Look Ma I'm a model

Look Ma I'm a model
"Other kids learn piano and ballet. My child learns how to interact and work with other kids and adults." - Ms Maia Lee on why she allows her daughter, Julka Phoenix Lee-Zidov, to take on modelling assignments.

SINGAPORE - Little Julka Phoenix Lee-Zidov has more than $30,000 in the bank. She is just five and a prolific child model.

This year, she has done more than 13 assignments, including a TV commercial for Sentosa and print advertisements for shopping mall VivoCity.

Last year, she did 26, encouraged by her mother.

Ms Maia Lee, 31, owner of a children's costume boutique, says: "My daughter has the looks and talent, so why not use them?

"She enjoys the shoots. And I put her earnings in a separate bank account for her future expenses, such as university fees or to start a business."

While the money can be pretty attractive - a four-hour assignment involving photo and video shoots can pay from $300 to more than $1,000 - it is the fun of doing the assignments that draws some kids.

For six-year-old Kaeden Choo, it is all about role-playing and dressing-up.

The boy says: "I like to wear different clothes and take photos in them."

His mother, freelance photographer Lena Chan, 38, says: "During lull periods, he'll even ask if there are assignments for him."

It is the same story for the children of Ms Syafeena. The 37-year-old tuition centre owner, who goes by only one name, started taking her two sons - Amir Shaqile, 11, and Irfan Shahzaad, nine - for shoots last year after a family friend noticed that they like to role-play at home.

"They love pretending to be waiters and doctors, and mimicking British accents they hear on TV," she says.

Parents of child models whom SundayLife! spoke to say they do not see downsides to allowing their children to do commercial shoots.

Acting, Ms Syafeena says, teaches her children how to understand and explore emotions, and instils in them a good work ethic.

She says: "Sometimes, scenes have to be reshot and the kids no longer find it fun. But going through the reshoots teaches them discipline and how to work as a team."

For Ms Lee, her daughter is picking up soft skills on the set of commercial shoots.

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