Highlite Modeling and Casting Agency
Complaints / Queries


To Whom It May Concern:

My neighbor's son (age 25) was "selected" over the weekend by Highlite Modeling and Casting Agency to be a model.

So was his friend, when they attended what I guess you would call an "open call" for models in Burlington, Vermont.

Her son was told he would need a portfolio, and he could either find his own photographer, or their own photographer would do it for $200.

That immediately raised a red flag for me. I thought that if a legitimate agency wanted to contract you, they make the investment in whatever is needed, not vice versa.

I found the following location information on the internet:

Highlite Modeling and Casting Agency, Corporate Headquarters at 415 N. 8th Avenue, Scranton, PA 18504, 570-346-3166/NYC 212-779-9668/FAX 570-347-0195, operated by Jerry Sangiuliano.

They also operate as Models Net and Models Net International, and have a website at www.highlite.com.

The Better Business Report includes this statement:

Highlite Modeling mainly promotes their models through their website (www.highlite.com), and mails headsheets to advertising agencies throughout the country.
 
Highlite Modeling voluntarily wishes to inform consumers that the probability of obtaining a modeling assignment through their promotional service is small.

I was just wondering if you had ever heard of them or their reputation.

My neighbor seems quite excited that her son is going to make it big as a model, but I've tried to temper her enthusiam with a "be wary, investigate first" approach.

Thank you for any information you might be willing to share.

C.


C.,

No complaints have been sent to Modeling Scams Research.

Highlite Modeling and Casting Agency features a BBB logo and link prominently on its website home page.

At the other end of the link, i.e., on the BBB website, it does confirm they meet the standards of the Bureau.

Highlite Modeling & Casting Agency meets all BBBOnLine Reliability participation and Better Business Bureau membership standards and is authorized to display the BBBOnLine Reliability seal.

You said: "I thought that if a legitimate agency wanted to contract you, that THEY make the investment in whatever is needed, not vice versa."

This is sometimes true, but it does not always happen like that. It is most likely to happen with a big agency which can afford to foot the bill for photography.

The photography prices of Highlite are quite low. You said it would cost $200 to use their photographer. The red flag is when the prices are high and they require you to use their photographer.

The price of photos for a modeling portfolio can often range from $500-$1,000. So if there is a flag, it could be that the photography is not high quality, if it is costing only $200.

Now sometimes these companies will have additional fees, which they do not state up front, splitting the charge, first for the photographer taking the pictures, then for developing them.

The best thing would be to say you don't know which photographer to choose, theirs or another photographer, then ask for the name and website address of their photographer.

It is not unreasonable to say you would like to see his/her work. Most photographers are now online, because the internet is an exceptional visual medium for photographers to advertise.

If a photographer does not have a website, it could suggest they do not have much experience (new photographers); they do not want others to see their work (it's so bad); or they are so good, and so in demand, they really don't need a website for advertising and marketing. Their reputation precedes them. (You can probably rule that one out in this case because the cost is only $200.)

Another good sign about Highlite Modeling is they are not new; they were established in 1985; they are also licensed and bonded in three states. Or so their website said.

Regarding the potential for promotion. You mentioned the BBB quoting them: "Highlite Modeling voluntarily wishes to inform consumers that the probability of obtaining a modeling assignment through their promotional service is small."

It would be difficult after reading that to remain "quite excited," as you said your neighbor was.

Still, if there are no hidden costs paying only $200 is one of the lower risks you might find in the modeling industry, where aspiring models in the beginning often shell out $500 to $1,000 —or more.

If you were to investigate further, you could try to find out their success rate. If you cannot get their success rate, read their success stories.

A reputable business is one thing: a successful business is another. You could have integrity but still not be able to get anyone work.

But it is good to look a little deeper than how much work a modeling agency gets. The two things to look at are both quality and quantity.

One agency, for example, could get models a lot of work, but it could be all promotional modeling. The pay for promotional can be far less than print, sometimes similar to the minimum wage.

Big agencies in New York will get models high-quality, high-quantity, and high-paying modeling jobs. Small agencies elsewhere may only get models low-quality, low-quantity, and low-paying work.

It varies from place to place. The point is you can't assume anything, but the aspiring model has a right to know.

One of the best things a potential model needs to know is the right questions to ask and the right answers to the right questions.

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To Whom It May Concern:

Really don't know if I can get any kind of answer quick enough, thought there would possibly be an immediate rep. to reach.

Well, my child was chosen to be photographed today by Highlite Modeling and Casting Agency.

Worried it's a scam, as I really can't afford the $260 for him to be photographed. Would be borrowing the money to do it, and am worried I'm wasting money I don't really have.

Hopefully will get some input before his appt. today.

Thanks,

C.O.


C.,

You didn't say at what time your appointment is today, but maybe this will get to you in time.

It is probably not a good idea to borrow money for a child modeling photo session. No complaints about Highlite, but child models do not get a lot of work, generally speaking.

Have you asked Highlite about their success rate? You need to find out what percentage of their child models get work, how much work they get, and how much they earn.

You didn't mention the age of your child. The younger the child, the less the need for professional photos. How old is your child?

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P.S. I just found something that looks suspicious. Someone from Highlite Modeling and Casting Agency, PA, said the following on a model website: "I want this guy for my next shoot. Please contact me ASAP."

He obviously sounds like a photographer. If Highlite is going to be taking pictures of your child, they could be running a photography scam. There are photographers who pretend to be modeling agencies but they make their money from photography.

Their website doesn't even say that got one person any work? I don't see anything there. Do you?

Is Highlite going to take pictures and never get your child work?

You must read the article (see link below) which exposes Highlite Modeling and Casting Agency!


You have been a wonderful help.

Unfortunately, my appointment was at 11:30 am yesterday, and therefore I did sign him (three years old) up to have his photos taken.

I was very skeptical; however, I went through with it.

Just read your emails this morning, and must say I was, of course, disappointed.

I tried to research as much as I could the night before, but I'm not that good on the computer.

Thank you for your time and effort. What a wonderful service you provide!

Too bad there aren't more honest people in this world.

Thanks,

C.O.


To Whom It May Concern:

I just read a letter written to you about concerns regarding Highlite models.

I was one of those selected in 1996 by their rep to be a potential model.

The only thing I can say about this company is avoid using their photographer. Get your own if you want to be noticed.

My mother paid for my photos and the quality was so poor, I could have done better myself.

The photographer used a wide-angle lens on my pictures making me seem disproportionate.

I had the pictures examined by a professional who confirmed the photos were not of a professional standard.

There were flaws in the finished product and, quite frankly, they were not worth the money.

However, when I wrote the company, they were prompt in returning my money.

My advice is, if you are serious, pay the extra money, and get them done right the first time.

Thanks for letting me vent.

C.G.


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