Modeling Scams


To Whom It May Concern:

I wish I had found these scam sites before I took my daughter to our local agency.

Here is our story...

My daughter has wanted to model for several years, but I told her to wait until she turned 11, and then I'd check it out.

Well, last November she turned 11, and there happened to be an article about the local modeling agency, how they had national clients, etc.

I called and told them about my daughter, telling them she is very tall and thin, and then I went that same day to meet with them.

My big question was: "Can she get any work?

They said: "Yes, of course."

They also said it just so happened that they were starting their own convention in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in February, and how it would be small, and 44 agents from all the top agencies would be there.

It was very expensive —about $3,000 for her to go. The price included portfolio, classes, registration fees, etc.

At the time we thought we could come up with the money, and gave them $1,500, and they had us sign a three-year contract with them for 20 percent, and said we could pay the balance when we got back from the convention.

I did look them up at the BBB site, and they have had no complaints, and had a good rating.

We went and there was another agency that brought girls from Kentucky called America's Top Models and us with DKMT in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Only half the agents showed (supposedly because of travel problems), but the ones there seemed legitimate.

After the runway shows most of the mothers were yelling and screaming, because their girls only got two callbacks.

At the time I wasn't concerned because my daughter had 22 callbacks out of 25 agents there, and several took us aside and really liked my daughter, including Page Parkes-Evellith from Page Parkes in Dallas.

Agents from Elite and Heffner also really liked her (Heffner only called back four girls).

I thought, "Great! She is on her way..."

Well, my husband lost his job after we returned, and we were broke, and can't pay the other $1,500 yet, but the agency won't tell me anything until I pay them the rest of the money.

One of the girls that works there called right after the convention and said my daughter had tons of calls for her when we got back, but, when we tried to find out more, the owner wouldn't return our phone calls, except to ask for money.

We did get a call from Dave Madsen from Tear Sheet and took some additional pictures with his photographer, but we haven't seen them or heard back from him, and it has been over three weeks.

I don't know where to go from here.

We didn't get any of my daughter's photos that we did pay for and were supposed to be ours, and I really want to just get out of the contract with DKMT, and start over from scratch, but I don't know how.

They seem to know legitimate agents, and I also don't want to prevent my daughter from getting on with another agency because I pissed this agency off.

Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you so much.

Y.T.


Y.,

Are we talking about DKMT, listed in the Better Business Bureau files as DKMT ENTERTAINMENT, with an office at 477 SHOUP AVE SUITE 300, IDAHO FALLS, ID 83402?

Are you in an exclusive contract with DKMT? If you are not in an exclusive contract, you still have the option to seek out and sign with other modeling agencies.

Modeling agencies may sign exclusive contracts with models in major markets if they feel they can get them a lot of work. Idaho Falls is probably not what you would call a "major market" for modeling like New York or Los Angeles, but you would have to be sure about the exact terms or fine print of your contract with DKMT.

It is wise to sign short and simple contracts with as few strings attached as possible in the beginning when you are starting out so you have time to let an agency prove itself. You can be more willing to sign a longer-term contract if it is with a big agency which targets the big markets.

In smaller markets it is generally best to only sign one-year non-exclusive contracts with agencies, because signing an exclusive contract could mean less work for the model, and possibly no work at all, if the agency is bogus.

A three-year exclusive contract with a bogus modeling agency would be awful. If that is the situation, you may consider telling them you want to renegotiate the contract, or even terminate it. Three years can be a long time in the modeling world.

You said you had pissed off the agency. It sounds like they pissed you off, too! If you explained your husband lost his job, which you could not have foreseen, one would hope they would be reasonable, and cut you some slack, and be flexible.

For instance, why can't they proceed with finding your daughter work, and getting her started, and deduct the $1,500 from the first modeling jobs she gets, or get the money directly from you when you can afford it, whichever comes first?

By holding your daughter back, it looks as if they are saying, "We feel we can't get her enough work or the type of work which would make us $1,500, so we'll take the $1,500 owed to us for the convention."

The modeling agency could be a front for a modeling convention. You'll have to figure that out. Do they make their money from conventions or contracts? It would be good to find out for whom they have got work, how many models, and how much the models were paid.

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