Model Team Model Management
To Whom It May Concern:
I went through the entire Model Team experience.
Model Team Model Management advertise their interviews in the newspaper. They have been on the news and in various magazine and newspaper articles, but the people who have done well with them were also represented by larger agencies in New York.
At the MTMM interview you get evaluated by the directors. They make sure you can talk to strangers and have a good personality.
If they like you, you get a call back for a final interview; then your parent is brought in and they discuss the FEES.
You have to pay over a thousand dollars to learn how to walk, listen to discussions about the industry, and watch fashion shows that were taped on Metro.
Everyone goes through a photo shoot. You have to bring tons of your own clothes, which are put onto racks, and they pick out what looks good on you. Everyone wears everyone else's clothes.
You also have to pay for hair and makeup, as well as the photo shoot, plus the composite cards, plus the Model Team portfolio.
Total price: $2,500.
At the end of the classes, there is a big showcase that is held at a reception hall.
Tickets are $75, even for the parents!
Major agents are in attendance. Every model (men, women, and kids) has to wear a number.
You also have to pay for hair and makeup for the showcase.
The showcase is a fashion show with different scenes. They have lead parts, which sidelines the other models, which isn't fair.
After the show there is a big party with a DJ at which you must still wear your number.
There is food, but my mother said it tasted like frozen stir fry.
After the showcase, some models get call backs from the agents who were at the showcase.
Before the showcase, models are asked to make a contract for three years with Model Team.
Some models don't hear from them for months, then they will call out of the blue for a go-see for a hair show.
All they care about is money.
They have gotten models some good work, but it is only once in a while.
If you are with Model Team and a big agency, you have to pay model team its cut. Even if the big agency got you the work, it's twenty percent, because they are "model management."
If Model Team didn't cost so much money, it might not be such a bad idea, but it shouldn't have cost anything to develop my career.
If I had known, I would have never wasted my time. I believe that a true model cannot be taught: they have to already have it.
And if a reputable agency wants you, it won't cost you anything to be a part of it.
G.S. in NJ
To Whom It May Concern:
I worked for a period of time as a photographer at Model Team in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. While I wasn't a full-time employee, I still managed to see and understand enough about how the company operates to give me nausea whenever I think of my involvement.
As a photographer, you were usually asked to come in for several days at a time for their "high fashion photo shoot," which lasted about seven endless days in its entirety.
The models (men, women and children all together) would be scheduled to arrive at various times throughout the day. Many would literally wait for hours before being in a single shot.
The problem on my end, however, was the sheer quantity of people you were expected to photograph. In a single day they would bring in up to 18 people —multiply that by the unending varied groupings and setups for each person (more on that in a minute) —and you would be virtually shooting the equivalent of 54 people in a single day!
Their goal in this was to end up with as many possible arrangements and poses for each person —the more you shot the more slides they could sell.
Constantly the owners would be whispering in your ear, "Are you getting close-up, 3/4, full length?"
Additionally, the models would be mixed together for even MORE combinations —so when you do the math on trying to squeeze THAT many people with that many variations in a 10+ hour day, you see that it was nearly impossible to give any one shot the care and time it really deserved. It was all about shooting it quickly and moving on. Time is money, and, in my opinion, Model Team is all about money.
During all this, the hair and makeup team would do their best to frantically keep up with the pace while trying to be creative. They always brought in an extremely talented group who worked like dogs and made —if they were lucky —$150 per day (that averages out to $12.50 an hour for the length of time they were expected to work). The photography fee was also about 2/3 less than it should have been for that kind of work.
Add now to all of this, the fact that the owners (usually one, but sometimes both) would be breathing down your neck the entire time, not ever really letting or trusting you do what you were hired to do.
They are both ex-models and have a history at Barbizon they keep silently locked in a closet. Images from their faded careers, however, are plastered on the agency walls for all to see.
Add to the mix that the one owner sees himself as an 'art director' and therefore oversees and commandeers virtually every shot and setup.
Interestingly, his idea of 'art direction' is to show you a stack of national ads and fashion spreads ripped from magazines that he'd ask you to copy —sometimes down to the EXACT pose!
It was probably the most uncomfortable part of the whole experience, as they acted like you wouldn't be able to direct a shot yourself without stolen visual aids, or them telling you how to do it. It's also plagiarism and incredible insulting. Ads are fine to use for inspiration, but not to copy exactly as they are.
Furthermore, while your name would never appear on any of the models cards for photography credit, you could always count on an "Art Direction" credit prominently displayed across the back of the card.
Model Team operates on the mechanics of fear and intimidation. The models were mostly all new, young and typically very nervous, but were expected to act like seasoned professionals.
All it would take was one comment perceived as "wrong" or (and this was their favorite) "impolite," and you were immediately placed on the back burner.
I saw many people with a lot potential treated like they were crap, simply because they didn't like their 'attitude.'
Many times the one owner would go on maniacal screaming tirades —at staff, models and parents —which were frequent and truly frightening.
It's as if they are getting some sort of revenge for the years of what they had to deal with when they modeled.
Needless to say, everyone's checks were still happily accepted each and every week.
As for the hired hands, we were told to only use out first names and never to give out any personal information. Their fear was that someone might want to try to contact us out of the watchful Model Team Big Brother Eye.
If they were on the level then what were they afraid of?
When asked how I should respond if someone asked my name, I was told to answer, "I go by ——in the industry," only using my first name!
That sort of general paranoia about everything permeated the air at all times, and created a very weird and unprofessional environment.
The portfolios that the models ended up with cost them a fortune. One model told me at one of the "Model Team Showcases" that she spent over $1,500 on her portfolio.
Not only is that ridiculous, but the models are completely unaware of this cost when the shoot begins!
The photography is set up as if it was 'free' and they only pay for hair and makeup. Little do they know that if they want anything of use in the end they'll be paying through the nose.
It's a sneaky approach to do business that way; the model is in a pinch having spent all that time and energy on the classes and the photo shoot to potentially end up with nothing —unless they cough up more money.
It's especially sad because many enthusiastic and talented people were sucked into their money mill, only to have their careers end before they even began.
Crimes of Persuasionon