From around the age of 8 to about 13, I was a model. Yes, I once worked it.
Before anyone gets overwhelmed by images of catwalks, raining money, national commercials, and maybe bulimia, this was all local stuff; the work was not even unionized. And, to be honest, even locally I was not very popular. My brother was the popular one. He even had an agent before me. He is six-years younger than me, did a lot of local theater and had cute long curly hair. He played the camera, I stared dumbly at it.
So in a way, I was the twofer. “If you need an older brother for the cute kid, we have one ready for you!”
The first ad, I ever did was for a holiday commercial for Meijer. It was around GI Joe action figures, and for some reason they had me and this other boy dress in matching camouflage (because boys did that, coordinate their clothing with their toys). And for about 15 minutes, this stranger and I played with army toys on the ground (that was turned into less than five seconds on TV). Knowing me as a kid (and now), the image of me dressed like that playing with that kind of toy is kind of hilarious. That’s acting, that is!
Most of the work I did was around print ads, I would be brought into a photography studio, put on shorts or a shirt I would never consider wearing and pretend to laugh with strangers. Then on Sunday, my family and I would grab the newspaper, and scan for the local ad and image…. That would be followed by phone calls with family, pats on the back and then the ad being cut out for a scrapbook.
I didn’t like being in the spotlight (still don’t to a certain extent), but I liked the check. Sometimes I would buy a toy or book with it, many times I put it in an account (I would use most of it later in high school to buy a new alto saxophone). It was all a perfectly fine arrangement… until the night I decided I wouldn’t model again. Continue reading