What it takes to make your kid a star

Posted at 10:16 PM, Feb 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-26 22:41:01-05

Has anyone ever told you, "Your baby is so cute he or she could model"?

Or maybe that "your child is destined for Broadway or Hollywood"?

All parents think their child is extra special, but what does it really take for him or her to become a star?

You know the old saying, "how do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice."

If you are the parent of the next "Gerber baby" or stage and screen sensation, it takes sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice.

13-year-old Charlotte Krieger was born with a powerful and beautiful voice. But she puts in hours of practice perfecting it.

"I love the sweat, the hard work, says Charlotte. The best part is working so hard and putting on a show that's amazing!"

"Things I don't think she is capable of, she's like, I can do this. And she nails it", says Charlotte's mom Tracie Krieger.

Charlotte has been taking voice and acting lessons at StarStruck Performing Arts Center in Stuart since she was 8 years old.

Talent runs in the family. Her 11-year-old brother Ben is currently traveling around the world as part of the international touring company of "Pippen."

Tracie, devotes everyday making sure her children have what it takes to succeed.

Tracie says, "People talk about spoiling kids. I don't buy my kids a lot of toys, clothes or vacations. But if they want a voice or dance lesson ot want to be in a show that costs a lot of money or go to a theatre camp I'm not gonna say no. I say yes to everything because it makes them happy."

Jennifer Jones and her husband Peter own StarStruck Performing Arts Center. Jennifer can tell pretty quickly if a kid has star power, "There is a sparkle. A way they project their voice, their energy. It doesn't mean they can sing, dance and act but they have something, the 'it' factor."

Jennifer is upfront with her parents from day one about the financial commitment: Private lessons run $90 an hour. The 5 month Musical Theatre program costs approximately $800.

She's also realistic about the amount of time parents will have to spend driving their kids to their lessons and encourages them to set realistic expectations.

"When a parent comes in and says I want my child to be a star, I say I will help find out how your child is going to shine. It's not all about being center center. Not at all. It's about finding out what you love and pursuing it and not giving up on your dreams," Jennifer says.

Many parents dream of seeing their adorable babies on a television commercial or the front page of a glossy catalog.  Meredith Blackwell is a talent manager and owner of Taylor Made Talent. She helps make those come true but says it's a competitive business. Meredith says, "I get a lot of emails and they all start out the same way,  'Everybody tells me my child should model.' The reality is, not every child can. If a baby is very fussy or scared of strangers or doesn't want to leave moms side, that's not going to work out."

Meredith's company was born out of personal experience. Her daughter Taylor began modeling as an infant. Booked her first commercial at the age of 5.

"I didn't know a single thing about child or baby modeling at the time. I had to learn it from the ground up," Meredith says.  "I took a leap of faith and went to auditions and she started booking things and it took off from there."

Meredith's advice to parents is straightforward: Get used to rejection. Expect twenty "no's" to one "yes".  Be flexible and get comfortable being in your car.

"You might have to go 10-20-30 times before your child books something. Consider the gas money and a lot is in Miami so driving to and from and you have to consider your time," she says.

The gamble paid off for Taylor who is a 17-year-old actress with a number of movie and television roles to her credit. Such as "Dolphin Tale 2" and "Army Wives".

Magic City, the Starrz Network original series, is what she considers her break out role when she was 12.

"It's pretty inspiring just to stand and watch in the down time and take in all that talent," says Taylor Blackwell. "I learned so much from that. If you kid really wants to work in this business you have to support them. Of course, this is the arts and it's going to be a big risk but if you're passionate enough you are going to get where you need to be I believe that."

If you child is destined for Hollywood, Broadway or modeling, they are probably going to need a manager and an agent. Meredith Blackwell says the manager will be paid roughly 10% of whatever jobs are booked,  the agent will get another 20%.

For more information on this story contact Meredith Blackwell at or Jennifer Jones at