Identifying Modeling Scams

Agencies that require you to pay to join their roster, insist you take model classes, and that sell photoshoot packages (which they use make money off you) are scams. 

Paying an agency directly instead of the photographer doesn’t make sense. An agency is supposed to connect you with photographers so you can pay them to build your portfolio. An agency that makes you pay them directly to work with their on-resident photographer, instead of having you pay the photographers that they should send you to in order to build your portfolio, want to become the middle man. This way, they can increase the charge of the photoshoot and keep the extra money. So, if X photographer works with Y agency, and X photographer’s usual rate is $700 to build a portfolio with a model, but then Y agency tells the Model it costs $1,200. Then Y agency is keeping the $500 for themselves. And if they’re already making money off of you, what motivation do they have to book you jobs where you make money? 

If an agency is already making money off you by charging you yearly to be with their agency, or to just be on their website, what motivation do they have to book you jobs? And that signing fee guarantees they will make money every year, but not you. And there’s no guarantee you’ll book jobs through that agency anyway.

Modeling classes and coaching are a scam because the a Mother Agency will teach you about the business, the lingo, and how to walk. So will other Models and other online resources.

Check out this YouTube video of HOW TO WALK LIKE A SUPERMODEL! (WITH NAOMI & GIGI!) By Loic Prigent

Gigi Hadid never got “coached”, Naomi Campbell learned how to walk from her mom, and at the 19:30 minute mark in the film we see Elite Paris Models being taught how to walk at their agency’s office. 

A Mother Agency trains and develop Models, like a manager, then get them signed to international Modeling Agencies.

If you’re freelance and plan to stay freelance, all the info you need on the industry is available on the internet, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and in books. Don’t be lazy with your research. Watch the entirety of the 20 minute videos on YouTube. Or ask working Models, Agencies, and especially Model Agents questions! Agents are the best people to ask questions because not all Models know the answer to the business side of Modeling or where you specifically would fit in best. 

Email brands directly to pitch yourself! I reached out to Chanel and they were kind enough to reply and tell me that they only accept Models from 4 agencies. 

Also, Models have been dropped from agencies for hosting Modeling classes and workshops. 

Ask yourselves, can I name a single supermodel who ever took Modeling classes or had a Model coach?

Now, it’s a different story if you decide to do a Modeling Workshop to get a deal on working with a really good photographer. Especially if their usual rate is $800 per shoot - without hair, makeup or styling - but you can shoot with them at a workshop for only $250. But, Modeling workshops are not necessary to make it as a Model.

Also never pay for casting calls. Casting calls are free. 

And any legit agency will contact you via email, not WhatsApp, when scouting you.

Only if you live in another country from an agent and only after you’ve signed with them is WhatsApp appropriate and acceptable professionally.

And if you want to ask someone via Instagram if an agency is a scam use vanish mode to protect you and the person you’re talking to. 

Shit Model Management on Instagram also has lists of scam agencies and exposes major abuses committed by some of the top Modeling agencies. You can also report abusive agencies, agents, and photographers to their Twitter blacklist. is a great resource to find agencies that don’t charge signing fees. Not all legit agencies are listed on their site, and your experience with any agency will vary depending on which agent you get. Unfortunately, fair treatment at all agenciescaround the world, even the top ones, isn’t guaranteed, and won’t be until it’s made into law.

Learn about The Fashion Workers Act proposed by The Model Alliance NY which aims to make it illegal for Modeling Agencies to charge signing fees etc… This’ll greatly reduce Modeling scams and industry abuses within New York! They can also help you if you need to pursue legal action against a Photographer, agency etc… And you can report Modeling scams in New York anonymously to them.

☆ Click here for a Guide to Spotting Model Scams

☆ Click here to Report Modeling Scams to the FTC

☆ Report scam modeling agencies Instagram pages to Instagram.

Red Flags in Acting Classes

1. They pester you to come back.

2. They verbally abuse you or other students.

3. They punish you unfairly (especially for things like going to the bathroom)

4. They use bribes to keep you in class.

5. They never give you constructive criticism or clear criticism, even after you ask them to clarify.

6. They ask you to sign a contract that auto-renews. 

It’s class, not an agency.

7. They don’t want to let you go.

8. They force you to do things you’re uncomfortable with. 

My Acting Teacher in college forced me to kiss my scene partner… after our scene had ended… in front of the  entire class. 

9. They flirts with students.

10. They ask you to appropriate an ethnicity, or make a fake identity.

11. They consistently misgender you.

12. They make a student cry.

13. Classes are too large. 

10, maybe 12, is the max in my book. I want there to be enough to for me to get individual attention/critiques.

14. They aggressively mock or single out one student. 

A teacher reprimanding a student who’s late or doesn’t do their work without a valid excuse is normal. What isn’t is them raising their voice or insulting a student without good reason. Actors shouldn’t be mocked for their accents or physical attributes. And teachers shouldn’t be harder on their non-white students than their caucasian ones etc…

15. They rant more than they teach. 

16. They force you to reveal personal traumas like sexual or physical abuse to the entire class, or even just to them.

17. There’s no time for individual training.

18. Class is cancelled without sufficient notice and no replacement is provided… and Actors still have to pay for that class day.

19. They gaslight you.

I had a teacher who’d constantly gaslight me, I’d recall how they said something, and they’d say it never happened. Or I’d say, we scheduled class for this day, then they’d say that never happened. And they always blamed my poor memory… Despite me writing everything down…

(check out this link to learn what gaslighting is and how to address it)

20. There is group feedback

You’re paying to have the teacher instruct you, not their students who are all of varying skill and experience levels, who may or may not give you good feedback. Some students can even give bad feedback. It’s also overwhelming to get 10 critiques on 1 scene, all with different directions. It leaves the Actor unsure of where to start repairs.

Google every Acting teacher, class, and studio before working with them. And ask other Actors who’ve taken their class how their experience was before signing up. 

Actor Headshots VS Model Portraits

I hear a lot of people mix up these definitions so I thought I’d clear up the misunderstanding…

          Only Actors get headshots done. Models do not.

          However, both Models and Actors can have portraits done. 

Headshots are different from portraits because they show what roles you can play, they are either straight on or at a slight facial angle, they’re always chest to head, never just neck up, and they have a different function than portraits. Also, casting directors for acting will look at an Actor’s headshot along with their résumé. Whereas, casting directors for modeling will look at either you in person, your digitals, your portfolio (which includes portraits) or any combination of those items.

Portraits showcase beauty.

Headshots show what acting roles you could play.

(Or if your in business / real estate, simply what you look like with a trustworthy expression)

*Check out the “Headshots” highlight on my Instagram to see example Actor headshots!

My Actor headshot is the one in the denim, my Model portrait is the image in the black tank.

How to Choose an Acting Coach

A good Acting coach can really make a huge difference in your Acting career and development. 

But in the words of a Voiceover coach I once had “some coaches never want to let you go”. 

It is important to choose someone who is more interested in your development and willing to part without issue instead of someone who wants to keep you as a cash-cow. 

Before choosing an Acting coach ask yourself the following questions:

1) Do they have a plan over the next number of weeks, or do they have no plan with no concrete end?

2) Is working with this person going to help me develop my reel?

3) Am I being led by their low prices or by what they have to offer me?

4) Do I ever feel gaslighted when speaking to them?

5) Are they willing to do a trial session?

6) What skills do they have and what skills do they not have?

7) How can their skills help me?

8) Do they have any negative Google reviews?

9) What do others who’ve studied under them say?

10) Am I being lef by their popularity or by our chemistry?

11) How do they accept payment?

Why I Started Over & Joined a Mother Agent

Victoria Pousada Kreindler's profile on Curv Management NY (an agency dedicated to the development of Curve Models based in New York).

I am so excited to announce that I just joined Curv Management NY

Before I was signed non-exclusively to multiple agencies. But I recently made the decision to basically restart my modeling career under the guidance of a mother agency. Why did I do this?

1) I wasn’t booking, for over 8 months, despite doing TFPs, paying for Test Shoots, keeping my digitals, and applying for modeling jobs through casting websites and being signed to multiple agencies.

2) I didn’t feel the agencies I was signed with had the connections I wanted/needed as a Curve Model seeking high fashion jobs.

3) I never had a Mother Agent before, I just sort of jumped into modeling, so I felt like I had a lack of knowledge about the industry and understanding of where I’d fit in.

4) After meeting my agent for the 1st time I had already gotten a hardcore lesson on what I was doing wrong. 

      a) I didn’t know even half of the curve brands she mentioned

      b) I was always told I’d do well in commercial, so I thought I had a commercial look. But I don’t. In her words, I’m “classically beautiful with an editorial look”

      c) I had no 9 month plan

      d) I had no plan that included venturing to L.A 

      e) I sort of knew, but didn’t 100% know what markets I would succeed in (L.A, Miami, and London)

I knew that a mother agency had knowledge I didn’t. I knew they would manage my career far more than many typical modeling agencies would. And I knew what I was doing for the past year wasn’t working. 

My biggest regret about my Modeling career is that I started off applying to modeling agencies without first applying to mother agencies. It left me so vulnerable to modeling schools and coaches and left my education about the industry wholly up to me and my google/instagram/tiktok searches.

So, I know I sound like a broken record but, I truly believe that all new and aspiring Models should start off by joining a Mother Agency!

You will save a lot of time. 

You’ll save a lot of money because you won’t be misusing your time at Modeling schools and with Model Coaches. 

You’ll be placed internationally. 

You have a higher chance of building a long-lasting career. 

At this point, I’ve only been with my Mother Agent for less than a week and already she… 

1. Built my profile

2. Communicated with me our 9 month plan

3. Taught me about Curve Brands

4. Put me in the agency’s Instagram feed

5. Submitted me to 2 major brand castings

6. Sent my images to the printer to print my comp card

7. Ordered me a branded Model Portfolio book and printed images

8. Set up a meeting with me for next week to come into the office for digitals

9. Sent me a celebrity photographer to do a test shoot with and their price (we’ll discuss the moodboard during our meeting next week)

10. Is working cooperatively with my Commercial Acting agent in L.A

11. Sent me a welcome packet with a giant list of Modeling Dos & Don’ts and Modeling Terms

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