Avoiding Modeling Scams

From the outside looking in, the modeling industry seems like it’s a pretty straightforward industry full of glamor. Unfortunately, there is also a side of the industry that isn’t so glamourous and is full of people looking to take advantage of models who are just getting started and would do anything to get their foot in the door of the modeling world.

Photo by Irma Lomidze

In this post, I will go over a few things to keep in mind as you navigate your modeling career to help keep you safe and avoid potential scams.

>> Do your research. The best tool you have in your arsenal is yourself. It’s so easy to make yourself appear legit online, and people often don’t dig much further than looking at a social media account or website. If you’re already signed with an agency, they will be vetting potential clients for you, but if you’re freelance or looking for an agency to sign with, you must always be cautious and do your due diligence to ensure your safety.

The starting point would be to check out their social media accounts and website, but you need to dig a little further. Look at any online reviews about the agency or potential client, and then look up the individual people involved with the agency or company you have a possible booking for. If it is an established agency, you will be able to find reviews about them online, and information about the actual agent should also be pretty easy to find. If there is no information out there, this could be a red flag.

>> If you get the offer to sign with an agency, the best place to get an honest review is from the models that they represent. I always suggest reaching out to a few of them and getting their opinion on how they like the agency. Do they get a lot of bookings? Is there good communication with the agents? Some models won’t answer you, but usually, they are more than happy to give their two cents!

>> With social media now being a common form of communication, it’s not uncommon to receive modeling opportunities via dm’s. When you receive these messages, it’s essential to proceed with caution, even if it seems legitimate. Never click on any links sent, and never give out any personal information. Thoroughly verify that the person contacting you is who they say they are and works with the company they say they do. If they say they work for an agency, do not hesitate to find the agency’s information online and call to confirm that person in fact works for them.

>> Modeling agencies are business, and most have regular office hours of 9-5, Monday through Friday. This is a huge red flag if you are meeting with an agent for the first time and they ask you to meet at an address different from the agency or outside typical business hours. Please make sure someone is aware of your meeting and let them know the address and time you’re supposed to meet, and never meet with anyone until you verify that they are legitimate.

>> Never send semi-nude, implied nude, or fully nude images to anyone. No agency will ask for these as they are not necessary. If any photos are requested, you should be fully clothed or in a swimsuit. If they request photos of you with little to no clothing or want suggestive poses, that is a red flag, and do not send those images.

>> Signing with an agency does not cost money. There should never be any signing or contract fee involved, and any required upfront fee signals a scam. The only fees models are sometimes expected to pay out-of-pocket are portfolio, comp card, and website fees, but these are not required to be paid at the time of contract signing and should not be included in any “signing fee.”

>> If you’re presented with a contract at an agency meeting, never feel pressured to sign it on the spot or within a quick turn-around time. Any reputable agency will expect you to take a few days or even a week to review the contract and have a legal team check it as well. They should also be more than happy to thoroughly answer any questions you have or clarify something that doesn’t make sense. Any time they try to push you to sign or create a sense of urgency should tip you off that maybe there is something in the contract that isn’t in your best interest. Always take your time reviewing any legal document to ensure you fully understand what you’re signing.

>> Never be so desperate to sign with an agency that you overlook all the red flags or ignore your gut feeling. Not all agencies are created equal, and getting scammed could cost you thousands of dollars or put you in a potentially dangerous situation. Always do your research and trust your intuition if something seems off! If the opportunity seems too good to be true- it probably is!



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