She’s a model child

  • By Debra Smith / Herald Writer
  • Monday, June 12, 2006 9:00pm
  • Life

It seemed like every place Tara and Kevin Nigh took their daughter, people would tell them she was cute enough to be in commercials.

It turns out those well-meaning strangers were right.

The Everett couple let their 3-year-old, Ashlyn, give modeling a try. On her first audition, the precocious preschooler landed the lead role in “Potty Rescue,” a national television commercial for Huggies Cleanteam bath products.

The spot features Ashlyn, now 4, sitting on the potty and enthusiastically pulling a disposable wipe from its container. Then the Everett girl is washing her hands with foamy soap. She grins and says, “This is fun!”

So far, Ashlyn has earned nearly $10,000 in royalties from the commercial, money her mom and dad put in a college fund. Her parents said it has been fun for friends and family to see the commercial on television.

Despite Ashlyn’s success, her parents said child modeling isn’t usually easy money.

Parents have to be ready to take children to auditions with little or no notice, said Tara Nigh, 29. Jobs can be few and far between for those outside entertainment markets like Los Angeles, Miami and New York. And it takes work to separate legitimate agencies from the scams.

Even if kids are invited to auditions, inevitably only a few get picked. Ashlyn was selected out of nearly 200 children from the Portland, Ore., and Seattle areas. Tara Nigh described her daughter’s selection as like winning the lottery.

“A lot of times it seems like it’s about being in the right place at the right time,” she said.

A combination of Ashlyn’s outgoing personality and curly locks helped land her the job, said her booking agent, Chersti Bray of ABC Model / Talent / Sport Management in Bellevue.

“She definitely stood out,” Bray said. “They liked her look, her curly brown hair and her personality.

“They didn’t want a model-type child. She is just a real kid; she wasn’t plastic.”

Casting agents are looking for children who are outgoing, follow instructions and listen well, Bray said. Since child actors work with a set full of strangers, it’s important they feel comfortable meeting new people.

As for Ashlyn’s acting future, her parents said they are in no hurry to make her into a child star.

Ashlyn didn’t get a job at a subsequent audition. At another for a catalog shoot, her infant sister, 9-month-old Kyleigh, was unexpectedly picked to model instead.

“The whole reason we did this was to put some money in the bank for college,” Tara Nigh said. “I’m not trying to launch her career. If this is something she wants to do, I’ll support her, but I am not going to push her into it.”

What did Ashlyn remember about acting in a commercial?

“I liked playing with the Barbies,” she said and grinned.

Reporter Debra Smith: 425-339-3197 or e-mail dsmith@ heraldnet. com.

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