Much like any other workplace or employer, you’ll find that modeling agencies come in two varieties: the good and the bad. For newcomers to the industry, it can be hard to determine which ones belong to which group—many are looking for that one break, or even any break at all, after all.
In this article, let’s analyze some key aspects of the business so you can get a bit of help when it comes to verifying that an agency is good for you and your fledgling modeling career.
This is one of the most common points through which you can spot a legit agency versus one that’s just out to milk you for every penny. While big agencies will take a cut off your pay for representation, they don’t ask for fees up front. If you go to an agency and they try to get you to pay for something—evaluation fee, scouting fee, this or that charge, or whatever they call it—be on your guard right away.
Remember that agencies work much like managers normally would—that is, they get paid off your earnings based on an agreed-upon percentage. Sure, many agencies might make you do some unpaid work first to build up your profile, fill out your portfolio, or give you some much-needed experience, but up-front fees are generally a red flag.
Some agencies will also try to pressure you into enrolling for in-house workshops and modeling lessons. Sometimes, that’s all there is to the ‘agency’ aspect of their business—there’s really no modeling work in it for you; just a bunch of lackluster lessons by lackluster instructors. You’d be better off finding lessons from reputable agencies or third-parties so you can get your money’s worth.
Feedback from actual models
It’s easy to find information about modeling and agencies in general, because Google is right there to help. The key here is to filter out all the information, because who knows just how truthful people are behind their monitors? Take things you find online with a grain of salt, but do spot patterns when they’re presented to you.
Generally, one person trashing an agency might not be believable, but when there’s a whole 20-page-long thread dedicated to former signees bashing a particular agency, that’s a good sign you should steer clear of that firm.
Do your homework
Just like with other job-seekers, you need to do your due diligence by researching on the agencies you’re trying out for. Before you submit your comp card or when someone contacts you, make sure that you know what you’re getting into and that the setup is plain as day should you decide to sign on the dotted line.
In addition, don’t discount the possibility that your experience in one agency could be different from another person’s own run. People handle different setups in different ways. Rest assured, though, that it’s all about hard work. It’s all a matter of seeking the best situation for you so that you can maximize your talents and grow into the best possible model that you can be. To that end, a supportive and well-meaning agency will surely be of great help.