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Avoid The Scams





This is the biggest scam of them all. Model ‘platforms’, Model ‘Advice’ services, Model ‘Assessments’ or ‘Coaching’ days are generally ALL scams in one way or another. They are a front for selling waste-of-time portfolios or photoshoots. We are aware that there are a number of these companies using the Top Model name in order to cause confusion.


If an agency or studio/photographer tells a model that they need to shoot a ‘portfolio’, or suggests a ‘free shoot’ but with the addition of buying prints or images – it’s generally a scam.


A professional agency only requires natural snapshots to decide whether a new model is of interest to them or not. If signed or accepted by a genuine agency, any shoots arranged to build up images should be free of charge or the cost agreed and deducted from future earnings through that agency. It is THAT simple.


A models portfolio (or ‘book’ as it should be referred to) needs to be built up over time and preferably with good agency or professional management support. A models book SHOULD NOT cost hundreds/thousands of pounds and SHOULD NOT be shot by only one person or in one studio in a day.




Models should not be required to pay a registration fee, signing-on fees, admin, etc, to join a professional agency, and should not have to pay to go on to an agency’s website or on their books. These should be used by the agency to promote their models and not be chargeable.


There are two main ways that a model agency should earn revenue from a model;


1. Charging a fee to a client when the client books a model for a job, OR 2. Taking a pre-agreed percentage commission from a models booking fee when they find them a job.


Some agencies may require a model to pay for their composite cards (sometimes called Z cards) but many agencies will pay for the cards and take the cost out of the models earnings. Neither is right or wrong and every agency works differently.




Girls under 5’7 do get paid work but, depending on their look, it will generally be photographic, advertising, and promotional work. Heights of 5’8+ (172.5cm) for girls and 5’11+ (180cm) for guys are the mainstream industry standards, especially for runway. Kate Moss is 5′ 6 but this is NOT typical!




Professional job castings rarely take place as a one-on-one, by webcam or in a nightclub. It’s flattering to be asked… but use your head. If asked to do a show or shoot, get ALL the job details before a casting, research the organisation, and make sure it’s at a proper venue in an easily accessible location. Even if they only wait outside, take someone with you.




Some professional agencies do it, occasionally, but 99% of the time it’s a con – usually relating to ‘The Portfolio Scam’.




The growth of the internet has seen a huge increase in less than reputable individuals and organisations scamming prospective new models. This applies to both ‘agencies’ and fake ‘model competitions’.


All top agencies will have a professional website to promote their model books to clients and will be office based businesses. It’s a simple rule to follow – If an agency only operates online, with a mobile telephone or social networking pages… caution.


Many scam agencies and disreputable individuals also prey on girls by befriending them and offering ‘advice’ through model forums and websites. The ONLY advice that a new model needs to follow should be sought direct from professionals. Don’t be lazy. Get on the phone to some top agencies and ask the questions that you would like answered. It’s the ONLY way to get advice.


Some fake websites/competitions can look VERY convincing and glossy. You can generally tell a fake competition/search as they require paid public voting to qualify or to move through ‘stages’ of the competition or want you to visit a studio to shoot a portfolio. Genuine model competitions like TOP MODEL UK and TOP MODEL WORLDWIDE are judged by industry professionals and applicants do not need professional pictures.




Similar levels of caution should be taken with photographers. If working alone, ALWAYS take a chaperone – it covers both the photographer and the model in cases of any misunderstandings. The photographer may well be genuine and, if they are, they certainly won’t mind you taking a chaperone.


A model should be sure that they have the photographers name who is shooting them, as some studios employ cheap inexperienced student photographers.


Being approached is very flattering, but rarely is a ‘free’ shoot without motiv or of a high quality, so proceed with caution.


And finally…


Ask lots of questions. Genuine people won’t mind answering all of your questions and always remember; If a new model is good enough they’ll get signed eventually and have genuine agencies wanting to represent them. If still in doubt… get in touch.

Avoid The Scams