John Robert Powers in the News

Is Your Baby The Next Super Model?

Consumer Bob

KFMB TV CBS Local 8 San Diego


Consumer Bob says, "How do you argue with someone who says your kids are darling. Who says they are exceptional, who says they should be models or tv stars? And the only thing between your child and stardom is a small investment in their future. That's how the vanity racket works and how lots of San Diegans are loosing thousands of dollars."

Gabriella Joven plays in her Escondido back yard. Sierra Blaze has playtime in here Oceanside apartment. While they don't know each other the 2 girls have a common bond. Their parents feel ripped off by a La Jolla modeling agency.

Gabriella's mother, Roxanne Joven says, "They gave us a pamphlet saying you need to invest money into your career. People spend that on college. You should spend that on pictures."

Consumer Bob says, "Roxanne Joven is talking about the high pressure tactics she faced when she took her child to John Robert Powers."

A Penny Saver Ad said the company was looking for kids. They told Roxanne that Gabriella was one of 600 they were looking at.

Roxanne says, "Just bring some snapshots in there and the baby and they looked at her and called the next day and said she was the one."

Sierra's mother Gina says, "She said she'd been auditioning 300 kids and it was a hectic week."

Consumer Bob says, "Gina Rutz got the same line when she took Sierra to John Robert Powers. And like Roxanne the modeling agency said the 10 month old needed professional photographs."

Gina Rutz says, "They said she had to have a portfolio before she could do anything in the entertainment business she had to have it."

Consumer Bob says, "But the photos didn't come cheap. John Robert Powers turned the mothers over to Pascucci Productions, a talent agency owned and operated in the same office. And their charge for photos? A whopping $1475.00."

Talent Agent Carol Shamon Freitas says, "Definitely do not get professional photos for infants. They change too fast to spend money."

Consumer Bob says, "Not only do they change, but Talent Agent Carol Shamon Freitas says legitimate agencies shouldn't be making money from selling photo packages."

Carol says, "You should pay no money at all to an agency. No fee, no photos, no school."

Consumer Bob says, "Not only is it unprofessional but it's downright illegal. The California Labor Law specifically states that, 'no talent agency may refer an artist to any person, firm or corporation which the talent agency has direct or indirect financial interest including photography.' Yet both women paid the agency for their photos."

Gina says, "They gave us a sheet of their photographers to go to." Roxanne says, "They set it up. We did not even choose. They said their 2 photographers are the ones to go to."

Consumer Bob says, "Now naturally I wanted to get both sides to this story. So I came here to John Robert Powers and Pascucci Productions, but they weren't talking.

In fact, when they saw us coming, they locked their doors. And while all we could see was an empty office, we did hear from Patricia Pascucci, President of the La Jolla John Robert Powers."

Patricia Pascucci says, "We're not gonna allow you in our building because we know how you media people are."

Consumer Bob says, "Yeah, media people who listen to the complaints of ordinary consumers. Mothers whose children are promised success in modeling."

Roxanne says, "They guaranteed me that in 4 months that she would make that money back and then some."

Gina says, "They said within 6 months she'd be guaranteed work."

Consumer Bob says, "But the deadlines have passed and neither child has earned a dime."

Gina says, "I think we got scammed."

Consumer Bob says, "How many jobs have you gotten so far?" Roxanne says, "Not one."

Consumer Bob says, "Now I've just told you about 2 vanity racket victims, but we've heard from others. In fact I've learned that the San Diego District Attorney's office has opened an investigation into John Robert Powers and Pascucci Productions. If you're a victim, write me here at NEWS 8 and we'll pass your complaints onto the DA's office.

Beware, If You Want Your Child To Be A Model or Star

KFMB TV CBS Local 8 San Diego


Bob Hansen says, "It's called a vanity racket because as parents we're not always objective when it comes to our children. That's why an unscrupulous business or school can milk us out of thousands of dollars, telling us the whole time our kids are on the brink of stardom. That's how it works at John Robert Powers. I know, I've talked to the victims and that's not all, we went undercover."

Woman says, "It's very glamorous and very exciting, but it's not for everybody."

Bob Hansen says, "It's a Tuesday night and the La Jolla office of John Robert Powers is crammed with kids and parents. Each lured by the promises of wealth and stardom."

Woman says, "You want to make some money for college? I love that."

Bob Hansen says, "Money these kids are told they can make through acting and modeling. Heather Davalos and her 6 year old daughter Amber heard those same promises."

Heather Davalos signed with John Robert Powers says, "We were called up for an interview, they interviewed my daughter, and the lady said we want to screen her for a commercial."

Bob Hansen says, "A commercial. Heather and Amber were ecstatic."

Woman says, "They said she is a shoe-in, no problem for modeling. She can model for Mervyns, Macy's, Target ads."

Bob Hansen says, "All Heather had to do was sign up her daughter for classes at a price tag of nearly $2,000.00."

Roxanne Joven who paid for pictures says, "They gave us a pamphlet saying you need to invest money into your career. People spend that on college. You should spend that on pictures."

Bob Hansen says, "Three months ago I showed you how John Robert Powers was charging parents thousands of dollars for unnecesary photo packages in clear violation of state laws. Our undercover investigation showed they've switched from selling pictures to selling classes."

Woman says, "Are you excited about all of this? You are."

Bob Hansen says, "Our undercover mom took her 9 year old daughter to John Robert Powers. After the group meeting she was somehow "selected" to bring in her daughter a second time. This time to meet with Staci."

Woman says, "We represent people who do commercials, films, sitcoms, soap operas, runway shows, target print ads, everything."

Bob Hansen says, "Staci told us she wanted to represent our 9 year old. And said the money would be rolling in."

Woman says, "If she books a job, a national Mcdonald's commercial, and she gets paid $30,000.00, we take 10 percent of television commercial, film, sitcom, and soap opera."

Bob Hansen says, "But of course there is a catch." Woman says, "Hands down she's going to need coaching. I can just tell. Tell right now."

Bob Hansen says, "Staci tells us that coaching will run $3,000.00."

Casting agent Barbara Shannon says, "If you have to pay money upfront to anybody that calls themselves an agent or manager, then run the other way."

Bob Hansen says, "Casting agent Barbara Shannon says John Robert Powers has a bad reputation in the business. As for finding people work, Barbara is in the industry.

Movies of the week, commercials, industrials, tv series. Have you ever cast anyone who came in being represented by John Robert Powers?"

Woman says, "No."

Bob Hansen says, "And yet John Robert Powers makes the promises."

Woman says, "78 to 80 percent of the kids that I represent right now today are booking jobs."

The Better Business Bureau's Gerry Wilson says, "Check and find out if this person is a talent agent. Now if they are they are properly licensed and bonded by the state of California."

Bob Hansen says, "But neither Staci nor John Robert Powers are licensed talent agents or members of Screen Actors Guild."

Woman says, "I don't want you to feel pressured. This is not what I'm about."

Bob Hansen says, "Toward the end of our meeting Staci tried to close the deal. Pressuring us to hand over a $500.00 deposit."

Woman says, "Do I have to do that now?

Woman says, "Well this is the thing, we're making all the decision tonight. Do you want to call your husband?"

Bob Hansen says, "We've talked to dozens of victims all saying they went through the same thing. All hearing John Robert Powers claims that their kids were going to make it big. Right up until they handed over the money."

Heather Davalos says, "It's all about money. All about money. Once they get your money, you'll never see them again.

They slam the door in your face."

Bob Hansen says, "So do people get work using John Robert Powers? We wanted to find out. They're own literature boasts big named success stories from alumni like Jane Fonda, Angie Dickinson, Ann Margaret, Farrah Fawcett, and Faith Ford. But we checked it out. Calling their agents and publicists and not one of them said they had anything to do with John Robert Powers.

The La Jolla office of John Robert Powers gave us the name of 8 different satisfied San Diego clients. We called them and again not one is working in the business as a result of John Robert Powers. Though some say they've since signed with Hollywood agents.

We asked Powers officials to talk to us on camera about all this, but they declined. By-the-way the San Diego DA's office is investigating John Robert Powers. We're still waiting for action and the Better Business Bureau has revoked their membership."

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