Not just snaps in front of the Statue of Liberty or in
The Murray children, from
The journey started in January, when Murray's 9-year-old daughter, Peyton, left a tearful message on Murray's cellphone.
"I want to be on TV. Will you help me?" Peyton pleaded in the message, emotional after watching TV and deciding it was her calling.
Peyton, Murray's oldest child, had always been a natural entertainer: the one who reveled on stage but also had a mature demeanor.
Murray, a stay-at-home mom who home-schools her two oldest children through a
"I wanted to teach Peyton that if you have a dream, you go for it,"
'Not all fun and games'
By February, Murray had researched
The agent agreed to represent them on the spot. When Murray mentioned she had two other daughters, Blayke, 2, and Saylor, 5, the agent asked to see photos on Murray's camera phone and instantly agreed to represent them, too.
She and a live-in nanny brought the kids north in mid-May and settled into a hotel in a
Adjusting to the pace of
Peyton and Chase's online school year didn't end until early June, so they had several hours of schoolwork to complete each day.
Calls about casting auditions would come in, sometimes several a day, and the family would traverse the city by subway, bus and cab. The nanny would take three of the kids to a park or attraction while Murray accompanied the designated child to the casting call or shoot.
Texts from her agent had to be answered within minutes, or they'd lose out on an audition. Casting directors would text Murray in the middle of the night asking for her kids to appear before them the next day.
"It's not all fun and games," Murray says.
But the jobs started immediately, and, she says, the kids were having fun.
When Peyton was picked to model in a fashion spread for the Italian magazine Vogue Bambini, she and her mom were astonished to learn that the hairstylist had been flown in from
Peyton says smiling came easy when modeling back-to-school and holiday fashions for retailers Little MisMatched,
Three of the kids worked on a marketing campaign for
On some jobs, the children were paid an hourly rate for all the fittings and modeling work --
Some kids spend the summer modeling in
Chase modeled for print ads including
Even Blayke, 2, got a piece of the action, modeling in a Toy R Us ad. Some of the ads, such as the back-to-school ad for Little MisMatched, have already appeared online and in print. Others, like the Gap Kids holiday ads, won't appear for some time.
During their free time, the Murrays explored the city, riding bikes through
When the six weeks were done, the jobs were still coming. The kids weren't tiring of the auditions and shoots, Murray says, so she decided to stay until the beginning of August.
Sure, the pace was hectic, Murray says, but she and her kids bonded in a unique way over the summer, sharing a king bed, exploring a new city and enjoying travel and food adventures all along the way.
"It was a great chance for us to go to
'Dedicated to my work'
With school starting again, Murray says she doesn't have a master plan for her kids' modeling and acting careers.
Chase and Peyton returned to
In addition to her agents in
Presenting herself comes easily to Peyton, who seems to bask in the glow of a newspaper photographer's camera at her family's expansive
She says she enjoys being in front of the camera, and getting her hair and makeup done before shoots is "really fun. You get these hairstyles you never could do with your own hair," she says.
Did she ever grow weary of rushing to auditions and photo shoots?
"Sometimes I was like, 'Please can I just take a break?' But I'm pretty dedicated to my work, so I'd just get up and go."
"The key is being natural," Carter says. "Peyton is very comfortable in her skin and is a very natural talent."
"It's really the luck of the draw. I've had kids go up to
Murray says she wants her children to grow into well-rounded kids who have time for sports teams and sleepovers and summer camps.
"It's important to not be so focused (on modeling or acting) that the only thing in your life is this."
Murray says she's well aware of the crushing pressures to be thin enough or sexy enough that female models experience once they hit puberty. She says she's considered a forced modeling hiatus for her kids once they reach the teen years.
But for now, the work is fun, she says. Her kids are young and the lifestyle fits.
"They grew up a lot this summer," Murray says, smiling.
And she has the pictures to prove it.
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