An Interview with A Gap Casting Call Finalist From Last Year, and A Statement From the Disney Family Team About This Year’s Contest

Sam: 2008 Gap Casting Call Finalist
Sam: 2008 Gap Casting Call Finalist

Though I just kind of fell into posting about the Gap Casting Call Contest by accident, it just so happens that out of the nearly 1 million entrants in last year’s contest, I happen to know a parent of one of the finalists. Shaina, mother of Sam, who was a 2008 finalist in the Boys category, was kind enough to answer a few questions over the email. Read our exchange below:

Bumpershine: How many photos did you submit when you entered the contest? Were they professional photos or just candid shots?
Shaina: Just one picture. It was a candid shot that I took myself.

Bumpershine: Which photo was the one that got you to the finals?
Shaina: This is it:
Sam's Gap Casting Call Contest Entry Photo

Bumpershine: Reading over the comments in my blog, everyone seems to be very concerned about two things: 1) How do you find out your kid is a Gap Casting Call contest finalist and more importantly, 2) when you find you out. First of all, did they call you or email you, or both? Second, because everyone really goes bonkers over this, do you remember exactly when you were notified about being a finalist? (Last year, potential finalists were supposed to be notified on or about November 1 and everyone seemed to start frantically emailing and calling the Gap around that time.)
Shaina: We found out on Halloween [October 31, 2008], at about 4 pm, someone from ePrize called me. I actually thought it was a practical joke.

Bumpershine: Did your son have any modeling experience prior to entering the Gap contest?
Shaina: No, he didn’t have any modeling experience.

Bumpershine: Did you use any social media tools to promote your son in the contest after the nominations were made public? Not that I’m suggesting sour grapes on your part, but do you think better PR campaigns had anything to do with the kids who won last year?
Shaina: We used facebook, we put flyers up at his school and our local Gap, our local paper ran a story about him and we were also on a local radio station. I’m not sure if more PR would have helped him win.

Bumpershine: It looked like you formed some cross-promotional alliances with the parents of children in other categories, do you think that helped at all?
Shaina: Perhaps… Kellen won in our category.

Bumpershine: Can you tell us a little bit about the finalists photo shoot? Did you sense any feelings of competitiveness, or was everyone just happy to be there?
Shaina: The photo shoot was a great experience, we had a “fitting” the first day, where they measured the clothes they had chosen for Sam and tailored them specifically for him. He also got a (great) haircut that day, and they shot a video of Sam and myself. The next day we went back for the photo shoot itself. The staff was amazing with him and all the families that we met were very friendly!

Bumpershine: Has your son done any more modeling since the Gap contest? Does he have an agent?
Shaina: No, and no.

Bumpershine: Is there any advice you’d like to offer to people entering the contest this year? Do you think there a specific “Gap Look” they are looking for?
Shaina: I did this totally on a whim, the children I met at the photo shoot were all beautiful, and did not fit any certain mold.

Bumpershine: What’s the secret to winning to the whole thing?
Shaina: Good question!!!

Thanks for your time Shaina!

Also, since it appears that people have been experiencing a lot of difficulty entering this year’s contest, I reached out to a representative from the Gap to address some of the concerns that people have been commenting about here. Here’s the statement I received from the Disney Family team:

We apologize for any delays Casting Call entrants have experienced. The response and number of entrants to the Casting Call website has been very strong and as a result some site guests have experienced delays during the entry process. Our team is working to address technical issues related to the entry process and we expect all issues to be resolved shortly. Note that any delays will in no way hinder an entrant’s ability to participate in the contest.

The Disney Family Team

Yes, I know. It’s less than what I had hoped for as well.


  1. chevelle says:

    Why do some kids have over 3000 votes already, how do they do it?

    1. Chandra says:

      Thats what I would like to know. On girl has over 34,000 votes in a month. Im pretty sure that there are some sort of computer manipulating things going on there. But if anyone has an answer I would love to hear it.

      1. Julie says:

        There i a computer program that generates random email address then ubmit a vote-this i why sites use password to protect against this-this iswierd top 2 are related-you can not compete fair if it i not fixed

  2. chevelle says:

    The interview was Helpful thanks Bumpershine

  3. Gloria says:

    The website (to enter the pictures) seems to be soooooo slow! I have entered 3 pics though!

  4. MM says:

    I can’t even get a page to load for the Registration button. Forget about voting or downloading shots. I just want to register. 🙁

  5. erh says:

    The voting must also be experiencing “technical difficulties” as a handful of children are up to almost 10,000 votes (most are in the hundreds) while I have watched people register and vote for my boys and the votes didn’t even show up… A little frustrating? From what I am hearing, plenty of parents are feeling pretty disheartened by this experience with GAP and Disney – there is clearly ‘unfair’ play here. 10,000 votes, really?

    1. Maureen H says:

      last i checked there are kids with over 25,000 votes!!! this is rediculous!

      1. Maureen H says:

        oops i mean ridiculous.

  6. Jennifer W says:

    In my opinion, Gap offering a contest like this is a wonderful opportunity for 20 children, one that they should remember for the rest of their lives. In addition, Gap and their sponsors chose the top 20. I say give them a break, and some praise for even doing this or they may decide later not to. Partners with Disney Family was a great idea. One thing I love about the Gap commericals is that the models look natural. Maybe Dove would be a great sponsor next year, they have a wonderful campain for being beautiful the way you are and loving yourself. Born to me in Gap Jeans…just a thought.

    1. Jennifer W says:

      I meant Born to be me in Gap Jeans…sorry it is late…

  7. Maria says:

    I have no idea how some entries already have thousands of votes! The site runs very slowly that registering to vote is becoming a hassel to family members that I have asked to participate and vote. To my knowledge.. Gap decides a winner and the voting is just for FAN FAVORITE, correct? It’s like a consolation prize? Correct me if I’m wrong. =) good luck to everyone!

  8. liza says:

    i just submitted five entries of 2 of my eldest boy and another 3 of my youngest , i agree it took forever to load and i had been trying to register for about three days. there are many beautiful children out there. I would love it if my kids had an opportunity to be in the finals …

  9. Brendamundt says:

    I cannot even find a place where people are supposed to vote!!! They sent me an email saying I could post some link on Facebook, etc. but when anyone clicks there no voting button appears….. so frustrating!

  10. momrunz says:

    i entered my two girls (alas, beautiful 12-yr-old son is too old!), and got their picture up without too much trouble. i have voted for them every day (slow, but it happens..however, i am very concerned about the fact that they do not appear in the picture gallery, ever. the pictures in the gallery appear to include a wide range of entries (some have heads cut off, etc.), so i don’t know what the criteria are for inclusion in the gallery.

    do the judges see the non-gallery pictures? i am a really crazy-busy mom who is not on Facebook and doesn’t like to bug my friends and (very small) family. i spend most of my time helping my children with their massive amounts of homework, driving them to irish dance, figure skating, rock climbing, jazz combo, etc. Also, my dad is not well right now, so my family’s concerns are with things other than contests at the moment! i thought that the fan favorite contest and the “model” contest were supposed to be separate. if this is not so, then the “random sampling” is not really random…

    i agree that it is great that GAP is having this contest. the kids are all beautiful; it’s so fun to see them. i just want to make sure that ALL photos are considered, not just the gallery ones.

    my son was a model when we lived in London (he was 8 months – 3 years) and we had a blast. the scene was not very stage-mothery at all. we just took polaroid-type shots, and he just hung out with other babies and played at the shoots. we never did it when we came back to the US, though, because i thought it would all be too Jon-Benet. maybe i’m wrong, though?

    good luck to everyone!

  11. granny4 says:

    my grand daughter is a contestant–we play by the rules no computer generating votes —you are so right –not once has her picture been shown on the gallery—very upsetting to a proud grandma

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