Children are often called cute at a young age, but a Tylertown toddler’s looks landed him on magazine covers before he was even out of diapers.
Brian Martin Jr. has been a child model for the past two years, something he is just coming to grips with because he is only 3.
The beginning of the whole process started not long after Brian was born, his mother Kelly Martin said.
“It really started out with my husband and when his friends came over they would say that there is just something about his eyes,” she said. “I submitted to Brittany Carter with Little Angelz Nation Agency out of Atlanta, Georgia, and that is how it started.”
Kelly eventually switched her son to a new agency known as C2 Kids, which opened the door even further.
“The other company, C2 Kids, she does Gerber, Baby Joggers, Graco and Levis, so she does multiple companies,” she said.
And when his modeling career took off, it was a shock for Kelly and her husband, Brian Martin Sr.
Brian has enjoyed the success with becoming a child model, gracing the covers of Hollywood Stars Kids Magazine and Maelle Kids, among others.
But his journey hasn’t been easy.
The couple had tried for years to start a family.
“Me and my husband had been married for 10 years and we have been praying for a child and we almost gave up,” Kelly said. “We had our 10-year anniversary and we had a party and the next month they told me that I was expecting a child.”
“At about six months, I noticed something” on his groin, she said. “It was getting bigger and bigger and I told my husband that this wasn’t right.
“When he went for his checkup I told the doctor, ‘This doesn’t look right to you,’ and she set us up with an appointment at the hospital for kids in Jackson.”
At the appointment, Brian was barely a year old at the time. Doctors performed a scan and not long afterward, the Martins received grim news — a mass was found in his groin and needed to be removed immediately.
“They removed it and told us to come back and follow up after two weeks,” she said. “At the follow up they said that it had cancer cells in it. They got it in time so he didn’t have to have chemo.”
Since then Brian Jr. has been going to frequent checkups and over the next two years, which started out as weekly but have since spread out to monthly visits to Jackson.
Kelly submitted her son’s story to kidscasting.com and it not only published but it also helped get his foot in the door.
His career has since snowballed and Kelly anticipates that to continue.
Kelly loves the more relaxed freedom from the agency on Brian Jr’s looks.
“They just want you to keep up with their current weight and height and they just match him up with other families (with similar looks),” she said.
The Martins are elated with their son’s success and the fact that they found his path at such a young age. They have since had a daughter, Keyané, who is three months old.
Kelly jokes that she might become a model like her older brother, who is becoming more aware with what is going on with his modeling career.
“He is understanding it a lot more now,” Kelly said. “He would say, ‘Momma I want to take a picture, I want to take a picture.’ ”