Model Scouts

Modeling scams many times start with bogus model scouts. Model scouts, after all, are usually the first people aspiring models meet, for example, in a mall, on the street, or at an event.

Instead of the aspiring models going to an agency, the agency in effect comes to them through a model scout. Instead of waiting passively for the potential models to find the agency, the scouts actively seek out models in public places.

The model scouts form the bridge between the modeling company and the potential model. Potential models can meet the scouts before they have even heard of the company.

If you can discern bogus model scouts from real model scouts, you can avoid many modeling scams. But if you cannot tell the difference, you will start down the path which leads you into a trap and becoming a modeling scam victim.

The first thing that needs to be understood is in the modeling industry there are no official standards, no regulated teachings, no certified teachers, and no licenses required to be model scouts. There is no model scout college, school, or class under the administration of an official industry organization.

Therefore there is no industry standard. Because there is no industry standard to train, and no examination to pass, no license to be given, and no organization to monitor the practices of model scouts to ensure they act ethically and abide by industry rules, you never know just what a person means when they tell you, "I am a model scout."

You have no idea what training, if any, they received. You don't know who trained them if they did receive training. You don't know the teacher's qualifications. You don't know if they have any experience scouting. You don't know if they have had any success scouting. You don't know if they have worked for a modeling agency. And you probably don't know how they are paid.

But all of these issues are significant in determining whether a so-called "model scout" is legitimate, or whether that "scout" is just the front end or the "face" of a modeling scam.

Do not assume complete strangers who call themselves model scouts are legitimate. If they appear as if they could be legitimate, do not give personal information, ask for a business card. A business card does not prove someone is a model scout, but it is a stepping stone to getting answers to basic information.

The first thing to do is verify the "scout" is in fact a representative of the firm for which they claim to work. There are bogus model scouts who falsely claim to represent top agencies. This has happened before. When these agencies are called, they deny it, and say they have never heard of them before.

If the agency does in fact have a model scout by the name on the business card, find out from the agency the scout's background. This will give you a clue to whether or not the agency is legitimate.

Besides modeling agencies, there are other modeling companies, also called model scouting companies, or even scouting agencies, which have model scouts. These model scouts, however, are really just salesmen and saleswomen.

They are selling modeling photos, modeling classes, modeling conventions, model advertising, online comp cards, a product or service with upfront fees, or they are the lure to the people who actually do the direct selling, either in person, or through telemarketing.

Legitimate model scouts are paid after the model gets work: bogus model scouts are paid before the model gets work. Legitimate model scouts are paid only if the model works: bogus model scouts are paid even if the model does not get work or even if the model does not get representation. Legitimate model scouts scout for models: bogus model scouts troll for recruits.

Modeling scams, as noted earlier, start many times with bogus model scouts, and the deception by these people can start when they mislead the consumer through using a deceptive job title: "model scout."

Using the term "scout" is an inaccurate and misleading representation. "Salesman" or "saleswoman" is more accurate. Salespeople are paid by commission. So are many of these so-called "model scouts." They are paid x dollars for every person they get to sign up.

For example, there is an internet model advertising company which pays its salespeople (called model scouts) a $20 commission for every person they sign up; and there is a model convention which pays its salespeople (called model scouts) $250 for everyone they recruit.

As long as these salesmen and women can convince you they are model scouts and not salespeople, you will be under the impression you are being "selected" and become vulnerable to flattery.

Anyone who complements you can flatter you, but there is clear potential for a significantly greater impact when the flattery comes from people representing themselves as industry professionals. Using the job title "model scout" is like a representation of an industry professional.

In other words, when a salesperson leads someone to believe they are scouts or qualified to scout, it gives the impression they do not speak to many people, but they only single out those whom they feel, based on industry experience, possess rare qualities which will make them marketable as models.

Just using the title "model scout" implies not only industry experience but also industry expertise. However, many or most of these sales people posing as model scouts have neither the industry experience nor the industry expertise to work as model scouts.

In the final analysis, model scouts who are not working for modeling agencies should be avoided. They are in it to sell you something, they have an agenda, or there is a conflict of interest.

The opinion of the salespeople regarding your potential as a model is biased. It is not based on their relationships with clients after working as bookers and knowing what types of models the clients wanted in the past, and the current look they want now; instead, it is based on your ability to pay for the products or services they can sell you.

Success Rate

While it may be very difficult to find out the qualifications of someone acting as a model scout, it is not very difficult to find out if they are qualified, based on their success rate, a clear reflection of their incompetence.

The success rate is not the number of people who were recruited; it is the number of people who became models and the earnings of the models.

Some of the most unqualified model scouts are those men and women who scout for modeling conventions.

An aspiring model reported the so-called "model scouts" who selected people for a modeling convention failed miserably, because the model agents who attended the event rejected almost everyone the "scouts" thought were potential models. Out of 600 there were only 10 call backs.

Even using the lowest standard of call backs, instead of signing with an agency, or getting work through an agency, that represents a 1.7% success rate -- or a 98.3% failure rate!

Such an extremely high failure rate is proof the so-called "model scouts" are unqualified or unfit to be scouting for models.

This is why it is important for aspiring models to know the success rate of model scouts. It could be the only way of knowing if they know what they are talking about when they suggest you could be a model, or you are "model material." Are they model scout material?

Professional Opinion

Accepting the claims of a so-called model scout is like accepting their professional opinion. How professional is their opinion? Is it professional enough for you to pay for it? Would you hire that person, as a consultant, for example, to give you their professional opinion about your potential as a model?

When you stop to think about it, that is exactly what you are doing when you pay for a product or service after being scouted.

With the model scout working for the modeling convention mentioned earlier, who is paid $250 for every "potential model" who signs up, that $250 comes out of the potential model's wallet.

So that $250 you give to the model organizers, who then give to the model scout, you could just as easily give directly to the scout, and the rest of the convention cost give directly to people running the convention.

Therefore it is the same as hiring a model scout or model consultant for $250. A model scout is essentially a model consultant.

Imagine you wanted to know if you had potential as a model. So you hire a model consultant. The consultant will give you their professional opinion and for the model evaluation you only have to pay $250.

First you would want to know if they are qualified. Would you pay them $250 if their failure rate was 99%?

The bottom line with many "model scouts" who are paid by commission on the number of recruits is incompetence or a conflict of interest or both incompetence and a conflict of interest. Either can lead you to waste your money and get scammed; both almost certainly will.

Before you pay for their overhyped product or service, ask yourself:

"Someone who is almost a complete failure in their work is advising me to spend hundreds of dollars. Should I pay them for their advice? Should I follow through with their advice and pay for their recommended product or service?"