Five-year-old brand model poses for ArtPrize

3:07 PM, Aug 8, 2013   |    comments
Bronsen Chapman, 5, of Brighton Township has modeled for Step 2, Little Tikes, American Greetings and other clients. 'He's always seemed older,' said his mother, Jen Chapman. / GILLIS BENEDICT/DAILY PRESS & ARGUS
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(Livingston Daily Press & Argus)-- Bronsen Chapman enjoys monitoring his family's sprinkler system and "mowing" the lawn. He also can give you an earful about suction and wind tunnel power of vacuums.

Not bad for a 5-year-old.

"He's always seemed older," said his mother, Jen Chapman. "Sometimes I think, 'I just want you to play with Legos.' "

The boy has learned all about vacuums from watching countless infomercials, his preferred TV selection. What's more is that he himself has become the face of several companies in national advertisements.

The Brighton Township boy has modeled for Step 2, Little Tikes, American Greetings, the Detroit Zoo, and Spartan Toyota, to name a few. His latest gig was posing for a painting submitted to the 2013 ArtPrize international art competition in Grand Rapids.

Bronsen is signed with three nonexclusive agencies in Southfield, Grand Rapids and Cleveland - all more than 45 miles from home. Luckily, model submissions at the agencies are done online, but the agencies' clients are typically rooted near their offices.

"We have no plans of moving to Hollywood or spending time in California," Jen Chapman said. "There's a lot that happens in Michigan."

Bronsen got his start modeling three years ago when his then-1-year-old sister, Kitsen, won an online "fresh faces" contest after Jen Chapman submitted her photo. Kitsen landed a shoot for K Bella Bambino, a custom children's clothing boutique in Grand Rapids.

But the company also needed a boy. So, the then-2-year-old Bronsen also attended the shoot. He appeared in 10 photos, each time sporting a tie to match the dress of the girl he appeared with.

"I can remember that first photo shoot. when he just stood there," his mother said. "He was really quiet and did everything he was supposed to do.

"Now, he's having fun and is confident. He knows what he's doing is right. Before, he just kind of wasn't sure."

But modeling isn't always a smile plastered in front of a camera.

Shoots and even auditions can take place over a period of several weeks. Oftentimes, agencies don't reach out for models until the last minute - sometimes the night before. The 2012 Detroit Zoo commercial Bronsen was cast in, for example, required him to attend three auditions before he got the part, Jen Chapman said, and filming took 13 hours over a three-day period.

"Sometimes it can be overwhelming," she said.

At times, casting directors change the specifics of what they're looking for after first soliciting a call to agencies. Bronsen recently auditioned for a part in Ryan Gosling's "How to Catch a Monster," a movie filmed in Detroit and set for release in June. Jen Chapman was later notified that casting directors wanted actors ages 2-3, knocking him out of the running.

This fall may hold new challenges for Bronsen as he enters kindergarten at Cornerstone Christian School in Brighton Township. Jen Chapman said she and her husband, Mark, need to further discuss what type of opportunities warrant pulling him out of school.

"For us, it's OK to say no for a shoot if it's for the right reason," she said. "I feel like they expect it, but if they can't accept that we say no for an illness, maybe we shouldn't be doing it."

Mom said she wants her son to grow up "normal" doing "normal things" like playing sports after school. But for now, the interaction Bronsen gets with adults directing him during shoots gives him energy, his mother said.

"We really let him be our guide as far as if he wants to do it," she said. "He's never been in that kid stage, and it's not because of acting or modeling.

"He was speaking in full sentences at age 2, and wants to do what adults do."

Bronsen said he likes being in front of the camera, and modeling is "just fun."

He said his favorite gig so far was working as a product tester on a Fox 2 News segment with Hall of Shame reporter Rob Wolchek.

What did he model?

A Shark Lift-Around vacuum cleaner.

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