John Robert Powers Modeling School
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 make it.

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 the shoot.

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 phone.

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.

C.F.


To Whom It May Concern:

I recently took my daughter to a casting call for John Robert Powers.

The place that has the world-renowned "Kerri." Who is Kerri?

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?

Thank you,

C.M.


C.,

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, retrain them.

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 industry.

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 taught!

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 your conversation.

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 their models.

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 relevant?)

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, period?"

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.

http://www.maxtalent.com/

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Thank you so much for your response. I inadvertently put 7/30, and the appointment in fact is today 7/31. Sorry.

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 positive.

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.

Thank you,

C.M.


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 of it.

Please give me some advice.

Sincerely,

I.R.


I.,

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.

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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.

M.C.


M.,

Five thousand dollars, is, more than likely, too much too soon.

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 costs $150-250."

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 city.

Best advice is to shop around.

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