How much of a game is modelling?
August 16, 2006 7:48 PM   Subscribe

We need a quick introduction to the world of teen modelling. My friend's 15 year-old daughter has been "scouted" a couple of times, and he's not sure how seriously to take their recommendations, invitations to Milan etc. - all at the parent's expense. His daughter seems like a sensible kid (to me), and so far hasn't been particularly enthusiastic except for the opportunity for a bit of fun or a trip somewhere. He's wondering how much of this is for real, and when the games are going to start. Anyone know how this works, or have experience with teen models in the house?
posted by sneebler to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Reputable agencies never require parental investment, even for photos.
posted by lalex at 7:51 PM on August 16, 2006

Yes. The basic rule is that if you have to pay, it's not legit (or at least, not going to lead you to a paying career).
posted by occhiblu at 7:56 PM on August 16, 2006

There must be work closer than Milan. Sounds like hype talk.
posted by scarabic at 8:01 PM on August 16, 2006

Exactly, and sorry, I feel like I was abrupt...if your friend's daughter wants to try her hand at modeling, she'll be able to do it with minimal investment.

Reputable agencies will (a) look at photographs taken by non-professionals - they have vast experience at assessing potential based on portraits taken by amateurs, and (b) have open call days where an aspiring model can visit the office

Occhiblu is right, the rule is that if you have to pay, it's not legit.
posted by lalex at 8:02 PM on August 16, 2006

Having a friend who went to Europe one summer to do some modelling I'll add one more voice saying that you shouldn't have to pay a thing. One makes enough to cover basic expenses and all travel etc is paid for.
posted by futureproof at 8:03 PM on August 16, 2006

I work with models of all ages on an almost daily basis. If the parents are being asked to pay for things, its very likely not legit.
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:20 PM on August 16, 2006

Most of this has been covered already, but I thought I should add a personal note. Growing up in Ottawa, I met a guy through art school who had a friend screwed over by people selling false dreams of becoming a model, it ended up costing them over $3000.00 or something. Anyways, he decided to help his friend and prevent other people from having a similar experience. Today he operates the Ben Barry Agency out of various offices.

Even though they might not end up representing your friends daughter, I know firsthand they have a lot of materials covering what to look for in a reputable modeling agency if you contact them as it's part of their mission.
posted by carabiner at 8:29 PM on August 16, 2006

BBC made a documentary a few years back, MacIntyre Undercover's Fashion Victims, about Elite Model Management, apparently one of the more "reputable" agencies around. In Milan, many of the chaperones functioned basically as pimps. It was an eye opener. Of course, the BBC did basically back down during a subsequent libel case and withdraw accusations of a conspiracy of predatory sexual practices against the upper management.
posted by meehawl at 5:54 AM on August 17, 2006

Yeah, echoing what people have said above.

If a modelling agency really thinks your daughter has it, they will spend mountains of cash to do whatever needs doing. It's a simple matter of investment. They will never require her to pay for her shoots, to pay for transportation (except possibly transpo within your own city), to pay for anything related to her job. Spending thousands of dollars is nothing for the major agencies--they'll make that back from your daughter in a week if she hits the bigtime.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:21 AM on August 17, 2006

"Reputable agencies never require parental investment, even for photos."

Really? If it's a 15 year old girl, I'd think that their permission would be required for pretty much everything. Kind of a CYA in today's pedophilia society.. y'know?
posted by drstein at 11:13 AM on August 17, 2006

Permission, yes; cash, no.
posted by occhiblu at 11:25 AM on August 17, 2006

Here in Toronto, there's a group called the Entertainment Industry Coalition of which (almost?) all the legitimate agencies are member. They have a code of conduct for agents which may be useful. Now some of these points may not be the norm elsewhere (e.g. a legitimate agency never advertises for talent) but they're good guidelines for judging an agency anyway.

Here's the important part:
1) An agent will be truthful in his or her statements to the client.

2) An agent will represent all clients in good faith and recognize the uniqueness of the client's abilities. An agent will maintain an office, records and such materials necessary to conduct business normally deemed necessary to function as an agent.

3) An agent will agree to be equipped and to continue to be equipped to represent the client ably and diligently in the legitimate entertainment industry and to so represent the client.

4) An agent will maintain the confidentiality of all dealings on behalf of the client both during representation and after the representation has terminated.

5) It is not a condition of representation that an agent stipulates the photographer, printer, school or any other service provider for the client. Should an agent have any financial interest in above named businesses, full disclosure about said interest must be provided.

6) An agent will not advertise to the general public for the purpose of soliciting clients through advertising placed in any form of printed or electronic media (newspapers, flyers, magazines, telephones, the Internet, fax, CD-ROM or mailings, etc.).

7) If an agent recommends a service provider in which they have a financial interest, it must be disclosed to the client at the time of recommendation.

8) An agent will not accept employment as an actor.

9)An agent will maintain an office and telephone open during all reasonable business hours.

10) An agent or designate will be available, at all reasonable hours, for consultation with the client.

11) An agent will, upon request, make available to a client or prospective client a complete and current list of clients represented by the agency.

12) An agent will inform the client, upon request, of any and all activities undertaken on the client's behalf.

13) An agent will maintain proper financial books and records.

14) An agent will make all books and records pertaining to a client available to the client on a regular business day upon forty-eight hours notice.

15) An agent will not commingle moneys belonging to clients with moneys belonging to the agent, but will keep such moneys in a separate account which may be known as a 'clients' account' or 'trust account'.

16) An agent will pay each client his or her share of all moneys received on behalf of the client in a timely manner. All moneys belonging to the client received by the agent shall be faithfully accounted for by the agent and promptly paid over to the client.

17)An agent will tell the client at the time of signing a representation agreement which deductions from the client's share of money the agent may take for expenses such as materials, photos, voice tapes, commissions and so on. However, the agent will make clear the client's option to undertake the management of any or all of his or her own materials.

18) An agent will inform a new client that commission due to a former client be kept current.

19) An agent will use all reasonable efforts to assist the client in procuring employment in the legitimate entertainment industry.

20) An agent will make no claims or guarantees of employment to prospective clients that cannot be immediately substantiated.

21) An agent will accept no employment on the client's behalf without informing the client of his or her obligations, such as details of fees, performance credit, working conditions and so on.

22) An agent will negotiate terms and conditions of any employment opportunities offered in consultation with the client.

23) An agent will recognize and uphold the client's prerogative to refuse any and all employment opportunities offered.
posted by winston at 1:21 PM on August 17, 2006

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