Views on John Casablancas Modeling School
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing this letter in response to some of the letters I read. I am a parent of one of the John Casablanca models (Hartford, CT).
I feel it is important to indicate which location, because JC Modeling and Career Centers are franchises, and are not all run the same way. So judging all JCs based on one is not fair to the ones which conduct business appropriately.
My daughter started modeling when she was 4 ½ years old; she is now 10. She did take the modeling classes that JC recommended and, yes, it did cost money.
What I would say to the people who are sending in complaints is, "Do you pay for ballet classes, acting classes, or college courses for you or your children? Have these classes that you have paid for guaranteed you a profession in that field?"
If so, I would like to know where, so I can join. There is never a 100% guarantee on these sort of things.
Some have said that JC requires them to take these classes. If this is the case, have you ever thought that maybe JC wants to make sure that you or your child will present themselves in the fashion that JC is accustomed to, and not someone that walks off the street?
I have been to quite a few auditions which have included other agencies other than John Casablanca, and I have been quite surprised about the behavior of some of the prospective models or their parents.
One other complaint was that these modeling agencies take everyone. Keep in mind, is every person you have seen on TV, in movies, advertisements, and other entertainment all beautiful and skinny and a certain height?
No, because it all depends on what the company or producer wants to have. They want people of all shapes, sizes, and looks.
JC is not there to teach you how to be a model, or make you beautiful, but how to present yourself, to strengthen self-esteem, to give someone confidence in anything they pursue in life (whether it be in modeling or another field).
I believe hearing about people's experiences is a good thing and very helpful, but, remember none of us really know if the letters which are written by people and submitted are those of people who have been denied or turned away, disgruntled ex-employees, or from other agencies.
Is there proof of these claims? Do they have lawsuits against these companies? Have they won these suits? None of us really know.
What we all have to keep in mind is that a person needs to form their own opinions, ask the right questions when looking for an agency, and not expect that if they are accepted as a model that (whether they have paid out money or not) the world is going to drop at your feet and you will become an instant success.
Granted, not everyone will become famous or make it as a model. My daughter has been very lucky in everything she has been able to do. She has met some famous people; she has been on TV; and done quite a bit of print work.
But most importantly she has gained confidence, learned responsibility and commitment, made life-long friends, and maybe most importantly how to deal with success and disappointments in a positive way.
You said: "I feel it is important to indicate which location, because JC Modeling and Career Centers are franchises, and are not all run the same way. So judging all JCs based on one is not fair to the ones which conduct business appropriately."
Yes and no. It is a minor point if the main problem is the concept.
Some franchises are going to be more ethical than others; some will be more professional than others; and some will have better teachers than others. But at the end of the day, it is still upfront fees which would not have to be paid at a reputable and responsible agency.
You said: "What I would say to the people who are sending in complaints is, "Do you pay for ballet classes, acting classes, or college courses for you or your children? Have these classes that you have paid for guaranteed you a profession in that field?"
That is a false comparison, because, again, reputable agencies do not charge models for classes.
Ballet companies do not provide classes free. Entertainment companies do not provide acting classes free. And businesses do not provide college courses free.
But reputable modeling agencies do train their models free.
You wrote: "Some have said that JC requires them to take these classes. If this is the case, have you ever thought that maybe JC wants to make sure that you or your child will present themselves in the fashion that JC is accustomed to, and not someone that walks off the street?"
I think you are missing the point. Good agencies require their models to take classes, or provide them with coaching, but, again, it's free.
You said: "One other complaint was that these modeling agencies take everyone. Keep in mind, is every person you have seen on TV, in movies, advertisements, and other entertainment all beautiful and skinny and a certain height?"
You appear to be talking about commercial modeling.
Most commercial models probably don't get a lot of work, at least compared to other models, so that is one more reason why they should not pay for training.
For example, how many times have you seen the same commercial model on TV (outside the occasion series of ads, i.e. for a different company)? Would you want to pay about $2,000 for training to be a commercial model or to get that one-in-a-lifetime commercial modeling job that could pay less than the training?
You said: "I believe hearing about people's experiences is a good thing and very helpful, but, remember none of us really know if the letters which are written by people and submitted are those of people that have been denied or turned away, disgruntled ex-employees, or from other agencies."
By the same token, how do we know you are not a representative of a John Casablancas school? The experiences are not necessarily the key issue. The key issue is a conflict of interest. The experiences reported on this site and elsewhere by those who wrote only highlight the conflict of interest.
You also have to look further than your own experience and the experiences of others to the unwritten industry standards and the written industry laws and regulations. Then you will see some states make what JC does illegal.
You asked: "Is there proof of these claims? Do they have lawsuits against these companies? Have they won these suits? None of us really know."
Funny you should mention lawsuits. There was a lawsuit by the federal government against a modeling company with a very similar business model as JC.
The agency was signing up lots of people for modeling and acting classes. If the federal government already intervened in this type of situation, and won the lawsuit, what does that tell you?
Read the case of FTC vs. Model 1, Inc., and see if you notice any similarities to the complaints made against John Casablancas schools.
You suggested aspiring models "not expect that if they are accepted as a model that (whether they have paid out money or not) the world is going to drop at your feet and you will become an instant success."
Probably most don't. But being accepted as a model at a school is not the same as being accepted as a model at an agency.
The JC agency affiliate doesn't count. The issue being a conflict of interest in both cases.
You claimed: "JC is not there to teach you how to be a model, or make you beautiful, but how to present yourself, to strengthen self-esteem, to give someone confidence in anything they pursue in life (whether it be in modeling or another field)."
Those who already wrote said the purpose of JC was in part to teach you how to be a model and make you beautiful (e.g. runway, makeup).
As far as self-esteem and confidence, fine, but why don't they call themselves a Confidence School?
One final point. You said your daughter is 10 and started modeling at 4 ½. But you didn't say when she took JC classes. Was it at 4 ½ or 10?
JC may have more value for aggressive parenting. If you want your daughter to grow up quickly and model early, outside help may be needed, and strong parenting may not be enough.
Most of the previous letters were from or about girls in their early teens, mid teens or late teens.
The question remains, if reputable and successful agencies train their models free, and represent them and get them work, why does JC charge models for training, especially when they do not represent them or they don't have a talent agency license?
Do you realize the stigma attached to modeling schools? A modeling school is one of the few things an agency will state it is not in order to help potential clients or models see it is legitimate.
JC franchises must think, "Why give them classes free when you can charge them?" But aspiring models now ask, "Why pay for classes when you can get them free?"
To Whom It May Concern:
Today I went to a "modeling interview/audition" with The John Casablanca's Modeling and Career Centers.
I was contacted by one of their representatives and told that I had been referred to them by a modeling agency called America's Top Models.
John Casablanca's seemed very interested in seeing me when I spoke with them on the phone.
I was a little skeptical from the beginning, due to the fact that I had already dealt with another nationally franchised modeling school.
Right after I graduated from high school, I received a letter in the mail requesting a picture and some information about myself.
Being the gullible, starry-eyed kid I was, I sent in the information.
I was then contacted for a modeling audition.
I went to the audition and was told that they would like to train me to "Be a Model."
I couldn't believe it, I was so excited. That is until I went to the first "training session."
In this first session, I was taught how to walk on a catwalk.
Now, only being 5'3" tall, I know that my chances for a runway/catwalk modeling job are going to be few and far between.
That's when I first questioned the whole modeling job training scenario.
Then, the second half of the session was spent on how to properly cleanse my face and apply makeup.
It wasn't long after I got home that I decided that I had been taken, and quite easily I might add.
So, when John Casablanca's contacted me, I was very skeptical.
But when I called them and talked about what all I would be doing, it was totally different.
They said I would be walking at 10 and in front of the camera at 11. I was excited. Especially when they told me how they found out about me through a modeling agency that had a model search earlier this year.
I made the decision that I was going to go to the interview/audition, but if they tried to sell me classes, I was going to leave, because I had already had that experience.
Then I got to their offices. They started saying all the right things right off the bat. But, when it came down to it, they wanted me to take classes.
So, since I went through the first modeling school, I asked the rep what it was exactly that made them different.
"What's the difference between that model school and John Casablanca's?"
She actually told me that she wasn't allowed to say anything at all. Then she smiled and said, "If that tells you anything, I can't say anything about them."
So, I began asking questions, as did my mother.
I'm 21 years old and have been burned enough to know that I wanted to take someone who wouldn't be awestruck by what they were telling me, because my mother has always told me how beautiful I am, and how I could do some modeling.
So we then asked what their success rate was in placing students/models after the classes.
"What is your placement success rate?"
She told me that it was 82%.
That seemed really impressive, as did the fact that I would be signed on a non-exclusive contract which would allow me to go out and find work for myself, for which they would not receive a commission/fee.
She was also really good at telling me what I wanted to hear. That I had the "look" they were looking for; and that I would "... make all her dreams come true if I could come back tomorrow and start the classes."
My mom and I then asked if she would excuse us so we could talk.
Once she left, my mom and talked about what all had been said. My mom said she wanted to look up some information on the internet about the agency/school.
But since they wanted an answer right then and there, she decided that she would write a check, we would go home, look up the information, and if we didn't like what we found, she would place a stop payment on the check.
When the rep returned and my mom started to write the check out, the rep stated that they couldn't accept a check since I was starting tomorrow, due to the fact that the check might not clear right away, but that if my mom wanted to put it on her debit card that would be great.
My mom wasn't pleased. So she decided to put it on her credit card, and we went home.
Once home, my mom began looking up John Casablanca's on the internet. She said she was amazed that the first thing she pulled up was this website.
She was also disappointed to find that Casablanca's was much like my school, if not affiliated.
So, after reviewing the letters and the information, my mom called the credit card company and told them to stop payment.
The credit card company, however, said all they could do for now is document the fact that she called them, and told them what she wanted done, but they would have to receive a refund from the vendor.
That's when we decided that I will call them tomorrow and tell them I will not be attending their classes, and will be sending a certified letter requesting a refund of the money.
What I was wondering is, how would I go about finding a reputable modeling agency in my area which has a market for someone with my look?
This is something I really want to do, modeling as well as acting. I just want to know what all I need to do to get myself out there and be seen by all the right people, instead of these con artists.
Is there something in particular I need to do by way of pictures or resumes?
I live in southern Ohio, near Cincinnati. Would you know of any good agencies in my area, and what some of their criteria might be?
I'm tired of being taken by con artists. I'm ready to find someone who wants to help me instead of just helping themselves.
Sorry this was so long and involved, but I'm seriously thinking about taking a stand. It's about time somebody did.
Young boys, girls and young adults need someone to look out for their best interests instead of someone trying to find out the best way to exploit them.
If I knew exactly who to write or what to do, I would do everything in my power to get out the message loud and clear as to what exactly they are doing. It's not fair to today's youth.
The world is harsh enough to grow up in, let alone having someone trying to sell you a piece of ocean front property in Arizona, so to speak.
Thank you for your time. I really appreciate everything you are doing to inform the public of what is going on.
You asked: "How would I go about finding a reputable modeling agency in my area which has a market for someone with my look?"
Check out How to Find a Reputable Modeling Agency
You also asked: "Is there something in particular I need to do by way of pictures or resumes?"
Only if you are trying to get into NY or LA. In which case you could send Polaroids. They usually don't ask for a resume.
Don't let anyone talk you into buying a portfolio to get started. Show up at the agency after calling ahead to check their requirements.
Getting discovered or signed can be as simple as walking into a local agency. No pictures. No classes. No expense. No effort.
You don't even have to go to a lot of trouble to wear perfect makeup —they usually want to see potential models without makeup.
To Whom It May Concern:
A few years ago, my mother and I were stopped on the street by a John Casablanca's Modeling Scout, who refused to leave us alone until we had taken his card.
He convinced my mother and I that I had what it took to be a model, and that he wanted us to meet with him ASAP.
My mother knew at the time I was having self-esteem issues, and decided that it would be a nice way for me to learn to like my figure and build self-confidence.
At my first class, I was surprised by how short many of the other "models" were.
However, for me I was able to enter into conversation quite easily, and the time spent in these classes was fun.
After the first month of attending classes, I was separated from my group, and asked if would like to purchase photos for a portfolio.
I was very wary of the price, yet with many compliments and so-called "deals," my mother decided once again that I had a chance, and that it would be worth it.
I met with the photographer the following week and began the photo shoot.
About half-way through the shoot, I was interrupted by my class wanting to get in on the shoot.
My so-called "agent" said that it would liven up the pictures, and, yada, yada, yada, I gave in to his b.s., and finished the shoot in the background of the girls.
Granted, we had fun, yet at my mother's expense.
When the pictures came in, they were a huge hit in the center, and completely tarnished by the time I got a chance to see them.
My agent picked out the six pictures he felt made me look my best and had them printed.
Unfortunately for my mother, she never got to see the 500-dollar pictures, let alone choose the ones she wanted.
For some reason my photographer was angry with the whole thing, and offered me a free photo shoot with him somewhere else in the future. Yet he disappeared three weeks later and never returned to the center.
To sum it up, my mother dished out about $3,000 to JC Modeling and Career Center, and she got nothing out of it other than a bogus life modeling contract for her daughter.
However, I did walk away from JC Modeling and Career Center confident that I would never be a JCrew model —let alone a runway model —despite what my friends and family say.
My basic advice is for people to avoid JC Modeling and Career Centers altogether.
I think the hardest part about attending the classes was learning that some of these girls actually dropped out of college in order to pay the tuition.
If I ever get the nerve to confront this "agency," it will be after I pass the BAR.
P.S. This website is a very good idea, and I will be sure to pass it on in the future.