Reputable Modeling Agency in
To Whom It May Concern:
I have a 15-year-old daughter who recently became interested
Being new to the modeling research business, trying
to find an agency for my daughter has been a real ordeal.
Boy, you just don't realize the amount of scams out
there —well, I guess you do or you would not have
I first entered my daughter in a Glamour Pageant here
in Cleveland this year. I was not oblivious to the fact
that this was more than likely a scam, but we did it
for fun more so than a serious competition for modeling,
with the expectations of not being scouted by an agency.
There was a cost to us, an upfront cost of $25, but
I thought, "Hey, no problem, I can lose 25 bucks."
Well, apparently there was small print somehow stating
this was for an application fee or something of that
Nonetheless, then we get the application and they want
an additional $100, or something close to that amount.
Well, I paid it just so my daughter would have a fun
evening —or so that's what they state in the flyer
sent out to us.
What a joke! They did have scouts there locally. Of
course we were scouted along with the other several hundred
The funny thing is, I wonder why the scouts —Millennium
Model Management out of Cleveland —wanted
a $200 registration fee, plus pushed to use their photographer
for an additional $1,000.
When I told the gentlemen that I read on the internet
that models should never have to pay a registration fee,
he told me, "Well, Wilhelmina would never look at
I thought, "You little jerk, then why are you?" but
I politely said, "We will have to think about it
and get back to you later."
He told my daughter, "You have an all-American
look, and I would like to use you. Why didn't you get
into modeling earlier?"
We never did pay a cent, so I can't say they are a scam,
but all the red flags were there.
New Faces out of PA charges $150 to
put your picture in a book to give to agencies. Did not
pay for a contract here, either, too scared to lose $150.
They said any photo would do and to send it in with the
I thought that was odd, because you would think they
would want to approve a great head shot? I mean that
is business for them, why any photo, that did not have
to be professional?
All the scouts from the Glamour Pageant had an invitational
call back, but wanted money. This was not what I expected
from a scout at a pageant after paying cold cash. Where
the heck did they get these scouts? Scam me some more?
Geez, it's not bad enough that you get taken by the
Glamour Pageant, but you would think that they would
at least have some legitimate agencies scouting on their
panel of judges.
Next she (my daughter) is scouted in a local mall in
Strongsville, OH, by the former business called [...]
now under a new name.
Anyway, another room filled with ugly people, even crippled,
limping individuals all looking for fame. Another scam
in the works wanting over $500, and the sad thing is
I am sure most those people didn't even have the money
to waste. Unbelievable!
I did find a nice photographer here in Medina, OH, who
took some pics for her, and charged me a minimal fee
of $74 —gave her a nice portfolio folder, CD-Rom,
some pics, flyers from his business with her picture
on it, and cards with her picture on it for advertisement
to give family and friends.
He posted her pic on his site at www.clavestone.com
under models (Alisia if you want to look). That was fun
and exciting for her, and I did realize he is a semi-professional
photographer, but for the cost, I love the pics, even
if we use them in frames around the house.
My journey is just about come to an end, I have yet
to find a legitimate agency here in Cleveland. I think
my daughter would rather be rejected than scammed for
I think a site like this is needed, I am sure these
agencies hate sites like this, but someone needs to keep
them in check.
They can get away with murder knowing all they need
to do is get one job for their models —and, boom,
they are a business.
In fact the gentlemen from New Faces said exactly that,
and warned the group of potential models for the agency
of all the scams, and how this business was not a scam.
(I never did find out if they are a scam, too, because
I did not pay the fee for putting her picture in a book
to be sent to agencies.)
I did research at the BBB, and both these agencies (Millennium
Model Management and New Faces)
have a good standing, so maybe I am wrong, but all
the red flags are there.
Is this just expected —cost to the model? Every
scam site posted on the net says anyone who wants a fee
is a scam. I am so confused at times my head could spin.
Thanks for hearing me out, I just wanted to get this
off my chest and wish you the best of luck.
I have sat through three call back/open call type sittings,
and it makes you sick to see the mothers fussing with
their kids behind the scenes.
I've seen women in the bathrooms just coating their
poor kids with hairspray, makeup, etc... just to be scammed
by some jerk that looks at you as a paycheck and commission.
The Glamour Pageant beats all. The woman running the
program was out in the corridor of the hotel puffing
her lungs out on cigarettes every chance she got —great
She had dark circles under her eyes, probably running
from city to city, getting as much cash flow as possible
with a skeletal crew.
Nothing was personable at this pageant. The girl who
won in my daughter's age group had a big butt and was
about 5'2'' —although she did have a pretty face.
My daughter did win best model, but after she was off
stage, there was no hand shake, no personal attention,
or no follow-up letter of congratulations.
Keep up the good work.
You said: "I have yet to find a legitimate agency
here in Cleveland."
Ford Models is the most reputable modeling agency in
the world, or right up there with the most successful
like Elite, IMG, and Wilhelmina. They have an office
in Cleveland, Ohio. Here is their address and telephone
Ford Models Cleveland
1300 East 9th Street Suite 1640
Cleveland, OH 44114
Tel: 216 522-1300
Fax: 216 522-0520
You should be able to attend a free open call with your
daughter or drop off pictures. It should not cost you
a dime. Call for details.
You may not need a professionally taken photo if you
are submitting it to an agency. A snapshot will usually
do, as long as it is decent, in focus, etc. That can
be enough for them to see if there is potential for modeling.
But once they see the potential and they have already
decided to represent a model, and the photo is going
to be published, or sent to agencies, as you said it
would, you would hope it would be a high quality image
for the most effective marketing.
There are scouts and agencies, etc., that tell you they
are not a scam but they act like they are a scam. "We
are not like them" is the all-too-common mantra.
They are, however, the ones which make you wonder.
You said, "They can get away with murder knowing
all they need to do is get one job for their models —and,
boom, they are a business."
It seems as if there are modeling or scouting companies
which try to use an exception to prove a rule. This is
why the emphasis should not be only the old, tired success
stories, but the company's success rate.
You also said, "Is this just expected —cost
to the model? Every scam site posted on the net says
anyone who wants a fee is a scam. I am so confused at
times my head could spin."
It is true you will often see comments on websites which
paint the picture in black and white. All companies asking
for fees are scams, they say.
It is not always crystal clear if this is always true,
although it can be a good guide, especially for those
who have not studied the industry, or cannot see shades
I think it is illegal in some states to require a registration
fee at a model/talent agency. Here is how it works in
California, for example, from a BBB
document, under a section called: "The
role of licensing in determining legitimacy":
- The greatest part of determining whether the agency
is legitimate or not has to do with licensing.
- It's important to know that talent agencies (this
includes, generally, anyone who secures employment
or engagements for actors and models) are required
to be licensed by the State and bonded.
- They are not allowed to charge a registration fee
or any other fee, whatever they may call it, for registering
or listing you for entertainment employment or for
photographs, video tapes, or similar services.
Even if the state of Ohio where you are does not have
the exact same law, the significance of the strictness
of the rules in California serves as strong guidance
or a clear guideline for determining if a modeling or
talent agency in another state is legitimate.
The New York state BBB has a document listing "Warning
Signs of a Non-Reputable Modeling Manager or Modeling
Promoter." At the top of the list, it says a non-reputable
manager often "charges an advance fee or 'registration'
In further discussion about legal requirements, in a
section called "How the Laws Protect You," they
make references to both agencies and scouts:
- No legitimate agency takes an advance fee, which
is sometimes called a "registration fee" or
a "consultation fee."
- This practice is prohibited in the state of New York
by New York General Business Law Section 396-n.
- Personal managers, talent scouts, talent agents,
or any person or firm associated with show business
are prohibited from advertising that it has employment
available, or is able to secure any employment when
an advance fee is a condition to such employment. (New
York Arts Cultural Affairs 37.07)
The State identified and shut down the conflict of interest
so consumers don't get scammed by false advertising and
In most industries, the industry giants pay the most
for advertising. You see their advertising on TV, in
magazines, newspapers, with full-page ads, sometimes
several full-page ads.
In the modeling industry it is different. It seems the
biggest names which are legitimate hardly advertise,
but there is reason for this. As the BBB document cited
- Legitimate agents do not, as a rule, advertise at
all. They're far more likely to have acting and modeling
hopefuls beating down their doors.
There would be little point in some of the big names
advertising. If they already have to turn away so many
people they would only be paying for more of the same
Meanwhile the scouting companies or agencies which are
allegedly unethical or conduct illegal business, pay
for advertising and they are more visible through ads
on radio, TV, newspapers, etc.
So, unfortunately, many consumers often have a bad experience
with a scam company before they find a legitimate and
reputable modeling agency because they don't have knowledge
about the modeling industry and the modeling scams are
what they are exposed to first.
Ford Models is no longer in the Cleveland area? Thanks
for your reply.
Ford Models has listed the address given in the 2002
Model and Talent Directory (p. 124), and the google.com
web directory at the time of writing says:
- Ford Models Inc. - http://www.fordmodels.com
International industry leader with New York headquarters,
and offices in Los Angeles, Miami, Scottsdale, Chicago, Cleveland,
Canada, Europe, and Brazil.
You can confirm with their head office in NY if they
relocated, left, or send pictures directly to them as
per the instructions on their flagship website.