International Modeling and Talent
(IMTA) - Questions / Complaints
To Whom It May Concern:
I have a friend who has been selected through the Celtic
Talent agency in Ireland to go to the IMTA convention
She has been charged 6,000 euro to attend this event,
as well as other fees, such as 200 euro for a portfolio
and test shots.
After attending a meeting with her, I noticed that a
lot of the other people invited by the agency to attend
were not exactly modelling material.
I feel that this whole event is one big scam run by
the agency and IMTA to cash in on the hopes of these
impressionable young people.
I would really appreciate your opinion on the matter.
K.D. in Ireland
You said: "I noticed that a lot of the other people
invited by the agency to attend were not exactly modelling
Your conclusions are similar to those of industry professionals.
The agents at the conventions tell or infer the participants
are not exactly modeling material, because they select
very few people. The success rates are extremely low.
Why? There is no accountability, there is nothing to
stop the convention organizers from inviting as many
people as possible, as many as will pay their extreme
There are two conflicts of interest, firstly with the
convention organizers, and secondly, with the agencies.
Not only are the convention organizers paid thousands
of dollars up front, but also the agencies which send
people to the convention are paid a commission to convince
models to go.
A reputable talent agency is not going to send a model
thousands of miles across the world to a convention which
requires extreme upfront fees, when they can promote
the model directly to the agencies which attend the convention
using portfolios or even snap shots.
Sean Patterson, an agent in the Men's Division of Wilhelmina,
one of the top modeling agencies, warned against modeling
conventions. Of all the problems in the modeling industry,
his biggest concern was conventions:
- If there was one thing I could change about the industry
it would be to institute a more rigid policing of the
model conventions that are being held all over the
There is no policing and there are no laws. Therefore
the only screening standard is the conscience of the
person running the show. If they don't screen potential
models using photos, sending them to the agents who will
attend the convention, letting them decide if they want
to see them, before anyone pays any money, have they
To Whom It May Concern:
I am a 16-year-old girl who was picked to go to the
IMTA convention in New York. I was taking classes at
Barbizon Boston when I auditioned. At the casting call,
the people there showed us video tape of all the "success
stories" and people who were discovered by IMTA
(which instantly drew everyone in).
A few days after my audition, I was told that I was
one out of 75 chosen to go to New York in July and that
I had to pay $5,000 just to go. I really want to
make it in the acting/modeling world, and I, like
everyone else, was suckered in to it.
My parents, the wise people they are, refused to send
me, even though I pleaded and pleaded.
Later, during my next Barbizon class, all the kids were
talking about how they made it, but couldn't go (in fact,
only two out of the 15 people in my modeling class had
What?! I don't mean to sound crude or offensive, but
these girls were certainly NOT Hollywood/Milan material.
They were ugly, ignorant, rude to adults, and they all
had big New England accents that made them mispronounce
every second word that flabbed out of their mouths (e.g. "bedda" instead
of "better"; "madda" instead of "matter," etc.)
The one girl who could go said she was "too short" to
be a model and that she was going for acting. Needless
to say, she never took ONE acting class in her life and
had NO previous experiance. She wasn't even interested
in acting before this. I am sure that I was the only
one out of any of them who was really serious about acting.
Well, my parents and I talked about it, and they insisted
the whole thing was a [...]. I talked about it with
the drama teacher at my school and he said it was
Then, during my last modeling class in which the
instructor tells us what to do after Barbizon and waves
the IMTA video in our faces again, I asked her what my
drama teacher told me to ask, very politely, "Excuse
me, but what is the success rate for people who go to
IMTA?" There was no maliciousness or interrogation
in my voice, just a calm, wondering tone.
The instructor bluntly responded, "I am sorry,
but that is closed information!" or something very
similar to that. (I forget her exact words, but she said
it almost as if I offended her in some way.) Even the
other girls in that room looked at me as if I had insulted
Shortly after, one girl bragged about how she was going
to "Give my friend money when I get rich." I
asked her how she would make that money and she said, "Acting.
I'm goin' ta IMTA next yee-ah. I'm geddin' a sponsah." (Sponsor,
mind my phonetic dialect in writing).
I had to pity her.
So, now that my long, tedious story is over, what do
you think? Was it right of my parents to refuse
to let me go, or should I audition next year
and get a sponsor to pay for my trip?
P.S. Thank you for taking your time to listen to me.
I know my letters are way too long!