Model Behavior

Photo shoot day: “Oh no… babe, didn’t you need to get up?”

My husband’s voice jolts me awake. “What time is it?!” “5:25.” I breathe a sigh of relief. Even as he’s saying the time, he remembers that I set an alarm for 5:30. “Sorry,” he mumbles, already drifting back off. I wait until the opening chords of “Morning Has Broken” start drifting from my phone, then turn the alarm off and haul my 29-week pregnant body up off the warm, comfy bed.

It’s go time.


When we moved to Japan, we kept hearing things about child modeling being a great opportunity for American kids, but I was reluctant. I had looked into signing our daughter up to model in the U.S. but I just didn’t feel good about it.

However, when I saw an acquaintance’s daughter skipping through the pages of a kids’ clothing catalogue via Facebook, I decided it couldn’t hurt just to ask her how they liked it. When she told me it was easy, fun, and not stressful for her daughter, I showed her reply to my husband, and we figured we would give it a try.

A couple weeks later, Maggie was all signed up with an agency and then we just had to wait for the emails to start rolling in with audition information.

Today was Maggie’s fourth job, and so far, it has been great for her. Not only is she earning good money that we can use to start her college savings plan, we are also both getting to see parts of Tokyo we would probably have never seen otherwise. We meet a lot of interesting people from all over, she gets to play with other kids, and they put her in CUTE clothes. I’ve even learned some super helpful tricks for taming her crazy hair by watching the stylists at each set.

All that said, this is also very hard work. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but that first photo shoot wore me clean out. In my exhaustion, I may have described the experience to a friend later that day as akin to “herding drunk cats,” which might be a bit of an exaggeration. But trying to get two toddlers to stand side-by-side and look at a camera is no joke. Especially if they’ve been up for hours with no nap, are in unfamiliar territory, and have been given large quantities of sugary juice by well-meaning assistants.

Stairs to the bathroom!!

Then there are the unique challenges presented by traveling and working here in Tokyo. To say it is not a stroller-friendly city would be a gross understatement. Not only do many trains and subway stations have copious amounts of stairs and no elevators, sometimes they even elevate the bathrooms. Seriously, who does that? And during Maggie’s third photo shoot, we experienced a magnitude six earthquake while chilling on the second-floor veranda outside the studio. All in a day’s work!

Every company is also a little different. So far, our most recent job has been my absolute favorite. This team timed things well, ran the shoot very efficiently, and were obviously very well-practiced at keeping a tired toddler happily engaged in activities (not to mention well-equipped).

They have her booked for two more shoots in the next week, and I can hardly wait to see my baby in their Spring catalogue. In the meantime I have to keep my personal backstage snapshots private until they release the finished product. And that may be the hardest part of the whole thing!

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