When your child loves the camera

Sophie has always, always loved the limelight. Maybe it’s just her personality or a second-child thing – she’s never one to be outdone by anyone. When the camera (or phone comes out), so does this little sassy persona (kinda like Sasha Fierce).

We chatted to her about modelling last year after doing some shoots for clothing brands through my Mommalikeme platform and she jumped at the chance. This choice wasn’t taken lightly, we’re fully aware of how the modelling industry is perceived and we’ve constantly reiterated to her that as soon as this ‘isn’t fun for her anymore’ that we’ll withdraw her. But right now it’s fun, more than fun and she relishes time in front of the camera.

So, you have a child that loves the camera and appears to have the camera love him/her back (we can’t allll be photogenic unfortunately) – now what next? I spoke to a very good friend of mine who was a photographer here in South Africa and she suggested GAPA Model Agency, having had her own daughter registered with them. I started doing my research and everyone rated them highly. We registered Sophie with them in Winter last year.

The first port of call is to then go onto the agency’s site – and click on ‘Become a Model’– you’re required to submit two to three recent photographs that show your child’s face and body – I ended up sending these images from the beautiful Anje from Madison & West Lifestyle Division that we shot for a RosieBee collection. If your application is successful the agency will contact you via email within a week. However, if you do not hear from them after that period of time then unfortunately your application has not been successful. What does the agency look for in child models or artists as they are referred to as? Children between the ages of 3-9 are most in demand. The agency will look at how well the child translates on camera as well as their apparent confidence and love for the camera.

You’re then invited to a ‘New Signature Day’ where your child will have their Z Card images taken and you’ll have forms to fill out – there is a fee for the Z Card and you’ll need to provide details such as your child’s banking details and tax number. Yes. You read that right. Your child’s fees will be paid DIRECTLY into their bank accounts (Kris Jenner wannabe’s step aside) and they will have to have a personal income tax number or they will forfeit shoots.

What kinds of opportunities are there for your child? GAPA does print, stills and TVC work with opportunities for movies and series – both local and international.

Some tips and advice? Long waits for casting calls and even the initial ‘New Signature Day’ days are normal. Queues are an avoidable part of this industry, so you’ll soon get used to it. Prepare your child for the wait (and for your own sanity). Pack water (in case of spills on clothes this is the safest) – something ‘clean’ to eat like a packet of grapes – no one wants to shoot a child who’s just eaten an Oreo, and pack books, puzzles, their favourite blanket or soft toy if they’re younger – anything to keep them calm, happy and comfortable.


Your child will not always get cast and you’ll need to prepare your child for the let-down that might come with it, but one thing all these castings and shoots will do is boost their confidence and help them gain experience. When Sophie saw her images in the Your Family magazine the shrieks of excitement were enough for any one to see how much she loves this. “I did it, I did it, I’m in a magazine! I have made my own money in my bank account” – bless, she has no concept of money, but she’s got a pay check of her own!

Think your child has what it takes? If you’re in Johannesburg, submit those images to GAPA today!


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