Model Search America, John Casablancas
Modeling School, and SeventeenModels.com
To Whom It May Concern:
My name is B. and I am a model.
Model Search America
The first thing I ever got into was a Model
Search America convention. I got a call back
from a casting director in NYC, and they told me if
I was ever going to be in the area to give them a call
and they would send me on auditions.
I agree that MSA is just doing the whole convention
The only thing that came out of the whole weekend is
that I found I loved modeling and it was something I
really wanted to pursue.
Though I didn't actually start modeling after MSA, I
think it is a great way for any girl or guy to find out
if modeling is something they want to do.
After MSA I went to a local John Casablancas, which
in my town is also an agency. They do require you to
take their classes before you start modeling for them,
so I did.
I would recommend modeling school for each and every
girl whether she is interested in modeling or not.
It has a great makeup course, hair course, fashion course,
and it really gives you self-confidence as far as getting
up and speaking in front of people.
In my case, when the classes were over, I signed with
their agency, and I started doing local fashion shows,
and I did a fashion show on the local news station. I
also got offers to do hair shows, though I never did
Attending John Casablancas was probably the best thing
I ever did for myself.
I decided I wanted to take my modeling to the next level,
so I sent my pictures in to the International Cover Model
Search (seventeenmodels.com) after seeing their ad in
the back of a magazine.
I was contacted and I went to Miami for a photo shoot.
The pictures they take are very professional, and they
help you start your book.
I didn't even know about the model survivor game until
the day of my shoot when one of the photographers told
me he wanted to put me on there.
They help you get your portfolio together, and they
start trying to market you to agencies. They advise you
and tell you how to also start marketing yourself.
We keep in touch and touch base very often. I think
it is a wonderful thing to do for any model who needs
to work on her book.
They are all wonderful people and they will help you.
Even if they can't find an agency that wants you, you
now have your book, and when you go into modeling agencies
you have experience, and most of the time experienced
models are not only more likely to get signed, but they
get paid more.
I have no regrets about any of the three things I have
done. I think MSA let me know I wanted to model; JCS
taught me how; and Seventeen Models has helped me go
Can you give us some prices for Model Search America,
John Casablancas Modeling School, and SeventeenModels.com?
How much did they charge?
You said: "I would recommend modeling school for
each and every girl whether she is interested in modeling
Your point of view is sharply contrasted with the statement
of a modeling and talent agency president who
wrote a few days before you and said, "We don't
believe in modeling schools because they are a complete
He went on to say his agency provided training free: "We
do the development ourselves and do not charge anything
for it. Developing a model is part of being a model manager."
Others have said they could learn the same things about
hair and makeup they learned at modeling school from
their sister or mother, which would of course also be
I can't remember for sure how much MSA was —it
was so long ago. I believe it was around 400-$500. Then,
of course, you have to pay extra for travel expenses.
Modeling school was very expensive. I believe it was
about $1,200 if I'm not mistaken, but it was worth twice
Seventeen models was also 400-$500, which is the same
amount or less than most photographers want to do comp
cards or portfolios.
I know one girl who is with a very big agency —it
starts with an 'E' (hint, hint) —and they make
you pay for your own comp cards and pics.
When she got her first paycheck in, it was over $5,000.
And do you know how much she got out of it? Negative
That is how much she had to spend on pics and comp cards
to get started.
My point here is there are very few models out there
who do not have to pay for anything at all as they are
getting into the business.
(That girl is making well into the six figures each
year, though, so it was well worth it.)
In response to the comment on the modeling schools,
I learned so much about myself, and developed such bonds
with the people in my class that no amount of money could
I know most agencies do train you for free. They don't
want you to make them look bad when you go on go-sees,
but the more you already know about modeling, the less
they have to teach you.
You and the girl next to you may both be good looking,
tall, have wonderful personalities, and rockin' bod's,
but if you have no idea how to walk a runway, or about
photo movement, and she does, who do you think they are
going to sign?
You, who they are going to have to spend time, and money
on, or the girl next to you who is just as pretty as
you are, and could start working that afternoon making
them money if they really wanted her to?
Everyone has their own opinions and views. Mine just
happens to be that anything you do in life builds that
much more character and helps you in whatever it is you
might do in life.
I also think modeling in particular has a lot to do
with your situation. I come from a very small town, and
in the words of a very wise man from MSA, I will not
get discovered walking down the streets of Anytown, USA.
I have to work and get myself out there. It all goes
back to the experience thing I spoke of in my former
letter. The more you have, the better you are.
Thank you again,
A short time before receiving your last message I read
Cindy Crawford's views on modeling schools. She addressed
the topic of how to launch a modeling career, and she
mentioned her own experience, including how much she
paid for photos starting out.
- It can be difficult to get started modeling, especially
if you don't live near a major city. My advice to young
people interested in modeling is to get the Yellow
Pages of the biggest city near you and look at different
modeling agencies there.
- They usually have one day a week or month when they
see people for free. If you don't get signed on the
first try, you shouldn't worry about it, because the
first agency I went to said they weren't sure about
me and that I would have to get my mole removed.
- Don't worry about one rejection, but if you get ten,
you might want to go back to college.
- The first agency I went to arranged a test shooting
that I had to pay for. It cost $2,000, and it turned
out to be a disaster.
- However, on that shoot, the makeup artist saw something
in me, and he told Elite in Chicago to contact me.
They represented me from that point on.
- "Modeling schools" are another option,
but they are also misnamed; they should be called finishing
- They can't guarantee you will become a model, and
they won't turn anyone down because you pay a fee.
- For example, they will accept a girl who is 5' 1" who
will probably only be able to do petites. If you want
to learn poise, how to apply makeup, or walk on a runway,
then modeling schools are a good option. But just know
what you are getting.
I forgot to address your point about your mom and sister
being able to teach you the same things as a modeling
If your mom (sister) knows and can teach you about photo
movement, speech and diction, straddling the runway,
modeling bags, portfolios, interviews, and high fashion
makeup and hair, then more power to her; mine, however,
Maybe those things just aren't "her thing," though
I have a very brilliant mother who has a six-year degree
in medicine and owns her own travel nurse company.
As for a sister, I don't have one, so I can't say much
about that, but I know my mom even went to cosmetology
school and was a hair stylist for a few years, but she
didn't know of half the makeup tips and tricks they taught
us at modeling school.
What I said was: "Others have said they could learn
the same things about hair and makeup they learned at
modeling school from their sister or mother, which would
of course also be free."
Let me give you the exact quotes from girls who went
to a modeling school:
"I learned nothing my older sister couldn't have
"I could've learned all of that from my mom."
"I spent $1,600 learning how to pluck my eyebrows
and set a table."
My point was why pay for something which you called "very
expensive" if a) you don't need it, and, b) you
can get it free?
You already conceded most agencies teach the same things
free: "I know most agencies do train you for free."
I think it has to be noted at this point not all of
the students pay for the schools. How many 12- or 14-year-old
girls are shelling out $1,200-$1,600 for classes about
hair and makeup, etc.?
The girls or their parents can choose to pay for a "modeling
school" because it is promoted as a modeling school
and a way to become a model, or in spite of the fact
it is promoted as a modeling school and a way to become
One girl even said she was not interested in becoming
a model, she just wanted to learn about the hair and
There are different reasons for going to a so-called
modeling school. There's nothing wrong with going to
school to learn about hair and makeup, etc., even if
your family or friends or whomever can teach you.
The point is an informed decision should be made, and
parents or their daughters should not be misled by advertising
which portrays, either explicitly or implicitly, that
a modeling school is necessary to be discovered, etc.
The best summary of my point I have read so far was
found on usenet: "Modeling schools are a "Charm School." If
you want to be charming go there. If you want to be a
model see an agent."
Modeling schools can have different standards, different training,
and different teachers, because they have franchises
around the U.S.
The other thing that parents or potential models could
find annoying is if they are led to believe a modeling
school is the solution to get their daughter discovered,
they can put everything into that, nothing else, and
not go directly to agencies in person or with photos
where they could actually get signed and get work.
DOES JOHN CASABLANCAS MODELING SCHOOL TELL THEM
Frank Longo, a professional photographer who takes fashion
and commercial photos, wrote a modeling guide for aspiring
models called: "Getting Started in Modeling."
In a section entitled, "OK, How do I get started," he
- Forget about modeling schools. Many agencies do not
consider people who admit to have gone to a modeling
school. They (the agencies) feel that they will need
to spend too much time retraining the model to bother
with them. If you already have gone to modeling school,
then never admit to an agency that you have.
I've heard agents laugh when they see a modeling school
listed on an aspiring model's resume; I've read a model
say she does not put her modeling school training on
It is easier to teach someone from scratch than it is
to retrain them. Do the modeling schools get their curriculum
approved by all the modeling agencies? There is no industry
One part of the curriculum at "modeling schools" is
makeup. Let's look at the the issue of makeup in the
context of what should be the primary purpose of a modeling
school, i.e., getting signed by a modeling agency.
Little to no makeup is preferred by modeling agencies
which have to evaluate prospective models. They want
to see the real you. They want to see natural skin tone
and current skin condition. They can't tell if there
is flawless skin when there is a lot of makeup.
Affinity Model and Talent, for example, lists its requirements
for photo submissions by aspiring models, saying: "excessive
makeup" is "unacceptable," but "little
to no makeup" is "acceptable." Their open
call guidelines said potential models should look themselves
to let "the real you show through."
Jett Models, an agency which conducts a model search,
is even more emphatic: "NO makeup" (original
Ford Models says the same thing. Prospective models
are advised to send pictures to their office in New York. "The
pictures should capture your natural look without makeup."
Makeup application skills therefore are not required
to get discovered.
Any makeup application skills a girl might need as a
model can be learned from the agency free, or at a "modeling
school," in a book, or wherever, after she
is discovered. She can cross that bridge when she gets
to it. Especially if learning outdated or unwanted techniques
is going to put her at a disadvantage.
How can she know what the agencies want?
Imagine paying more than a $1,000 to attend a "modeling
school" to get an advantage at being signed by a
modeling agency, only to discover after finishing the
school that it put you at a disadvantage, because the
agencies did not want to retrain you. The aspiring model
thinks she will get discovered because she went to the
school, but she is not discovered because she went to
Photography and Convention Prices
Crawford's Views on Modeling Schools