Picture this: A rising college football star has to get surgery, and the surgeon's wife owns a modeling agency. So, while Bart Baldwin's football career ended, his modeling career kicked off.
"As a young guy, you look at magazines, but you don't think that that's actually a job," said Bart.
Then he meets Jessica Matthews. They marry a year later, and soon it's Jessica who finds herself in front of the camera. "I said, 'If you find the right person you're gonna wanna be together. And you'll just do it together. It would be, like, a team thing."
A "team thing" is right: meet the Baldwin Circus, as they like to call it … a family of seven, all of them working catalog models.
Bart and Jessica's children are William (age 7), Jeannie (10), Curtis (13), Barret (15) and Bonnie (17).
Bart said, "We joked, 'cause I'm kinda, like, known as 'the guy in the business with all the kids,' you know?"
Imagine "Take Your Child to Work Day"… every day. And the office can be the beach, the pool or exotic islands.
Chances are you've seen them; clients include clothing brands like Vineyard Vines and Brooks Brothers. And then there's Hanes and Pajamagram and Bass Pro Shops and Dell and Disney and Coca-Cola ... Get the picture?
The Baldwins have been on so many shoots, it's hard to keep track of it all. William said, "We've been traveling as a family so much in the car that we would be going around the world ten times."
Correspondent Serena Altschul met them all at the Edgewood Resort near Lake Tahoe in Nevada. This was the third time the resort booked the Baldwins for its advertisements.
The Edgewood Resort isn't the only repeat customer. Even Swiss luxury watchmaker Baume & Mercier capitalized on the fact that the Baldwins are a real family.
"It's not common to have a family like this, and especially not five children," said former modeling agent Karen Medina, who worked with the Baldwins for 17 years. "They've been on set since they were young kids. They know to show up and perform. It's their second nature. They don't even have to think about it. They just go on set and perform."
And during photoshoots, you can hear the kids keep saying "peas and carrots."
Bart said, "Well, if Jessica and I were having a conversation on camera, and it was real, like what we're saying now, then my mouth may make a funny shape. And they might catch your mouth making a funny shape. But if you say, 'peas and carrots,' your mouth always makes a pleasant [smile]. And so we have a lot of peas-and-carrots conversations."
Now, the Baldwins don't want you thinking their lives have always been "peas and carrots." If you're getting a little green with envy, just remember life is never picture perfect.
Baert said, "I tell them every time we do a job, because we don't take it for granted, 'Let's remember, this could be the last job.'"
While they make enough to live comfortably, not knowing when or where the next job might be has led to homeschooling. Jessica, who majored in education, treats the world as their classroom.
Altschul asked Bonnie, now a college student, "Do you ever feel like you're missing out on the way other kids do stuff?"
"I used to," she replied. "But not anymore."
Altschul asked, "Do you miss these guys?"
"Absolutely. All the time," she replied.
To which William queried, "Who do you miss mostly?"
This family of models is a model family. Said Jessica, "I think that the heart of our family is togetherness – learning, loving each other, and life. And so, I don't think that's gonna change. It may not be for the camera, and it may not be a job. But I don't think that part will ever change."
For more info:
- Follow the Baldwin family on Instagram
Story produced by Young Kim.
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