Millie Lewis AMTC
(American Modeling and Talent Convention)


To Whom It May Concern:

I was astonished when the complaint about ISM and myself was brought to my attention. No one expressed any complaints to me or my staff, so I was unaware of any dissatisfaction.

I would have been happy to help in any way if I had known. Regardless, I would like to respond by describing our schedule in detail.

All materials, including the Official Contestants Packet detailing all AMTC schedules, rules, processes and events, a printed schedule of workshops and ISM office hours were given at Registration.

Also at registration, each contestant signed a contract, which detailed all possible costs, including photos and comp cards and an official Refund Policy.

Listed below is the published training schedule in Sioux Falls, South Dakota:

March 3, 2002
9:00 am - 4:00 pm

At this workshop, my teacher worked with the contestants, while I visited with each family and discussed their situation and needs.

Then I spoke to the whole group about what they needed for each competition and AMTC rules and regulations.

I talked about necessary dates of arrival, when the orientation is, when registration is, Awards, and departure times.

All of this and all other important information relevant to AMTC is printed in the extensive and detailed AMTC Contestant Packet, and all contestants received this document when they signed up.

April 28, 2002
10:00 am - 4:00 pm

May 11, 2002
10:00 am - 4:00 pm

This workshop was scheduled to take place from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm, but we stayed until after 7:00 pm to talk to each participant individually.

June 8, 2002
10:00 am - 4:00 pm

June 22, 2002
scheduled from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm, actual running time 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

This last training session took place in Omaha, Nebraska. The reason for this inconvenience, which I explained at the prior practice, is the Group Runway Competition.

In this competition, a bonding experience for the group, many contestants work together on a single routine.

I also explained that for those people who could not make it to this practice, we would rehearse Group several more times at the actual Orlando Convention.

Photo Shoot

The photo shoot took place in Omaha only because in a vote all but two participants agreed to this request from the photographer. He flew in from L.A. and the makeup artist/stylist flew in from San Francisco.

C.Z. and R.Z. were given an opportunity to look at their slides and comp card layout, and they signed a release expressing their satisfaction with the work.

The comp cards, given to agents at convention, are also used regularly to book local and regional work through ISM.

Later I give an instance in which C.Z. herself booked local work from her comp card after the convention.

All contestants and families were given ISM's office hours during which they were invited to call or visit.

They were told Monday - Thursday from 10:00 am - 8:00 pm; Friday from 10:00 am - 6:00 pm; and Saturday from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm.

During times that I was not available, which was only when I was teaching a class, I told my group that my assistant would be able to help, and if she could not, I would call them back ASAP. I handled all Sioux Falls calls promptly.

At my last Sioux Falls class, I went through each competition with each person. For everyone who had their clothes, I had a dress rehearsal.

C.Z., daughter of R.Z., approached me and said that she had no idea what she was doing. She was also one of the few who brought none of her clothes.

At this point, I went through all competitions and requirements again with the group for her benefit.

After this review, said before, and written in the packet, R.Z. told me that C.Z. was not staying for Call Back Day.

I told her of its importance because of the one-on-one interaction between the agents and the contestant.

She said nothing more about it.

I had 53 contestants at the convention. How and why would I have singled out R.Z. to misinform?

I told my group several times of the daily meetings while in Orlando. Upon my arrival, I found a meeting place near the ballrooms, and left a message for everyone on their voicemail in their rooms.

At each day's meeting, I told them about the next day's meeting. My assistant and I were in the ballroom foyer area or watching the competitions at all times during the convention available for questions.

On July 12, 2002, after convention, ISM received a job from Yonkers, a department store in Omaha to be broadcast on a local tv station.

We chose C., still unaware of any dissatisfaction, and when we called her, she accepted the job, and she and her mother were excited.

Still she mentioned no complaint.

I take my job and position seriously. I go to all workshops and take one or more staff members to assist me.

Unfortunately, I missed one Sioux Falls workshop due to surgery I had the day before, but I sent two capable staff members in my place.

I am sorry to hear of this complaint, but why was it not made clear sooner? I have regular office hours. I was available at all but one practice.

During the convention I held regular meetings and remained in common areas during all events. I stressed the importance of call backs to R.Z. when she told me she was not planning to come.

The schedule was given verbally and in the Contestant's Packet. I have a contract signed by R.Z. detailing all costs and the Official Refund Policy.

If R.Z. was unhappy with her pictures, she should not have signed the satisfaction agreement, and she would not have had to pay for them.

What more could I have done?

Respectfully,

Rena Ramiah
Director
International School of Modeling, L.L.C.


Ms. Ramiah:

R.Z. said she signed the agreement for the photos but she did so regrettably. The agreement said she was satisfied, but she said she was not satisfied.

I did sign the acceptance form, but they were so bad. Not even near worth the $400 spent on them. But that is my fault for not putting up a fuss on that.

The complainant and the person who responded to the complaint both said the schedule was changed. R.Z. apparently made an airline reservation based on the information she was given by ISM:

We were not even there for the ever-famous "Call Back Day." The original schedule given me had that day on Saturday, so I made my airline reservation to return back to Sioux Falls on Sunday.

You can't fault her for that. Neither you nor L.D. have acknowledged the possibility that R.Z. did not change the airline ticket because all flights on Sunday were already booked.

In any case, if the original information provided by ISM was changed, as two people have said it was, how could it possibly be unreasonable to expect ISM to accept responsibility?

Here is a basic solution for you both to consider: send the comp cards for which R.Z. has paid hundreds of dollars, and which would have been given on Call Back Day to the agents, whom her daughter would have met. You know their names; and you have their addresses.

Redacted Info


Response from R.Z:

I was reading with amusement the response from the ISM office in Omaha, and just wanted to respond to a few things, just in case there are future questions out there from other people wondering how this works.

"C.Z., daughter of R.Z., approached me and said that she had no idea what she was doing. She was also one of the few who brought none of her clothes."

Yes, she was very confused as to what was going on, what she was signed up for, what she had to wear, etc. Hell, I was confused, too.

For $2,000 you would think it would have been better explained, written down, passed out to the contestants, etc.

Also, she was NOT one of the few who did not bring her clothes as she did try on some outfits for the staff, and one was picked out by Karen / Rena for her to wear for one of the competitions.

"On July 12, 2002, after convention, ISM received a job from Yonkers, a department store in Omaha, to be broadcast on a local tv station. We chose C., still unaware of any dissatisfaction, and when we called her, she accepted the job, and she and her mother were excited."

Yes, C. was very excited, and initially I agreed to take her to Omaha. But after talking it over with my husband, he was not in agreement, since I would have had to take two days off work, drive 3.5 hours each way, one day for a fitting, and one day for the commercial, and this was an unpaid venture.

I probably would have done it if it could have been condensed into one day, or if it had been a paid job; but I just realized I couldn't take two days off work after just getting back from vacation.

"Later I give an instance in which C.Z. herself booked local work from her comp card after the convention."

I have no idea what this is in reference to as C. has not booked anything herself locally.

"During the convention, I held regular meetings and remained in common areas during all events."

I find this half comical. Not once was it ever asked of C. or myself how she was doing or liking the convention or anything.

For $2,000, you would think a bit more attentiveness to each participant would be in order, but perhaps I'm either the only one whose daughter did not get this, or I am the only one who has expressed dissatisfaction.

Interestingly, the name issue —printing my name instead of my daughter's in the program book under the sponsor heading list —was not addressed. (Again, I think this just shows someone is not paying attention.)

Nor did the staff suggest or offer to let me leave my daughter's comp cards with them to pass out to agents since we had to leave the convention early. I took that upon myself and had one of the other mothers do that for us.

As a side note, I like the letter to Carey at Millie Lewis. I, too, looked at the website for possible costs to see just how much I was bilked out of.

My daughter and another girl at the convention were told by other participants they either did not have to pay anything to go to the convention, or they paid considerably less than I paid.

I never talked with other parents from other places; however, I did try and research the cost on the internet, but I also came up with nothing, so I look forward to the reply to the price question.

As I have said before, thanks for all the great information you publish. It opened my eyes to things I should have been more open to prior to signing my daughter up to participate in this.

I only hope more people take the time to research everything and don't sign anything until they feel comfortable with what is going on.

Leave the "emotional high" of your child being "selected" out of the equation, because that really has nothing to do with anything.

Know exactly what you are getting for what cost, and make phone calls to other agencies to see what they would charge.

In other words, as you would with everything else, do some comparison shopping.

Keep up the good work!

R.Z.


Related: Modeling Agency President Speaks Out Against Expensive Conventions, Calls Modeling Schools A Complete Scam


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