Model Select International
News Reports

State sues agency for model behavior

By Arthur O. Murray
Business North Carolina

Here’s how North Carolina’s attorney general says Model Select International Inc.’s pitch worked: The Charlotte-based agency would advertise that it was searching for models.

Typically, 500 or so people, mostly 18- to 25-year-old women, would show up at its recruiting meetings. Only the most promising, they were told, would be called back for interviews.

In reality, four out of five were asked back. The wannabes were told that they needed photographs to show potential clients and steered to photographers chosen by Model Select.

And they were shown how to fill out time cards for assignments that paid $150 an hour. They got jobs that paid $15 an hour to hand out headache powders at racetracks or coupons at malls.

They were also stuck with $600 bills for photo shoots, though they often didn’t get any prints. Those could cost an additional $450.

In late May, the attorney general’s office filed a complaint in Wake County Superior Court against Model Select and its co-owners, Rhea Lawson and Richard Hronik.

The complaint says the company, which has gone out of business, misled applicants and made most of its money from selling photos. Neither Lawson nor Hronik could be reached for comment.

Charlotte, it turns out, is the Paris of the Piedmont when it comes to promotional modeling. It’s home to four agencies.

And Tom Bartholomy, president of the Charlotte Better Business Bureau, says his office gets more complaints about model agencies than any BBB in the country.

Of this year’s 152 complaints through mid-June, more than two-thirds were against Model Select.

Model Select International Complaint Letters

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