Rape, drugs and porn: Modeling scams thrive amid lack of regulation CNN Fashion Contributor Karen Slade-Harrell

For years, a former Miami policeman spent “the majority of his waking hours stalking female models online.” Using a laundry list of aliases, he contacted hundreds of women and lured a number of them to fake modeling auditions in South Florida.

Once they arrived, he secretly drugged them and took them to another location where a “heavyset, tattooed man” would rape them on camera. This footage was then sold online and to pornography stores. Some victims didn’t find out about the videos until they were alerted by friends or complete strangers.

“Some of the victims do not remember anything until the following day, when they awoke, half-naked and semiconscious, either in their own cars or in their hotel rooms, sometimes covered in vomit or urine,” prosecutors wrote in a court document.

These two men, Lavont Flanders, Jr. and Emerson Callum, were found guilty of sex trafficking and sentenced to life behind bars. (Their attorneys didn’t respond to requests for comment).

But many other scammers continue to evade authorities.

Some schemes are all about the money — requiring models and their families to pay thousands of dollars in the hopes of finding success. Others, like the one perpetrated by Flanders and Callum, are even more sinister — putting models in sexually abusive and dangerous situations.

Because even reputable agencies in some modeling meccas (like New York) aren’t licensed with any regulatory body, critics say that scam operations are able to thrive — blending in with all the other modeling companies.

Pure desperation

In an industry notoriously hard to break into, many models fall prey to criminals out of pure desperation. And it’s easy to find victims, since many wannabe models post public profiles online — with photos and personal details down to their age and measurements.

In fact, in the Flanders and Callum case, one popular modeling website says that Flanders used a variety of female aliases to contact 400 women on the site.

In another federal case, a San Antonio man posing as a “modeling promoter” recruited more than 100 men and women — including a number of minors — using multiple personas.

“This man abused and exploited his victims in unspeakable ways,” United States Attorney Robert Pitman said in a statement about the case.

The man, Gemase Lee Simmons, manipulated people into thinking that posing naked was what they needed to do to make it in the modeling industry, according to court documents. And once he had nude — and sexually explicit — photos and videos of them, he blackmailed many of them and threatened to publicize the materials if they didn’t continue to produce more content. Simmons’ attorney did not respond to requests for comment.

“I wanted my life. I wanted my innocence. I just wanted it back,” one of Simmons’ victims said in court testimony.

Simmons was found guilty of distributing child pornography, among other charges. He is currently spending life in prison.

‘I was shaking’

Many scammers go to extremes to convince their victims that they’re legitimate — even developing personal relationships with the young women.

One young woman, who asked to remain anonymous out of concern for her safety and privacy, told CNNMoney that a man posing as an attractive male model contacted her on Facebook telling her that she was beautiful and that he wanted her to come work at his agency (one of the top modeling companies).

They started communicating regularly — even talking on the phone late at night — and he eventually convinced her to meet with a talent scout for his agency. To ease her initial suspicion, he connected her with a supposed female model at the same agency, and she even received an email from the supposed head of one of the agency’s European branches.

She was walking into the cafe to meet the scout when the male model she had been communicating with called her and told her that since she wasn’t young enough (she was 22 at the time) to be as desirable as other models, she would need to perform sexual acts for the scout in order to secure a job.

Horrified, she turned around and ran to the bathroom, where she hid in a stall for hours.

“I was in shock. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to do… I was shaking,” she said.

Today, she considers herself lucky that things didn’t get even worse. Since this occurred, she and her mother have heard of a number of victims of similar scams who ended up being raped. “Unfortunately, models are targets for the creeps in this world, and there needs to be better monitoring and control for their safety,” her mother wrote in a letter urging lawmakers to introduce increased protections for models.

‘No way to know whether someone’s legitimate’

Financial scams targeting models are nothing new. But with little oversight of the industry, they just keep popping up. And law enforcement can only do so much — shutting down one scheme only to find that another takes its place.

These schemes usually follow a similar pattern. Claiming to be modeling agencies, unscrupulous companies tell young people and often their parents that they are destined for a successful modeling career — all they have to do is pay upfront for photos, training and other fees. But the jobs never materialize, leaving them out of thousands of dollars.

In New York, one child modeling scheme allegedly stole more than $200,000 from 100 clients with promises of lucrative modeling jobs. This scam continued for years, even after state officials had tried to shut it down. Meanwhile, one New Jersey company agreed to pay $400,000 in 2013 to settle state charges alleging that it had deceived victims into believing they were signing up with a real agency. But the company merely provided photo shoots and a website where they could post their photos. And the same New Jersey-based operation was forced to pay $22 million in restitution and $3.5 million in civil penalties to settle similar charges in Florida.

Other models claim to have fallen victim to agencies that didn’t have any of the same warning signs — no upfront fees, high-pressure sales tactics or shady Facebook messages.

In one high-profile case, for example, a former judge on the popular reality show America’s Next Top Model is the subject of a civil lawsuit filed by a booking agent and several models.

The suit accuses Nole Marin of using his modeling agency as a “ring to steal money and defraud his models and booking agents” by withholding thousands of dollars in earnings. The lawsuit alleges he used their money to fund his own personal and business expenses instead.

Marin’s attorney said his client is aggressively fighting the claims in court — even bringing counterclaims against the booking agent. And he says Marin denies any allegation that he “intended to steal money and defraud his models.”

“Nole Marin is an honest person who has been successful in the fashion industry for 26 years, finding and working with some of the world’s most famous models,” his attorney said in an email. “If any financial problems have arisen … they were solely due to poor management.”

Even those models who try to do everything they can to protect themselves financially and physically face a number of obstacles.

Sara Ziff, founder of the advocacy group the Model Alliance, says the lack of strict licensing requirements and oversight is a big part of the problem. While stronger regulation wouldn’t deter every potential fraudster, she says it would make it harder for scam operations to pass as legitimate agencies and could provide models and their families with a way to spot imposters.

Ziff often hears awful stories of models who have gone missing or have been sexually assaulted after being contacted by supposed “photographers” or “agents” on modeling websites.

But when she is asked by models and family members for advice, she says that beyond big brand-name agencies, it’s often impossible for her to separate the bad apples from the good ones — creating a risky environment for new models trying to break into the industry.

“There is no seal of approval. There’s no way to know whether someone’s legitimate,” said Ziff.

Learn more at CNN.com

There are many horror stories this industry do not become one learn your business.

www.eliteimagesite.com/programs

Karen Slade-Harrell – Contributor

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3 Ways to Avoid Modeling Scams Article by Karen Slade-Harrell

What could be more flattering? Someone approaches you at the mall and says, “You could be a model. You’ve got the ‘look’ we’re after. Here’s my card. Give me a call to set up an appointment.” People have always said you’re good looking. Now, visions of glamour, travel and money flash before your eyes.

It’s true that some successful models have been discovered in everyday places like malls, boutiques, clubs, and airports. But the vast majority of would-be models knock on door after agency door before work comes their way.

It’s All an Act

If and when you make that follow-up appointment, you’ll probably find yourself in an office filled with lots of other model and actor hopefuls. Then the spiel starts. What you thought was a job interview with a talent agency turns into a high-pressure sales pitch for modeling or acting classes, or for “screen tests” or “photo shoots” that can range in price from several hundred to several thousand dollars.

Man, woman, or child — it makes no difference to bogus model and talent scouts. Often, these scouts are after one thing — your money — and will say just about anything to get it. But what they say isn’t always what they mean.

What They Say vs. What They Mean

Unscrupulous model and talent scouts have their acts down pat. Listen carefully to read between their lines.

  • “We’re scouting for people with your ‘look’ to model and act.”
    I need to sign up as many people as possible. My commission depends on it.
  • “Your deposit is totally refundable.”
    Your deposit is refundable only if you meet very strict refund conditions.
  • “You must be specially selected for our program. Our talent experts will carefully evaluate your chances at success in the field and will only accept a few people into our program.”
    We take almost everyone.
  • “There’s a guaranteed refund if you’re not accepted into the program.”
    Everyone’s accepted into the program. Forget the refund.
  • “You can’t afford our fees? No problem. You can work them off with the high-paying jobs we’ll get you.”
    We demand payment, whether or not you get work.
  • “Commissions from our clients are our major source of income.”
    Our income comes from the fees we charge you.

Pose-itioning Yourself

To break into the business, you — the talent — need professional photos. There are two types of standard photographs — a “head shot” and a “composite card.”

  • The typical marketing tool for an actor, experienced or not, the head shot usually is an 8″ x 10″ black and white photo of the face, with your resume printed on the back.
  • A “comp card,” the typical marketing tool for the experienced model or the wannabe, usually features several shots on the same sheet, showing off the talent in different attire or settings.

Agencies and schools offer separate and distinct services. Make sure you know the difference.

  • Modeling (or talent) agencies secure employment for experienced models and actors. Some agents require that you sign up exclusively with them; others may allow you to register with them as well as with other agencies in town.
  • Modeling and acting schools claim to provide instruction — for a fee — in poise, posture, diction, skin care, make-up application, the proper walk, and more. Modeling schools do not necessarily act as agents or find work for you — after you take their classes, you may be on your own.

Talent Tips:

  • Steer clear of modeling companies that require you to use a specific photographer. Compare fees and the work quality of several photographers.
  • Be suspicious if a company requires an up-front fee to serve as your agent.
  • Be cautious if the school has a special referral relationship with a specific modeling agency. The two could be splitting your fees, or the agency may not be suited to your needs.

Avoiding a Model Rip-Off

  • Ask yourself, “why me?” Don’t let your emotions — and the company’s flattery — take control. Think carefully and critically about how you were approached: if it was in a crowded mall, think how many others also may have been approached.
  • Avoid high-pressure sales tactics. Never sign a document without reading and understanding it first. In fact, ask for a blank copy of the contract to take home and review with someone you trust. If the company refuses, walk away.
  • Be leery of companies that only accept payment in cash or by money order. Read it as a strong signal that the company is more interested in your money than your career.
  • Be wary of claims about high salaries. Successful models in small markets can earn $75 to $150 an hour, but the work is irregular.
  • Ask for the names, addresses and phone numbers of models and actors who have secured successful work — recently — based on the company’s training.
  • Check out client claims. If an agency says it has placed models and actors in specific jobs, contact the companies to verify that they’ve hired models and actors from the agency.
  • Be skeptical of local companies claiming to be the “biggest” agency or a “major player” in the industry, especially if you live in a smaller city or town.
  • Realize that different parts of the country have different needs. For example, New York is recognized for fashion modeling; the Washington/Baltimore area is known for industrial or training films.
  • Ask if the company/school is licensed or bonded, if that’s required by your state. Verify this information with the appropriate authorities, such as your local consumer protection agency or state Attorney General. Make sure the license is current.
  • Ask your local Better Business Bureau, consumer protection agency and state Attorney General if there are any unresolved consumer complaints on file about the company.
  • Get everything in writing, including any promises that have been made orally.
  • Keep copies of all important papers, such as your contract and company literature, in a safe place.
You’ve Got the Cutest Little Baby Face

A special word to parents of infants and toddlers

Think your child is model material? Bogus talents scouts do. And they’ll gladly set up a professional photo shoot to allegedly help you get modeling and acting jobs for your tyke. Of course, they don’t tell you that the market for infant models and actors is very small. What’s more, because an infant’s looks change quickly, the photos become outdated. In truth, few infants are marketed with professional photos. Legitimate agents, advertising agencies, casting directors and producers generally ask for casual snapshots of infants that have been taken by family members or friends.

Where to Complain

If you’ve think you’ve been scammed by a bogus model or talent scout, contact your local consumer protection agency, state Attorney General, or Better Business Bureau. They’re in your local directory assistance.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

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Look Out for Modeling Scams

Could you really be a model or actor? Or maybe it’s your kids that have the right look? If a talent scout says you’ve got a future in the business, you might be flattered. Then, be skeptical. You could be the target of a modeling scam.

How Modeling Scams Work

Someone stops you at the mall and says you could be a model. People have always said you’re good looking, and the idea of a glamorous career is hard to resist.

But when you show up for a follow-up appointment, you find yourself in an office with other hopefuls. Once you finally get your turn, you find out that what you thought was a job interview with a modeling or talent agency is really a high-pressure sales pitch for modeling or acting classes, screen tests, or photo shoots that can range in price from several hundred to several thousand dollars.

Here are some signs you might be dealing with a scam:

You have to use a specific photographer.

To break into the business, you need professional photos. But you should be able to choose your own photographer. An agency that requires you to use their photographers likely is a scam.

You have to pay a fee to them to serve as your agent before they’ll do any work on your behalf.

Modeling and talent agencies get work for experienced models and actors. Some agents require that you sign up exclusively with them, while others allow you to also register with other agencies in town. Either way, legitimate agencies don’t charge you an up-front fee to serve as your agent. They get paid when you get paid.

Modeling agencies aren’t the same as modeling and acting schools. These schools claim to provide instruction — for a fee — in poise, posture, diction, skin care, make-up application, the proper walk, and more. But after you take their classes, you may be on your own, despite their promises that attending modeling school will ensure you make it as a model.

You’re told the opportunity could disappear if you don’t act now.

You need time to check out a company before you give them any money or personal information. If an offer is good today, it should be good tomorrow.

They guarantee a refund.

They may say your deposit is totally refundable. It’s more likely that your deposit would be refundable only if you meet very strict refund conditions. Or, you might be told that talent experts will evaluate your chances at success in the field, accept only a few people into the program, and give refunds to anyone not selected. What they don’t tell you is that the program takes virtually everyone.

They only accept payment in cash or by money order.

It’s a sure sign that they’re more interested in your money than your career.

They talk about big salaries.

Even for successful models, work can be irregular.

They guarantee you’ll get work.

No modeling or acting job is ever guaranteed. And depending on where you live, the market for those types of jobs may be very small.

Could Your Child Be a Star?

Think your baby or child is model material? Fake talent scouts want you to, and will gladly set up a photo shoot or classes to help you get modeling or acting jobs for your tyke. What they don’t tell you is that the market for child models and actors is very small. And because a child’s looks change quickly, legitimate agents, advertising agencies, casting directors, and producers generally ask for casual snapshots, not professional photos.

What about the casting calls you hear about on the radio, looking for the next child star? While they may be real in that one or two kids in the country are “discovered,” the agencies holding the calls often use them as a way to get parents to enroll their kids in expensive acting classes.

What to Do

Still not sure if an offer is honest? Take the time to check the company out before you give them any money or personal information.

Check its reputation online.

Try searching for the company’s name with words like “scam,” “rip-off,” or “complaint.”

Ask if the company or school is licensed or bonded, if that’s required by your state.

Verify this information with your local consumer protection agency or your state Attorney General. Make sure the license is current.

Get references.

Specifically:

  • Ask for the names, addresses, and phone numbers of models and actors who have gotten work — recently — based on the company’s training. In some cases, companies have put up pictures on the walls of successful models they didn’t actually represent.
  • If an agency says it has placed models and actors in specific jobs, contact the companies to verify that they’ve hired models and actors from the agency.

Get everything in writing.

That includes spoken promises or assurances.

Keep copies of all important papers.

Documents like your contract and company literature should be kept in a safe place.

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The top 5 modeling scams and how to avoid them. Written by Fashion Mogul Karen Slade-Harrell

Landing a modeling gig may sound glamorous, but be careful not to fall for one of the many modeling scams floating around.

 

Oregon’s attorney general sent out an alert this week warning consumers about these suspicious opportunities. Other warnings have gone out, too, indicating trouble could be brewing.

Here’s how to spot the scams.

 

High-Pressure Sales Pitch scam

 

What you thought was a job interview you signed up for online is really a high-pressure sales pitch for modeling or acting classes, shoots or screen tests. The salesperson asks you to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars in exchange for helping you with your modeling career.

 

“Hurry: This Opportunity Won’t Last Long” scam

 

The salesperson or scam artist may try to convince you to sign up for a monthly subscription to a talent service, limited offer on a discounted shoot or a booking agent. It’s best to request an in-person meeting before agreeing to pay for an agent or scout.

 

The “Easy Money for Small Work” scam

 

Earning large sums of money does not come easy. Some models in smaller markets can earn between $75 to $100 an hour but work is irregular. Research the company thoroughly. Talk to and meet the models or actors who have worked with the company before.

 

“Here’s a Check for the Photo Session” scam

Promises of free photo shoots or paid trips to New York City should raise eyebrows. Scam artists may send you a fake check leading you to believe it’s an advance payment for the photo shoot. They may also ask you to wire money to what you think is a photographer, studio or booking agent. Wiring money is never a good idea in these scenarios.

 

The “You Have the Cutest Baby Ever” scam

 

The modeling market for infants and toddlers is small, so don’t fall for scam artists who say your child is modeling material. They may try to lure you by offering to set up a photo shoot for your infant or toddler, but very few children are marketed with professional photos.

 

To avoid being ripped off, follow these tips:

  • Ask for everything in writing, even promises made verbally.
  • Keep copies of important documents.
  • Stay away from companies that take only cash or money orders.
  • Ask the agency where previous models and actors have been placed.
  • Be leery of anyone who asks for an up-front fee before becoming your agent.
  • Be wary of companies that want you to use a specific photographer.
  • Check the BBB’s web site for information about a company

I hope this information was helpful and you make wise decisions in your talent endeavors.

Fashionably yours,

Karen Slade-Harrell

Eliteimagebrand.com

Twitter: @ksladethebrand           Instagram: karenbrandconsultant  Facebook: karenbrandconsultant

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Beware of Model Scouting Scams, Blog written by Karen Slade-Harrell

Beware of Model Scouting Scams, Published by Karen Slade-Harrell

Scouting scams are usually at the root of modeling scams.

The concept is very basic. People are told they have the look, they could be models, and they are “model material.”

The goal is to get the person to sign up for any number of things which will cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.

For example, modeling school, modeling photos, online comp cards, a model search a modeling convention, model marketing, a model magazine, or a modeling contest.

Anyone can tell anyone they have the look. There is nothing in the words which proves the person who said them is a scout, is qualified to scout, or is sincere.

Sincerity

One difference between a true scout and a bogus scout is sincerity. But how do you know if a scout is sincere?

One test is to find out if the scout is paid by commission. Not commission on the number of people they sign up, but commission on the work the model receives through the agency.

Like a reputable modeling agency, a reputable scout typically gets paid only after the model gets work.

A real scout can be paid a 5-10% commission of the model’s future earnings taken from the 20% commission the agency gets, not the 80% the model keeps.

The question to ask is: does the scout in question get paid before the aspiring model gets work, and, most significantly, even if the aspiring model doesn’t get work?

If the scout does get money up front, or is part of a business plan where money has to be paid up front, then there is a significant conflict of interest.

How can you trust someone who is paid like that?

Scouting scams themselves are often rooted in flattery. It all begins with the tired pickup line: “You are beautiful. You have the look! You could be a model.”

The proverbial “look” is not defined. Scouting is inherently subjective. In other words, you can make it up. Anyone can be told they have “the look” — whatever the look is.

The scouts who are involved in scouting scams typically have no qualifications.

Jennifer Julian at ABC News in North Carolina reported the complaint of a former model about a scouting scam. Susan Harris, who had modeled for 10 years internationally, in places like New York and Milan, found a company where the “scouts” were recruiting potential models, basically anyone they met.

Scouts for the company were using these tired pickup lines:

“You’ve got the look.” “I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful you are.” “Have you ever thought of modeling?”

Men or women with little or no modeling industry experience, and no professional training by industry experts — absolutely no qualifications — approached people on the street, at the mall, in a store, anywhere.

On April 6, 2002, Jenifer Ragland of the Los Angeles Times reported the story of a high school teacher accused of being a pedophile (“accused of crimes involving 11 teens”) that got a job as a model scout for a modeling scouting business.

How was the “scout” hired? By whom? An agency?

You ask bogus model scouts if they responded to a job which said “No experience necessary,” and they don’t answer.

They don’t know what they are doing, and if you ask them whom they have discovered, the conversation comes to an abrupt end.

Reputable scouts work for an agency and/or have previously scouted models who have worked successfully in the modeling industry — and their claims can be verified.

A popular scam is agents, scouts, agencies, et al telling potential models they have been “selected,” implying they are selective, but they say the same thing to many people — as many as possible.

It is all part of a reliable scheme of flattery, a game of numbers, catching people to make a quota.

Scouts either say or imply they are selective. To say or imply you are selective when you are not is fraud. To say or imply you have the expertise to judge the suitability of people as models, actors, or entertainers in the commercial advertising, talent modeling or entertainment industries, when you do not, is also fraud.

In its 1999 complaint against three bogus modeling/talent agencies, the FTC alleged that they falsely represented themselves as selectively scouting for models and actors when in fact the companies accepted all candidates who made a deposit.

Working in tandem with bogus modeling scouts there are bogus talent executives. These people are unqualified to say who has and who does not have a good chance of success in modeling or acting.

The title itself is misleading: “Talent Executive.” The scam starts with the title and ends with their selection decision.

When you have been selected, what it really means is that you have been selected to pay them.

The scam can be supported by fraudulent claims that very small percentages of aspiring models actually get selected.

Awareness and understanding of scouting scams will help keep aspiring models from starting down the path which leads to being scammed.

Modeling businesses which have scouting scams can be brought to their financial knees if their feet (scouts) are cut off.

If the government could enact legislation to deal severely with scouting scams, many people would not waste money or be defrauded.

To learn more please visit our website at http://www.eliteimagesite.com

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Beware of Model Scouting Scams, Published by Karen Slade-Harrell

Beware of Model Scouting Scams, Published by Karen Slade-Harrell

Scouting scams are usually at the root of modeling scams.

The concept is very basic. People are told they have the look, they could be models, and they are “model material.”

The goal is to get the person to sign up for any number of things which will cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.

For example, modeling school, modeling photos, online comp cards, a model search a modeling convention, model marketing, a model magazine, or a modeling contest.

Anyone can tell anyone they have the look. There is nothing in the words which proves the person who said them is a scout, is qualified to scout, or is sincere.

Sincerity

One difference between a true scout and a bogus scout is sincerity. But how do you know if a scout is sincere?

One test is to find out if the scout is paid by commission. Not commission on the number of people they sign up, but commission on the work the model receives through the agency.

Like a reputable modeling agency, a reputable scout typically gets paid only after the model gets work.

A real scout can be paid a 5-10% commission of the model’s future earnings taken from the 20% commission the agency gets, not the 80% the model keeps.

The question to ask is: does the scout in question get paid before the aspiring model gets work, and, most significantly, even if the aspiring model doesn’t get work?

If the scout does get money up front, or is part of a business plan where money has to be paid up front, then there is a significant conflict of interest.

How can you trust someone who is paid like that?

Scouting scams themselves are often rooted in flattery. It all begins with the tired pickup line: “You are beautiful. You have the look! You could be a model.”

The proverbial “look” is not defined. Scouting is inherently subjective. In other words, you can make it up. Anyone can be told they have “the look” — whatever the look is.

The scouts who are involved in scouting scams typically have no qualifications.

Jennifer Julian at ABC News in North Carolina reported the complaint of a former model about a scouting scam. Susan Harris, who had modeled for 10 years internationally, in places like New York and Milan, found a company where the “scouts” were recruiting potential models, basically anyone they met.

Scouts for the company were using these tired pickup lines:

“You’ve got the look.” “I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful you are.” “Have you ever thought of modeling?”

Men or women with little or no modeling industry experience, and no professional training by industry experts — absolutely no qualifications — approached people on the street, at the mall, in a store, anywhere.

On April 6, 2002, Jenifer Ragland of the Los Angeles Times reported the story of a high school teacher accused of being a pedophile (“accused of crimes involving 11 teens”) that got a job as a model scout for a modeling scouting business.

How was the “scout” hired? By whom? An agency?

You ask bogus model scouts if they responded to a job which said “No experience necessary,” and they don’t answer.

They don’t know what they are doing, and if you ask them whom they have discovered, the conversation comes to an abrupt end.

Reputable scouts work for an agency and/or have previously scouted models who have worked successfully in the modeling industry — and their claims can be verified.

A popular scam is agents, scouts, agencies, et al telling potential models they have been “selected,” implying they are selective, but they say the same thing to many people — as many as possible.

It is all part of a reliable scheme of flattery, a game of numbers, catching people to make a quota.

Scouts either say or imply they are selective. To say or imply you are selective when you are not is fraud. To say or imply you have the expertise to judge the suitability of people as models, actors, or entertainers in the commercial advertising, talent modeling or entertainment industries, when you do not, is also fraud.

In its 1999 complaint against three bogus modeling/talent agencies, the FTC alleged that they falsely represented themselves as selectively scouting for models and actors when in fact the companies accepted all candidates who made a deposit.

Working in tandem with bogus modeling scouts there are bogus talent executives. These people are unqualified to say who has and who does not have a good chance of success in modeling or acting.

The title itself is misleading: “Talent Executive.” The scam starts with the title and ends with their selection decision.

When you have been selected, what it really means is that you have been selected to pay them.

The scam can be supported by fraudulent claims that very small percentages of aspiring models actually get selected.

Awareness and understanding of scouting scams will help keep aspiring models from starting down the path which leads to being scammed.

Modeling businesses which have scouting scams can be brought to their financial knees if their feet (scouts) are cut off.

If the government could enact legislation to deal severely with scouting scams, many people would not waste money or be defrauded.

To learn more please visit our website at http://www.eliteimagesite.com

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BET Rip the Runway Harrell

Karen Slade-Harrell –  BET Rip the Runway

BET Rip the Runway was one of my thrilling experiences in show productions. Since I am the owner of Elite Image International I get outsourced to work on various productions. I was called by a former business associate that worked for Ground Crew to assist her with BET Rip the Runway castings, call backs, fittings and productions. Since I have a very crazy schedule I had to fly in on the day of the castings and hit the ground running. Once off the plane I headed over in my cab to the casting location. Once I arrive I see a line going around the corner of hopeful wanting to make the cut. We saw over 800 models. After that long day we start the selection process and call backs, which can go through the late hours of the night. Finally after 3:00 am I hit the bed only to have to wake at 5:00am to catch a train back to the location to start my day at 7:00 am. Once there I barely have a chance for a cup of coffee. I have to go into a production meeting with the team. This is one of three meetings daily to go over production details making sure to alert us of changes. After our meeting we break out to the fitting area to start sign in models for call backs and fittings. We have two castings one for the models and another for our celebrities. By now I have been assigned five interns to be my goffers because I cannot leave my area. I meet and set up the designers and tell the models where to sit until they are called. We stagger our call times in order to not get over whelmed. Designers want a certain look and sometimes they ask me to keep an eye on a certain look and walk that model back to them with no wait.

I send one of my interns to get me food and vitamin water because the day is getting long and we are barely finished. I have to cool off hot heads because a lot of designers and models do not have the patience to deal with a massive production. The bad thing for them is we are making a mental note to not work with those models or designers next year.

Finally at 2:30 am we are getting kicked out by security because they have to lock up so we finish our work outside in the cold. Yes the cold it is February in New York. We are usually finished within 20 minutes but if not everyone will just call each other to wrap up details. I take my car service back to my room and call models and leave messages to models that were cut. I finish my calls around 3:30 4:00 am and then go to bed.

The next day is rehearsals. We have to line the models up on the right or left side on the stage. We set them up by designers. We have to show them how to walk using some style because it is a runway slash music production. This will go on for another two days then we are assigned our roles for the show. I was in charge of the left stage meaning everything on the left side of the stage the models, designers, hair and make team. I have to make I know where all 200 plus people are at all times and have my replacement staff nearby if needed.

The show starts that evening and is recorded to be aired the next day. I am glad I am not in charge of editing. This day the press come out we have a BET gifting suite for press, sponsors and VIP guest. About three hours later the show starts and moves very quickly but goes really well. After we pack up the backstage I got back to my room to change and get ready for the after party to celebrate our week and a successful show.

Karen Slade-Harrell with Elite Image Global Brand Management

Website: http://www.eliteimagesite.com

Email: eliteimagebrand@gmail.com

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