Face National Models and Talent
To Whom It May Concern:
I would like you to hear my story and I need help finding more information about a modeling agency which I think is involved in a huge scam:
Face National Models and Talent, LLC
I live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and on the radio I heard an advertisement saying Face National Models and Talent were looking for new faces.
So that Saturday, January 26, 2002, I visited the Renaissance Philadelphia Airport Hotel located at 500 Stevens Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19133, (610) 521-5900, where Face National would be.
The business room they rented was filled with about 100 people. There were three people controlling this entire thing, two men and a woman, and the guy's name was Carrie.
All the hopeful girls and guys who heard about Face had filled out forms, and the two men were calling us up, one by one, to two tables set on either side of the room.
Each man who sat behind the table told whoever was called up to turn around, pose, or just stand there while they looked at them.
Then the man would say, "Return tonight at 7:30," or, "Sorry, we do not need you."
I was told to come back at 7:30 that night and bring my exact measurements and a picture.
I returned that night with what they asked. I handed in a form listing what types of modeling I wanted to do with a photo.
I was then told to go sit in the room. There were about 60 people there this time. The man named Carrie gave a one-hour speech about the company, and said that night they would go through the forms, and pick out the people, and hire only 22.
We received a form saying we would need professional photographs, but that we did not necessarily need to use theirs.
The costs of the photos were $595. My mom thought we should use their photographer for convenience, and it would save us time from having to find our own.
We were told that the photographer was from Miami, and would only be in Philadelphia for a few days. These days were Friday, March 1, to Wednesday, March 6, 2002.
We were given phone numbers to call the next day if we were picked to be hired for Face National Models and Talent.
We were given specific times to call, and my time was between 9:30 and 10 am. They said if it was busy, and probably would be, then just keep on calling until 4 pm.
My mom got through, and they told her that I was picked to sign a non-exclusive contract with them. That was Sunday, and we were supposed to go back to the hotel and drop off the first payment for the photographer.
Now it was time for us to go to the Holiday Inn Stadium, South 10th Street at Packer Ave., Phildelphia PA 19148 (1-800-424-0291).
We showed up, and this time it was run by only one of the men; the other man and woman were not there.
The day's meeting was a "modeling workshop." He went over how to be a model, how to act, etc. We then were supposed to give him the next check of $213.
He called us all up to where he sat in a line. When we reached him, we were supposed to tell him which day we wanted our photoshoot, and at what time, either at 9 am or 12:30 pm.
He had a list of names up there with him. When I finally went up to his table there was a bit of confusion.
I was not on the list. I figured this out to be because that Sunday, January 27, was when the contracts were handed out, and I did not even get one.
But I thought you didn't need a contract with them to use their photographer? He made a note, and my dad gave him the next payment of $213, and the old letter that had been sent before with the $171 check.
The man said everything would be fine and worked out. I was only one of the few who paid by check; the man was taking cash from everyone else, and not giving receipts.
A man in the audience stood up and held a copy of the BBB report and read it aloud. The man in charge of the meeting looked surprised, and took the copy of the BBB report, and read it.
He said that most of the complaints were contract complaints, and these were because models had shown up late and were fired. Sounded to me like he made that up off the top of his head.
My photo shoot was scheduled to be Sunday, March 3, at 12:30 pm at the Courtyard Marriott Phildelphia Airport, 8900 Bartram Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19153 (215) 365-2200.
I was sick and could not make it, so my dad called their main office in Charlotte, North Carolina, but he could not get ahold of anyone.
He ended up driving to the hotel and spoke with a woman there named Ilona, who said I could come on Wednesday at 9 am, but it would be busy.
I took off from school and we drove to the hotel, where there were about 10 other girls.
We were all told to go up to the hotel room, so we could get changed into our outfits. We were packed into a small room —and that was a surprise.
Where was this $600 going towards? All they could do was rent such a small room for all these girls?
Ilona was one of the makeup artists, and there was another woman there. They were pushy and rude.
One person forgot their last check for $213, which we were supposed to bring that day, and Ilona said the pictures could not be done without the last check.
That struck me as odd. Suddenly the money was more important. We were rushed that day. "No chatting with the other girls," we were told.
We were on a tight schedule since the next group of models were coming in at 12:30. Good quality photos take time to produce, so why were we being rushed? We did not even go on location to shoot the photos: we stayed at the hotel.
What a waste of $600!
Sometimes Ilona and the other woman told the girls to go do their own hair. One girl complained, "Why am I spending all this money when we are being rushed, and I am ending up styling my own hair?"
Then the BIG SURPRISE!
After these pictures were taken, we would have to spend another "recommended" $388 for 150 composite cards. This almost totaled $1,000!
The photographer neither gave us any business cards, nor mentioned anything about himself, nor who he has worked with before. It was all hurry, hurry, hurry. More like money, money, money.
The pictures were taken so quickly I'm sure my 8-year-old sister could have done a better job. We left that day, and I just had a weird feeling that we have been completely scammed, falling for it hook, line, and sinker.
Also if only 22 were hired, then why were 20 models being photographed per day?
They were at the Marriott for six days. Twenty people a day does not equal 22, it's 120... 120 people paying $1,000 comes out to be $120,000, and this is just the number in Philadelphia.
(And that is if there are 20 people a day. There could have been more.)
I have read accounts of them doing this in California, New York, and Louisiana. Who knows where else, too?
No one knows because they disappear! I think this is an entirely huge scam.
I did a little research online, and this is what I came up with...
Face National Models and Talent website has a website. Their physical address listed on their website is what I stated before, and they have two phone numbers (704) 333-3137, and a fax number (704) 333-3974.
I typed 704 333 3974 into a search engine, and found that on the matthewlefevre.com temporary services website, Face National Models and Talent was listed as a temporary service.
Hmmm... Temporary service?
On June 14, 1999, a meeting of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmark Commission stated that:
Next, on another website, I learned that on May 18, 2001, it was noted that reconstruction of the building would begin in the next year. They turned the old building into offices for businesses.
A report made on January 7, 2002, by Mary Beth Gatza (704) 331-9660, said that suite #110 was owned by a man named Eubert Wesley McLoed, Jr.
I thought Face National Models and Talent owned this suite? That is their address on their website.
A man named Eubert Wesley McLoed died March 4, 1994, in Meridian, Texas.
March 1994 is when Face National Models and Talent was started, according to the BBB report.
Also, I learned that Face used to go under the name Bellissimo Models and Talent, also located in North Carolina:
19501 West Catawaba Ave.
They have nothing on their website saying they used to be Bellissimo Models, and nothing stating that their phone number is temporary AND unlisted.
Facemodels.com was created in January, and I know this because after the first meeting I went home and tried their web address, and it did not exist.
In the past few weeks their site has changed constantly. The site does not even mention who is the CEO or president of the company. Who is in charge?
According to the BBB report, they changed their name from Bellissimo in April 1999, the same time they opened up a file for FACE.
There is no BBB report for Bellissimo.
The suite #110 is under the name Eubert Wesley McLoed Jr., NOT Face National Models and Talent LLC.
I learned that New York state on Nov 21, 2001, ordered a consumer alert against this company.
Bellissimo Models & Talent
That address is from the link above. But if you look on Face National Model and Talent's BBB report that same address and phone number appears.
Why did they change their name?
I like how Jennifer Gill says they moved:
Yes, but I guess with the move the company name changed for some reason. She conveniently forgets to mention that part.
Elle and Vogue, according to a published news report, have denied the claim made by Face National Models and Talent that the Face National photographer, Terry Morton, had been published in their magazines:
I have found letters written by girls and guys that say after they have paid the approximate $600, then the $400 for the composites, they never hear from Face again.
They seem to change their address, phone numbers, everything.
I do not want this to happen to me, and I want my $600 back.
On April 13, 2002, they will be at the Holiday Inn Stadium at the address I stated above. They will be having the picture preview, and this is when we are supposed to buy the composites for $388.
Nobody has any idea what this company is up to, and I want to stop them before this horrible scam can go on any longer, and they disappear into thin air once again.
I need help finding out more information on the company, and on April 13th I want all the people to know they should not pay FACE any more money.
You said: "The site does not even mention who is the CEO or president of the company. Who is in charge?"
The owner of Face National Models and Talent is Jennifer Gill. Her name is listed in the BBB file.
Jennifer Gill has evidently read the complaints on this website, because she sent a letter earlier today, and provided an email address.
It is indeed interesting to find the Face Models website does not list the name of the president/owner, because most modeling agency websites do this, but you can ask her for an explanation. Last time I checked not even one name was listed.
You are welcome to contact Ms. Jennifer Gill at the address she provided, and report back. If you proceed to ask for your money back, please tell us if you are successful.
Since the photographer, you said, failed to provide a business card, references, or background of professional experience, you may want to ask Ms. Gill to provide this information.
Ask for the names of the photographers, their websites, and basic information about their professional experience. She said, and I quote:
So at the same time you ask for the names of the photographers, ask for the names of the agencies with which they have worked.
If you owned a modeling agency which took pictures of new models, wouldn't you post the names of the photographers on your website, with their professional experience and website address? I think it would be solid marketing for your agency and the photographers would appreciate the free advertising.
Photographers nowadays have their own websites. The photographers in the modeling forums online do not appear to be reluctant to let you know their website address. I have seen at least one photographer who asks models to put a link to his website, instead of just his name, next to pictures he took.
I think I just saw earlier this week one modeling photographer post a message saying he had just done his first cover for Vogue.
I checked the BBB report and confirmed what you said. The alternate address for Face National Models and Talent was the address you provided for Bellisimo.
It is not entirely clear what the significance of the name change is, but Libby Stone, President of the Professional Modeling Guild of North Carolina, knows about Bellisimo. What she said about Bellisimo is apparently what Face National does. The following quote is from a news report published by The Memphis Flyer:
Now why can't Face National Models and Talent be more up front?
P.S. At the beginning of your letter, you said: "I live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and on the radio I heard an advertisement saying Face National Models and Talent were looking for new faces."
Have you called the radio station to tell them what happened? Maybe they will listen to you and stop running the ads. Tell your story and let us know what they say, ok? It is really irresponsible to play ads on the radio for a company which has a bad BBB rating, don't you think?
One more thing. You should think about contacting Libby Stone, President of the Professional Model's Guild - 1819 Charlotte Drive, Charlotte, NC 28203 (704) 377-9299. Tell what happened and ask for advice. She knows about Bellisimo and Face National Models and Talent.
Related: WBTV News, Charlotte, North Carolina
Click on the I-Team link:
"WBTV's I-Team 3 is one of the nation's premier investigative units. Investigations by award-winning reporters Bob Knowles and Kristin Hill have helped to expose government waste and abuse and have led to new laws and changes in government."
I heard the radio announcement on Q102, but that was back in January. Q102 announced that Face National Models and Talent would be at the Marriott Hotel, but that advertisement was only played for about two weeks. I never heard it again.
I agree with you, I definitely think it's bad for a radio station to advertise for a company that has an unsatisfactory BBB report, and I bet Q102 didn't check out the company. I highly doubt they would have given any air time to FACE.
Perhaps if Q102 had checked them out, I wouldn't have wasted my time and money, and other people could have been saved from spending worthless dollars.
Hey, if FACE was so popular, wouldn't models be going down to North Carolina and be lining up outside their door? Funny, they had to go to 87 different cities to search for models.
Face only has 36 print models featured on their website. That is no impressive number, and nine of them are children. Other modeling agency websites feature more than 36! Fordmodels.com has well... many, many more models featured.
Jennifer Gill says in her letter:
First of all, none of the people writing these letters said they want to be famous or get on the cover of a magazine.
The point is we want to be treated fairly, and not spend money for photographs that will not be of professional quality. $1,000 is a hefty sum to waste.
We aren't crying for autographs, and most of us don't want to be supermodels. All we want are legitimate jobs, whether they be for print, promotional, swimsuit, etc.
Some people after getting their composite cards never hear from FACE again. This is what the person says here, that there was never any contact with FACE again after receiving the comp cards.
I would urge anyone picking up their slides tomorrow, April 13, 2002, at the Holiday Inn Philadelphia Stadium, to take the slides, and not opt for buying the composite cards. You can get them made from someone else, and cheaper.
You're not the only one who had questions about their print models. Did you see any tear sheets? I didn't see any tear sheets, just photos, which makes you wonder if the models they claim to represent have ever received print work.
I think you're right about spending $1,000 for modeling photos. If they don't get print jobs for models, just promotional work, why would you want to spend $1,000 on pictures?
One model said promotional work could be only $15/hr... you'd have to put in a lot of hours just to recoup the expense of your modeling photos, let alone turn a profit, right?
Always look for tear sheets if you are investigating a modeling agency. This is the same for the online modeling agency (also called a virtual modeling agency). The same goes for photographers.
If they have not been published, how good are they? And what contacts do they have? Speaking of the Ford Models, I visited their European website, and almost every modeling photo I saw was a tear sheet. Tear sheets = reality!
I was going to say the same thing you said about the models who sent complaints. None of them talked about being on magazine covers. All of their expectations were reasonable. None of their complaints were extreme.
Crimes of Persuasionon