Monday, December 24, 2012
How to Avoid Modeling Scams
1. Scammers go after people who appear to be desperate. Usually, when a person is desperate, he/she is less likely to make rational decisions or use their sense of judgment. For example, if you are a young model desperate to get famous, and someone emails you offering what appears to be the opportunity to skyrocket your career if you pay him/her $X, then you might not do your due diligence because at that moment you don't want to believe anything other than the fact that it's real. When you are desperate for something to happen, keep in mind that this is the time that you are most vulnerable to scammers and take extra precaution when responding to anyone who asks you for significant sums of money.
2. Modeling agencies don't charge "enrollment fees". Legitimate agencies make money when they book work for you and take a percentage of your earnings. Usually, agencies can legally take a 20% commission on every job that they book for you. There may be some costs associated with portfolio development but sometimes the agencies will front the costs if they believe that they can later deduct portfolio development fees from your future earnings. Also, legitimate agencies may have a list of photographers that they recommend, but they do not necessarily tell you to choose any one specific photographer. Additionally, they do not charge a fee up front to represent you. If an agency could convince you to pay them over $500 per year to represent you, then what incentive would they have to book any work for you when they have thousands of hopefuls being tricked into paying them?
3. Big companies and big magazines do not book through the Internet nor do they promise to make someone rich and famous. If someone emails you and tells you that they have chosen you to do a photoshoot for Guess, Sports Illustrated, Vogue or Maxim because they saw your profile on Facebook, Model Mayhem or Myspace, chances are it is definitely a scam. Big companies and big magazines have access to agencies which can provide them with quality models, so why would they go to Facebook to find a model? Also, if the email address of the person who contacted you is email@example.com (or hotmail, or whatever) as opposed to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com then it is definitely a scam. If the email did not come from a company email, then it is bogus. You should always do a google search of the email just to see what comes up; you will most likely find that the person is not in any way associated with the magazine.
4. Models are not overpaid up front before the shoot. A person claiming to represent a major fashion brand or an internationally published magazine emails you and tells you that you have been selected for a shoot. They will also tell you that you will be paid $3,500 (or more) up front, but then you have to send some of the money back to the hairstylist/make-up artist/etc. First, they will milk you for a bunch of personal and banking information. Then, they will send you the check, but it will not be real, and you will be out the amount that they told you to send back. Why would a company pay a model in advance without ever meeting the model before the shoot? Which company would send a large sum of money to someone they never met before the service was provided? Again, this goes back to #3, where companies will book through agencies for higher budget projects.
5. Legitimate agencies do not email Internet models out of the blue and tell them that they want to represent them. To have a chance at being represented, a model had to submit her photos and stats to the agency, whether it's online or by snail mail, or attend one of their open calls. Real modeling agencies get thousands of submissions on a daily basis from girls who would potentially fit their criteria, so it wouldn't make sense for them to look for models on the Internet. Unless they're already famous, models come to the agencies, not the other way around.
Please be aware. Do not get tricked out of your hard-earned cash!! You worked for it, so therefore it's yours to keep.
I hope this helps :)