Millie Lewis AMTC
(American Modeling and Talent Convention)
To Whom It May Concern:
What can you tell me about the Millie Lewis organization?
My son was encouraged to sign up for one of the conventions
coming up in the fall.
It's about $495 for him to go. If I thought it would
help him, I'd gladly find the money, but I'm a little
The organization is listed with the BBB, and the Attorney
General in WV has no complaints.
Millie Lewis has a squeaky clean public record at the
BBB. They have actually gone to the trouble of paying
the fees to buy BBB membership at each of their franchises.
However, if you look further down on the BBB web page
for the main Millie Lewis listing, i.e., Millie Lewis
International, there are important if not ironic statements
by which the BBB may be trying to warn consumers:
- To help you detect fraudulent opportunities, the
BBB warns that disreputable agencies often: - ask for
up-front money. Legitimate agents work on a commission.
They don't get any money until you get paid for doing
the work they have obtained for you.
Millie Lewis apparently asks for up-front money and
does not receive payments by commission.
They scout for talent to attend their convention, but
they are not paid the way scouts are paid at reputable
Model scouts are usually paid by commission, i.e., a
percentage of the model's future earnings; model agencies
are paid in a similar way, a percentage of the model's
This is a fair system, and a just system, and it protects
The Millie Lewis system inherently causes a conflict
of interest which encourages Millie Lewis scouts to be
overselective, because they are paid by the number of
people who they sign up, not the number of people an
agency signs up.
This fact is illustrated by the failure rate of the
Millie Lewis conventions. The last available data is
from 1994, when, the
president of Millie Lewis said, "over
30% of our contestants received an offer of representation." Translation:
about a 70% failure rate.
If you are comfortable gambling on those types of odds,
you may want to send your son to the Millie Lewis con
Rhonda Hudson, the President of the Models Guild, has
attended two Millie Lewis conventions, according to the
President of Millie Lewis, Carey Arban.
According to Rhonda Hudson, modeling conventions may
be fun and provide an opportunity to meet people and
make friends, but they are probably not the most wise
use of finances.
Modeling convention prices vary. We are still trying
down the convention price from the president
of Millie Lewis, because two Millie Lewis websites do
not reveal the cost.
You said the cost for your son is $495. Another parent
wrote and said she
paid $2,000 for her daughter, but others
at the convention had paid different prices. If this
is true, it raises some interesting questions.
In any case, and in any event, there are cheaper ways
of being discovered, or at least gauging interest, including
sending snapshots directly to reputable agencies, or
attending open calls at reputable agencies.
Ford Models, for example, encourages prospective models
to send in their pictures. Their website provides the
mailing address. They do not advise aspiring models to
attend modeling conventions.
To Whom It May Concern:
My daughter attended the Millie Lewis AMTC (American
Modeling and Talent Convention).
She had several call backs. We were so excited.
One agency even told us that they wanted her right away.
We get back home and call our agency to set up an appointment.
We go and she pretty much tells us, "Congratulations,
and good luck in the future."
I was under the impression that our agency would be
helping us with everything.
This agent that wanted my daughter right away has now
put us off until next summer.
Now I don't know what to think.
Do I search for another agency, or am I stuck with this
one that we went to the convention with?
I'm beginning to think that this was a scam!
A couple of times you referred to the modeling agency
which saw your daughter at the Millie Lewis modeling
convention as "our agency."
Did you sign a contract with the agency? They usually
specify a time period. It should be one year at the beginning.
It can range from one to three years.
The contract would also say if it is an exclusive contract.
If it is not exclusive, you can seek other agencies to
Of course if no contract was signed you can and probably
should look elsewhere. If you cannot trust their word,
why trust them with your daughter's future?
Why you were told your daughter was needed immediately
and then immediately becomes immediately in a year is
Press the agency for an explanation. Press Millie Lewis
for an explanation.
People wonder if call backs are sincere. No wonder.
Thanks for the response.
When I said "our agency," I was referring
to the agency with which we went to the convention: the "mother
agency" as some people call it.
The agency which wanted my daughter right away is in
New York. I don't know why they changed their mind.
I thought that our "mother agency" would take
care of all the plans and keep trying to contact the
others that were interested to get my daughter work.
Since she is not doing this, does this mean I can go
to another agency?
I have contacted a few other agencies just to see, and
they tell me that I probably have signed a contract with
the "mother agency."
Two of three agencies told me that because my daughter
went to the convention with the "mother agency" they
could not represent my daughter.
They also attend the AMTC.
The other does not do conventions but was quick to tell
me that I am in contract with the "mother agency."
I don't remember signing anything, and don't find it
in my paper work. I'm really confused.
The convention cost too much money to let it end here.
If my daughter had not got call backs I could see reason
for the way we are being treated. But my daughter caught
the eyes of many, including agents who don't take children.
So why all of the sudden are we on our own?
You're right in saying: "The convention cost too
much money to let it end here."
You really need to find out if you are under any obligations
at all. Some agencies think you are, or they think you
could be; but I don't think you are.
How could you possibly be under any obligations if you
never signed a contract with an agency?
What is the name of your "mother agency"?
Can you call them, perhaps say you would like to take
a look at the contract you signed? Pretend you did sign
If they say, "You never signed a contract," then
you have confirmation you are free. If they say, "OK,
we'll mail it," then you'll see if/what you signed.
One way or the other you need to find out from the so-called "mother
agency" if there is a contract. You can't make any
progress unless and until you know 100% if there is a
(If you never signed a contract, it's probably a bit
generous to call them a mother agency.)
If you confirm there is no contract, and the "mother
agency" was actually just a chaperone, you can tell
any and all modeling agencies you have confirmed there
was no contract, there is no contract, and take it from
To Whom It May Concern:
I realized that the AMTC was a scam when a young girl
with cerebral palsy was there and entered the monologue,
singing and dancing competitions. She was in a wheelchair
and had difficulty forming words.
When she made it to the dance finals, the AMTC grew
very upset. Excuse me, but if you don't think someone
should be in the finals, why take their $3,000 and give
them false hope? WHY did they allow her to pay the fee
I don't know if I believe the story. It is not like
Millie Lewis/AMTC organizers could possibly imagine something
like this would fail to get the attention of hundreds
of people attending the convention, all the contestants,
all their parents, the media covering the event, everyone
from the other AMTC staff to all the agents and agencies.
And they would know nobody would forget something like
You can't have a girl in a wheel-chair and not be noticed
in a dance competition. Or giving a monologue if she
has cerebral palsy or a speech impediment. Everyone is
going to see and hear this. It is a totally public event.
There are hundreds of people milling around. It draws
interest. Not criticism, but interest. Everyone wants
to know what is going on...
This is a media story. The media is interested in those
who have disabilities but special abilities and rise
above their challenges.
While I have reservations about the story, I'd urge
others who witnessed the event to write in and say what
happened to corroborate the story or suggest ATMC explains
what happened, and give their side of the story.
Who was the AMTC scout who recruited her? Who is responsible
for this? Are there any pictures of the girl at the event?
Does AMTC record the conventions on video? Is there an
archive? Does anyone know the name of the girl so her
parents could be contacted to confirm the story?
I asked my daughter if she saw a girl in a wheel-chair
but she doesn't recall anyone in her categories.
I do remember seeing someone in a wheel-chair, but it
appeared that was because she had a broken leg.
It wouldn't surprise me in the least if they did this,
though, as I think they are just out to make a buck from
whomever will put it up.
Your last comment is similar to one of the first comments
(letter#2), which was they have not missed a trick at
how to make a buck.
They are involved in running schools, such as the Millie
Lewis Modeling and Finishing School, but the president
of one agency said schools are a scam, because they train
their models for free, and the BBB said most agencies
train their models for free.
They are involved in getting professional modeling photos
before models are signed, but experts say professional
photos are not needed until you are signed with an agency.
They are also of course involved in running conventions
like the AMTC, but they do not use the industry standard
potential model photo screening.
The common thread in everything they do is upfront fees.
Upfront fees are illegal in some states.
Sarah Doukas, President of Storm Agency in London, England,
discovered supermodel Kate Moss. Storm is the top London
model agency. The agency represents over 400 models besides
Kate Moss, including Eva Herzigova, Sophie Dahl and Elle
Ms Doukas is one of the most successful women in the
modeling industry. She knows it inside out, all the good,
and all the bad. Her experience and expertise is summarized
in her advice for aspiring models: "Never,
ever pay money upfront for anything."
Is there even one ML program that does not have upfront
Agency President Speaks Out Against Expensive Conventions,
Calls Modeling Schools A Complete Scam
Lewis (AMTC) Letters Index