Lots of kids earn their first paycheck from McDonald's, but Bradley Castro collected his a lot earlier than most.

TRAIL — Lots of kids earn their first paycheck from McDonald's, but Bradley Castro collected his a lot earlier than most.

The 8-year-old third-grader's face is one of three in a national advertising campaign for the restaurant chain that began Oct. 1.

A model for Medford's IMD modeling and talent agency, Bradley was chosen from hundreds of applicants to appear in the commercials, which are appearing on nine networks.

His "job" involves a skill he acquired at Prospect Charter School.

"Umm, I just have to color on a piece of paper," he said.

"There's also some other people doing stuff — two girls," he explains. "We're sitting at a breakfast table, drawing, and the drawings come alive and zoom off my page."

He's quick to differentiate between reality and television.

"It only shows up on my TV when the drawings move," he said.

His mom, Valerie Terrones, says her son's gig with McDonald's was a surprise, even after two years of modeling work.

"We went to Portland and they signed him the same day. It was pretty exciting," she said.

Terrones says both Bradley and her younger son Matthew, 5, caught the modeling and acting bug after being approached and signed by IMD at the Rogue Valley Mall two years ago.

"It's been a lot of fun so far. They both really like it," she said. "He was pretty excited to see himself on TV."

Teresa Pollman, president of IMD in Medford, says Bradley's gig with McDonald's is a unique opportunity for a model of any age. She submitted Bradley's modeling file to a casting agency in Portland and said the youngster's unique features and easy-going nature likely landed him the role.

"We sent all the kids that were appropriate for the casting, and he made the first cut, then the second, then to the end until he booked it," Pollman said.

She says local kids, teens and adults are making money modeling and acting despite a struggling economy.

She wouldn't disclose Bradley's specific earnings, other than to say the amount varies with the number of networks airing the commercial. She did note that his first check was enough to cover a $6,700 fee for a national modeling convention in Los Angeles.

"The great thing about a national gig is he gets residual checks each month that are very large, especially for a child his age. The money varies but this kind of work can absolutely support an adult," she said.

"Obviously, he's a very cute child, but he has something a little quirky that sets him apart from other people," she said.

"He's also talented as an actor, which really helped. He's just a really neat kid so this is a great opportunity for him."

On the net: www.imdmodeling.com

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at buffypollock@juno.com.