Peak Model Management LLC aka Peak Model and Talent Management aka The Peak Agency aka Peak Models (www.peak-models.com) Jason Ramirez
May 14, 2005
[Last Updated: June 21, 2005 ]
Jason Ramirez, the president of Peak, used to work for infamous modeling photo mill scam artist Rick Hronik at his bogus agency Lauren Ashly. The agency was the target of the Attorney General of Iowa for misleading aspiring models into believing if they paid the agency for photography and comp cards, they would get work as models. Didn't happen. Hronik had previously been sued by the Attorney General of North Carolina for operating the same photo mill scam (Model Select International) in North Carolina.
Nowhere on peak-models.com was it clear how Peak is different from Lauren Ashly or Model Select International. Mr. Ramirez was asked by email (May 14, 2005) to explain how the Peak Agency is different from the Lauren Ashly Agency.
Jason Ramirez responded to the inquiry by email. He admitted he did work for Hronik but left when he realized his agency was a scam. He noted there have been no complaints filed against Peak at the Better Business Bureau, and Peak is in fact a member of the BBB.
Ramirez says the primary difference between Peak and Lauren Ashly is that Peak actually gets models work. One Peak model, however, emailed to say she had not been offered work in over a year.
Asked how many of the Peak models have earned more than $1,000, the approximate amount they typically pay for marketing materials (photography and comp cards) before they work, Mr. Ramirez said about 50% of the 300 models his agency recruited have earned more than $1,000.
Then asked if models who sign with Peak have a 50-50 chance of breaking even, he said that was not a fair way of putting it.
The different situation with photography and comp cards between Peak and Lauren Ashly is that Peak Model Management does not price gouge. Lauren Ashly extremely marked up the price of photography and comp cards. Mr. Ramirez provided the name and website address of a photographer recommended by Peak Model Management for price comparison. The website showed his rates.
The situation is not so clear with respect to comp cards. Lauren Ashly provided a deal for virtually unlimited comp cards. Peak does too. So far it has not been possible to determine which comp card printer Peak uses, and if Peak's pricing is appropriate, i.e., if they profit from the comp cards.
Peak has not yet said if it sends its models who elect to follow its recommendations a copy of invoices from the photographer and printer. This would enable models to see what, if any, price changes occur between the service provider and Peak.
Since the initial dialogue about Peak Model Management, Easy Background Check has learned the agency sells classes, and it even has its own school: Peak Model and Talent School (www.pmtsia.com). They offer a Full Modeling/Acting Course (for ages 12 and up) for 20 Weeks/30 Hours of Class Time at $1,400.00 (includes photo shoot and composite cards).
This is a conflict of interest. When an agency sells classes, you don't know if you are being selected because the agency thinks it can get you work, or because the agency thinks if you buy classes, you think you will get work.
It should be noted even the top agencies in New York do not have modeling schools. Modeling schools are more common in small cities far from large modeling markets which have relatively few modeling job opportunities. Because the agencies cannot get much money from commissions—the work just isn't there—they try to get it from classes.
The ethical modeling industry standard, which checks the conflict of interest, is an agency does not get paid until a model works.
What the BBB says is unethical: "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 . . . . An agent's time should be spent finding work for his or her client, not selling products and services."
Crimes of Persuasionon