Warning for would-be models

TRADING standards officials have warned aspiring models not to get sucked into paying money to agencies promising their dreams – for a fee.The warning comes after some youngsters were left disappointed when a management company advertised for rising stars to add to their books during interviews in an Ipswich hotel.

By Jessica Nicholls

TRADING standards officials have warned aspiring models not to get sucked into paying money to agencies promising their dreams – for a fee.

The warning comes after some youngsters were left disappointed when a management company advertised for rising stars to add to their books during interviews in an Ipswich hotel.

Southampton-based company 10am Management advertised for adults, children and teenagers for TV extra work and catalogue fashion shots – people of all ages, shapes and sizes were welcome.

But on arrival the hopefuls were told that photographs for a portfolio would set them back £155 and there are no guarantees that work would be found for them.

Kathryn Shomaly from Ipswich brought her three daughters Jasmine and Justine, both 15 and Shireen, 17 to the open day.

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She said: "They said you could get your money back after a year if there was no work but I am not going to pay that kind of money.

"It is a shame because I think they (her daughters) could really go somewhere, but this is not the right way to go about it."

All the company has to do to fulfil their part of the deal is to put its clients in touch with one modelling agency during the 12 months.

If they fail to do that the money is refundable but there are no guarantees that the model agency will not ask for more money for registration.

David Rutter, from Little Blakenham, took his six-year-old son James to the open day and although he did not pay the money said he was not disappointed with the outcome as he had expected there would be a fee.

He said he had friends who were photographers and that the company had told him the £155 fee would be waived if he produced his own portfolio.

Mr Rutter said: "I was pleased by the fact that they were happy for you to produce your own photographs.

"They also said that you will get your money back after a year if they did not find anything and I hope that would be in the contract."

A spokeswoman for Trading Standards in Ipswich said: "Trading Standards are extremely concerned about these kinds of model agencies that turn up for a day and then leave town.

"They prey on the hopes and aspirations of those young people who want to have a career in modelling and as a consumer you have little comeback if you are unsatisfied with the service."

She said that there are agencies who can give an honest opinion of your prospects without having to tout for trade and that there were also well established local photographers who can provide a simple set of professional pictures without charging too much.

Owner of 10am Management, Jamie Randall said that people should not confuse their service with that of a modelling agency.

He said that the company was a management service who put clients in touch with modelling agencies and the fee was only for the photographs and to pay the photographer, should that be the route that hopefuls opt for.

Mr Randall said: "People can supply their own photos and then there is no fee.

"We place them with agencies and if they are interested they take them on.

"Sometimes people have to pay more money to the agencies for an admin fee but that will often be if they want to be in colour brochures or on websites to get more publicity."

PANEL

Advice from Trading Standards:

Beware modelling agencies/photographic agencies that turn up in town for one day only –ask yourself what comeback you have once you have handed over your money and they have left town.

These firms may offer a money back guarantee but how easy will it be to reclaim this?

The introduction fee you pay may well be for your photo to be circulated to another photographic agency. Ask yourself is it worth the money for the service.

Consider where your pictures will be circulated, especially if your are considering your child as a child model – will it be via an internet and who will have access to it?

If you think you have a career in modelling ahead of you, do some research on different agencies available and try and get personal recommendations.

A reputable agency will be able to judge your potential as a model from a simple photo such as a holiday snap rather than an expensive portfolio.

For further advice click on to: WWW.albamodel.info

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