Local News

Attorney General Unmasks Modeling Scam

Posted March 27, 2003

— Attorney General Roy Cooper on Thursday applauded a judge's ruling that will block Face National Models from using misleading and deceptive sales practices to scam consumers who hoped to become models.

"These scammers promised consumers a high-fashion, high-paying career as a model," said Cooper. "Instead, aspiring models wound up with over-priced photos and a few jobs handing out product samples."

Wake County Superior Court Judge Henry W. Hight on Thursday extended the temporary restraining order against Face National Models&Talent of Charlotte through the week of April 21. In addition, Cooper is seeking a permanent injunction against Face, cancellation of all contracts and refunds for consumers.

Jennifer Lynn Gill and Chad E. Johnson, who manage and control Face operations, are also named as defendants.

Cooper contends that Face dupes consumers into believing the company will land them traditional modeling jobs in print and runway work at salaries of $150 per hour.

Instead, the few consumers who do land jobs through Face find themselves doing promotional work, handing out product samples at events for $15 per hour less Face's commission.

As alleged in the complaint, Gill and Johnson began recruiting Face models in cities across the country in May 2001.

Through radio and newspaper advertisements, Face invites modeling hopefuls to attend a screening at a local hotel. Potential models who attend are asked to demonstrate their runway walk and then told that they have "the look" and will make good models.

Participants are told to call the following day to find out whether or not they have made the cut. Nearly all consumers are told they make the cut and are asked to sign a representation contract with Face.

Traditional modeling agencies make money by taking commissions from income earned by their models. Face made its money by selling photography contracts.

Face charges consumers approximately $600 for a photo shoot. They promise a high-fashion shoot with experienced photographers, make-up artists and hairstylists, but consumers complain that the actual shoot is disorganized and unprofessional.

Potential models are then told they need to purchase at least $388 worth of composite or "comp"" cards that show photographs of a model in several different poses, to send to prospective employers. The actual cost of producing these comp cards is less than $40.

A model doing promotional work at $15 an hour would have to work more than 60 hours to recoup the almost $1,000 he or she paid Face for the photography session and comp cards.

"Most of these model search companies make their money by signing up as many clients as possible, not by finding the next famous face," Cooper said. "Before you even think about attending a screening offered by a modeling agency, make sure you check them out thoroughly."

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