Manhattan Model Search
Review / Complaints

To Whom It May Concern:

I recently attended a model search in Weirton, WV, with my two children, who were both chosen to go to Buffalo, NY, for the regional Manhattan Model Search.

I was surprised at how many people were chosen. I would estimate every other person there was chosen. You walked in front of the "scout" for a split second, and he told you to either stay or leave.

I did not feel that it was an honor to be chosen, because so many others were. Not all looked like model material, either.

Afterwards, I overheard one of the parents talking to the scout whom she knew about two teenagers who would love to attend the regional, but were unable to be at the open call today.

The scout just handed her two more brochures and registration papers and told her to have them come to the regionals. He had no clue what they looked like!

Also, he told us that it would cost $450 to go to the regionals. No other hidden cost. But when I emailed the company asking about other expenses, they stated you would have additional fees to pay with the agency that you went with, such as a portfolio.

I can't imagine a big company like Ford (which is supposed to be there) would ask a potential model to pay for a portfolio. Would they not be spending the money on the model to "sell" her so that they in exchange would be making a percentage of the profit?

If you sent your pictures to the agency (such as Ford) and bypassed this possible scam, do you think they view all pictures sent to them?



Ford would not ask you to spend money on a professional portfolio before you are signed. Some of these model searches or conventions set it up where those who were scouted are paraded and submit their photos to the agents in person. You are supposed to submit your photos to the agents by mail.

From the Ford website:

The only way to proceed is by sending your pictures to:
Ford Models
142 Greene Street
New York, NY 10012
The pictures should capture your natural look without makeup. Please send one full-length shot and one face shot. We also need your age, height, measurements and contact information (name, address, telephone number, etc.). Please note that photos sent will not be returned unless you include with your pictures a self-addressed stamped envelope. Pictures with a self-addressed stamped envelope take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks to be returned.

Note they only asked for two pictures, not a portfolio. Once the new model is signed with a top agency, then they need professional photos, not before. "Marketing" your kids to an agency only requires two pictures. Marketing to the agency's clients requires comp cards and/or a portfolio. Basically, you provide what is needed. The clients' needs are different from the agency's needs.

The other issue here is if a model gets a portfolio before being signed, it could be tossed after being signed. The agency knows what looks are in because they work directly with clients; therefore, they need to be involved in the making of the portfolio for the model they will market.

As far as whether or not the agency will review the photos, why not? Most aspiring models are likely to send their pictures to several agencies. If they don't review the pictures, they could lose the next supermodel to the agency which did check its mail. Often contracts are exclusive so there is competition. Ford et al make money off models but it costs them nothing to review new pictures.

Last year the President of Next in NY said they review 1,000-2,000 pictures of new faces once a week every week.

Redacted Info

I agree that the photos should be reviewed by the top agencies instead of attending these regional searches. I don't understand why such reputable agencies even go to these regional searches.

I also wanted to add that on the registration form, there is a $225 non-refundable deposit due at the time you send in your registration, but then they go on to tell you that you have a 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee up until 1:30 p.m. the day of the regionals.

Also, no personal checks or credit cards are accepted.

These is also a workshop that they encourage you to attend for $60 that lasts one hour and 45 minutes. A child is allowed one parent into the event for free; others must pay $60 to attend.

It just doesn't sound like they are trying to get you work; it's more like they are trying to make as much money as they can on people who desperately want to become a model.

When I emailed Manhattan Model Search to ask what percentage of their clients get work from these regionals, their answer was: "It depends on what the agencies are looking for." I didn't feel that the answer they gave me was a completed answer. Too vague for me.

I have decided to take your advice and send pictures of my children in to these top agencies myself.

Thanks, you saved me a lot of money that I didn't have to spend in the first place. But you know how parents are, they will do anything for their children.


To Whom It May Concern:

First off, I would like to applaud what you are doing; I do not like to see people getting 'ripped off' either.

I also believe it is relatively easy to get 'listed' on your website without being a 'scam' at all (i.e. a person writes you a letter asking questions about us).

In order to 'set the record straight,' I would like to make a number of propositions to you.

First, I would like to offer myself as a 'source' IF you (or your readers) have ANY question whatsoever about our company OR its service.

Second, I would welcome you (or ANY representative of yours) to ANY of our Regional Model Searches (you can see our upcoming convention schedule at as my guest so that you might be able to report about us more factually in the future.

Finally, Manhattan Model Search has NOTHING to hide. On the contrary, we (like you) try to educate everyone we come into contact with about many of the actual scams that have plagued the modeling industry for TOO long.

I would also consider it 'FAIR' if you gave our organization the 'benefit of the doubt' at least until you have the opportunity to personally 'kick the tires' of our company.

I await your reply.

All the Best!

Artie Regan
Chief Executive Officer
Manhattan Model Search, Inc.
505 Eighth Avenue - Floor 12A
New York, New York  10018

Mr. Regan,

Thanks for writing and thank you for the invitation.

You said: "I would like to offer myself as a 'source' IF you (or your readers) have ANY question whatsoever about our company OR its service."

One of the questions which was asked of Manhattan Model Search by a previous visitor to the website was what percentage of your clients get work from the regionals.

The MMS representative, the visitor felt, did not give a satisfactory answer to her question. What is the success rate? Do you feel it is important information and a fair question?

Apparently the Manhattan Model Search was the first model search. (The BBB record gives its date of origin January 1, 1988.)

But there are now several other model search firms in America, including Model Search America (date of origin January 1, 1993).

The BBB record for Model Search America includes the success rate of the company, while the BBB record for Manhattan Model Search does not. The MSA record said:

Consumers should note that modeling is a competitive and difficult profession to break into. According to the firm's promotional materials, there are no guarantees for representation. The firm notes that between 10% and 20% of models attending past conventions have been selected for representation, and about 8% to 10% have gone on to earn money working as models. The firm notes that the majority of its revenue comes from convention fees, not commissions.

Would you be prepared to match Model Search America and provide the BBB with the same information about the success rate of Manhattan Model Search, i.e. those who attend the regional events, firstly with the percentage who are selected for representation, and then the percentage who go on to earn money working as models?

The success rate is related to what happens during and after the regionals. There is another significant issue regarding what happens before the regionals: scouting. Scouting for the regionals of course affects the success rate of the regionals.

Many people recognize the conflict of interest in scouting for events which require upfront fees. The more people who are selected to attend the events, the more money the company makes. Tear Sheet magazine, among others, has made the observation.

Would you be prepared to acknowledge the conflict of interest and explain to the readers and potential MMS clients what MMS does to provide checks and balances on the conflict of interest? What does MMS do to prevent overselecting?

One thing that separates MMS from MSA and perhaps every other model search in America is you appear to be the only company which offers a 100% satisfaction money-back guarantee. Is this true? And are there any special requirements to qualify for the refund? The BBB said:

In March 2002, the BBB requested that this firm provide copies of its contract, promotional materials, an explanation of its fees and refund policy, as well as proof that clients were able to successfully redeem its '100% Money Back Satisfaction Guarantee' coupon. The BBB also requested proof that clients attending the firm's model search conventions received the services promised in the firm's promotional material. The firm provided the Bureau with the required substantiation and its references verified that they received the services promised by the company. Additionally, clients verified that they were able to redeem the firm's money-back coupon.

Finally, you said: "We (like you) try to educate everyone we come into contact with about many of the actual scams that have plagued the modeling industry for TOO long." For the benefit of readers, what do you consider to be the scams which have plagued the industry?


Redacted Info

To Whom It May Concern:

I stumbled upon your website while trying to research the Manhattan Model Search "company."

I attended last weekend's "scouting," and was basically deceived, ripped off, and deeply hurt.

I had to walk down the catwalk in front of 1,000 people and 20 judges; then I had to walk in front of the judges with two pictures of myself while most of them hardly glanced at them.

It was the most degrading thing I have ever been through, not to mention I lost $450.

In the end, only 10 (out of about 600) people were called back. 

Can I sue them? Or demand my money back? As you can see, I am very pissed about this situation. So many young people were hurt that day, just because that (so-called) "company" wanted to make money!



You asked: "Can I sue them? Or demand my money back?"

MMS has a money-back guarantee. Were you told about it?

Redacted Info

The "money-back guarentee" was: if I changed my mind, I could have my money back BEFORE I went down the catwalk and showed my pictures.



Some guarantee. It sounds extremely hollow. It is more like a refund. Your money is refunded if you cancel. It is basically for anyone who backs out, isn't it? It amounts to a cancellation refund policy.

How was the way they phrased it not misleading? They called it a "100% Money Back Satisfaction Guarantee."

That looks a lot like a "100% satisfaction money-back guarantee." But how could anyone be satisfied before they go down the catwalk and show their pictures?! It's ridiculous, because that is the whole purpose of paying, to be discovered.

Most people are familiar with a "100% satisfaction money back guarantee." This means if you are not completely satisfied with the performance of a product or service, your money is refunded.

You said: "In the end, only 10 (out of about 600) people were called back." Not very impressive scouting, is it? Were the scouts fired? Did they screen you and everyone using photos before the event? Did they send your picture to the agents who attended the event before you paid?

Redacted Info

No, the agents only saw my pictures that day. There was no observing of the pictures prior to the event. I am guessing the "agents" already had the "models" chosen for call backs... I want my $450 back!



The agents should have seen your pictures and everyone else's before that day. They should have selected the people they wanted to see. Otherwise what could happen is only 10 people out of 600 get call backs. Since that is exactly what happened, that is proof the model "scouts" are unqualified. It is very, very bad scouting.

Who was the scout who selected you? You said: "I want my $450 back." How are you going to get it back? Maybe you should speak with the model scout. The model scout probably made a commission off selecting you, a decent chunk of the $450. Hold that model scout accountable. At least ask them for their commission back. Why should the scout make money off you by doing such a lousy job?

Redacted Info

Manhattan Model Search Letters Index

Spokeo scam search
Crimes of Persuasionon

Model Scam Check Home / Disclaimer / Modeling Advice / C of P Home