|Reporter Seeking IMTA Convention Contestants
Hi, I'm a reporter and I'm working on story about IMTA. I'm looking
for someone in the NY/NJ area that has gone to an IMTA modeling/acting
convention and talk to them about the experience. Particularly, I would
to find out if they felt they got their money's worth-or not. Please
201-330-2288 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
John Casablanca's Modeling Schools (John Casablancas Modeling and Career
* Tip: Audit a John Casablancas Modeling School class before you pay a
"Natasha Esch, president of Wilhelmina Models in New York, cautions
parents against spending large sums of money on modeling lessons or big
photo packages to their get children's careers going." -- Vivian Marino, "Not
All Talent Scouts Behave Like Model Citizens," Los Angeles
Times, Oct 26, 1994. pg. 9 [MORE]
NEWS REPORT EXCERPT
Last fall, Bre-Ana Negrette invested nearly $1,700 for modeling classes
at John Casablancas, but she quickly discovered she wasn't learning anything,
said her mother, Nancy Negrette.
Bre-Ana was 12 when she persuaded her mother to let her use her birthday
money and other gift money to purchase classes that she thought would train
her for a modeling career. "They say you have to go through these
classes before they'll even look at you," her mother said. "They're
not going to hire someone who doesn't know how to pose, walk in front of
a camera or read in front of the camera."
But after two sessions, the young girl told her mother that the classes
weren't teaching her anything. Their contract required them to cancel in
writing within the first five weeks, so Negrette sent her notice in the
third week, she said. Having heard nothing from John Casablancas, she called
and was told to send another letter. She said she did that and still didn't
hear anything. She called repeatedly, she said and, after weeks, she finally
got a return call from a company vice president, assuring her that she
would receive a refund, minus the cost for the two classes Bre-Ana already
Seven months later, Bre-Ana, who is now 13, is still waiting for her refund,
her mother said, and the young girl no longer mentions modeling. "It's
sad," said Nancy Negrette, who filed a complaint in June with the
Better Business Bureau. "I haven't really heard her talk about this
Allie Shah, "Not always a pretty
business," Star Tribune [Minneapolis], Aug. 2, 2004. #Delete [Aug.
29, 2004] Google
Jane Doe 44 v. Defendant Doe 1, BC286674 (L.A. Super. Ct., filed Dec.
John Casablancas, founder of leading model agency Elite, has been named
sex abuse lawsuit by an aspiring model who claims he made her pregnant at
the age of 15, and then arranged an abortion -- all more than 15 years ago.
Casablancas, 60, whose Elite agency has represented supermodels such as
Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell, is accused of sexual abuse of a minor.
The plaintiff, whose name was not made public, is seeking substantial
Lawyers for Casablancas said the allegations were fabricated and were
confident the case would be dismissed.
The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday, alleges that
Casablancas began sexually abusing the girl in 1988 when she was a finalist
in Elite's prestigious "Look of the Year" competition for fresh new
The former model said she travelled with Casablancas to New York later
year when it was discovered she was pregnant by him. She alleges she was
driven to a doctor's office and an abortion was arranged for her at the
behest of Casablancas.
Former Teen-Age Model Sues Agency Founder
By Leslie Simmons
. . .
Casablancas has long been in the public eye linked to various youthful
supermodels, including Stephanie Seymour.
In 1993, the self-described playboy [then 49] married 17-year-old Elite model
Wermelinger, a Brazilian high-school junior who participated in Elite's Look
of the Year contest in Rio.
Boucher said his client is filing suit now because she "thinks it's
important that the public realize our young children have been victimized
for many years in all segments of society."
He added: "It's time for all of us to step up and do all we can to protect
our children from future abuse and molestation."
Boucher said he represents several other former models who may be filing
similar suits in the near future.
John Casablancas is named in the class-action lawsuit by models who believe
they were scammed by price-fixing. Casablancas is specifically singled
out, quoted as saying, "there is no point doing it unless it is secret":
- Defendants have claimed that this variation in pricing among models
who earn different amounts reflects the absence of a conspiracy, but
Defendants' own statements show that the opposite is true – when
such discounts began, Defendants sought to conceal them from the models
and from each other, so as not to be seen to be undercutting the standard
rate. Thus John Casablancas of Elite was quoted referring to rates lower
than 20% as follows: "Everybody does it. But there is no point
doing it unless it is secret. When we started we had telephones and
nothing else. It was spooky. A few of the top girls got a . . . discount." (emphasis
added) This kind of covert variation from a standard price is flatly
contrary to what one would expect in a competitive market – and
exactly consistent with the existence of an industry-wide agreement on
prices that individual defendants might opportunistically violate to
keep a particularly lucrative account.
Case No. 02-CV-4911
EXPENSIVE MODELING SCHOOLS
John Casablanca's training centers are modeling school franchises. There
are many of them in most states across America. For many girls and their
parents, the John Casablanca's modeling schools are the first thing they
see as they look into starting a modeling career.
But what is the value of modeling schools? Do you need to go to modeling
school to become a model? If you want to start a modeling career, are modeling
classes necessary? If they are not necessary, how much difference, if any,
will they make? Can they help a lot or are they virtually useless?
The person most qualified to speak on modeling schools or modeling classes
is the president of a top modeling agency. Such a person knows exactly
what is needed, if anything, to prepare a girl to be a model. Monique Pillard,
as President of Elite Model Management, based in New York City, and one
of the top modeling agencies in the world, said:
- If [a girl] comes off the street into Elite and we think she has potential,
she doesn't need to pay for classes. Somewhere down the line, she may
take runway classes, which she doesn't pay for. We absolutely bear the
burden. If a girl has talent and potential to become a model, of course,
we help. It's a scam of [the model] paying $1,000 or $2,000. That's [expletive]!
-- THE IMPROBABLE DREAM, Robin Givhan, Washington Post, December
2, 1996; Page C1
Now the curious thing about this statement is that John Casablanca used
to be the president of Elite Model Management. Indeed, he founded Elite.
So how could it be that the founder and former president of Elite says
or implies there is such great value of modeling schools that aspiring
models should pay $1,000 to $2,000, and there should be many of them in
America; then the subsequent president of Elite says modeling schools which
cost $1,000 or $2,000 are a scam?
Something is not quite right here. How do you explain it? How do you reconcile
the extreme difference of opinion? The contrast is astounding.
CLAIMED AFFILIATION WITH ELITE
What is even more interesting is that JC Centers are known to say they
are affiliated with Elite. Indeed, they have even suggested kids who attend
a John Casablancas modeling school have an inside track to Elite Model
Management, that is, a better opportunity to get representation with the
Elite modeling agency. It becomes part of the sales pitch, a key selling
point to influence kids into spending a lot of money by signing up for
Meanwhile the president of Elite who succeeded John Casablancas himself
has said modeling schools which charge $1,000 or $2,000 are a scam, and
the Elite agency will accept new models who never attended a John Casablancas
MODELING SCHOOL OR FINISHING SCHOOL
From the beginning some modeling schools are inherently deceptive. They
are called modeling schools when they are in fact finishing schools. While
the difference may be considered trivial, the reality is most kids would
not spend $1,000 or $2,000 just to be "finished." They want to
become models; they could care less if they learn manners.
If you were to conduct an experiment polling teen girls, asking them if
they wanted to learn etiquette or become models, you will probably find
the numbers weighted significantly towards modeling. Furthermore, you would
more than likely also find only a very small percentage would be willing
to spend money simply for etiquette classes.
One consumer wrote in her observation that so-called modeling classes "turned
out to be 'etiquette' classes." JC marketed the classes as modeling
classes when they were etiquette classes.
John Casablancas modeling schools are known to violate industry standards
which say new models should avoid paying for professional photography and
avoid buying comp cards until they get agency representation.
Ironically, in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Being A Model, the
book about modeling which is endorsed by John Casablancas himself (his
comment appears on the cover), specifically and emphatically warns against
spending money on professional pictures before the model gets agency representation.
Roshumba Williams is consistently emphatic about this basic issue.
- Re: [JOHN CASABLANCA]
Tell me if they are a scam or not. I just paid $1,725 to get my daughter
into modeling school.
I attended John Casablanca's Modeling and Career Center in Pittsburgh,
PA, and "graduated" in 2002. I would like to get my money back
or at least some of it. They have not fulfilled their promises to get me
into the [...] agency and I believe it was a big [...]!!! Can I do anything?
See also Consumer Complaints
against John Casablanca's Modeling Schools (John Casablancas Modeling
and Career Center)