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Thursday, 24 September 2009 18:12


This article contains much good advice from Roger Talley (Model Insider Member Emeritus) that can also be found at his site, He is always pleased to answer questions in the forum.

So you just got an email asking if you'd like a choice modeling or photography assignment, congratulations! Unfortunately, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Every day, hundreds (if not thousands) of models, photographers and makeup artists receive these emails. Often they say that they saw your portfolio online and they want to hire you to model clothing, or walk in a fashion show, or shoot or do makeup for a wedding. They offer great, though sometimes not outrageous pay, and assure you that all will be handled for you. If you respond, you typically find out that they will send you a check for the full payment plus additional money that you should forward on to someone else. Often they'll state that they'll send you money for travel which you should wire to their travel agent. Or, perhaps, they'll tell a model that she needs to wire the extra funds to the photographer. Either way, the check turns out to be fake and you're out the money.

So how can you spot these scams? First off, as soon as wiring money is mentioned, you can be assured that it's a scam. While it's not the only scam out there, it's the most prevalent one, and once you're asked to send money, you can walk away then and there. And remember, just because the email appears to come from a legitimate company and includes web site links does not make it legitimate. Anyone can forge an email (or if it comes from yahoo or gmail that should be a tip-off) and provide a link. That doesn't mean it actually came from that company. And while the names may change, the scam stays the same. Asking, "did anyone get this email from Don Castingagent?" won't help much, since the names on the emails change on a daily basis.

What else should you look for? Forum-regular Emeritus, took the time to deconstruct a scam email and make it generic enough to use as a template to spot scams. "In bold below I have put the text of a recent scam solicitation posted on the forum," says Emeritus. "It is modified in several ways: I have taken out the spelling errors, taken out all the names, locations and other things that could be googled. I have simplified the wording some to make it sound less foreign. In this case it was sent to a 5'6" 122 pound female model, but something like this could be sent to anyone.

"If you think anything, anything at all, needs to be googled, or any kind of question at all needs to be asked to determine the legitimacy of this kind of offering, you should NOT be giving advice to models about scams, and you should seriously consider not ever opening up any emails.

"If you cannot read this and INSTANTLY tell that it is a scam, then you really, seriously need to do some research on the industry, how it works, and your place in it. There are at least eight major reasons to know it is a scam in the text that remains. See if you can find all eight."

I was going through the profiles here as I just started taking a look at the talent on MODEL WEBSITE and just had to stop at yours to tell you how great I think you are. My name is ________________ and I am the ______________ for _________________________ .

I am interested in working with you on a Photo Shoot. I know that it is possible you have little or no experience, but I assure you, I know a real talent when I see one and I can see that in you.

I will like to introduce you to ________________________. I go around the world yearly to recruit talented people like you because I believe in the saying that 'variety is the spice of life'. I believe that when we have people from diverse backgrounds and diverse cultures it brings about more glamour and glitz to my ____________. We also want a photo shoot with you but its left to you to decide the one you want.

The concept of my _____________ is to bring a lot of talents from around the world. There will be loads of designers like _______________, _______________, _______________, ___________ and a whole lot of others and you will work with them to make this show a success.

This show will be held in [insert major fashion city here] on ______________. I am recruiting models, dancers, photographers, wardrobe stylists, make-up artists, hairstylists, beauticians, videographers, ushers, actors/actresses, etc. So which ever of these categories you fall into you are needed.

I know that you might not be able to make this show due to your maybe busy schedule. However, I am still willing to work with you on that basis because we want to launch our new campaign in ______________ and I need a face to call the face of ________________________. I am interested in using you for that purpose and I am willing to pay you.

My show involves runway/catwalk modeling and photo modeling. I have very talented people who will groom you for what you are best for which could be either of both.

The company will handle all accommodations, travel arrangements and insurance. Moreover, you will be paid up front. We will send the sum of $1000 in installments before the show and you will receive the balance sum of $1500 after the show.

"It's almost always true that scams are obvious because the industry doesn't work that way," says Emeritus. "They want you to suspend disbelief and trust them that what they are offering is wonderful . . . but people just don't make offers like that."

  • Nobody is going to fly an unknown Internet model to Paris to be in a fashion show.
  • Nobody is going to send a team to where you are and shoot a catalog for high pay.
  • No agency a thousand miles from you is going to do you any good at all - unless you move there.
  • Agents and clients are not sitting at their desks, waiting for some vanity magazine to come so they can hire models from it.
  • Agents are not going to ask you to get naked on a webcam.
  • Real agents are not going to advertise on Craigslist and then ask you and fifty other people to come in to an interview on Saturday.

How do we know that? Not by googling anything. Simply because THE INDUSTRY DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY. The best defense is knowledge. Yes, I know it means work, but this is a business, and it requires work.