Whether you’re interested in a modeling career, just want to make a few extra bucks or you think your child might have a future in acting or modeling, be on the lookout for scammers. The Better Business Bureau warns that some modeling agencies are just trying to make a fast buck and don’t deliver on promises of fame and fortune.
In the last three years, would-be models have researched agencies with the BBB more than half a million times. Unfortunately, BBB also received more than 2,000 complaints from people who feel they were misled by an agency into paying large upfront fees—often for headshots and portfolios—and received little or no modeling or acting work in return.
“Modeling can be a great way to supplement your income, but signing up with a deceptive talent agency can be a waste of time and money or, in the worst case scenario, put you in physical danger,” said Claire Rosenzweig, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Metropolitan New York. “Even if the agency tells you that you have ‘the look’, always take the time to do your research and don’t fall for empty promises.”
Common complaints to BBB about talent and modeling agencies often come from would-be models or parents who think their kids have star potential. Typically, they are told they need to pay upfront fees—such as for headshots—after which the agency will start finding them work. Complainants report that despite paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars in various upfront fees, the agency found them few, if any, jobs.
In an extreme example of a modeling agency opportunity gone horribly wrong, the BBB in Louisville has received complaints from local men who paid hundreds of dollars in upfront fees—or became indebted for these fees—to Models Today in exchange for the promise of landing modeling jobs. Instead, the young men stated that the owner, Russell Claxon, took shirtless photos of them in a park and never set them up with any jobs. Several complaints to BBB made reference to solicitation for prostitution or inappropriate sexual propositions and one victim told a local newscast that he was prostituted out by Claxon.
Before signing up with a modeling or talent agency:
For more advice on finding businesses and services you can trust, go to http://www.bbb.org/us/Consumer-Tips/.