London Fashion Models Scam

I recently had a lucky escape with one of these ‘portfolio scammers’ and thought I should share my story to stop others from falling into the trap and going a step further i.e. shelling out hundreds/thousands.

I submitted a photo on a topmodels.co.uk website and received a text from London Fashion Models saying I’d succeeded in the selection process and to call a number. I spoke with a guy called Tom who asked for a £50.00 deposit for a shoot scheduled for last month (£50.00 which I won’t be getting back) although I was assured if I did not purchase any photos taken on the day I would receive a refund.

On the day, I traveled to the ‘studios’ in Marylebone and arrived at not an office or a convincing studio space but what was essentially someone’s refurbished flat, I immediately felt uncomfortable and like this wasn’t legitimate. Models were told to sit in the living room, people were there with their families, the room was extremely cramped and dark with blasting music and a pair of women in the corner doing hair and makeup, there was nothing professional about the set up whatsoever. I was told to bring a number of outfits so I brought I suitcase which I had to dump in the hallway amongst other people’s and then I grabbed the four different outfits I’d prepared for the four shoots I was expecting to do. Not one of the members of staff introduced themselves or told me the schedule of the day. Nothing was done thoroughly or professionally. The photographer told me what to do for each shoot, which was either indoors or outdoors and it was all very quick and unorganized.

After my final shoot, most of the other candidates had left and I was sat waiting in the living room. A young lady entered and asked me to follow her into the ‘office’. The office was more like a hole in the wall with a couple of chairs and a desk, it was extremely cramped and dark with one light, you couldn’t fit three people in there. We began to look through my photos and she couldn’t give me enough compliments about how natural I was at modeling etc. She then asked me what I wanted to get out of this pursuit which I thought was odd, I was expecting her to tell me the procedure, whether they thought I had potential and on that basis offer me work.

I said all of this to her (that I wanted to see where I could get to as a model) and asked how she thought I had performed. She then told me that I had an incredible amount of potential and that they wanted to have me on board and to start getting the work in for me. At this moment, the Company Director Matthew was suddenly in the doorway, he introduced himself and was very kind and charming. The woman at the desk continued, telling me I would need to set up an Efolio as a visual CV for clients to look at when searching for a model.

There were three packages to choose from Gold, Diamond, and Platinum and the difference between the three was the number of photos and the ability to edit and modify those photos. The prices of these packages were £2500.00, £4500.00, and £6000.00. I was told if I wanted to have any of the photos taken on the day and to start up an Efolio, I would have to choose one of these ridiculous options. This online portfolio would then get me to work with top brands, according to them ‘Dolce & Gabbana’, ‘ASOS’. Being excited by the opportunity and overwhelmed by all of the praise (strategic), I didn’t realize I was being scammed initially and then I called my parents who immediately told me I was in a pressured selling situation and was being scammed MASSIVELY.

My father being a business owner tested the Director, asking for a copy of the contract to look at and said only on that basis would any payment be made. Matthew apologized and said he couldn’t provide a copy of the contract (because it’s not legitimate) and then tried to convince him that pressured selling wasn’t going on. My dad said to him if my daughter is that good and you want to employ her, you will let her bring the contract home for review and come back to you but Matthew would not budge. His excuse was having to delete the photos if no contract was signed on the day they were taken for privacy reasons (********).

Once I realized what was going on I got out of there and avoided paying thousands of pounds for an online portfolio of photos. I was sent a Welcome pack, emails, etc before my shoot to make it looks legitimate but extreme caution people, it’s not.

If an agency or modeling channel for agencies tells you that they need to shoot a ‘portfolio’ or suggests a ‘free shot’ but with the addition of buying prints or images IT’S A SCAM. A model book should not cost hundreds/thousands of pounds and should not be shot by only one person or in one studio in a day.

The TopModels website I submitted a photo on come up on every search of legitimate agencies on Google and use their names to seem reputable, do not get scammed!

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