The studio is brightly lit, the young children’s faces to the camera, skilled smile, pose; filler board, there are four or five children, dressed in new clothes, waiting in line for makeup and on the scene. They are all famous “professional child models”.
Outside the shed, there are parents with big bags, their expressions are mostly anxious, and they whisper to each other: “How long has your child been in the business? “
“Oh, how can I not be anxious? We have an announcement to catch after this shoot. “
Most of these parents are accompanying their children to complete the shooting and various catwalk activities, and the children they are waiting for are famous professional models, who can already get the opportunity to appear in magazines and music videos with their beautiful appearance at a young age, and earn a decent income at the same time.
The saying of Eileen Chang that “you have to be famous before it’s too late” is a truth that has been repeatedly verified in the child modeling world.
Yang Yang is seven years old and has already had three years of professional experience in the child modeling industry.
His big bright eyes, high and small nose, angular chin and straight shoulders make him look exceptionally handsome on camera. His mother, Liu Qin, discovered the advantages of her child’s appearance early on, “When he was young and took him out, people praised the child for being so beautiful and good-looking, and they liked to tease him. “
It was not in the plan of Yang Yang’s parents to enter the child modeling circle at the earliest.
When the child was three years old, Liu Qin intended to enroll him in a sports interest class, but Yang Yang was not interested. Liu Qin’s best friend suggested that she could enroll in a modeling class – and her daughter enrolled in a short-term class at a child modeling culture company in Guangzhou, where some of her classmates had become professional models, “earning Some of the students in the class have already become professional models and “earn tens of thousands of dollars a month”.
Her best friend pulled Liu Qin into a group chat, where she was able to get a glimpse of the world behind child modeling. Parents recommended reliable agencies to each other, shared their children’s photos and music videos, and others bragged about how their children were already “little stars” of some fame at such a young age. Some of them bragged about how their children were already famous “little stars” at a young age.
Thinking that her son’s appearance does have advantages, Liu Qin was moved.
The training course is mainly physical training, not hard, Yang Yang and peers get along very well, play together every day. But Liu Qin’s mentality is getting lower and lower – one after another children in the class received filming needs, except for his own son, even after participating in several teacher-recommended children’s catwalk activities, as usual, there is no splash.
Seeing that the first training course is almost finished, Liu Qin could not resist looking for the class teacher of the training course, under the other party’s words, Liu Qin finally opened up: the so-called “resources”. The so-called “resources” need to be paid to play the point.
She spent money to sign up for a children’s show, her son Yang Yang’s performance on stage is very bright, after the show, but also smoothly get the opportunity to cooperate with a children’s clothing brand.
Once the popularity is opened, subsequent opportunities will come, and the salary for each shot also rises. From the beginning of the money to buy the opportunity, to later get a few hundred yuan pay, and then, shooting a music video and advertising campaign photo salary has been worth half a month’s salary of parents, Yang Yang’s child model road, go very smoothly.
At his peak, Yang Yang was given the opportunity to work with well-known brands such as Disney and Azure Motors, and even appeared in a promotional ad for the Civil Code.
When it comes to her son’s journey as a child model, Liu Qin feels more “lucky” than anything else: the child knows how to behave, whether it’s getting up at 3:30 a.m. to put on makeup and prepare for a shoot, or working continuously at a higher intensity, Yang Yang rarely cries. Yang Yang rarely cries or complains, and most of the shoots are completed very smoothly.
But Liu Qin also knows that the road of child models continues to be “very deep”, but Yang Yang rarely encounters these dark sides.
This year, seven-year-old Yang Yang has rarely taken commercials or hard photos, and more often than not, like other children, she spends quiet and happy time on campus, quietly moving away from the star-studded road of child modeling.
But not every child model has such a smooth “star path”, and parents who are concerned about their children.
The child model in Huzhou, Niu Niu, was kicked by her mother during a photo shoot and attracted attention.
The 3-year-old girl, scolded, beaten has been a common occurrence, her mother is proud to show off in the circle of friends: “(Niu Niu) four days in a row to shoot more than 400 pieces of clothing, the most a day shot 119 sets of clothing. “
Niu Niu appeared in the video, round face and big eyes, good and quiet, when the camera is pointed, she will reveal a sweet but hollow smile.
The child models who are priced to “use” have to mature in advance because of the spotlight.
Behind the bright and shiny career of every child model is the planning and boosting of parents.
A child model agent revealed to the Blue Letter Project: “Many of our company’s child models, are parents sent over as part-time amateur, as a way to exercise their children, these parents are not bad money, and do not expect to earn much money by children. But there are some full-time child models, such as stay in Huzhou weaving town there, they are parents directly and clothing manufacturers docking, no brokerage company this ring. “
These children who work full time as child models are often the most passive and hardest part of the entire child model industry chain. In order to save the brokerage fee draw, many parents directly with the clothing manufacturers docking – skipped professional child model brokerage company, also exempt from the supervision of formal institutions to allow chaos to grow.
According to the children’s clothing brand staff Chen is observing, full-time child model work intensity is generally 8-10 hours a day, “the middle will give a break, a total of 6, 70 pieces shot. In order to prevent the child tired of not cooperate, will let two models alternate shooting. “
But for the parents directly with the manufacturers of child models, the length of the day’s shooting depends on the parents to decide, shooting until 11:00 or 12:00 in the middle of the night is the norm. There is more than one parent with children shooting children’s clothing model photo lamented, really “tired burst”. The children, who kept putting on makeup, blowing out their hair, changing clothes and posing for pictures, had to become the silent and patient party.
The child’s obedience means a great deal of profit.
Nine-year-old Xiao Xuan, has been in the industry for almost four years, he initially just help some small children’s clothing stores to shoot Taobao merchandise map, occasionally participate in the mall’s runway activities, until he participated in a children’s clothing brand’s new launch, his parents found the line of huge money: two hours of runway, Xiao Xuan got paid 1800 yuan.
Since then, Xiao Xuan has dedicated almost all of his after-school life to the child modeling business. The first time he went to Weaving was a weekend in second grade. In just two days of work, Xiao Xuan’s income has covered the money for a round-trip airfare for a family of three.
“Monthly income of 20,000 to 30,000 is the norm, red child models can earn a suite a year” is in weaving real staged Since the trip, Xiao Xuan’s father began to ask his son to work towards the mixed-race child model Ye Zuming, he took Ye Zuming’s modeling photos to his son and reminded him every other day that “Be like the role model and learn”.
Zuming and Xiao Xuan’s age is not much different, but can already face reporters to say lightly: “My income is more than eighty to one million a year, if less, there are also four or five hundred thousand. “
Under his father’s uninterrupted teaching, Xiao Xuan has a clear perception of his own work: “When you earn money, you can pay the mortgage with your father. “
But what is the mortgage, he actually does not understand.
Zhao Kang Yang is a fashion photographer, 18 years after leaving Beijing, then came to Huzhou Weaving, a children’s clothing photographer.
After working for a period of time, Zhao Kang Yang found that the same is to take pictures of small models, here and Beijing’s style is very different: in Beijing, he worked for a professional fashion magazine, capture child models to pursue the effect of natural, relaxed, so the children wear light makeup, not exaggerated dress, in front of the camera can play freely; while weaving child models, more like industrial products produced on the assembly line.
The children here, everyone has a suitcase with them. It is filled with ten bright and flashy accessories bought from Taobao, colorful hats and sunglasses, printed with large letters of canvas bags, socks and other accessories.
Many little girls have bright red lips, slender black eyeliner, the little boys’ hair is generally permed, earlobes will also hang a small earrings.
Zhao Kang Yang uses the word “dedicated” to describe these children. Well-behaved, quiet, can quickly pose, smiling standard, “these children are too cooperative, sometimes a little heartbroken. “Although the children smile, have cute dimples, showing white small teeth, but from these smiles, they do not feel the joy that a child should have.
The market rules that we were used to in Beijing don’t work in Weili either. In Beijing, clothing manufacturers look for models through advertising agencies, and the manufacturers do not have direct contact with the models, each earning their own money in the industry chain, without moving others’ cakes. In Weaving, manufacturers and models talk directly, and then find a photography company and press down the price.
There are one or two hundred photography companies in the town of Weaving, and it is the consensus of the industry that it is equally important to maintain good relationship with the source manufacturers and shoot the models. Resources need to compete, is the truth here. Old Zhao run manufacturers shooting, always encounter mothers with their children to run a single family, marketing their own children. Like photographers with few orders, mothers will also take the initiative to reduce prices in exchange for a chance to shoot their children.
Generally speaking, the career life of a child model is usually only a few years. The height of one meter six is the threshold of the industry, once the height of one meter six is exceeded, the resources that can be received will drop sharply. Therefore, many parents cherish the “golden time” before their children are fully developed and keep seeking opportunities for their children to earn money from filming.
And into the shooting process, even a minute delay, will cause losses to manufacturers. The venue fee, the cost of hiring a photographer, the cost of hiring a make-up artist stylist, and eventually the roundabout, become the cost of pressing on the small child model.
A more mature model like Xiao Xuan can shoot 15 sets of clothes in an hour, spending less than five minutes per set on average. The most powerful time, Xiao Xuan in a day to catch eight shooting, earned six thousand dollars.
Quick and agile undressing, dressing, hair, these children, as if they are standing on an invisible production line.
Child models have long formed a sizable market.
Take clothing model as an example, the relevant data shows that the domestic market size of children’s clothing overall growth momentum, the market size of children’s clothing in 2020 has reached 267.9 billion yuan. Thus, it can be seen that the children’s model market has a broad prospect.
With the expansion of children’s clothing model market, small child models, parents, agencies, and children’s clothing brands, all become a link in this chain.
The cake is expanding, and the more people do whatever they can to eat it, the more people there are.
There is an unwritten rule in the child model circle: children in the age of 3-6 years old, the height of one meter three or less is the most sought-after. After this height, it means that you can receive less and less single, until no work to take, forced to end the child model career.
As a result, the normal growth and development of children can become a source of anxiety for parents of child models – “I’m afraid that my child will grow too fast “.
Sesame is a 5 year old child model. In order to “stay in shape”, Sesame’s mother only gives Sesame one lunch a day: usually no meat, stir-fried vegetables and rice is the child’s meal. If the child was hungry during the shoot, Sesame’s mother would only let the child drink a carton of milk. Sesame has a sweet tooth like many other children, but in her life, eating fruit is controlled by her mother.
“The sugar content in fruit is so high that it is easy to gain weight if you eat too much. Once the little girl is fat, she can’t receive the order. “Talking about this, Sesame’s mother shows more emotions is anxiety. “Not I am ruthless, no way, this circle is like this, more than one meter three, business will be cut in half; more than one meter six, directly passed out. “
Sesame in such a strict diet control, really maintain a slim figure. Over time, sesame themselves will actively give up eating high-calorie stuff.
Five-year-old Sesame, who has a sharp face, said one of her dreams is “to have a good meal of KFC and a cream cake. “
And this concern for children “unemployment” has secretly given rise to a black market.
The “good boy water” is the unspoken secret of the child model circle. This drug is hormone-based and can act as a long-term inhibitor of children’s growth. Xiao Xuan’s father has also mentioned this mysterious potion, four or five hundred a small bottle of price, “some parents really black-hearted, mix this stuff in the drink to the child to drink. “
In addition to height restrictions, the beauty of appearance also affects the income of small child models. After all, beauty is also a hard currency for young models who need to be on camera.
In order to make their children look good, all the mothers and fathers have also made every effort to do so.
The bridge of the nose is collapsed? Then use a small clip on the child’s nasal bone position, over time, always make the nose look straighter. Poor leg shape? Practice clenching your legs to stand every day, or even sleep with a cloth band to “tie your legs”, so that the leg bones will become straight. Poorly aligned teeth? Wear braces, orthodontics, find a good dental hospital, teeth whitening is also done in the meantime. Dark skin? That’s even better to do, whitening body lotion, body lotion, milk bath all over again, black and yellow skin can also be reversed.
In the knowledge, a child model mother “sister Qi” has proudly shared that she used her summer vacation to take her seven-year-old daughter to have double eyelid surgery. The love of beauty starts with the children.
In the medical aesthetic department of the hospital, underage has been a trend that cannot be ignored.
In addition to the greed and oppression from parents, what is more frightening is the exposure of small children to more dangerous environments.
In 19 years, netizen hacker Kevin had posted an article on Weibo to report that a children’s clothing store owner in Harbin had molested children on the grounds of recruiting child models, and also posted tongue-in-cheek photos of himself and the children online.
The field of underwear in children’s clothing is even more flooded with soft pornography. On Little Red Book, many merchants post pictures of their products with little child models wearing underwear. It is not uncommon to see these poses with pouting buttocks, kneeling, and open thighs. More than one mother has posted an article complaining, “I can’t imagine my daughter being photographed in such a pose. “
Not to mention the “Children’s Vimy Show” and other children’s swimsuit beauty contests, which have long been secretly a hunting ground for pedophiles.
The demand is high, the threshold is low, the lack of regulation, has become the norm of this child model jungle.
As the source of the birth of child models, there are many training institutions of varying standards, using the parents’ “hope that their children will become dragons” mentality, to defraud the training costs.
There are training institutions to three years of packaging training, take the international top competition gold medal as a condition, the price of nearly 240,000 yuan “tuition”. However, after the parents signed the contract and selected 100 child models to compete in the United States, but found that all the participants are Chinese children, and everyone has a prize, the so-called “international competition The so-called “international competition” simply does not live up to its name.
The child model world is not just a “stage” for children to showcase themselves, as one might imagine, but behind the scenes is a dark and shadowy place that is still waiting to devour every child model family that wants to become famous overnight. The children’s families who want to become famous overnight.
When it comes to the future, these children all seem to have their own answers. Yang Yang wants to go to school well, Niu Niu wants to rest well, Ye Zuming wants to “earn more money and marry a beautiful wife like Diligaba”, while Xiao Xuan wants to help his parents pay off the mortgage as soon as possible. The house loan.
These children and their parents came from all over the country, gathered in the spotlight like a pilgrimage, and then scattered away when the lights went out.
The studio of the children’s model market is still busy, but the young children, like the tide, have changed wave after wave.
The question of whether the spotlight is the children’s stage or the fame and fortune of the adults is not answered.