Diane Mizota: My show biz friends always say to get your kid in and out of the business before they're 2. Make some college money, sock it away and get out. Your kid won't even remember it. Sounds great.
I wasn't exactly the most proactive mom in our limited foray into show business. I submitted my son's picture to a baby manager (yes, these actually exist). Never heard back. We auditioned and got called back for a commercial. Didn't get it.
Auditioning has been part of my profession for the last 15 years and I accept the craziness of going into casting rooms and being judged. Rejection comes with the territory. However, the thick skin I've developed in this business disappeared when it came to my son. I couldn't take trying to conjure up his wicked molten cuteness on the spot to have strangers judge him worthy of selling their product. Pimping out my kid just felt weird.
He modeled in a catalog shoot for a friend's clothing line.
"Get those bubbles!"
"Hug Sally!! Hug her!!"
Oh. My. God. In the span of one photo shoot, I had become the thing I revile most: a
Stage Mom. What was I doing? Trying to get him to perform his bag of toddler tricks felt so cheap and wrong. I decided right then to enjoy his childhood privately. He's a kid, not a commodity. Pound for pound, he's the most hilariously entertaining person I know and I don't need to prove it to anyone. Why bring all that judgment and rejection into his life...isn't that what high school is for anyway?
Mission accomplished. My kid has dipped in and out of the business all before his second birthday. No birthday parties missed, no permanent scars, no maniacal stage mom. College money earned: 0 dollars. Not having to spend his childhood in casting offices and soundstages: priceless.
*(Of course, there are plenty of kids and parents who thrive in this business, and coming up, I will be writing more entries profiling other families' successes and failures in this crazy business.)
|Diane Mizota is an accomplished TV host, actor, writer and producer who began her career as a professional dancer. She is a first-time mom who currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and toddler son.|