I’m often a broken record. I repeat a lot of the same things over and over and over. That’s usually because I find that it drills important info into people’s heads and helps them remember things more easily.
Referring to modeling agency websites is one of the most common things I repeat constantly and with good reason – many questions and concerns can be answered by visiting an agency’s website. Period.
These days agencies take great time and care to post content on their websites to help models with everything from how to submit themselves for representation, reference photos for snapshots and in recent years vital information about warnings and scams to be on the lookout for.
Modeling recruitment scams are prominent and with technology making it easier for people to stay anonymous and/or pretend to be someone they’re not, agencies are very aware that there are individuals posing as model scouts and preying on unsuspecting newbies.
LEGITIMATE MODELING AGENCIES WILL NEVER…
Ask for Models to Submit Photos of Themselves in Lingerie or Nude.
I don’t care if you want to model for Victoria’s Secret they don’t want to see you naked or modeling their bras and thongs. Modeling agencies do request snapshots but they want you clothed. Dark skinny jeans, heels and a fitted tank top for women and jeans and a fitted shirt for men are the norm.
Agencies that want to see the shape of a model’s body better will request snapshots wearing swimwear (bikinis for women and swim shorts with no shirt for men, most times).
If you ever get a request from an “agency” for nude images or wearing lingerie, they’re a fake agency. Don’t respond and delete the email (better yet, report them to the proper online resource/authority/consumer website to make others aware of these creepers).
Send an Email From an Address That is Not Affiliated with the Agency.
Did you receive an email from someone claiming to be from a big agency? You better check that email address. If the extension doesn’t contain the name of the agency after the “@” symbol, it’s 99.9% a scam or other shady type of operation.
For example, if you get an email from a person that says they’re a model scout or recruiter from Next Models in New York, their email address better have “@nextmodels.com”.
Legit: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Not Legit: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
(The legit reference is not a real email address btw so please don’t send an email to it, lol).
Agencies large and small have their own email addresses and don’t need to use Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail or any other kind of “every day” email account.
What should you do if you get such an email? Don’t reply. Instead, save the message and forward it to the agency directly. They want people to alert them of these incidents so in your email explain that you were contacted by this person and make sure you send them the body of the email message you received.
This will allow the agency to take whatever action is needed on their end to hopefully put a stop to the activity. Does that mean they’ll be so thankful that they’ll sign you? Probably not, haha, but they will greatly appreciate your efforts to get rid of one less scumbag.
Conduct Interviews via Skype
Social media, especially Instagram, has changed the ways agencies scout, contact and recruit models but according to several fashion agency websites I’ve reviewed, they all say that they do NOT conduct interviews for new models through Skype and that those who are offered this opportunity should be wary.
Even though Skype is great for connecting people across distances and is used for business communications as well as for fun, the more established and reputable agencies will not use it for interviewing new models. Why? Because even though Skype allows them to “see” you, they NEED to see you in front of them with their own eyes.
You can’t properly evaluate a model’s potential via webcam. The heavy hitter agencies know this and they also know that if a model really wants the opportunity, they’ll make the effort to come to the agency office and have the interview in person.
If you’re not sure whether an interview via Skype with an agency is legit, do your research by calling/emailing the agency directly and asking if they do Skype interviews. Remember, the scammers don’t work at the agency so calling or emailing directly will help you verify whether or not that individual actually does work there and if the offer is genuine.
What happens if the person does work there? Then there’s no harm and it isn’t a bad reflection on you. If anything, it shows the agency that you’re not a pushover who will fall for anything.
Ask for Money Upfront to Attend a Casting or Interview.
Legitimate agencies will never ask you to send them money to attend a casting or interview before they will meet with you. If anyone contacts you and asks you to send them money via wire transfer, through PayPal or another online payment method, that’s a huge sign that it’s a scam.
Money only comes into the equation after you’ve met with the agency in person, have a contract offer on the table, etc. Not in the early stages when they’ve never even met you or reviewed your photos and info.
Models don’t pay to attend castings or interviews and legitimate agencies won’t allow them to, either.
When in doubt about someone contacting you claiming to be from a particular agency, visit that agency’s site to see if you can locate that person’s name/contact info to verify his/her identity. You could also use an email lookup tool to see what information is held on public databases connected to the email.
Can’t find it? Then call the agency directly and ask to verify whether that person actually does work there. Make sure you know the person’s name before you call. If the agency says no one by that name works there, then you’ll know you dodged a major bullet.
Not all agencies are identical and not all of them operate the same way but when it comes to the safety of the models that submit to them, as well as their reputations, taking the above information to heart could save you a lot of stress, grief and an unfortunate experience/encounter.