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.

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