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Victoria’s Models, how they roll.

By modellinggirl - 14 June 2011 38

So I was just thinking about something and it made me angry. The first thing I decided to do was post it to RiotACT.

So 5 years ago, I was 13 and I was young and naive (still am :P) and wanted to get into modeling.

I saw an advert for Victoria’s Models and phoned them up. I was so excited, they really had be believe they were going to make me heaps of money.

So the next step was to go to their ‘office’ for an interview. They told me that I would make something like $300 an hour per shoot and more for bikini. They strongly encouraged me to join up but to join up – I had to do a $500 ‘course’ with them.

They never asked for my parents permission.

I really don’t think it is right for them to manipulate a 13 year old girl like that. It makes me wonder how many other young teenage girls they’ve tricked. They never ever asked to speak to my parents, they didn’t tell me to bring my parents to the interview. Why? Because my parents would have seen straight through their plan.

So $500 later, I was at this ‘Course’ at a low rent function room. I learned nothing at this ‘course’ where the ‘teachers’ came up to 45 minutes late. All we did was talk about things that should have come up in the interview anyway.

I remember feeling like it was a complete waste of time. But i put it to the back of my head as I thought now I would be able to join this agency.

No.

They then called me into an interview (no parental discussion of course) and said I needed to fork out $800 for a portfolio. I struggled to save $500 for the course, so I gave up, disappointed.

Sure, this might be normal, I don’t really know. But as I was 13, I believe they should have contacted my parents to discuss these things. I also believe they should have explained i needed to pay another $800 for a portfolio AFTER the course. Yes I know a portfolio is needed for modeling, but I was only 13, I had no idea.

I believe they knew I had no idea and saw me way to make quick cash. I feel like they have taken advantage of me.

I’m feel angered and cheated and I would just like to warn anyone with teenage daughters that aspire to do modeling to stay away from this company.

UPDATE: We’ve had this response:

#5 victoriasmodels
12:25 pm, 14 Jun 11

Hi Modelling Girl

I’m sorry you felt you were misled by our agency. I would like to respond to a few things I believe are incorrect in your post. We would not have quoted $300 per hour or more for bikini work. We rarely do swimwear and our rates have been largely unchanged for years (and are not $300 per hour). We certainly would have encouraged you to attend a modelling course if you were interested in modelling, because that’s how we train up our new models.

We would never discourage any person, particularly a minor, to attend an interview without a parent present. In fact, the assumption would have been that you would attend with one, given you were 13 years old and too young to drive. There is no ‘plan’ for your parents to see through. We are honest and up front about everything regarding getting started in modelling and pride ourselves on not promising more than we can deliver.

You would have attended the course at the Hellenic Club I assume, where we have run our courses for over ten years. If you are suggesting you attended a 30 hour long course with 15 experts on various topics, at the age of 13, and you didn’t learn anything, I find that somewhat surprising. We have always offered a 100% money back guarantee on our courses which entitles you to a refund if you feel you did not benefit from the course and enjoy yourself.

Regarding a portfolio, we have never charged anything close to $800. We have worked with various photographers over the last 16 years, and our portfolio packages have increased over time, but even at today’s prices, none are as expensive as $800. Five years ago, they were about $400 for a basic portfolio, which is all we’d suggest for a 13 year old. I can assure you we are not out to make a quick buck off a 13 year old. I would welcome your phone call to clarify some of the facts which appear to have become distorted over time.

We are Canberra’s longest established agency (16 years), have a large and loyal client base and over 300 models on our books. Every time we engage with a new model or course student, we aim to make the experience a positive one, as it’s important to the longevity of our business. We wouldn’t have been around this long if we were about a quick buck. Canberra is too small a town! We work very hard every day, to make our agency an honest, professional and reputable one and I only wish you had approached us directly with your grievance, rather than putting up a largely inaccurate post. Please do feel free to contact me directly – 6282 8700. Victoria

What’s Your opinion?


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Victoria’s Models, how they roll.
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VMISFAKE 5:53 pm 16 Aug 11

Dear modellinggirl,

I’m so glad you have posted this! I have been feeling very angry as well to what has happened to me. I have also spoken to some girls in the agency who like myself was promised TVC auditions and travel opportunities. Since joining the agency all I have been getting emails regarding promotional work in Canberra and it isn’t even that good. I’ve heard a lot of girls say that there is a click in the agency and that the good jobs are only given to a certain group of girls who know Victoria really well. I spend about $750 on my portfolio so there is no way you are lying about the quote.

ATO 11:33 am 29 Jun 11

Victorias Models have been wonderful to myself and my children. We have enjoyed wonderful photographic assignments as a ‘family’ as well as individually. The agency was professional, polite and well liked by both the crew and other talent. Only the other day I was delighted to receive in the mail, unexpected extra payment for a job we did years ago which is still being used therefore we received ‘rollover’. I encourage young people, especially insecure teenage girls to complete a grooming/modelling course. Not that they are all going to earn a living modelling, but to learn useful grooming & deportment tips helping give them knowledge from the experts in the field. It was how I started in the business many years ago. The trick is to find the right agency, with a good reputation. Victorias Models has an excellent reputation which is why this original post is such so disappointing. What of course doesn’t add up is the 5 year wait to complain…

jj_seven 9:57 am 29 Jun 11

I was a model with victoria’s models for a few years before moving to Sydney. I have nothing bad to say about the agency, Victoria or the staff there. While I was modelling part time I had semi regular work ranging from promo work to a few shoots here and there. I even volunteered for a charity parade that the agency organised. It definitely couldn’t have been a full time gig, but cmon, this is Canberra, there aren’t any full-time models here, and this was explained vary clearly during the initial appointment.

I don’t know what its like to work there, but from speaking to the staff, they always seemed happy and content. Victoria and the agency were always loyal and professional – if you were any other way, you wouldn’t survive in business for 10+ years! There’s a reason they’re Canberras longest established agency. I’ve been on jobs with models who have joined Victorias from other agencies and all speak highly of Victorias.

I think the personal attacks on Victoria are below the belt. Many people run businesses from home and from a models point of view, this was never an issue. The business always looked clean and professional, probably due to the hard work of the staff cleaning up!

Look, I know everyone has the right to their own opinion, but people are just posting without all the facts or without the full story. She has shown an impressive amount of maturity in dealing with this issue and certainly doesn’t deserve the personal digs.

Mental Health Worker 6:10 pm 28 Jun 11

victoriasmodels said :

Dear Wooster

I agree that what “Modellinggirl” has detailed as fact, would be unconscionable and probably illegal, in regard to contracting directly to a 13 year old (and then misleading/exploiting them). Except this is not what happened.

We encourage under 18 year olds to come into the agency with their parents for the initial interview. If you think about it in a business sense, it wouldn’t be smart for us to try and promote our products and services to a minor who is unlikely to a) have the money required to get started in modelling and b) would require parental consent anyway.

How many 13 year olds have hundreds of dollars at their disposal that they can spend on anything without their parent’s knowledge? How many 13 year olds could attend a 30 hour course without their parent’s consent (notwithstanding the earlier post which suggested they may lie to the parents about where they’re going). I’d have to say, not too many.

Although there’s a possibility the OP came in on her own initially, her parents would have signed her permission slip to attend our course as it requires a signature of someone 18 years or over (parent or guardian). Further, we always liaise with parents in the lead up to the course and lastly, we meet all the parents at the graduation, when they come to watch.

So unless “Modellinggirl” did save her own money, lie about going on a school camp and then forge her parent’s signatures on our permission slip, her version of events is not true. If this is the case, I think you’d have to concede we have done due diligence to ensure parents are part of the process and no minors are being misled. So, yes, I agree exploiting minors is unconscionable and businesses doing so should be reported to the authorities and stern letters written, however that is not what we do and not what happened here.

There are dodgy modelling agencies out there. Just like there’s dodgy plumbers, builders, accountants and so on… Please don’t be so quick to assume we are one of them.

Victoria

Sorry, Victoria, but this level of diligence doesn’t even come close to what would be ethical conduct when dealing with someone as young as 13:

“we encourage under 18s to come in with their parents” – with someone as young as 13 you should be insisting, not encouraging. Treating a 13yo the same as a 17yo is just daft. And how young do you go before insisting on parental/guardian consent?

“her parents would have signed her permission slip” – what, you don’t do ANY checking? not even phoning the parents to confirm it is their signature?

“we always liaise with parents in the lead up to the course and lastly, we meet all the parents at the graduation, when they come to watch” – Sounds like this didn’t happen for the OP, and meeting them at “graduation” also sounds way too late. You’ve already taken their money.

One day something will happen to a kid on one of your courses, an injury or misconduct by one of your presenters, and you’ll find yourself on the losing end of a legal case if the above steps are the only ones you are taking.

I’m not even sure it’s wise for you to be running a course for under 18s on licenced premises…

MHW

Diggety 1:53 pm 28 Jun 11

troll-sniffer said :

Have you ever seen the stunned looks on the faces of the X Factor or Straya’s got Bogan Talent wannabes when the panel tell them straight they don’t got what it takes?

No.

Classified 1:07 pm 28 Jun 11

***NEWSFLASH***

Part time teen worker had to do some basic cleaning work.

Australia is outraged!

victoriasmodels 8:21 am 18 Jun 11

Dear Wooster

I agree that what “Modellinggirl” has detailed as fact, would be unconscionable and probably illegal, in regard to contracting directly to a 13 year old (and then misleading/exploiting them). Except this is not what happened.

We encourage under 18 year olds to come into the agency with their parents for the initial interview. If you think about it in a business sense, it wouldn’t be smart for us to try and promote our products and services to a minor who is unlikely to a) have the money required to get started in modelling and b) would require parental consent anyway.

How many 13 year olds have hundreds of dollars at their disposal that they can spend on anything without their parent’s knowledge? How many 13 year olds could attend a 30 hour course without their parent’s consent (notwithstanding the earlier post which suggested they may lie to the parents about where they’re going). I’d have to say, not too many.

Although there’s a possibility the OP came in on her own initially, her parents would have signed her permission slip to attend our course as it requires a signature of someone 18 years or over (parent or guardian). Further, we always liaise with parents in the lead up to the course and lastly, we meet all the parents at the graduation, when they come to watch.

So unless “Modellinggirl” did save her own money, lie about going on a school camp and then forge her parent’s signatures on our permission slip, her version of events is not true. If this is the case, I think you’d have to concede we have done due diligence to ensure parents are part of the process and no minors are being misled. So, yes, I agree exploiting minors is unconscionable and businesses doing so should be reported to the authorities and stern letters written, however that is not what we do and not what happened here.

There are dodgy modelling agencies out there. Just like there’s dodgy plumbers, builders, accountants and so on… Please don’t be so quick to assume we are one of them.

Victoria

wooster 11:45 pm 15 Jun 11

Sounds like a possible action against victoria’s models under the Aust. Consumer Law, as it might have been unconscionable for the company to (a) induce a 13 year old into a contract, and (b) require further payment for work.
Although many might regard it as the ‘oldest trick in the book’, a lot of young naive people are taken advantage of (not just children mind you). So fair go to the OP, you cant criticise the decision making capacity.

If the facts in the OP are true, esp those related to fradulent misrepresentations about the amount they would earn, I would recommend seeing a lawyer at legal aid and discussing the matter. 30 minutes of your time and a stern letter might get the desired outcome.

And as for VM, if part of your business model is related to contracting directly with 13 year olds without parental oversight, I think you should seriously consider reviewing your obligations under applicable statutes (esp those related to consumer protection), and say, perhaps even the notion of ‘capacity to contract’.

modellinggirl 8:38 pm 15 Jun 11

The course were in two parts and I believe it was $500. I did not find it particularly useful/important, just found it overpriced for something that was not necessary. It was a lot of basic knowledge. I remember being taught how to set up a dining table (part of the etiquette class). I was told that I needed to purchase one of their portfolio packages to proceed. I remember being impressed by the high rates I was told at the meeting.

Yes I had asked my parents for the money and told them what it was for. Just after the course, asking for a further couple hundred for the portfolio did not go down so well so the young teen version of me gave up. I was upset but I just moved on. It got brought up in my mind recently again as I decided to get into modeling again (not that I ever got into it the first time).

Thanks to Victoria’s Models for the response. Maybe there was just some misunderstanding between the company and myself. I guess this is where it is important to ensure the child brings the parent. I don’t doubt that this company is great for other people (with money to splash around). I also know of three other girls I did the course with that had not pursued anything after the course (not sure of their reasons why).

My main reason for posting this is to hope this doesn’t happen to anyone else (or anyone elses child).I just want anyone else looking to get into modeling to understand everything involved before proceeding.

And to those of you making fun of my English: English is not my first language but I believe it’s pretty good as I studied English like a regular student in my final years of schooling. (Did ESL until year 9). So get off your high horse and go learn another language.

LSWCHP 8:35 pm 15 Jun 11

Rangi said :

Now that is how to handle a wild/loud public complaint (real or fake) , rather than ranting and raving demanding posts get withdrawn. Well played madame

I’ll second that. Such dignified behaviour on the internet is a rare thing. Well done.

troll-sniffer 10:59 am 15 Jun 11

Have you ever seen the stunned looks on the faces of the X Factor or Straya’s got Bogan Talent wannabes when the panel tell them straight they don’t got what it takes?

Rangi 10:14 am 15 Jun 11

Now that is how to handle a wild/loud public complaint (real or fake) , rather than ranting and raving demanding posts get withdrawn. Well played madame

Mysteryman 10:07 am 15 Jun 11

Anna Key said :

Mysteryman said :

The reality is that you DON’T need a portfolio to get work. Assuming you have the look that the client is aiming for, all you just need a good agent and a couple of headshots.

Yes, “assuming” you have that look. Lets assume you don’t have that look, then a couple of headshots taken by your boyfriend on his iPhone aint going to cut it to a client trying to decide from a number of models. Not everyone with a digital camera is a photographer.

I understand most modelling work is smiling nicely and handing out pamphlets or free samples eg would you like you try a thimble full of warm paint stripper from the Hunter Valley. This wouldn’t pay anywhere near $300 per hour.

I’m not sure what your point is. If you don’t have “the look” then you aren’t getting work regardless of how much you spend on photos. That’s life. If you don’t understand that, then you shouldn’t be modelling. Plain and simple. And I have no idea why you understand the word “headshots” to mean photos taken on an iphone. That’s not what I’m talking about at all.

victoriasmodels 7:09 am 15 Jun 11

I appreciate you saying $1300 seems reasonable, but we feel that would be too large a financial investment, particularly for a 13 year old. At that age, to get started in modelling, a course would be $250 – $400 (we have never charged $500 for any of our courses) and a headshot would be $50, with a further $85 to have it uploaded to our website, where clients select models for jobs.

We do not recommend a 13 year old even does a portfolio, as their looks will change too quickly and it would be expensive to keep the images current. We suggest a $50 headshot only. Even for an adult model, our portfolios have never been close to $800. Noone would be expected to invest $1300, or anything close to that.

If the OP was a genuine complainant (and I’m starting to think it wasn’t), the facts were very distorted. “Modellinggirl” – I again welcome a phone call to my office (6282 8700) to allow us to deal with your complaint directly.

Pity 11:15 pm 14 Jun 11

Mmmmm, where were the parents through all this? A 13 year old saving up $500 without the parents knowing? Seems a bit odd to me.

I’m sure there are dodgy agencies out there, but keep in mind that they can’t fund the training and production of portfolios of all the ‘aspiring models’. $1300 seems reasonable for some training and a portfolio.

LSWCHP 10:30 pm 14 Jun 11

victoriasmodels said :

Dear LWSCHP

Thank you for your kind words. 🙂

Victoria

You’re welcome Victoria. I thought a different perspective would be worthwhile.

victoriasmodels 9:36 pm 14 Jun 11

Dear LWSCHP

Thank you for your kind words. 🙂

Victoria

Anna Key 9:09 pm 14 Jun 11

Mysteryman said :

The reality is that you DON’T need a portfolio to get work. Assuming you have the look that the client is aiming for, all you just need a good agent and a couple of headshots.

Yes, “assuming” you have that look. Lets assume you don’t have that look, then a couple of headshots taken by your boyfriend on his iPhone aint going to cut it to a client trying to decide from a number of models. Not everyone with a digital camera is a photographer.

I understand most modelling work is smiling nicely and handing out pamphlets or free samples eg would you like you try a thimble full of warm paint stripper from the Hunter Valley. This wouldn’t pay anywhere near $300 per hour.

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