Gisele Bundchen, richest supermodel

It is every teenager’s dream to be a model. Who doesn’t when you get to wear all the fabulous clothes, get freebies, take beautiful pictures, earn a year’s income of a minimum wage worker in just one project, and of course, be recognized by everyone. It’s a no-brainer how girls are easily enticed whenever someone comes up to them and asks them to model. I must say, however, that I am not an expert on this topic. I’d just like to share some of my experiences and what I have learned through other people. I AM NOT A MODEL, but I have undergone some of the process of becoming one, and boy, I’m telling you it’s not as glamorous as how people think it is. Being part of the modeling industry means you have to invest a lot–time, hard work, patience, and emotions (well, except for those who already have the connections or happen to possess “the look” the agents are casting for). And because there are douchebags who know that there are people who are willing to sacrifice anything for a dream, they take advantage. Below are some things you have to look out for:

  1. Bogus talent/modeling agencies. Talent/modeling agencies are sprouting like mushrooms nowadays. They lure their potential victims by guaranteeing them work or by boasting their roster of talents. First, modeling agencies cannot guarantee an aspirant a project because it all depends on the demands and requirements of the client. Agencies find projects for the models, they are not the source of the projects. Second, it’s easy to copy and paste pictures from Google, you know, so you can’t be really assured of that.
  2. Registration and advertising fees (or any term similar) and upfront payments. If they tell you that you have to pay a some sort of a registration fee or an advertising fee so that you can get exposure, I say walk out the door. According to the New York City Consumer Affairs, it’s illegal. But sometimes they are a little more creative, they would schedule you for a setcard and portfolio shoot but then they’ll ask you to pay for it. Yes, some photographers may ask payment for setcard and portfolio generation, but it is the agency’s responsibility to pay for them and for other requirements, it’s their investment; anyway when you get booked for projects, they will get their money back. If your agency is asking for these kind of stuff, take a step back because it may be a scam.

What can you do to avoid all these hassle? The only answer is proper research. When someone approaches you and tells you that you would make a great model, don’t be swooned! Ask for his/her card (or at least his/her full name and agency), then verify if the agency he/she belongs to is a member of the Talent Agents’ Organization. Talent Agents’ Organization (TAO) is a professional organization of legitimate and topnotch agents in the Philippines. It’s notable members are Faces Model Agency, W Talent Management, Reco Models, Professional Models Association of the Philippines (PMAP), Mercator Model Management, and many others. And If you decide to visit the agency, it is never embarrassing to bring along someone for your safety.