loved a tv commercial she did when she first started out. She also enjoyed a Christmas shoot she did for JD Williams. Ella loves every shoot, especially if her little model friends are there.

What are your best memories?

Oooooooh tough one….Biggest highlight for me…..has to be sitting in Manchester Piccadilly station with Lewis after a casting. Rudimental launched the video of their new single which Lewis was the star of. I was crying my eyes out with pride. Then when we saw him on all the big music channels on TV…. super proud parents!

What advice would you give for a new mum going to their 1st casting?

I’ve found castings to be quite different. Some of them you can be in and out after a quick snap shot. Other times it can be an outfit change and a few photos. Sometimes there can be a bit of waiting around. Always take snacks as little ones can quickly get bored. Also a couple of small toys, book or anything you know that’ll keep them occupied.

How is a TV casting different to a Photographic casting?

At a TV casting the children may be given a small script to read through to perform once in with the casting team. You will usually be given some forms to fill in so it’s important to have all the information with you. Things like measurements, agency emails and phone numbers, details of any past commercials you’ve done, local authority details for licensing etc. A photographic casting can be anything from a quick photo in own clothes to being given an outfit to try on and photographed in.

What should you dress your child in for a casting?

Smart but casual. Nothing too fancy or branded ideally. Something that they can change out of quickly and easily. Castings are busy and fast moving so simple clothes work best.

How to you cope with the travel?

Ella is great travelling. If we travel by train I take lots of snacks and drinks with me. Toys, Magazine, puzzles… my phone lol. Anything I know she’ll happily play with on the journey. We always use the tube once in London. I’ve found total strangers to be the most helpful of people. Someone will always offer to help carry her pushchair with me. No one has ever left me to struggle.

What would be your top 3 tips?

Enjoy it and don’t get too concerned if you don’t hear anything for a few weeks, the agency are working hard for you behind the scenes. Keep the agency up to date with measurements, photos and any days you aren’t available. Don’t take it to heart if your child isn’t chosen for a casting or chosen for the job….. it can be for a number of reasons.

What would be involved in a typical shoot day?

We love shoot days. I always make sure she’s had a good breakfast and plenty of sleep. First you are greeted by a member of the team, there’s usually about 6-8 people on set. Then it’s in to hair and make up…the stylist will then show you what outfits you’ll be wearing. There are usually other children there at the same time which is lovely for them for company. Some shots may be single and some could be a group shot. The team know what they’re doing and are used to working with children. They’ll take lots and lots of photos until they have enough of what they’re after. You can usually expect to be there up to 3 hours on an average day.

Do you need to send updates to the agency?

Yes definitely. Always keep a check on heights as this can impact massively on what you’re submitted for. Any change in clothes and shoe size. Babies change a lot so regular photos every couple of months.

Should you have an Insta account for your child?

It isn’t necessary at all, just personal preference. For me, I set one up to document Ella’s modelling journey. To have all her photos in one place and share them with like minded people.

How do you cope with tantrums and tears?

What works for me is staying calm. I try to defuse the situation before it starts if possible. If not a cuddle usually does the trick. Even if the meltdown happens in the middle of a shoot. Take them somewhere quiet…. the crew will be fine about it and give you the time needed.

How do you deal with the rejections? What do you say to the kids if old enough?

Rejections are much easier when they’re little. Although it’s us parents that feel it. Once they are at an age to understand, it can be quite difficult for them, especially when they know they have done their best at the casting. In all honesty I have actually told them that the brief changed if I felt they’d be upset. They’ve always been aware how competitive the business is especially seeing all the other faces in the casting room.

What benefits are there from modelling?

Definitely seeing their confidence grow even from a young age. Meeting all the different people that they meet certainly sets them up for when they grow up. When we were visiting Universities with Lewis he actually said that what he did in his interviews was to say in his mind “Lewis Richardson – Urban Angels”… a saying he’d said over and over in all his auditions over the years. He said it calmed him and helped prepare himself. Who’d have thought child modelling would help in some of the biggest decisions he would go on to make!

What negatives if any are there?

Honestly I can’t say there has been any in our experience. Choosing the right agency definitely helps to not encounter any.

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