Claire Ashworh recounts how a bogus modeling agency convinced her to part with her money
Before it was well known that there are definitely bogus modeling agencies out there,most advertisements were taken pretty much on trust. Whereas you can now assume that if a model agency has to advertise for models then it is bogus, a few years ago this was not so well known - much to my cost.
Looking back it is hard to believe that I could have been quite so naive as to respond to this kind of advert but I did. As I recall , the advert was for hot models to apply for selection for a new talent agency. I thought this is my chance. I lived in a small town miles away from anywhere - how often do you get an opportunity like that.
When I arrived at the model agency, the receptionist was extremely pleasant and we fixed a date to come back to see the talent executive .I was told not to get my hopes up too much, the talent executive was inundated with applications to join the agency and he could only select about 1 in 20. At the time I thought well I might as well give it a try, and at least i proves that it must be a good agency I thought.
Two or three days later I returned to see the Talent Executive. The same receptionist met me as I entered the office, and she said told me not to be nervous. The talent executive was to be addressed on first name terms and I should do my best to relax.
I waited on a couch for about 6 or 7 minutes and then I was called in. The talent executive introduced himself to me and thanked me for responding to the hot models advert. He told me that they had had a lot of applicants and that not everyone could be represented by the agency but that he had decided I would be perfect - I was a hot model as he called it !
As you can imagine I was delighted to have been chosen. I thanked him whilst beaming from ear to ear. It was then that he continued speaking. He asked me if I had a portfolio (of course he must have known that I didn't because otherwise I would have given it to him or this interview. He told me that ' a hot model needs a hot portfolio' in order to get a job, and he said that part of the registration requirements were that the model had a professionally created portfolio which would then be used to show clients what I was capable of.
He said that in order to ensure that the portfolio was of sufficient quality, he would have to insist that I go to an in-house photographer who will be capable of photographing me in a number of styles which will maximize my chances of receiving work. But the cost of paying the photographer was huge. I couldn't believe how much he wanted, and told him I would have to think about it. He warned me that he had a number of models that he was going to see that afternoon and that if I didn't sign up for the portfolio now, then he could not guarantee that the place would still be available that evening.
So I signed , and paid for the photographer. The photographs were actually quite good but hugely overpriced. I was sure , however, that they would bring me modeling work. How wrong I was. There was no modeling market for models in my small town - however hot ! I never got close to earning even a quarter of the photographers fees and there was nothing much I could do about it.
I was told that a portfolio was a means to advertise myself, and that talent agencies often required models to contribute to their own advertising costs. This is simply not true, in fact in the US,some states prohibit this.If you are asked for any money before you receive work, run a mile !