Money Matters: How much does it REALLY cost to raise a Child Star?

Money Matters: How much does it REALLY cost to raise a Child Star?


As parents we are hard-wired to provide for our children’s needs. We do our best to give them what they want as well, (within reason of course!). So when your kid takes up an activity, hobby or sport you may find yourself digging deep into your pockets to help fuel their passions. Having a child model or actor is no different. It is first and foremost a business. and businesses have expenses. Just as some parents are willing to shell out money for new uniforms, team travel, private lessons and coaching, you should also expect to spend money on the training, and tools necessary to hone your child’s craft.

I came across an excellent article on Backstage which lays out many of the costs that can occur when you are trying to get your child started in modeling, acting, dance, or all of the above. The article states:

“On average, parents are spending anywhere from $25,000–$36,000 per year to keep their children competitive in the business. Is it necessary? Yes and no. There are many successful children whose parents spend considerable sums for training and exposure within the industry.

Is it the only way to break into the industry? Not necessarily. I have clients on all ends of the financial spectrum. True talent and luck have furthered the careers of countless children.”

Yes…you read that right!  And while it may not be everyone, the numbers are not far off – especially when you are dealing with high-priced cities like NY and LA. Living expenses alone can break your budget if you are not originally from the area!

The short list of expenses include:

  • Professional photos for portfolios and headshots
  • Public transportation, gas, tolls, tickets, parking
  • Wardrobe
  • Private lessons, voice, acting, audition prep
  • Classes and Workshops – dance, theater, improv, voice
  • Camps
  • Wardrobe, Accessories, Costumes
  • Union Fees
  • Schooling
  • Child Care

Also – keep in mind that for many kids – especially just starting out – the pay they make from booking gigs may not exceed your initial expenses. I can honestly say that after working for a year that my son recouped the initial investment but not by much. As a non-union kid he has had mostly gigs that pay him $100-$200 and hour on the low-end however he has also booked a few larger jobs that paid $1000 or more.

This information is not to be confused with the age old question of paying for modeling jobs, agents, representation etc. Agencies and managers get paid on commission ONLY, not by charging upfront fees. If this is all a bit confusing please see this article on getting started  and  getting an agent.

Of course as I have mentioned before the real joy comes in seeing your child in print, or perform on stage. But at some point you have to be realistic about your child’s talent, ability, commitment, and potential in the industry before you break the bank in pursuit of stardom.

For a look at the full article visit Backstage.

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