John Robert Powers Modeling
Questions / Complaints Reviews
To Whom It May Concern:
I was almost scammed by a company called John
Robert Powers (it's a modeling/talent school
which is linked to the Look Agency).
John Robert Powers had placed an ad
for an open call in a San Francisco newspaper back in
the spring of 1997.
Never having modeled before I read the ad and went to
one of their so-called "open calls."
I was led to a room with a makeshift catwalk full of
model wannabes and hopefuls. I was not impressed by what
I had seen, but I turned a blind eye because of the statements
claimed by one of the company's representatives.
She discussed the type of jobs that were available to
model hopefuls like us. "Like us" —how
was that so when some of us appeared to be overweight,
vertically challenged, or too old?
She went on to say that they could teach us how to catwalk
and pose. We were all directed to walk down the catwalk,
pose, and then return up the catwalk.
She made a quick evaluation about each of our qualities
and flaws, and with that we were done.
In all I would say that I spent about 1-2 hours in this
one room, and then one by one we were all invited to
speak with a representative one on one.
I was surprised that no one had been turned away, because
there were obvious people that did not have a chance.
When it was my turn to speak with someone, I was told
that I had a great look, and that I needed to dye all
of my hair back to its natural color (I had highlights),
so that I could get work.
The company boasted about its link to Look Agency and
how they had an agreement for Look to represent the graduates
from John Robert Powers' training program.
She then went on to discuss fees and the class schedule.
I told her that I didn't think I needed to sign up for
the classes. But she insisted otherwise, stating that
all potential models needed polishing and direction to
She then went on to ask for approximately $1,200 (I
don't remember the exact figure requested) up front for
portfolio and class fees.
I told her that I did not have that kind of money, and
she simply said I could pay in installments. I wrote
a check for approximately $300 to secure my spot in the
class and to begin shooting for my portfolio.
On the morning that I was scheduled to show up for my "photo
shoot" I fell ill. I called and told the same lady
that I could not make it, and that I needed to reschedule
She then quite angrily responded that I needed to show
up in the next hour or I would have to pay for the photographer's
time and inconvenience.
I refused and told her that I wanted to remove myself
from their program. She told me that I had signed the
contract and was not entitled to receive any money back.
So I threatened her with legal action and hung up the
I called the Better Business Bureau and found out that
there had been a previous complaint settled with the
company. The BBB then helped me file a complaint and
an investigation into the matter was started.
The BBB was able to help me rectify my situation and
not surprisingly the same pushy representative called
me to say that I was released from the contract, and
that I did not have to pay for the photographer.
I was lucky to avoid spending more that just the $300
that I lost, but many others fell for the bait blinded
by lure of fame and recognition.
Looking back on the situation I can definitely see all
of the signs of a rip-off, but my main flaw was ignorance.
I advise anyone aspiring to make it in this business
to become educated: this is your only defense in the
vicious entertainment/fashion world.
To Whom It May Concern:
I recently took my daughter to a casting call for John
The place that has the world-renowned "Kerri." Who
Being a rookie, I had no idea what to expect.
We met with a lady for 10 minutes, then my daughter
went in front of "Kerri" and several others,
in front of a camera for about 45 seconds, and then we
were let go.
This was on a Sunday and I was scheduled to call back
on Wednesday, but I did not call back, because the classes
she would need to attend were $1,275.
That is just too much for my single-parent pocket book.
Well, to my surprise, they called me on Thursday, and
told me wonderful things.
My daughter is beautiful, articulate, well spoken, and
just right for seven-year-olds, and is extremely marketable,
and also one of their top three picks out of thousands
of children that were seen over that weekend.
Of course she is —you must know my daughter to
appreciate that. I have all the confidence in the world
that she has what it takes to do it, and she does, too.
My daughter must take these classes, she proceeds to
tell me, because the clients don't want to find someone
and then shape them. They want them already molded.
So she cut me a deal on the classes, and I would put
$500 down, and then make three month's worth of payments
to pay the remainder off. I would have to work 60 hours
a week to do this, but it's my daughter.
John Robert Powers also told me my
daughter would go on interviews immediately. Perhaps
even do some back-to-school fall fashion ramp shows,
and that she could be picked up by Disney, Nickelodeon,
or even McDonalds.
I am extremely torn, and don't have much time to decide
with the appointment to sign her up scheduled for tomorrow.
I could use some information regarding this company,
and any other information you think would help me in
deciding mine and my daughter's fate.
I was also told by this lady (Jeanetta) that they have
to keep several "looks" in stock, so to speak,
for clients to view. They must have a selection.
My daughter is blonde with brown eyes (big), and seven,
and they need that in stock.
What is the John Robert Powers success
rate, and what should I look out for?
Sorry if this response is later than expected. I've
only just read this message and it's now 7/31. Your subject
line said your appointment was set for 7/30.
In any case, there should be at least three days to
reconsider contracts, etc., time for a refund. In some
states there is a three-day cooling-off period; in others
like California there is a ten-day cooling-off period.
The site recently received a letter from another single
mother whom a modeling firm wanted to sign up for classes.
She also had limited finances. They tried to convince
her to pay, but she decided not to sign up her children
for modeling classes.
You asked the right question. What is the answer to
your final question? What is the success rate? Did they
not tell you? You should have been told.
You could ask them if they forgot to tell you. Do you
think if it was high, the success rate would be the first
thing they would tell you? And they would not somehow
forget to tell you?
Regarding your daughter you said they told you: "She
must take these classes... because the clients don't
want to find someone and then shape them."
This is not what I read about teen models. In fact,
it is just the opposite. Modeling agencies, it has been
said, pass on aspiring models who were trained at schools,
because the agencies will have to, but don't want to,
The curriculum at John Robert Powers is not a standard
curriculum. Is it? There is no industry standard curriculum
approved by a central education organization in the modeling
That means they can make up any curriculum and they
are not held accountable, either for who teaches or what
they teach. And, more importantly, they can and apparently
do teach what modeling agencies don't want them to be
I have never heard of a seven-year-old child being asked
to attend modeling classes. Students at modeling classes
are usually about twice her age.
It could be different for seven-year-old children. But
why not call the big names they "paraded in front
of you," as it were, and ask if they want pre-molded
children. Make no reference to John Robert Powers in
Let me ask you this. Is there a quote they gave you
or several from clients who said they want pre-shaped
children? Or did they just make it up to convince you
to pay them more than a thousand dollars?
Where are you located? Why not call modeling agencies
which focus on kids? Ask them what standards they have,
what needs to be taught, and if, like other agencies,
model training is free.
The president of a modeling and talent agency recently
wrote and said modeling schools are a complete scam.
He also said his agency provided model training free.
This is how it usually works. It is part of the assumed
responsibility of reputable modeling agencies to develop
You have to ask an agency where there is no clear conflict
of interest. There is a clear conflict of interest with
any company offering modeling classes.
One question begs to be asked of modeling agencies: "Do
you send your models to school after they are signed?
Do you send them to John Robert Powers?" (Is it
Here's another question that begs to be asked of modeling
agencies: "Will you refuse to sign a model who has
not been trained at John Robert Powers?" and "Do
you refuse to sign models who have not been trained,
The important thing at this point with regards to JRP
if they refuse to or cannot answer your question regarding
their success rate, with or without proof, or even if
they do, is to shop around.
Find modeling agencies in your area, and ask them what
they require, who they are looking for.
It is also important to discover how much work is available
for any model in your region, and especially for children.
Many of the scams out there would fail if there was
a requirement of full discloure about how much work was
available in the area.
I take it you are in Colorado. If so, here are some
modeling agencies to contact and ask questions. (None
of these have been checked and they are not being endorsed.)
http://www.donnabaldwin.com/ (Denver, CO)
JEANINE'S MODELING & TALENT (Denver, CO)
Kidskits Inc (Denver, CO)
Marbles Kids Management Inc.
Thank you so much for your response. I inadvertently
put 7/30, and the appointment in fact is today 7/31.
I went to this "cattle call" just on a whim,
knowing NOTHING about the business. I have done some
research, and with your help I know some questions to
ask, and things to investigate.
To tell you the truth, I have read and heard nothing
They did not state their sucess rate. I never asked,
caught up in the Glam that MY daughter was going to be
a star, and the sad thing is I like to consider myself
a smart woman. They just named some people they have
represented who have made it in the "Big Time."
I did not know the curriculum at John Robert Powers
is not a standard curriculum, etc.
You have enlightened me on the Modeling World, and have
given me some ammo. Like I said, I am making wine and
don't know what grapes are, in a manner of speaking.
I want to be an informed consumer, and mother, and able
to make financially wise and productive decisions.
Your message reached me in time, and I cannot say enough
how much your input is appreciated.
Keep up the good work. We need folks like you to protect
the ignorant like us.
To Whom It May Concern:
Is John Robert Powers worth the money
or is it just a scam?
I know I do have potential in this industry, but I don't
know anything about this school. It's located in Las
Vegas and I know that a lot of people have heard
Please give me some advice.
If you want to be a model, you do not need an education,
except the "education" of the fact you do not
need a formal modeling school education, either to get
signed by an agency, or to get work through an agency.
If you check out the section for aspiring models on
the websites of reputable agencies, they do not ask if
you have attended a modeling school or graduated.
They do not say, "Send us your pictures if you
are a modeling school graduate; if you are not a modeling
school graduate, don't bother sending us your pictures."
Why is that? Because what you need to know the reputable
agencies will teach you FREE. For example, in evening
classes once a week, after you have signed with the agency.
There are not a lot of technical skills required to
model. There is no industry standard education. You do
not need a diploma to get work.
If the John Robert Powers program requires a fee, it
should not be due until after the models get work, taking
the cost out of their paycheck, otherwise the conflict
of interest where John Robert Powers gets paid even if
the models do not get paid is not checked.
If JRP is so good at finding models work, they have
nothing to worry about. The models will get work, and
they will be paid for classes.
But look away from JRP for a second and look at your
other options. Shop around.
Find all the modeling agencies in Las Vegas, find out
their BBB record, and ask if they require fees for training
before you can be represented.
Why choose one agency that requires a fee for training
if another agency offers it free?
You can also ask the questions on the list of Questions
to Ask Modeling Agencies. Just because
an agency has no requirement for paid training does
not necessarily mean it is legitimate; there are
other important issues.
To Whom It May Concern:
My son responded to an open call for talent being put
on by the John Robert Powers agency
in St. Louis.
He was accepted for a call back and then, following
the second "audition," we were informed he
was great, and they wanted to offer him an invitation
to their Level 5 workshop training.
They described this as such a great thing because it
included all their talent/model workshops for a lifetime.
The agency also claims it is transferable to other Powers
locations across the world.
The price for this level 5 is $4,900. Basically the
price of all the workshops added together less a 25% "scholarship."
My son has a great and genuine desire to become an actor/performer.
What is your opinion on how legit these classes are
for the money? My main concern stems from the fact that
they want the entire fee within 30 days!
This particular agency has been in business since 1988,
so I'm not concerned about the overnight scam, just wondering
how they stack up against what else is out there. That
being community theater and even high school drama class.
Another note: we didn't go to the audition looking for
a school. We thought it was an agency that would get
you jobs doing commercials and print, etc.
John Robert Powers does that, of course,
but it's amazing how fast the momentum went from the
occasional acting job to a $5,000 fee for school.
Thanks for your time.
Five thousand dollars, is, more than likely, too much
It makes more sense to pay a reasonable amount for acting
classes (less than $300) at the start, and see if there
is sustained interest and skill development. Will your
son remain interested and will his acting skills grow?
If so, then pay for more classes, if necessary.
A parent who previously sent her daughter to John Robert
Powers acting classes, which she thought were very expensive,
said: "I felt my daughter got as much value out
of them as she gets when she attends an eight-hour "workshop" that
The creative marketing idea of making the 25% discount
a "scholarship" is hilarious. If a 25% discount
is still far more expensive than what other acting classes
cost, how is that a deal?
The whole idea of the John Robert Powers classes being "transferable" is
beside the point, because JRP is not the industry standard,
and it does not control the industry. It is not like
college, where credits can be transferred to other colleges,
based on an industry standard education and accreditation.
You didn't mention the age of your son, but a lot of
young people have plans and goals which change. This
happens in high school and college. Even college students
change their majors.
Why would a talent agency want to make someone commit
to a package of classes (costing $5,000, no less), based
on very little performance?
The fact is there is a clear and significant conflict
of interest, huge prices, and no guarantees at John Robert
Powers for potential models and potential actors.
When an agency or whatever which makes money from acting
or modeling classes holds an "audition," you
can't tell if they are really doing it just as a sales
pitch for classes. When they make money from classes,
you can't tell if your son being "selected" is
just because his parents can pay for the classes.
You should know that in some states it is illegal for
talent agencies to charge aspiring actors for classes.
They have recognized the obvious conflict of interest
and made laws to protect consumers.
In Florida, for example, agencies cannot require subscription
to a publication, post card service, advertisement, resume
service, photographer, school, acting school, workshop,
acting workshop, video or audio tapes.
The only way you could reasonably consider such a conflict
of interest is if the price of the classes was extremely
low. But in the case of JRP, it is not only not extremely
low, and not even competitive, it is extremely high!
Similarly, it would mostly likely only be reasonable
to consider paying a price for classes which was 10-20
times higher if the placement rate of the agency was
10-20 times higher than other talent agencies in your
Best advice is to shop around.
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