Character Types: Moms of TV
As with almost any type of role, there are a million different subtypes within the category of “mom”. A mom role runs the gamut from Gloria Pritchett on Modern Family to the perennial June Cleaver on Leave It To Beaver to Alicia Florrick in The Good Wife. As with all headshots, it’s important to be very honest about your look. Your look will help determine the kinds of “mom” roles you are best cut out to pursue, which in turn will determine the kind of headshot you want to take.
Here are 5 types of moms and what kind of looks they might present to help you get started.
1.) Traditional Soccer Mom
For this look, your wardrobe choices should be simple, understated, functional and relatively modest. Think about easy-care/ easy-wear clothing, hairstyles and accessories. Ponytails, no iron blouses and sweater sets are quintessential “soccer mom” items, as are capris, yoga pants, track suits, driving shoes or loafers and plain tennis shoes or sneakers. Keep colors neutral and prints small. For accessories, choose neutral items that would go with a number of outfits, such as a simple chain and pendant, wedding band and maybe a simple tank watch. Classic soccer moms include Jill Taylor on Home Improvement and Lorelai Gilmore in Gilmore Girls.
2.) Executive Mom
As with all moms, the key here is simple and functional. While executive mom will obviously be more inclined towards business suits and slightly more tailored outfits, the idea is that once again, mom doesn’t have a lot of time to dress in the morning. In addition, Executive mom may lean more towards a wardrobe in a neutral palette so as to be able to change pieces with ease when the kids get messy. Stay away from designer suits with lots of detail or suits that are overly form fitting or aggressively tailored. Accessories don’t have to be quite as neutral and understated as Soccer Mom’s, but aim for pieces that are still neutral enough to be worn with a few different outfits. Sarah Paulson did a fantastic job of playing an Executive Mom in FX’s recent series The People vs. OJ Simpson. Other great examples of Executive Mom are Téa Leoni in Madame Secretary, Julianna Marguiles in The Good Wife and Joan Allen in The Family.
3.) Hippie Mom
The Hippie Mom essentially bucks many of the trends of being a mom, but still presents a certain “mom image” – untraditional as it may be. Hippie mom may wear lots of chunky jewelry, scarves and loose, somewhat shapeless clothing, but for your headshot, be sure that if you wear an item like a peasant top, you take a tip from models and use clothes pins or binder clips to gather up loose material in the back. Casting agents still want to see something of your general overall shape, so make sure that you give the impression of wearing something loose and flowing that doesn’t end up looking like a tent in a headshot. As with all headshots, you want to still have neat, tidy, pressed or steamed clothes with no wrinkles. Also, for headshots, instead of opting for a lot of jewelry, which may clutter the photo and draw attention away from your face, maybe opt for one or two medium sized jewelry pieces, such as a turquoise ring or heavier silver earrings. A great example of Hippie Mom is Alicia Florrick’s mother Veronica Loy on The Good Wife.
4.) Flamboyant Mom
Flamboyant Mom will often wear bright colors, chunky jewelry and more curve-hugging and form fitting clothes. Flamboyant mom is much more concerned with her appearance and is the most likely to still have acrylic nails and a high maintenance hairdo as well as a great spray on tan. While Flamboyant Mom may spend significantly more time on her wardrobe and appearance than other moms, she is still a mom- so think “aging starlet.” Some great examples of Flamboyant mom are Gloria Pritchett on Modern Family, Cookie Lyon on Fox’s Empire and Daisie Villa on Fox’s Rosewood.
5.) Young Mom
A new generation of up and coming young moms are refusing to sacrifice career for motherhood and are learning how to make them both work – and Hollywood is reflecting that. At one time, TV moms were most likely to be “middle aged” – but no longer. Unlike many of the other types of moms and moms of times past, young working moms are more likely to have help, and therefore are still doing their best to remain semi-fashionable and even get the roots touched up on their $100 highlights. If you are a late 20’s or older actress, it’s not a bad idea to have a mom headshot on tap. You could be the next Mindy Lahiri on The Mindy Project or Jane Villanueva on Jane the Virgin.