By Dania Denise
Modeling 101 – A Models Blog

Red flags are everywhere and they exist for a reason.

The modeling industry is far from perfect and despite the strides in technology and social media that make it easier than ever these days to find out how to submit to agencies and pursue a modeling career, there are still pitfalls that unsuspecting newbies tend to find themselves falling into.

Even if I’ve done a post similar to this one, I think it warrants bringing up again (or at least think of this as an updated post of sorts) to continue educating and informing those of you that aren’t sure whether to move forward with a particular opportunity, project or individual/company.

Nudity Should Never Be Involved

Never. Ever. EVER!

Are there very hyper-sexualized images of models in magazines and advertisements? You bet. Sex sells. It’s not a secret. However, just because certain fields within the modeling industry rely on selling sex and sexy models, when it comes to newbies submitting to agencies, they don’t want to see your goodies.

Many agency websites make it a point to mention that nude photos are not wanted or required. Even lingerie snapshots for female models is discouraged. Two-piece bikinis are the least amount of wardrobe you should ever wear when sending in digital snapshots for agency submission.

The same goes for the male models: shirtless is common for men wanting to get into fashion/runway/editorial modeling but nude or sexually suggestive images are not. Boxer briefs or even Speedo type bottoms are the bare minimum (no pun intended).

This rule of thumb should also be kept in mind when sending images to potential clients for modeling assignments (for freelance models). This is mainly in regards to run-of-the-mill gigs where lingerie, underwear or other sexually suggested themes aren’t part of the project.

If you’re submitting freelance for a catalog job modeling commercial/print type clothing or a product, the casting director/client shouldn’t be asking you for snapshots in your bra and panties.

This is where common sense definitely comes into play. And, hello, it’s the Internet, folks! You can’t just be sending photos of yourself in various stages of undress to anyone because goodness knows where it’s going to end up.

Legitimate Email Addresses Are Company Email Addresses

Do you realize that ANYONE can create a Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail account? It goes without saying to err on the side of caution if you are contacted directly by someone claiming to work with a modeling agency and you notice their email account is from an address that doesn’t end with the name of the agency.

The proper way to deal with this situation is to contact the agency directly by phone and provide them with the name and email address of the person who contacted you. Ask them if they can verify that this individual does, in fact, work for them or not. If they can’t, block that person ASAP. Don’t respond back, don’t tell them you’ve contacted the agency. Just block their address and avoid all contact.

Although in the past I’ve mentioned not contacting agencies on the phone, this is one of those situations that is an exception to the rule. Any agency will want to know if someone is trying to commit fraud using their company name and chances are they’ll be grateful that you reported it.

Even if the person does end up being verified by the agency, it is better to check first and make sure before jumping into a conversation with that person.

No Legitimate Client Books Models They’ve Never Met

You get an email out of the blue that so-and-so found your images/profile on [insert social media site here] and they think you’d be perfect for their upcoming modeling assignment. All they need is your mailing info, personal contact info, maybe even financial info to move forward and secure a location, shoot dates, etc., blah, blah, blah.

They even mention that the shoot is for a large and well-known client/brand/company/publication who you’d benefit greatly from working with. You’re thinking to yourself, “OMG, I can’t believe this is happening!”

Well, you shouldn’t believe it. Because it’s not real.

I like to think of this fake opportunity as the modeling version of getting an email from an African or Arabic prince who is dying and wants to give you his fortune.

I could devote paragraphs breaking down why no one should ever think this kind of offer is legit but I’m hoping you can tell by my sarcastic tone why any model–especially you noobs–should hit “block” and delete any correspondence even remotely similar to this.

No reputable and famous or well-known client/brand/company/publication will EVER contact you directly or have someone do it on their behalf based on some photos of you they came across online.

While you may be sad upon learning that it’s a sham, just know it’s not your fault and there really isn’t anything you can do to prevent sick and depraved individuals from trying to take advantage of unsuspecting model hopefuls, except to block them and even notify/forward the email offer to the actual client/brand/company/publication so it is on record and they are aware of the situation.

No Legitimate Client Sends Payment Upfront to Models, Either

The fake opportunities described above usually come with an eye-popping ridiculous payment amount for hiring you as a model for their project. It can range from a few thousand dollars for a 1-day shoot to tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Sorry, but who in their right mind would send that much money to someone they literally never met? And we all know people lie online, especially when it comes to their pictures, so why on earth would a legitimate company/brand/client/publication think that it’s a smart move to send a big payday to a model they discovered online but otherwise know nothing about?

Agency Interviews Don’t Happen Outside the Office

Aside from a formal model search or casting call held somewhere (and advertised as such), the typical agency interview 99.9% of the time will take place at the actual office of the agency. Not a Starbucks, not a rented out space in some random part of town, not a hotel and definitely not someone’s private residence.

Again, if the individual that contacted you for the interview is legitimate and employed by the agency, they will have you come to the agency’s office during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Not after the agency has closed for the day. There are no after hours for interviews.

Think about it: if open calls for agencies always happen during that small window of time on certain days of the week between 9-5, why would they consider inviting models to an interview that happens after the office has been closed?

It just doesn’t make sense and neither does such an opportunity. Pass on it. In fact, run away. Far, far away.

The Bottom Line

The sad news is that there are probably many more major red flags I could list that are out there but these are at least the most pressing ones that I still tend to see or hear about people falling prey to that I felt were the most glaring issues to highlight for the purposes of this post.

Should I come across any others I will either add them to this post or create a new and updated one so that it pops up as newer content. Either way, you can believe I will always do my best to keep an eye on the growing red flags trend when it comes to modeling and hope that all those who read this take heed and always err on the side of caution.