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Modeling Agencies

Your teenage daughter hears an ad on the radio or sees one on TV for fashion models. She begs you to let her attend a screening held by a modeling agency at a local hotel. The next day, you get a call saying she has been selected by the company and you are encouraged to make another appointment to sign a contract for a photo shoot that will cost $600 or more. Pressure sales tactics and your daughter’s excitement can make it hard to say no.

But before you say yes, consider these tips about modeling agencies:

  • Many modeling agencies offer to help find you runway and print work that pays up to $150 an hour. In reality, most of the work these agencies can help you find will be “promotional work” handing out product samples at events. This work typically pays only a fraction of the hourly rates for real modeling jobs.
  • If the agency says it’s placed models in high paying jobs with certain companies, contact the companies to check out those claims. Also, be realistic about the number of modeling jobs that are available in your town or city.
  • The agency will likely tell you that you need photos called “comp cards” to send to prospective employers. They offer to arrange a photo shoot with a professional photographer, make-up artist and hair stylist for anywhere from $400-$600. While aspiring models do need comp cards, modeling agencies often charge two or three times what independent photographers and stylists would charge you.
  • The agency says they are very selective in choosing prospective models and that you have the “look” they’re seeking. While it is flattering to think that you have the potential to become a model, the truth is that these agencies make money by signing up as many clients as possible.
  • Don’t fall for high pressure sales tactics. If you’re pressured to sign a contract immediately, ask for a copy to take home and review. If you’re told it is a now or never opportunity, walk away.
  • Before you sign up, check out the agency by calling the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM. It’s also a good idea to check with the local Better Business Bureau in the area where you attend the screening.
  • Know your refund rights. If you sign a contract at a hotel or another location that isn’t the agency’s usual place of business, you automatically have three days to cancel the contract for a full refund. To cancel your contract, notify the company in writing with a letter that is postmarked before midnight of the third business day after the transaction.  You may want to use certified mail so you have verification of the date you requested a cancellation.

We Can Help

If you have a complaint about a modeling agency, contact us for help or call toll free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.