The past week an awesome opportunity to compete in an international model search came up and, on the counsel of a friend, I approached my local coordinator looking for information.
For those of you who aspire to model, I wanted to share some of the red flags I encountered this past week and why, through experience and representation, I ultimately decided not to pursue this opportunity.
The first thing that I found really interesting was that my appeal for more information was completely ignored by my local coordinator. It wasn’t until I cc’d the CEO of the company that I was given a very short, useless piece of information by my local representative: It’s a bikini contest.
My original email requested details pertaining to image rights, the fact that I have a mother agency, and pay. All of these super important details were completely ignored and I was simply informed, as though I had somehow lost my marbles, that it was ultimately a bikini contest.
The second thing that I thought was really interesting was that when I received an email from the CEO, it informed me that, due to time constraints, they did not have time to deal with my agency. This was kind of fair in my mind, I had been invited to participate on very short notice and, for sure, there was no time to sit down and chat.
A reputable agent and scout should understand, or at least have a standard operating procedure in place for, how they interact with mother agencies. As a scout for an international competition, how could you not have something in place?
Third, I checked out my competition and inquired after the contract details for the winner. My competition was composed of wonderful, pretty girls but, for the most part, they were not models. By this, I don’t mean that they weren’t signed to an agency, I mean that, although beautiful, most of these girls would not make many of the standards that agencies require their girls to have (I’m not arguing that these standards are for everyone but that they are expected in the industry). The prize amount was not announced until the day of the competition and the sum was what I would make in less than a day’s work modelling locally.
When I apologized and wrote to both the local and international representatives from the model search saying that I would not compete, they lamented that my agent was hindering my opportunity for international exposure. My eyeballs just about fell out of my head.
Ultimately, if you want to model, I’d suggest that it’s super important that you don’t do things that make you uneasy. If you disagree with something, talk to someone else in the industry about it. For me, talking to my agent was the best thing that I could do. He stated that, if I wanted to, of course I was welcome to take up this opportunity but, he asked me if it was in fact a company that I wanted to take on as a client.
The answer to that became an overwhelming no. Someone who treated me so poorly and with so little consideration throughout the application process, and who heeded my questions, needs, and legal obligations so little, does not deserve me as a representative for their brand.
It is ultimately up to you to decide who deserves to have you as a model. It might seem exciting to be asked to do a photoshoot or compete for a contract but, if it feels exploitative, I’d suggest walking away.