Model Scams Exposed

Model scams can be avoided - so don't let this happen to you!

You dream of becoming a model, so you go to your local "model center" for a "free evaluation."

You're told their "talent packaging" (whatever that is) will turn you into an instant super model and "Eddie" (a used car salesman turned "talent agent") convinces you to be on their web site (lost among 50,000 other people) for $1000 or so with "professional photos" that he will pay an amateur $75 to do for you.

In just a few minutes, with your receipt and "guarantee" in hand, you are all set and ready to take on the world.... You rush home to tell your family and friends of your good fortune.

A few days later you arrive for your photo shoot and discover that the receptionist is also the "makeup artist," there are 10 or 20 other people milling about waiting for their turn at stardom and, surprisingly, not one of them looks like a real model.

The following week you rush back to the model center to see the results and to your amazement - not one of the images from your "professional photo shoot" looks even close to something you would see in a real modeling portfolio or in a magazine.



Your are handed your pictures and a "job list," Eddie waves good bye and good luck, and suddenly stops returning your calls.

A few weeks later, you ask yourself, "How could this have happened to me? I was told I would be working with professionals, they guaranteed me work - and all they did was give me the phone number of some woman that wanted me to do a free fashion show and a publicly advertised address where anyone and everyone can submit a photo to The Gap."

What went wrong is you failed to see the warning signs, chief among them: Anyone that will take your money on a false pretense will think nothing of throwing in a worthless guarantee.

Unscrupulous promoters love when you ask for a guarantee. Why? Because when you ask for a "guarantee" you are setting yourself up to be taken advantage of and it saves them a lot of work.

In whose opinion? In the opinion of the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission and consumer protection agencies in all 50 states: "Bogus guarantees are the hallmark and the foundation of most modeling scams. No legitimate company (booking agency, management company, scouting company, etc.) will promise employment or guarantee work to anyone."

(Some states actually have specific laws that prohibit model/talent agencies from soliciting clients by means of false and misleading representations or promises while others rely on broader consumer fraud statutes.)

According to numerous BBB and FTC reports - anyone offering a guarantee is making empty promises and one of two things will happen:

1.) Whoever is making the "guarantee" will soon be out of business or operating under a different name, or

2.) The "work" they use to fulfill their "guarantee" will consist of free fashion shows at the mall or in a bar, free hair shows, passing out samples (for little or no money) and/or "promotional modeling" (soliciting others to patronize the same company that made empty promises to you).

How do they get away with it? They get away with it because the wording in their "guarantee" is so vague and the guarantee itself is so full of escape clauses, you've got to wonder how anyone could take them seriously....

Example: "This Guarantee certifies that the model will be contacted for at least one magazine shoot within one year.... If for any reason said model is not given the opportunity for a magazine photo shoot, he/she shall receive a refund for their.... advertising space. This is a money back guarantee! Once said model has been contacted and given the opportunity for a magazine photo shoot, said contract shall be fulfilled. Model is required to notify (company) of changes of address or telephone numbers within 5 days. Failure to notify (company) will render this contract void. This Guarantee Contract is offered based on the model's original stats and photographs. Any misrepresentation of the model's true and current look shall render this contract null and void...."

There simply are no guarantees. None of the top agencies will promise employment and - even if you sign with the best agency in the world - there is still no guarantee that you will be a success.

The likelihood is much greater, of course, but... ethical agents, scouts, managers, photographers, etc., will not make verbal or written promises or guarantees - and every real agency or management contract will have at least one paragraph covering this subject at the very top.

The wording in the following paragraph is typical of a real agency or management contract:

"MANAGEMENT shall act on behalf of MODEL/TALENT and/or provide MODEL/TALENT with advice and counsel with regard to all aspects of the modeling, film and/or television industry. At no time, however, shall this agreement be construed in such a way that deems MANAGEMENT to be an employment agent, theatrical agent or talent agent. And, further, MANAGEMENT has not offered, promised or agreed to and is not expected to obtain, seek or procure employment or bookings for MODEL/TALENT."

When you first learn that bogus companies promise employment and legit companies do not it may sound confusing - maybe even backwards. But that's the way it is - so don't let anyone take advantage of your confusion.

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There are thousands of fake modeling and talent agencies and a relatively small handfull of real ones - especially in the state of Florida - so feel free to email and we will try to point you in the right direction.


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