How to get your child’s foot in the door of a modeling agency in Japan

By on May 23, 2017

“My new tear sheets are cool, I have a first option for the ‘Hysteric’ job and a second keep for Thursday but my rain days overlap!”

This is ‘model speak’ from the mouth of my 13-year-old supermodel. We have entered the cut-throat world of kids modeling. Put aside your ideas of cute, lovable baby shots. We are talking sophisticated, ultra cool fashion images: glamor, glitz and eyeliner, just like the grown ups. Look around the high street. The kids are at the helm, gracing our billboards and magazines. Young Heidis and Giselles in the making.



How do we get our little darlings into the fame game? Living in Japan allows us the luxury of being able to get onto the books of agencies remarkably easily. Everyone has a chance of getting a piece of the action, but the Vogue cover can be a long way away. Many never get beyond the first audition. Kids being kids, they take everything in their stride and lap up the modeling experience, getting familiar with the lights, the cameras, and the long waits. It is the parents’ role that takes the real getting used to, either as an RSP (a Responsible Stage Parent) who copes well with the two-hour casting and the nightmare job on Mount Fuji, or as a PSM (a Pushy Stage Monster) who is out for every job and is prepared to overdress, hassle and push in the name of  fame and a fistful of yen.


A good agency is essential; your agent is the go-between for you and the job. Make sure you work with a reputable one. A real agency won’t ask you to pay for professional pictures although a nominal registration fee is required by some to deter time wasters. Generally, you play the field and belong to a handful of agencies. Often you are offered the same audition and have to choose your loyalty. There are a lot of e-mails and calls arranging castings but all the big agencies are highly professional and have decades of experience and hundreds of kids on their books.


When the phone rings, be honest. This is a business and one that relies on seriousness and punctuality like any other. Agencies will soon drop you if you muck them around. There are plenty more ‘faces’ to take your place, so if you have any doubts about availability just say no. Prepare your book (the book/portfolio usually starts as a glorified family album. Expect the agency to reject your family favorites. It is all par for the course).


The manager is your chaperone. Be at the audition on time; the universe doesn’t revolve around you and your kids. There are hundreds of potential stars up for the same part. It’s here that the reality sets in. If it’s a casting for a television commercial, chances are you are in for a long wait. Come prepared with books, homework, and games. Finally, your ‘star’ is called into the audition room and, before you know it, they are out. Hours of waiting and just two minutes to make their mark. I ask, “How did it go?” They answer, “…they didn’t even look at my book! They wanted a 15-year-old girl with blond hair and blue eyes!” Your child is 10 years old with dark brown hair. Always confirm the audition information. Don’t be discouraged, it happens to the best. Sit tight and wait for the next audition.


model: Tiger


You got the job. Congratulations! This is the fun part. Both location work and studio jobs are great fun. Location usually means early morning starts and lots of snacks through out the shooting. Locations can be exotic or dire. Imagine shooting on Mount Fuji wearing summer gear in winter time. Hand warmers and down jackets don’t really do the trick. Having said that, it’s always a blast for the kids. The stage parent, whether they are a ‘RSP’ or a ‘PSM’, has to take a back seat and feelings of redundancy set in. Photographers, stylists, and make up artists are easy-going and tend to control the flow of the day as much as possible. Often they work in regular teams and a happy vibe surrounds the shoot. The kids generally warm to the environment. Expect a few nightmares: late shooting and terrible traffic jams on the way home. It can be a long day for everyone and the following day at school can be tough.


Modeling is an amazing thing for you and your kids to experience. It’s always been a rewarding one for our family; however, it isn’t for everyone. Avoid the pitfalls of the PSM syndrome if you can, and most importantly, don’t expect success to last. Kids grow, features change and the fashion barometer takes over. Some parents argue it builds confidence and self-esteem, while others claim it breeds obnoxious, self centered behavior (from some of the parents as well!).

Go try your luck and theirs. Rent the DVD Zoolander to get you and your supermodel in the mood. Check out the fashion magazines and get your kids to put on a fashion show, practice a few poses, take some pictures and head for the agencies. Before you know it, they’ll be buying their own designer outfits.


K&M 03-3404-9429

Junes 03-5469-5331

Sugar and Spice 03-5469-5331

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Models: Alisa and Tiger

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About Heather Day


  1. Achini

    January 7, 2018 at 11:48 am

    How can I apply this

  2. Mary jane Logatiman aoki

    November 8, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    Hi can my baby for commercial

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