When asked to pose for a photo, many small children tense up and present a self-conscious, often goofy version of themselves. They tilt their heads, smile crookedly and hunch their shoulders. They might even stick out their tongues.
Smile nicely, their parents plead.
Five-year-old Claire McKenzie, who was recently photographed by Times/Review with her mother, Erica, at their Laurel home, is different.
Claire, who began modeling professionally last year, appeared uncharacteristically savvy and poised as she lounged on a plush couch.
The Cutchogue East Elementary School kindergartner needed no instruction as she delivered a series of casual but confident smiles, her blond locks cascading to her waist.
She’s had practice: Claire’s first modeling job, for a Long Island pool toy company, took place last summer.
“She loved it,” Ms. McKenzie, vice president and sales manager at Andrew Stype Realty in Mattituck, said of her middle child. She has two other children, Andrew, 7, and Whitney, 1, with husband, Alex, who works for a Setauket hedge fund.
Encouraged by Claire’s positive reaction to the experience, Ms. McKenzie sent her daughter’s headshots to New York City modeling agencies. Claire signed with Generation Model Management in November.
“Since then, she’s been busy,” Ms. McKenzie said.