Are model platform companies scams? Do you need professional pictures to become a model? Well, Yes and NO is the answer! Read on….
On 16th November 2016, the BBCs watchdog programme by way of its Rogue Traders segment featured two model platform companies and their associated studio. The studio is called Kube Studios. One of the key facets of the programme was that model platform companies sell aspiring and naïve models model portfolios that are worthless. A number of [so called] experts on the show also intimated that you do not need a portfolio to become a model. Not strictly true, we would argue. But before we do, how do you know whether the company that you are going to see for a model interview or assessment is a platform company OR a model agency? The simple straightforward answer can be seen on their website. If they…
- Do not offer you a model contract if you are successful
- Do not have models featured on their website (e.g. models with model profile) Click here for more details
…than, they are a model platform rather than an agency. End of story regardless of what they tell you over the phone or in their written communications [i.e. email, texts] to you. It also means, do NOT expect them to get you work upon being told you have all the worldly attributes to be a successful model in what is a very competitive modelling world. We also agree with the programme where they say the portfolios that the likes of Kube Studios and other model platform companies sell its models are worthless. But they are not entirely worthless and here’s why. What something is worth to someone is very subjective is it not? And so, the wannabe model that has paid some money over for some pictures of his or her own volition is not worthless if the model wishes to also use the pictures for their own private use. If on the other hand, he/she is purely getting them to become a model by using them to go and hunt out a legit model agency [rather than go freelance], than, the said pictures can be deemed to be worthless. More so, if platform companies such as Kube studios have misinformed the model client on his/her chances of becoming a successful model and then selling them an expensive model portfolio package on the back of that.
This bring us onto whether one really needs a model portfolio or professional pictures to become a model. Whereas programmes like Watchdog and Rogue Traders, as well as, some literature out there would argue that you don’t, we slightly beg to differ. Our rationale is based on everyday logic and behaviour. Here are a few facts. One of the common ways to become a model is to be featured [or feature yourself] on a website and showcase yourself to potential clients right? The hope being that some visitors see your profile, like what they see and hire you for the job. In the same vein, when the mass public go to job interviews that are based not primarily on their dressing skills, fashion sense or your ability to colour coordinate, but more their brain acumen and ability to do the job, why do they feel the need to look smart? Surely, the reason is to do with presentation right?
It should go without saying that the interview is the first and only chance a candidate will get to make a good impression. Whilst they may have all the qualifications in the world, if they turn up not looking presentable, chances are that they’ll be headed for the exit. Indeed, psychologists estimate that just 7% of the impression a candidate makes at an interview will be based on what they say. The rest will depend on how it is said and whether they look like a convincing candidate. Whatever the job, you want the interviewer to remember you for your personality and performance: not as that lazy scruffy candidate right? Of course, once the job is in the bag, you can wear whatever the employer approves of. But you need to get the job first – so why take chances, come across as arrogant rather than play it safe? Moreover, if you look really smart it will give a big boost to your confidence.
Indeed, according to a study by the University of Texas and Sonoma State University, it found that levels of extroversion, self-esteem, and how religious you are can be judged from your physical appearance. (Vol 35, p 1661, Bulletin of Personality and Social Psychology). Moreover, a survey conducted by TheLadders.co.uk management careers company found for senior male and female executives conducting interviews, 37% had decided against hiring a candidate due to the way they were dressed. Traditional formal interview dress is the most likely to impress them whereas the biggest turnoffs involved casual dress. 36% felt co-ordination of colours and styles was an important indicator of the candidate’s personality whilst 75% wanted clothes appropriate for the circumstances. 33% considered whether the candidate’s style suited their organisation. In a recent article by the Guardian newspaper, the substance of one’s interview is, of course, key. Your patter, affability and subject knowledge are most certainly essential, but arguably, your attire will also play a vital role in dictating the final outcome. First impressions are, by definition, instant and it takes seconds for a complete stranger to formulate a positive or negative opinion of you based on your appearance alone.
So, why are we banging on about everyday job interviews and the importance of presentation here? Because, if one agrees that presentation in this area matters, why is it different when it comes to showcasing yourself to get hired for modelling work? For those that argue you do not need professional pictures to be a model, are they arguing that showcasing yourself with selfies, ordinary plain jane snaps, holiday pictures or ones taken in your bedroom or on a day/night out will do? Now, we are not saying that such pictures will always put off potential hirers of models, as some may look past the attire and still wish to hire the model. After all, legit model scouts see models going about their daily business and snap them up whereby they go on to become very successful models. But based on the law of averages, and all the evidence outlined above, suggests that looking professional will nearly always do more good than harm when it comes to a model’s work prospects. A model interview on a website is strictly visual as in look, appearance and of course their measurements. For a typical office interview, it both visual and verbal but more than latter. After all, they need your brain skills more than your dress ones.
But to seal this argument, we always say this. If you are lost and looking for direction as to the right course of action to take in any given situation, look to what the experts have done or are doing. After all, if you accept that they are successful at what they do, then it follows that you also have to agree that their methods are also spot on. So who exactly are the experts we refer to here? They are the successful and highly regarded model agencies out there. Agencies such as Premier Model Management, Storm Model Management, Select, Models1 and Elite to name but a few. They’ve been successful for years right? They have represented some of the globe’s most successful models and are trusted and respected? Are the models on their websites showcased using ordinary pictures or professional looking ones? When you get the time, why not take a look and having done so, that should give you your answer as to whether you need professional pictures to market yourself or get marketed as a model. If however, you haven’t got the time, here’s an example model on Premier’s website
We also do not subscribe to the misguided notion that one NEVER needs professional images to be a model. Go to any website of any agency and you will notice that despite the vast array of lovely and talented models on show, there is a certain level of presentation uniformity with all of them. Here’s a prime example from Premier Model Management, which is long established and arguably one of the best out there if not the best [Thumbs up to them!]. The headshots of each model on their main female board are not simple snaps. Likewise, with each model profile, not a picture is out of place. This tells you that presentation is also very important and if you are lucky enough to get signed up to one of these crème de la crème agencies, everything will be done for you including your images. But what of the scores of people out there that are not so lucky to be signed by an agency? They have to source their own professional images.
What we do take umbrage with however, is when firstly, the models are charged extortionate amounts for inferior factory style images. We use the word ‘factory’ meaning that regardless of the model, the pictures are all the same, same background, same props and same everything basically. No time is taken to specifically help the aspiring model get photos done that are unique to them and ones that will really show them off, as potential models. There is no ingenuity or creativity to the images, as if to say, screw you, we just want as much money from you at the end of this and then you’re on your own. Secondly, many are then lied to and given bogus advice about how to succeed in the industry as well as given a list of agencies to apply to with the [more times than not] inferior images they have just purchased. What the unsuspecting model is not told however is that in most cases, the pictures are only really useful for freelance modelling purposes in that no real agency is ever likely to accept them let alone their images. But by then obviously, it is often too late, as in money handed over and case closed. Ask yourself this. If these companies are so confident, as they make out that they can get the unwary model hopeful into the industry with their glittering new model portfolio, why don’t they do it for them rather than let the model do it themselves? We rest our case!