Agent Cindy Osbrink says she can see the thing that makes a child a star almost right away.
“When I first saw Dakota Fanning, she was only 5, but she just lit everything up,” says Osbrink, who also represents Dakota’s younger sister Elle. “Discovering a talent like her is what makes me love my job.”
Osbrink launched her own tenpercentery over a decade ago, when the agent who was representing her own children retired. “I thought I’d do it myself, so I went to UCLA and took every entertainment business class I could find,” she explains. Though her own children later decided they wanted to do other things, Osbrink stayed in the business.
“In the last five years, kids are getting more famous because of the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, and the paparazzi and the media have responded to that,” Osbrink says. “It’s just everywhere now, so we’ve opened our own PR department here in the office.”
Osbrink’s method is to prepare her clients for dealing with the press: “We’ve basically media-trained the kids in how to remain positive during press junkets and how to be gracious to your fans, because without them you wouldn’t be famous.”
Osbrink also deals with parents pushing a child into the business. “I ask kids if they had a choice between skateboarding and going to an audition, which they’d prefer,” she says. “If they tell me skateboarding, I know right there, because a kid who really wants it will miss their best friend’s birthday just to be on a set.”
Recent breakthrough: “Developing a program to prepare young stars to deal with the media.”
Role model: Impressed by clients Dakota Fanning, Raven-Symone, Jenna Boyd and Tyler James Williams: “They were all naturally talented and confident.”
What’s next: Client Elle Fanning is filming “Nutcracker: The Untold Story,” while Williams looks forward to more of “Everybody Hates Chris.”