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Of The Month: A Model Walks
model recognizes a model job scam for what it is and walks away.
BY MODEL MONICA STEVENS
Well, it is another
mail bag where we have to make adjustments to the format. Thankfully,
this one went up on time this month. With all of this work and a lot
of meetings with models and lawyers concerning our fight with model
scams in the Tampa Bay area and exactly what our course of action is
going to be, there has been little time to actually relax. I have not
been having much fun, and I’m not a happy model.
My boyfriend and I went walking along the beach in Clearwater the other
night, and he was asking me why I seemed so down. I shouldn’t
have been down, especially since it was a beautiful evening and he tried
his best to help me relax. We had just finished having a candlelight
dinner at this nice little restaurant on the beach, which should have
been a treat considering my crazy career schedule and the fact that
I have a hard time allowing myself to slow down. The waves were doing
their regular crashing thing and the stars seemed to shine much like
they do on a crisp winter night around Christmas, except this was a
hot summer night with the aroma of suntan lotion and the only thing
that we had on were swimsuits. Clearwater beach on that night reminded
me of one of those Carribean island beaches that I love shooting on,
but even the rare environmental serendipity did not raise my spirits.
I was sad, and it sucked that I couldn’t get into it and enjoy
myself. It was kind of like that old Supertramp song “it’s
raining again”, even though the skies were clear and the stars
were shining, it was raining on my heart and soul.
I told him that I was depressed because of all of the liars and con
artists in the Tampa Bay modeling industry. Sure, my career is hardly
affected by model scams because I spot most of them easily and am able
to avoid them. I also book lots of model print work without going through
model and talent agencies, and my career is a textbook case of what
a professional independent model should be; my mind is free, I think
for myself, and I see things so much more differently than the models
who choose to be controlled by an agency and are dependent upon an agency
to get any work. I should be enjoying the advantages that I have over
mere mortal models, but I don’t. The problem that I have is that
I actually care. I care about other models, I care about the integrity
of the Tampa Bay modeling industry, and I even care about the reputable
model and talent agencies. Making a difference and being a success can
be so bittersweet.
My boyfriend, who is far from a model and knows as much about the modeling
industry as I do about football, didn’t know what to say. The
only thing that he could do is smile over at me and take my hand. It
actually worked a little, and we talked about other things as we left
a trail of footprints that the waves washed away as quickly as we left
them. Damn, I should have been a foot model. Then again, this isn’t
exactly the market for reputable foot modeling jobs.
Well, it is time to get to these letters. It is already September, and
there are only another dozen weeks left in 2006 and three more mail
bags until the new year. I’m sitting here at my place in Hyde
Park now, it’s a bit cooler out tonight, and it is already feeling
like summer is drawing to a close. There is a nice breeze moving my
curtains, and every now and then they’ll rise up and blow over
my computer as they brush my face. There is nothing like the feeling
of an breezy room after a bath. I’m actually sitting here quite
comfortable in my underwear and a bathrobe, so I’m enjoying the
night air and it is helping my mood, which I will need to answer these
letters. Thank God I am not on the ground floor. It’s great to
be young and beautiful, and I will just have to enjoy it because such
things can never last outside of pictures. Could it be that I am in
love with myself? Whatever. What trouble can I start this month?
~ Model Monica Stevens,
Tampa Bay Modeling Mail Bag Editor
I have a story that you need to hear!
I am a professional model from Tampa who saw a job post on a model job
board recently from a model consultant company, and I sent them my composite
card and information. They contacted me, told me that they liked my
look, and invited me to a go see.
The go see was in a cramped office packed with models. When I finally
met with one of them, the situation changed. They told me that my composite
cards and my modeling portfolio were not good enough for them to be
able to refer me to the jobs that they had, and that in order for them
to refer me to work I would have to buy a portfolio photography shoot
from them and some modeling classes. I asked the man why he thought
that my pictures were not good enough when I have no problem booking
work with them. I am a print and fashion model, and don’t normally
do the promotional modeling bullshit that they were advertising. I only
considered it because they said that it was a regular gig and the money
was good for that sort of work. I shouldn’t have to tell you,
Monica, that print modeling is competitive and that you need good composite
cards to book those jobs while there is not point for promotional work.
The man told me that the cards were not good for them to use to get
me jobs because they were not sure if I was a good model or not, and
the only way that they could tell is if worked with them by buying the
crap they were selling. I asked if they were an agency. The man said
that they were not a model agency, that they were a model consultant
company, and that they only made money by helping me as a model and
not by booking me into any job. He told me that model and talent agencies
were a dying way of doing business, that it was better to be an independent
model and to book work on my own with out an agency, and they could
teach me how. He then said that they could refer me to all of these
high paying jobs for free- I realized right away that they stole that
shit from the Independent Modeling web site! Of course, referring me
to their jobs really wasn’t free because I would have to buy services
from them before they would consider me for any referrals into the jobs
that they supposedly had lined up.
At this point, I knew that they were a typical model bait and switch
scam, but I was curious to see exactly what they were selling. I asked
to see samples of their pictures. Let me tell you that it was hard to
stop from laughing when I saw them because the quality and the composition
of the pictures was terrible. I couldn’t imagine anyone buying
I told the man that I would consider it and they I would be in touch.
He told me that I would have to decide then and there in order to be
considered, and I flatly told him no. The man told me that he couldn’t
see how I was a professional and questioned if I really booked work
as a model. At that point, I had enough and told him that I booked work
on my own from what I learned from your web site and Independent Modeling.
He looked aggravated as I left.
I was still curious and hung around outside where they could not see
me. As the other models left, I asked them if they were fed the same
lines. Every single one of them told me that they were told that their
modeling portfolios were not good enough and that they would have to
buy services from them before they could ne considered. Every single
What is a little funny is that this place has a statement on their web
site that you don’t need a portfolio done or pictures taken if
you already have already them and they can refer you to jobs with the
professional pictures that you have. What a load of misleading bullshit!
I guess they are the ones who decide if what you have is professional
or not, and their motive of selling you something makes that a real
conflict of interest!
I have forwarded my complaint to the federal trade commission, and made
sure that several of the other models did the same, too. Thank you for
teaching us how to recognize these assholes and make them pay for what
they do to models!
- Lauren, a model from Tampa Bay
Your story is very similar to other accounts that we’ve been hearing
from models all week. We are very aware of them ripping off Independent
Modeling and popular model job boards. They are already paying for
what they are doing, though, because models are recognizing the true
source of the material that they are using and are walking out in disgust.
You’re not the only model who threw Independent Modeling in their
face and walked away. A few models threw Tampa Bay Modeling in their
They are underestimating the intelligence of models and their model
consultation scam where they try to resell information from Independent
Modeling is backfiring. It’s going to backfire even worse as time
goes on. Tampa Bay Modeling is in full cooperation with our ally Independent
Modeling, and we will continue to teach models who to recognize and
fight model scams while Independent Modeling saturates the market with
constantly refined modeling tools and ideas, making more models aware
of the free source of superior tools and undermining the baiting potential
of using stolen material to sell to models. It’s a business tactic
that works wonders, and there is even a beneficial side effect. When
models know the true source of what they are trying to twist and sell
to them, it destroys their credibility as professionals.
This is exactly why we do not have to go out of our way and fight scams
directly. We can simply take the low risk strategy of educating models
and supplying them with tools, and the models can easily fight them.
Picketing scams and putting a ton of work into battling them directly
is less effective and riskier. We cannot do to them what their stupidity
does to themselves, and it will be fun to watch them get into fights
with a majority of models in the industry.
Oh, yes, we are also about to update our scam
fighting and scam reporting resource. The FTC is a good way to report
fraud and deceptive trade practices, but we are also going to add even
more information such as the Florida Attorney General’s office
and local law enforcement. Let’s make those who use deceptive
trade practices pay for their fraud against models.
~ Model Monica Stevens,
Tampa Bay Modeling Mail Bag Editor
2006 Mail Bag
and let us know what YOU think! If you wish to add to one of Monica's
answers or disagree with her and want to post an answer of your own,
please let us know what letter and month you are replying to and if
we see that it is relevant we may add it to that month's archive.
Stevens, Mail Bag Editor
Copyright 2006 Tampa Bay Modeling
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