Unfortunately, young and aspiring models are often the targets of modeling scams that are potentially dangerous. To avoid a scam, it is essential that you do your due diligence before engaging with anyone who expresses interest in working with you as a model. Below, we have outlined warning signs of potential scams.
It has been reported to us that Model Mayhem, which allows anyone to pose as a “professional” photographer or agent, is especially risky. It has also been reported to us that models have gone missing and have been sexually assaulted using this site. For these reasons, we recommend that it is best to avoid it altogether.
Some scams may try to contact you directly via Facebook or Instagram with an offer of a casting or modeling job. If someone asks you to send suggestive photos of yourself, pay him or her any amount of money, or offers you a large amount of money, it is most likely a scam. Additionally, if the message you receive is full of grammatical errors or promises you a meeting or job with a big-name photographer or designer, these are also warning signs that indicate a potential scam.
Because modeling agencies have classified themselves as management companies rather than talent agencies, they escape licensing requirements, caps on commissions, and other requirements that would safeguard their talent. Still, some agencies are better than others. Be sure to visit an agency’s website to see if they represent any recognizable faces, and ask to speak with models on their roster to gauge their experience of working through that agency.
Bogus Agency Contracts
Most agency contracts are one-sided in favor of the agency, not the model. Do not sign an agency contract without first getting the advice of a lawyer, and know that the terms of an agency contract are negotiable. A legitimate agency will give you adequate time to review the contract with an attorney and offer any proposed changes before you decide whether to sign with them.
Most important, you should NEVER arrange to meet alone with someone who you do not know about potential modeling work. If you are represented by an agency, be sure to field any work-related requests by your agent. A legitimate industry professional will not mind if you bring a parent, guardian, or trusted friend with you, especially upon first meeting.