"Are these your children?" she asks. I nod, yes. She immediately turns her attention to Jewel.
"You are absolutely beautiful," she says.
Jewel smiles but says nothing. I already know where this is going, but I keep my mouth shut. I am curious to see how Jewel will respond.
"Your hair is so long and gorgeous!" the woman gushes. "What's your name?"
Jewel gives her name quietly, watchfully. We're both waiting for the pitch. We've been through this before.
"Well, I'm a recruiter for TV and movies," the woman says. "Have you watched shows like Hannah Montana?"
Jewel nods, yes.
"My agency represents kids like you and we can get you a part in a show or a commercial!"
The woman has not once looked at me. Clearly, as the parent I am irrelevant. But I'm not angered or even really surprised. This is how the entertainment industry works. This is life in Southern California.
"What do you think?" the recruiter asks Jewel. "Would you like to be an actress? Would you like to do a screen test this afternoon?"
"Well," says Jewel, not skipping a beat, "you'll have to talk to my Mom about that."
Take that, Hollywood!
The recruiter is startled. She hems and haws and then looks at me (for the first time), "Wow, she's a pretty smart girl."
"Yup!" I say.
"So, what do you think?" she says to me, as if only now my permission matters. "Can Jewel join us this afternoon?"
"We'll see," I say, vaguely. I take the brochure she offers and the sample screen test script--a toothpaste commercial, I think. She writes down her name and says to be sure to say hello. We nod and smile and she walks away.
There's no point in lecturing the recruiter on the exploitive nature of show biz, or what happens to a pretty little girl who gets her own TV show and then is asked to strip half-n*ked and pose for a famous photographer. These people have no problem exploiting children to sell their products.
In fact, they don't call it exploitation. They call it art.
Instead of reprimanding the recruiter (who is herself a victim of the industry), I talk with my daughter about real beauty: a heart that fears the Lord. My daughter doesn't need strangers to tell her she's beautiful. Her father tells her this every day and not because of her looks, but because of who she is. Her worth is not dependent upon her ability to smile and say, "Wow, this toothpaste tastes just like bubble gum!"
Her intrinsic worth never depreciates, no matter how old she grows or how many babies "ruin" her figure. She is precious because God made her in His image. I will not allow Hollywood to teach her otherwise.
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised." Pro. 31:30