Highlite Modeling Agency aka Models Net International
(www.highlite.com and www.models-net.com)
The Photo Mill Scheme
"Highlite Modeling voluntarily wishes to inform consumers that the
probability of obtaining a modeling assignment through their promotional
service is small."
Translation: We'll take your money but won't make you money.
This page contains important information to read in considering payment
to Highlite Modeling Agency for photography and prints. There are scans
of Highlite flyers and their application form as well as a letter from
concerned parents, and information from the BBB, followed by a few comments.
Letter from Parent:
PLEASE INFORM US ABOUT HIGHLITE MODELING. WE RECENTLY WENT TO A MODEL
SEARCH IN MIDDLETOWN, NY.
THEY TOLD US TO CALL BACK THE NEXT DAY TO SEE IF OUR 7-YEAR-OLD MADE THE
LIST AND OF COURSE HE DID.
WHICH MADE ME THINK, "DOES ANYBODY GET TURNED DOWN? OR DO THEY MAKE
THEIR MONEY FROM THEIR FEES FROM PICTURES? $249 PLUS TAX."
PLEASE CAN YOU GET BACK TO US BEFORE WE SPEND THE MONEY ON SOMETHING THAT
WILL DISCOURAGE OUR SON FROM BEING WHO HE WANTS TO BE.
"This firm also does business as Model-Net International. Highlite
Modeling mainly promotes their models through their web site (www.highlite.com)
and mails headsheets to advertising agencies through out the country. "Highlite
Modeling voluntarily wishes to inform consumers that the probability of
obtaining a modeling assignment through their promotional service is small." --
October 1, 2003
The concern about this company is they promote themselves as a BBB-endorsed
company, use the BBB logo on their documents (see above), yet do not disclose
in writing their disclaimer in the BBB record, which most consumers will
not read prior to payment, and consumers also report they do not disclose
their EXTREME FAILURE RATE in oral presentations.
Given the statement Highlite itself makes to the BBB, it is perfectly
clear, for all intents and purposes, this so-called "agency" is
a travelling photo studio, not an agency. They make virtually all if not
all their money from pictures. If nobody works, they don't make any money
from commissions; therefore, ALL their only income is from pictures!
The president of Highlite was contacted by email more than once to elaborate
on the BBB file, asked exactly how small the number of people who actually
get work after paying for photos is. He refused to reply.
Consumers who have paid or who are considering payment to Highlite are
therefore advised to demand this information from Jerry Sangiuliano, the
principal of Highlite.
Any disclaimer Highlite makes that there is no guarantee consumers who
sign Highlite contracts will get work is totally insufficient if it does
not include their EXTREME FAILURE RATE.
Given the fact they do have an EXTREME FAILURE RATE, why is this company
in business? If all they are competent to do is take pictures, and they
do not get anyone any work, why did they bother to get an employment agency
The BBB says: "Highlite Modeling is licensed by the Commonwealth
of Pennsylvania as an employment agency."
The fact that the BBB of Scranton, PA, allows this company BBB membership
when they know consumers are going to get nothing out of it, despite paying
the company, is, quite frankly, disgusting.
I am interested getting information on the this company. I need this
information as soon as possible, my niece has an appointment tonight. Maybe
it's too late to get it, but hopefully I can get it by 3:00 p.m. today.
Models Net International, Inc.
Mt. Pocono Office Park
Rt. 940 & Manor View Drive
Mt. Pcono, PA 18344
Fax: (570) 839-2407
Advertised in the newspaper:
- Promotional Division of Highlite Modeling and Castin Agency; A P?A,
NJ & NC State Licensed and Bonded Modeling Agency started in 1985
and member of the NE PA BB. Highlite receives numerous requests
from advertisers and producers for all ages and types of people.
- Promotional Service
- Models-Net provides local and international promotions for models and
talent by placing their photo on a colot headsheet and the internet -now
used by thousands of advertisers and producers seeking people for assignments
in catalogs, commercials, films and television.
- If you are selected and are under 18 years old, you must bring
a legal guardian to the photo session. You will be photographed
in one outfit provided by yourself that you feel rpresents your
best "Look" and Personality.
- You may also bring a sweater, jacket, hat scarf, prop,etc. A
variety of poses will be taken- full lengths and close-ups. You
will be placed on our color headsheet & on the internet for one year
- Fees: The total ffee for the photogrraphy session; receiving
6-8 reouched 5x7 color prints (different poses); palcing one photo on a
color headsheet and on the internet for one year is $249.00 + sales
tax. This should be paid at the photo session by money order, visa,
mastercard, disc. or am-ex. If paying by check half of the full
amoutny must be paid by credit card money order or cash and the balance
- Your personal phone number and address are never revealed. If
an advertiser expresses an interest in a model, our company verifies
that they re legitimate, then we contact you with all the details. You
decide if the assignment is workth accepting. There are absolutely
no charges to you if that occurs. We do not deduct from your pay. We
only charge the advertiser.
Highlite Modeling Agency aka Models Net International in the News
Wednesday, February 19, 2003
Talent Agency Scams-Protecting Yourself
(Above) This little girl's grandmother
brought her to the Models Net International meeting, hoping they'll make
it as stars.
"I've always been interested in modeling, so I just stopped through to check it out," said Erica Gilliam.
Jennifer Robbins, which Carolina Winds Production says, "If you don't
have to audition and they accept everyone, that's also another clue to watch
Folks trying out for Models Net International are told if they are accepted, they'll just need a commercial headshot like the ones pictured above.
Many people dream big of being a star, so why no let their dreams come
true and jump on opportunities like traveling modeling agencies who are looking
for talent, just like you? Sometimes it's the high hopes of stardom
that makes it easy for talent agencies to pursue schemes instead of dreams.
Peggy Parker brought her two grandchildren to the Models Net International
meeting, hoping they'll make it as stars. "I brought them because
I think my granddaughter is beautiful and my grandson is handsome," says Peggy.
Erica Gilliam is an aspiring model and says, "I've always been interested
in modeling, so I just stopped through to check it out."
A simple audition on tape could land Erica a modeling job, but Better
Business Bureau President, Kathy Barrett, warns careers don't happen
overnight. "There's always someone looking to make money off someone
else and you have to be careful. A lot of times, they promise high salaries,
they'll have flattery and sweet talk to get you to abandon your common sense."
So, keeping a level head when stars are in your eyes is key, especially if
anyone asks for money upfront. Another warning sign is when the company
welcomes you aboard before checking out your talents.
Jennifer Robbins, which Carolina Winds Production says, "If you don't have to audition and they accept everyone, that's also another clue to watch out for."
Folks trying out for Models Net International are told if they are accepted, they'll just need a commercial headshot. That professional photo comes at a price of about $250, taken by their agency's photographer. But, what exactly do those photos get you?
Models Net International Public Relations spokeswoman, Denise Karpowicz says, "They'll go on a laminated head sheet. [It shows a group of headshots] according to age group, similar features such as hair, eye color, skin tone, so on and so forth, they'll also go on our website."
Still, no job is guaranteed. So Kathy Barrett suggests, "Always
go with a level head and be realistic of what your expectations are."
And by doing a little homework, you could prevent yourself from being lured into a scheme.
"Checking the company out before you invest is the key, if you check first, then you have knowledge to make your decision," says Kathy.
Remember, while talent agencies may have all their licensing and sound
legitimate, they don't guarantee jobs. Just as this talent industry is growing, it is just as competitive as it is appealing.
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