Columns and stories of life from the Fredericksburg area.
Tots ought to be in pictures—and are
MILESTONES: MODELING FOR CARTER’S, MACY’S
BY LIANA BAYNE
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
If you’ve visited Spotsylvania Towne Centre recently, you’ve probably seen Christina Thomas’ kids.
Her son, Jawaan Paul Harris Jr., is currently the face of Carter’s layette clothing line for boys. You can see Jawaan’s ads in the Belk and JCPenney stores in the Towne Centre.
Her daughter, Janelle Thomas, was in the Macy’s catalog and print advertisements for Mother’s Day.
Thomas, who lives in Spotsylvania County, started thinking about getting her kids into modeling when Janelle, almost 2, was only 10 months old.
“She’s always in the camera,” Thomas said.
Family friends encouraged Thomas to send Janelle’s photos to a child casting agency in New York City.
“Her personality makes her stand out,” Thomas said. “She’s different.”
Modeling agencies submit photos to casting directors. If the directors are interested, they request in-person meetings and those lead to jobs.
Janelle first modeled headbands for Creations by Carey, a North Carolina-based company, when she was a year old. Her latest ad for Macy’s Mother’s Day advertisements was printed nationally.
When Jawaan came along, Thomas sent his photos to New York, too.
“Everyone always told me they’re so cute,” she said.
Jawaan was selected to be the face of Carter’s new baby boy layette line when he was 4 months old.
The family traveled six hours by Amtrak to New York City, where Jawaan was one of 50 babies considered for the position.
Thomas said Jawaan and Janelle have been singled out for additional casting meetings, but it can be hard to take two young children on the train to New York. Thomas works as a nurse, and the children attend daycare.
She thinks having them in day care has helped their modeling success.
“My kids interact with other people well,” she said. “They’re really outgoing.”
“Your kid has to have a good temperament” to model, she said.
Thomas said she wants to get Janelle and Jawaan into film and commercials next, so she met with film casting agents in July.
“I want them to continue,” she said.
She said the selection process “isn’t based on looks.” She said companies often aren’t searching for the next star, they want a baby who looks like your next-door-neighbor’s kid.
She said if parents want their kids to model, they need to “be patient, and be committed.”
She also recommended finding a reputable modeling agency that won’t take advantage of young models. Some jobs pay $1,000 per shoot, so it’s important to find companies that will give young models a large percentage of the pay and won’t violate child labor laws pertaining to how many hours they can work.
Thomas said she’s started a savings account for her two little ones with the money they’ve made so far.
She said Janelle and Jawaan are just normal kids.
“Don’t think they’re special. Any kid can do it.”
Most importantly, “in our family, we put our faith first,” Thomas said.
“We asked God, ‘Is this good for them?’ and he has provided opportunities for us.”
Liana Bayne: 540/374-5444