There are legitimate model opportunities. Be prepared for them.

By James Duren and Miguel Hidalgo

Round 1, the Bait

Aspiring models are easy targets.

You want the glamour, you want the fame and you know you're going to have to sacrifice a lot to get there. Sleazeball agencies and creepy photographers know this and they going to try and use it against you to get what they want: your attention, your money and more.

We've created this guide to help you understand how to spot the scammers,  sleazeballs and creepers.

The Game: “Have You Ever Thought About Becoming A Model?”

You're out with your friend at a restaurant, bar or club and a guy comes up to you and tells you something you've always wanted to hear, “You are beautiful. Have you ever thought about becoming a model?”

You're stunned and flattered. He tells you he's a scout who is always keeping his eye out for new talent. He might throw around a few credentials – Vogue, maybe Maxim – and tell you his agency is looking to take on a few more girls for runway or print work.

He asks for your information because he wants to set up a time to meet and discuss your options. You get a little bit of a creepy vibe from him, but you're excited about the chance to jump-start your modeling career.

Is he sleazy GWC or a legitimate professional? What do you do?

The Checklist: Knowing When A Scout Is A Sleazeball

Every aspiring model should have a checklist in her brain that includes the following questions:

  • Is the “scout” asking me to pay any money up front?
  • Does he always have an excuse as to why his work isn't on any legitimate websites?
  • Does he oversell the glamour and riches of the industry?
  • Does he always seem to pressure you into making a decision?

If you answer “Yes” to any of these questions, alarms should go off in your head. Why? Because legitimate scouts and modeling agencies are just that – legitimate.

  • Legitimate modeling agencies will never ask you to pay up front for any services.
  • Legitimate photographers will be able to provide you will real links to their featured work.
  • Legitimate agents will give you the real story about the modeling world – the good and the bad.
  • Legitimate agencies don't need to pressure you into making a decision – they can be selective.

The Response: Your Most Powerful Weapon

The most powerful weapon you have as a model is the word, “No.”

Is there are creepy guy who keeps calling and texting you about meeting up to talk about huge opportunities in print, movies or runways?  “No” is the best weapon you have to fight him off.

Telling someone “no” sets boundaries for you and them. In fact, you can learn a lot about the legitimacy of a scout or photographer just by watching how they respond to you when you tell them, “No.”

A Professional Response to Your "No"

A legitimate modeling agency will respond to your “No” with respect and patience. They may reiterate the advantages of signing with them and the possibilities they can provide you, but they'll never pressure you with unrealistic scenarios and threats. And they won't pressure you into giving them money.

The Creeper's Response to your "No"

The average unprofessional photographer or scout who begs for TFP's or who tries to smooth-talk you with promises of fame will not respond well to your rejection. He'll most likely pressure you with a line like, “I need to know today.”

Crazy deadlines which put pressure on you are a classic tactic of the sleazeball, especially when he tries to use it against you after you say no  If he keeps pressuring you after you've already given him your answer, you'll have further proof he's not a legitimate professional.

Our last tip goes without saying – the more the “scout” or “photographer” mentions implied nudity or full nudity, the more you can be sure he's looking to hook up rather hook you up with a legitimate modeling career

The Professional: What You Can Do To Be Prepared For Your Next Offer

Aside from a checklist to separate the sleazeballs from the professionals, you should have a few things solidified about your approach to the modeling world:

Know What You Want To Do

“I want to be a model” is a very general goal. The modeling world is as diverse as the models themselves. Decide whether you want to get into glamour, commercial, print, fashion, runway or editorial modeling. Consult a legitimate modeling agency for help in this decision. In this instance, it may be advantageous to take classes or a few courses, but you are in charge at the beginning. A model with a plan is a model who can easily say “No” to the creeps and “Yes” to the legitimate opportunities.

Create Your Composite Cards

A composite card or comp card is like your visual resume for talent scouts and agencies. They'll use your comp cards to market you and win jobs. For this reason, your comp card needs to be the absolute best quality you can afford – poor pictures, bad print quality or cheap paper can be the difference in getting your next gig.

Do a little research to find out what kind of design you like and what type of shots work best for you. A model with an excellent comp card is a model set up for success. is a great source.

Learn the Lingo, Read the Books

The modeling world is a professional world where preparation is crucial. Know the terms of the trade.  Port, headshot, HWP, Zed card, inseam, voucher, TFP/TFCD and GWC – they're all part of the language and you need to learn them. Many times you only have a few seconds to make an impression – studying the vocabulary will ensure each word that comes out of your mouth is laden with confidence and assertiveness.

Also, read blog posts, articles and books written by trusted and well-known professionals in the modeling world. It never hurts to learn, but it will always hurt to fail.

Taking Control: You Are In The Driver's Seat

Each one of these tips will help you take control of your career. Be strong. Be smart. Be confident. There's nothing more intimidating to a sleazeball than a girl who knows who she is, knows what she wants and won't settle for anything less. Get started with a brilliant career at Model Madness.


In the next post, Round 2, The Money Pit

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