September 19, 2010

Modeling Lady E.

Elena got her first job a few weeks ago as an international supermodel. To be more precise, the international element is that she is bicultural and has two nationalities. Also, we always consider her a super kid, and the fact is her first job was modeling for a local hotel’s promotional brochure. In this post, I’ll take you into the story behind the modeling gig—an insider’s look into kiddie modeling.
In late August, friends asked us if we would like to give Elena a chance to pose for pictures for a glossy brochure to promote a local hotel that specializes in weddings. Naomi thought: ‘why not?’ Meanwhile, I had visions of millions of yen rolling in. So we saw no harm in her trying something new and exciting. Why can’t our kid be one of those adorable little models hawking clothes or cars or, in this case, the dream wedding? Thank God Elena got a great amount of good DNA from Naomi, I thought.

On the day of the photo shoot, the Rising Family™ geared up in the morning and drove to the hotel, where the dresser and makeup artist were waiting. Elena immediately threw a temper tantrum and refused to wear any of the cute dresses on hand. Not a good start.

Once our friends arrived with their daughter, Lady E. settled down. Peer pressure, dear readers, is a great thing sometimes. She finally agreed to put on a dress, got her makeup done (another first), and then the photographer came into the room. He was clever; clearly, he wanted to establish a rapport with the girls, see their disposition, and make sure they could interact with the photography team. Somehow, our temperamental little tot passed the test. Time to start shooting the pictures.
The first scene was the grand staircase in the hotel lobby. The stylist arranged the dresses, the makeup artist dabbed some powder on the girls’ faces and smiled reassuringly, and then the photography began. The high-energy photo team was very good at keeping the girls’ attention focused on or near the camera, and the photographer began to click away. The team was fun but professional: they called out, persuaded, and occasionally enlisted our help in keeping the girls focused.  Each scene took about 60 minutes of preparation for each half-hour of shooting. Once the photographer was satisfied he had the perfect smile framed by the right image, we all moved on to the next location in the hotel and repeated the process.
Elena showed uncharacteristic poise, and of course, the resident ham in her came out with the right kind of cajoling from the photo team. I was genuinely surprised at how quickly she obeyed her instructions from the handlers, although they were often delivered in a soft and cunning way, with the bribe of snack breaks. Most of the time, the girls delivered radiant smiles on cue. As the day wore on, there were bouts of impatience, tears and occasional boredom.
The day flew by and, before we knew it, it was a wrap. Our experience as the parents/managers of our ‘talent’ was great: I demanded all the red M&Ms be removed from the bowl or “we would walk, babe.” Nah, just kidding. It was just a fun experience in kiddie couture that we likely would not be repeating anytime soon. One thing I learned is that the Rising Daughter #1 really does know the camera and she has the composure of a professional model…when she wants to. Why doesn’t that kind of self-control ever happen at home?

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