Everything You’re Not Supposed To Know About Modeling Agencies

Modeling Agencies: What You’re Not Supposed To Know.

Not long ago it was almost every girl’s dream to be on “America’s Next Top Model”. It seemed like a recipe for success – audition for “America’s Next Top Model”, win, sign with a big agency, live out your wildest dreams.

Other than entertainment value, the the show offered valuable advice to the contestants as well as the aspiring models at home, watching from their couch.

Then, in one swift motion, Tyra shook up the world with a piece of advice that I still find it hard to forgive her for.

“A legit agency will never ask you to pay”.

Don’t get the wrong idea, I’m not here to expose a list of modeling and acting scams.

I’m not even going to defend a particular company.

Just the opposite, in fact.

The purpose of this article is to expose the truth about modeling agencies.

There is an ounce of truth to what Tyra said, a modeling agency will not ask you to pay an up front fee.

What they will do, though, is much worse. They’ll potentially bury you in debt to the point of suffocation.

Here’s what they don’t want you to know:

When you sign to an agency, you’re going to need a lot of things. Things that cost a pretty penny.

Consider the things a newly signed model will need.

  1.  Professional head shots. Believe me, the photographers they use are far from cheap. These are the top modeling agencies in the world, after all, they’re hiring the best of the best to take your photos.
  2.  Travel. It isn’t cheap to fly from the United States to Italy, Paris and Back for a shoot.
  3. A place to live. Again, not cheap. Do you have any idea how much rent in big cities costs?
  4. Food. A model’s gotta eat, right? Then again, maybe the cost of food is why the slim look always seems to be in for models.

That’s just a few of the many things you’re going to need in fforderyour tomodelingkick career.

A few plane tickets, a place to live and some food. No problem, you can swing it, right? If you can’t, no worries – the agency has you covered…temporarily.

That’s right, you have to pay back all of the money that the agency loans you for living and professional expenses.

Now I know what you may be thinking “But Lauren, once the modeling jobs start rolling in I can pay it

all back easily.”


Many of the faces you see on the cover of prestigious fashion magazines are unpaid. They take these unpaid jobs just to build up their modeling resume and gain exposure.

You can’t pay the bills with exposure.

In fact, there’s a documentary all about the unfortunate reality of high end fashion modeling, I highly suggest you look into it. It’s called “Unglamorous: The Naked Truth About Male Models” and you can watch the entire documentary here.

It reveals a few harsh truths about the modeling industry.

  1. Many well-known modeling agencies operate more like loan sharks than modeling agencies.
  2. The high-end fashion modeling industry isn’t glamorous for everyone.
  3. Longevity in high-end fashion is almost unheard of. It’s a good idea to have a back up plan.

4. Not to mention the health risks that some models pose on themselves with the lifestyles they lead.
I know, I know… I’m painting the modeling industry out to be pretty ugly right now and I apologize. It’s not my intention to kill your hopes and dreams of becoming a model.

The truth is, you can be a “regular person” and have success in the modeling industry. You can live a regular life, book modeling jobs and make good money doing it full or part time – you just need to do it the right way.

Modeling Without Breaking The Bank & Ruining Your Life:

  • High-end fashion modeling isn’t the only type of modeling. There are modeling jobs for almost every type of person. Everyone has a unique look and style that lends itself to a particular type of modeling job.
  • Gucci isn’t the only brand that needs models. Models are everywhere, literally. New clothing lines launch every single day and existing clothing lines launch new styles all the time. Most of these brands cannot afford to hire Giselle Bundchen to model their clothes, but they’re still willing to pay really good money for a few hours of your time. Concentrate on these types of modeling jobs, you’ll find success quicker this way. AlwaysAuditions.com is a good place to get started finding some of these smaller, well-paying jobs that you don’t have to be famous to apply for.
  • You’re not likely to get discovered in a diner at midnight and become an overnight success. It takes a lot of work, it takes networking and it takes time.
  • Not all agencies are evil, but if you’re just getting started, I don’t recommend trying to sign to an agency immediately. Learn everything you can, talk to experienced models, network with photographers. It may even be a good idea to explore an option like Nine9 Entertainment, they market themselves as “The Unagency” for all of the same reasons I mentioned in this article.
  • Save your money and pay for your own head shots rather than letting an agency front you the money. They are going to go the most expensive route possible because they want more money from you.
  • If you find yourself talking to a well known modeling agency and they are showing interest in you, negotiate. My father once told me that only a fool pays the price on the tag, anything can be negotiated – even your modeling career.

The bottom line is that there’s a lot of misinformation surrounding the modeling agency. Tyra was right, a legit agency will not ask you for money up front. Many of them will ask you for your life savings after the fact.

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