Model Tips

How to tell if a Model Agency or Model Opportunity is Legit

I'm Kate!

I'm an Australian-based creative, Model and Branding Coach with big dreams of helping aspiring Models make their way into the industry and thrive. I'm obsessed with: integrity, authenticity, a tidy home, smashed avocado, and being the person I needed when I was younger.

PSA: I don't take myself too seriously, though I do take my work seriously.

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Recognising a model agency or model opportunity scam can be hard. In this article Kate shares valuable industry advice you can trust for identifying red flags and model scams.

Long story short my loves, the more lucrative the offer of fame and fortune, the more prevalence of scams and scam artists. I cannot stress enough to always “do your research and due diligence.” This article that I have prepared on “How to tell if a Model Agency or Model Opportunity is Legit” has been written for aspiring models, parents of aspiring models, and those who have a vested interest in youth/workplace safety in the creative industry. 

Topics I cover in this article:

  • Why do Model Scams and Model Agency scams exist?
  • The importance of due diligence
  • Understanding general safety + meeting in person
  • How to identify a scam Model Agency by their website, social media accounts, business setup/structure, advertising and the models they represent
  • Model Scout scams + the proclamation of fame and fortune 
  • Illegitimate contracts + the pressure to sign
  • Acceptable practices for legitimate Model Schools, Academies and Model Classes
  • Industry standards regards preferred or in-house photographers
  • Legalities and restrictions for asking for payment of upfront fees
  • Nude, implied nude, explicit photographs or jobs – avoid all
  • Where to report a model scam
  • Trusted Resources for further reading

My advice

Details included here outline helpful ‘inside’ model industry information and experiences that I have learnt whilst building my own professional model career, spanning 10+ years. It also includes personal accounts that my students and their parents have shared with me during my 5+ years of model and pageant coaching. If you’re new here – Hi! I’m Kate, your new BFF in the creative industry. If you love a good story, you can get to know me a little more (my background, career and qualifications) via the following links: About Kate and Press or through my social media.

If you’re reading this, you’re here to learn about the model industry; how to identify scam artists and read the red flags to determine if a model agency or model opportunity is legit or not. Before you sign the dotted line or hand over your hard earned money, please be mindful of the below information. 

Let’s get into it! 

Why do Model Scams and Model Agency scams exist?

The model industry is one that has been, and is still, constantly changing and evolving. When one agency, designer or photographer closes down shop, whether a bricks and mortar shop or an online shop front, another will open in its place. Unlike most workplace sectors, including the Acting Industry, the Model industry is universally unregulated, which makes for an open playing field for scammers to prey on new, unsuspecting Models and aspiring Models.

The importance of due diligence

The household names and famous faces you see on the covers of magazines and popular runways across the globe all started somewhere. People who work as Models often start out in the industry as fresh, young and aspiring faces with big dreams. Just like you now 🙂

“Every professional was once an amateur.”

Unless you have a parent or primary caregiver already working in the Model industry; fashion designer, photographer, agency owner or model ‘on the books’ of a prominent agency – it is expected that the average parent can only guide their ‘aspiring model child’ so far with the limited knowledge they may have of the industry. You can’t be expected to know something if you’ve never been taught, and that’s why it’s important to do your research and/or find a Model Coach to help you navigate through your Model career the professional way.

Due diligence is an investigation, audit, or review performed to confirm facts or details of a matter under consideration.

As a newcomer to the creative industry, specifically the world of modelling, it’s important to do your own research. This means reading and researching people (including the model agency Owner, Director or Founder) and company (the model agency, talent agency, management company, etc) through reading news articles from prominent and trusted outlets, websites, blogs, forums and their ‘social proof’ on social media).  

When in doubt, always (always) trust your gut instinct. If you genuinely feel in your heart and soul that something is wrong, it usually is. Your gut knows what your head hasn’t figured out yet.

General safety

Coming in at No. 1 on the list of how to tell if a Model opportunity or Model Agency is legit or not is the most important topic of all. Your safety. Whilst I work as a professional model and model coach, I am first and foremost a mother. As a parent I know how important it is to find a balance between ‘work it out yourself’ and when to intervene before someone gets hurt.

I would like to think that common sense should prevail, however I am listing general safety on this list as scam artists are exceptionally good at preying on the unsuspecting aspiring model. A golden rule for anything new, though in this instance your first meeting with a Model Agency, you should NEVER arrange to meet alone with someone who you do not know. A legitimate industry professional will not mind if you bring a parent, guardian, or trusted friend with you, especially upon any first meeting. Regardless of your age. 

While we’re on the topic of age – if you are under the age of 18 (in most countries) you must, for legal purposes, be escorted by an adult (parent, guardian or chaperone). If you are over the age of 18, you are considered an adult and free to make your own choices. I would still advise taking a trusted plus one with you.

If you are already represented by an agency, and potential work comes your way, be sure to field any work-related requests by your Agent in the first instance. A legitimate industry professional (designer, photographer, casting director, new client etc) will always respect this method. You just have to communicate it.

Personal Story

The scariest thing I see online from an aspiring model is a statement of sheer desperation. They are public comments on social media platforms or forums, and read “I want to apply for a modelling position, or interview. Call me [insert contact number, email]”. A statement like this online makes you a prime target for any model scam.

Treat your personal information as you would treat your money – protect it and don’t leave it lying around for others to take.

You need to be careful with how much personal information you reveal online. This includes information that you post on social media. Sharing your full legal name, address, contact number (landline or mobile/cell), birthday and other personal information to identify you, can mean you are at a greater risk of identity theft, stalking, harassment or in this case, how easily you are targeted by a fake Model Agent or a model scam opportunity.

Further reading: Australian Cyber Security Centre

How to identify a scam Model Agency

Before I entered the model industry, my trade was (and still is) as a graphic designer and marketing strategist, specifically in branding. Being able to spot a ‘professional business’ now comes naturally to me, however it’s taken me years of study and experience in this field across numerous sectors and countries to acquire this skill set. All the more reason to teach you what I now know.

Please be mindful that ANYONE can register a business in their own country of origin. 

With an abundance of apps and online tools readily available that can help ANYONE with access to the Internet DIY a logo and website, it also leaves the door wide open for illegitimate, fake and even a poorly run business to present themselves as “legitimate”. And, all the more reason you need to be vigilant. 

A legitimate Model Agency (overall) is well established, has well connected roots in their location, appears positively and prolifically in online searches and has established social media sites. You can easily spot their models in magazine, print and TV campaigns (their name and agency is listed in the fine print of these ads), and you can easily view their database of models on their website. The same is also reflected and published on their social media channels.

A legit website

Questions to ask yourself, to use as a ‘general rule of thumb’, to determine if a Model Agency is legit or not based on their website:

  • When you type the business name into a search engine (ie. Google) does it appear as a listing (complete with business name, address, telephone number, open hours, reviews, etc)?
  • Is the URL of the website the same name as the business/company?
  • Does the business name also display a matching registered business number 

Eg. In Australia this is an ABN/ACN. You can cross-check this business name via the Australian Business Register: ABN Lookup.

  • Can you see a database of models they represent? 
  • Can you see current and/or previous work their models have been booked (ie. commercial campaigns, print ads, television commercials, runway productions)? 
  • Do they have a registered office location? 
  • Is there a local telephone number or a local mobile/cell listed? 
  • Does the overall shop front (front page of the website) look professional to you?
  • Do they have a logo (if they do, does it look professional)? 
  • Is the website easy to navigate (or was it clearly pulled from a template with broken links)?
  • Does the website have a blog or latest news section (if so, do they have current and relevant articles)?
  • Does the website list their corresponding social media channels? Do those social media links work?

Legit social media channels

In exactly the same way as anyone can DIY a website, anyone with an email address and telephone number can whip up a social media account. The same fundamentals and principles for a logo and website can also be adopted when conducting your research to determine if a Model Agency is legit or not based on their social media channels. 

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the social media channel itself (ie. Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn etc) look professional to you? 
  • Are those social media sites real accounts or dead links?
  • Does the Model Agency business name reflect the same name on social media (or as close to the same business name, given the limited characters available on handles)?
  • Are their social media accounts private or public? (they should be public)
  • Do they tag other collaborators in their posts (ie. a model image with a credit/tag to the Photographer, Hair and/or Makeup Artist)? 
  • Do the social media channels reflect their current agency news?
  • Are their posts generally consistent and is the content they post relevant to the Agency? 
  • Do the images used on their website and social media reflect a similar tone of voice, colour palette and style?
  • Are their social media channels monitored? (ie. does the account respond or interact with comments)?
  • Does their social media following reflect the level of audience engagement? (in other words, have they paid for followers? Clear they have – run)!

Where these items are missing or hard to find, you can always guarantee they’re illegitimate Agencies.

It is an industry standard, an engagement rate on Instagram between 1-3% is generally considered to be ‘good.’ 

Verified social media accounts

It’s expected that the top fashion and commercial agencies in each country will have verified social media accounts. These badges (a blue tick next to the username/handle) are designed to make the real accounts stand out, so that their followers (you and I) can be sure they’re following the right person or brand.

Social media verification is how you prove that your account is the authentic presence of a notable public figure, celebrity or global brand. 

For the brand new and up and coming Model Agency it can be difficult to establish local and national roots under the shadows of the industry heavy weights. However these smaller, less known and boutique agencies exist to fill a gap in the market, so as an aspiring model, don’t discount them completely if you come across a Model Agency name that isn’t as well known or their social media accounts haven’t been verified. It’s really hard to have any social media channel verified. You have to apply for verification and there are strict requirements that need to be met before your account is verified. Social media verification can also be revoked. Smaller or boutique agencies, especially ones residing outside of a major capital city, cannot and should not be expected to have a verified account. 

Their business setup 

A large number of agencies in today’s day and age classify themselves as ‘Management Companies’ or ‘Talent Companies’ to avoid strict licensing requirements in their state or country. This gives them the capacity to charge any commission rate, and other requirements that would ordinarily legally protect their talent. At face value, an agency that describes and promotes themselves as a ‘Model Agency’ has more credibility to hold a licence and therefore run a business that is legit. 

Legitimate model commission rates should be 10-20% of a signed model’s earnings. Read below for  more on “Asking for payment for upfront fees.” Just quickly – it’s illegal!

Agency Advertising

This could be in the Classifieds section of your local/regional newspaper, through online social media groups or online forums, and nowadays also encompasses digital advertising. All of these ads will have claims that may sound perfectly reasonable. Keep in mind that the top agencies (also well-known and prominent) legitimate model and acting agencies don’t need to advertise. The fact you’re seeing ads should ring alarm bells in the first place. 

In saying that, a boutique agency (aka a specialist, smaller, lesser known, or just emerging agency) may advertise on social media or their website. This, however, looks more like a ‘Model call out’ or ‘Model Scout’ opportunity which is a legitimate means of sourcing Models, versus published ads in Classifieds with various claims and ‘no fee’ as a call to action, which is typically considered a scam.

Genuine agencies DO NOT ADVERTISE on GumTree, Craigslist, eBay, etsy, or equivalent. They DO NOT use Google or Yahoo or Facebook ads, or ads on any social media network site. The exception to this is a casting call on their website or listed on model networking sites. Reputable and legitimate Model Agencies receive hundreds (some thousands) of applications every week direct to their offices from the contact pages on their official websites and have no need to waste valuable time trawling the internet for potential models. 

Meeting in person

Not all Model Agencies will have a franchise or multiple office locations, however a legitimate and well established agency will have an office location (aka a shop front) where they are headquartered. You should easily be able to find them via a search engine. As an example, their address will appear in a Google search, and the same information will be reflected on Google Maps.

Before agreeing, signing or paying for anything, meet in person. Due to geographical issues (ie. you’re an aspiring model living in a rural or regional area and the agency in which you’re applying to is not in your immediate/easy to get to area because they’re based in the city) or the presence of COVID-19 where social distancing measures may need to be adhered to, a video conference call can suffice. Use your best judgement here. Also be mindful that a legitimate model agency won’t have an issue with you bringing a parent, guardian, friend or chaperone to this meeting (as mentioned above in ‘General Safety’).

The models they represent

It’s very important to view an agency’s website to see if they represent any familiar or famous faces. It’s also important to cross-check whether those models are actually represented by those agencies. Social media makes the world a smaller place, so you have the opportunity to reach out to the models currently represented by that agency to check that they are actually represented by that Model Agency, and what  their experience with them is like. You can do this by typing a model’s name into a search engine (Google) or social media platform (Instagram or Facebook). 

All established Models have their own websites, and you’ll be able to read on their bios/about pages who their Agent, Manager or Publicist is, which will also help you to determine if a Model Agency is making accurate claims with who they represent.

Everyday models, the ones who aren’t necessarily household names, can very easily have their images swiped from their legitimate Model Agency website, personal website or social media, to then be used by a fake agency. This scenario has personally happened to me, twice that I know of. Illegitimate model agencies use this technique to lure unsuspecting aspiring models into signing with their Agency as proof (albeit false) that they have quality models and can therefore book quality work.

An illegitimate Model Agency can also use stock imagery. Poor quality or low resolution images used on a website or social media channel is a clear sign that the original work is not theirs and could be sourced from Pinterest, as an example. They may also list connections to well known faces (famous models or celebrities) by stating “we trained XX and now look at them!” or they may post an old photo of themselves with a famous person to justify said connection, which to the trained eye is nothing more than a fan photo taken at an opportune public moment.

Personal encounter

The classic example I see in Australia all the time is people who claim “they made” Jennifer Hawkins (Miss Universe Australia 2004 who went on to win Miss Universe 2004) or Miranda Kerr (Australia’s first Victoria’s Secret Model). They have (very) old photos of themselves with these models sitting in their office and have also posted these photos to their social media channels. How to tell they’re a phoney? I’ll say it again, do your research and due diligence. If you’re like me you’ll have your favourite Models that you follow on social media. When you follow a models’ career path; from reading their vast number of editorials and biographies, you pick up who influenced them and who their Agent or Manager was and is today.  So if a person or business is claiming “they made XX model/celebrity” though their name and connection has never been mentioned by a Journalist in a news article (before or after their ‘fame’), they’re a scam artist. I have personally met these phoney people at fashion events, runway shows, gala’s, charity balls and in previous Model Agency interviews. A word of advice… If you encounter people like this, the best thing to do is smile and walk away.

Model Scout Scams

Your encounter with a legitimate Model Scout will greatly depend on two things: 1. your location and 2. your demographic. 

A model scout is a man or a woman who is employed to discover and recruit aspiring, potential models

Once upon a time (we’re talking 1980s and 1990s) aspiring Models had to hope and pray they could be scouted by a Model Scout, to then be flown to a major city, to be trained to become the next supermodel. If you are reading this and you still have that dream today, you my darling are going to be the target of the next model scam. Why? Because that’s not a dream, that’s desperation. And desperate people always try to cut corners. 

Always remember Modelling is a job. To work as a Model requires a lot of work and also a lot of patience. If you’re trying to cut corners (ie. believing anything and everything that sounds too good to be true) you’re going to be vulnerable to predators and scammers at every turn. 

Model Scouts are quite prominent with the top Model Agencies in North America, the EU and Australia. However, thanks to the ‘digital age’ and ease of access to information and the sharing of imagery, the majority of legitimate Model Agencies only need to rely on entries that come into their office via their website, or via their official hashtag on social media. 

All legitimate Model Agencies will have their official Model Scouts listed on their website, so you’re able to research their name and email address. An easy way to tell a Model Scout scam is to check the email and manner in which they have contacted you. As an example, if they’re from Elite Model Management, do they have a “” email address? Or is the email configuration from Gmail, Google, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc? You’re a smart cookie, there’s your answer!

Fake contracts + the pressure to sign

I have seen some crazy ridiculous contracts in my time and also via feedback from my model students with their experiences as well. It can be an overwhelming minefield when you are new to the world of model contracts as an agency signed model, more so when you need to be on the lookout for bogus and illegitimate contracts.

Contracts regulate the relationship between the involved parties by outlining the scope of the work and the conditions of the agreement. When a contract is written, it provides certainty and holds more weight than a verbal agreement. Spoken words are more challenging to enforce from a legal perspective.

It is a well known fact that model agency contracts are one-sided in favour of the agency, not the model. In saying that, they run a business, and business is business. You will find a similar set of circumstances in any industry.

Some quick tips:

  • Do not sign an agency contract or legally binding agreement without first getting the advice of a lawyer
  • The terms of an agency contract are negotiable. So ask questions and negotiate your terms if you don’t agree with them
  • A legitimate agency will give you adequate time for you to review the contract (with your parent/guardian and lawyer/attorney) and allow you to offer any proposed changes before you decide whether to sign with them.
  • As a general rule, a red flag should arise if the model contract will last more than 1-2 years before renewal. A lot can happen in that time, especially in your career, so make sure you have your own best interests at heart before ‘signing your life away.’

You don’t get what you deserve in this world, you get what you negotiate.

The proclamation of fame and fortune

Large sums of money and big commercial deals offered? Run.

It’s common for all of us humans to be all into the ‘sell’. We sell ourselves to get attention from our parents as youngsters, we sell ourselves on dates to secure love and commitment from a partner, and in job interviews to win the role or move up the corporate ladder into a better paying job. For the aspiring Model (aka YOU), it’s commonplace when you’re in the company of an illegitimate Model Agent, Model Scouts and Model Photographers that they’ll also attempt to ‘sell themselves’ to you. 

Here’s some food for thought:

  • A photographer who has legitimately shot for Vogue Magazine doesn’t brag about their connections in person on the street. When you’re established and work “in” the creative industry you are known by name, face or work (aka reputation). 
  • In exactly the same way a Defence Force fighter jet pilot doesn’t tell you what they do for a living – you’ll figure it out if you happen to meet one based on their work commitments, hobbies and friend circle. 
  • It would be like a person telling you they’re rich when *we all know* true wealth doesn’t speak. Understood?

If you have a person telling you that you’re going to be the next Victoria’s Secret model, let your ego slide, and know that you’re the target of a scam. Smile and walk away. It’s like the age old saying “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Agency Model Schools, Model Academies and Model Classes

Model Agents make their money from commissions (taken from their working models), from charging their clients to book models (aka a client booking fee), running modelling classes or by providing “in house” photography portfolio shoots. Some of these forms may be questionable, though Model Agencies are still businesses and need to make money – and these are the legitimate means to do so. 

Think of it like any other line of work. In exactly the same way as aspiring engineer needs to have a tertiary degree and work experience to get a top job in their field, an aspiring model (with little to no experience) will need to complete some form of training to step into or break into the industry, or move from ‘in development’ to the main model booking of the Model Agency. 

For self-development and improvement, building lasting self-esteem, meeting new people in your industry and having fun, and perfecting your craft, there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking modelling classes.

If you live in a smaller model industry market (outside of Sydney, New York, Paris, Milan and London) sourcing an Agent or Agency that can survive by only booking model campaigns can be very difficult. They can have what is referred to as a model school or model academy attached to their agency, in order to make money. Don’t immediately dismiss this method as a red flag, however be mindful of the courses and content they offer. 

Things to be on the lookout for when being offered Model Training:

  • Is it comprehensive? Does the content on offer cover all the bases of the industry that you need to learn? Posing and runway classes are great, though what about branding and marketing yourself to secure an Agent or build a career as a freelance Model?
  • Who are the trainers? Are they currently working in the industry and relevant in the media? What is their skillset, accolades and qualifications? Can you readily find their professional website and social media? 
  • What is the cost? 
  • Where is the training located? If you’re attending a physical location that isn’t near where you live, you’ll need to factor travel and accommodation in your budget
  • What are their claims? Are they spruiking ‘fame and fortune’ once you finish?
  • ‘Social proof’ is a great way to also check legitimacy – ask the Agent, Academy or School for references; testimonials, feedback from past students or clients. If they can’t offer these – keep your money and find a legitimate Model Trainer

There is no global body governing or moderating how much an agency, school, academy or coach should charge for modelling classes. Based on my personal and professional experience with agencies, and also backing my own expertise as a Model Coach, a fair rate to charge (in total) for coaching should be less than $1500 in your local currency. Where agencies are charging more than that for their own model courses, schools and academies, you need to do your own research to see if this is ‘value for money’ or you’re being taken for a ride.

Asking for Payment of upfront fees

A Model Agent must want you and will be willing to pay for your portfolio and everything else until you get work. The commission that the agency makes from your jobs will pay for your portfolio and entry into their books and a good agent knows this. They will also endeavour to get you as many jobs as possible. 

Do you want a hard and fast truth bomb? It is ILLEGAL to charge upfront fees. Commissions are also capped.

Top tier agencies representing professional models, actors and celebrities do not charge fees to join, and make money via commission on booked work only. Top tier agents carefully and personally manage their clients and foster relationships with top tier Casting Professionals and Producers within the model industry. When their models are booked it’s more likely to be for high-value work. 

These agencies tend to have small to medium-sized rosters (aka a boutique number of models on their books), and work with experienced talent with portfolios and showreels, or actors graduating from well-respected drama schools. Model agents in this category may take on ‘fresh faces’ however the talent first needs to fit very strict physical criteria and will often first be put into their ‘development’ division.

The only instance a top tier agent may ask you for payment is for membership to industry websites for casting purposes e.g. Casting Networks, Showcast, Spotlight, etc. This is to help them submit you for work and is an industry acceptable practice.

While every actor or model aspires to work with a top tier agent, most people start with a ‘mid-range’ agent and build up experience from there.

Mid tier agencies are a superb place to start and to grow. They represent commercial models, up and coming actors, social media influencers, and some dabble with supporting cast and extras for television and film. Mid tier agencies have medium to large-sized rosters and will have talent on their books they are developing and hoping to get into top tier agencies (moving more into a ‘mother agent’ role) or support in getting into leading roles over time. The majority of talent in this space have day jobs to support themselves between their model job bookings.

A respected and established mid-tier agent will have exceptional relationships with commercial Casting Professionals and some top-tier Casting Professionals, and be regularly submitting talent for professional work. These kinds of jobs are often fast turnaround with short term jobs. Whereas a top tier agency represented model may have a higher earning capacity over his/her career it will be a quick burn. A mid tier represented model will have more opportunities for regular work and a larger ‘life span’ in the model industry due to the nature of the work. 

As a mid tier agent you’re in a highly competitive space, and it works in the agents favour to have lots of people on their books to ensure they have the right look, skill and availability to book as many jobs as they can from the numerous briefs on offer. For some mid-tier agencies, the only way they can sustain their business is to charge an ‘administration’ fee. These are only legal in certain areas, please check out the link below for ‘further reading.’ 

As mentioned above under “Model Classes and Model Schools”, some mid-tier agents may also add value to their clients or supplement their income by offering workshops and model classes to talent and affiliate deals with photographers. These practices are an acceptable industry standard; provided you find them genuinely useful, they are within your budget, and you conduct your own research on the model classes and model coaches before committing.

Further reading about the legalities and terms & conditions regarding fees for models, actors, entertainers can be found here:

Australia: QLD MEAA

Australia: NSW Arts Law

New Zealand: Actors Agents Association of NZ

United Kingdom: Entertainment + Modelling Agencies

Preferred or in-house photographers

The model industry wouldn’t be an industry at all if it weren’t for fashion photographers. However, not all fashion photographers are created equal! 

Sometimes an agency will have an “in-house” photographer and will insist that you purchase photo shoots or portfolio packages from them and their photographer. It usually means that the agency is simply a front for a “photo mill” and this should be a huge red flag. 

New and aspiring models need to keep in mind that professional photographs are NEVER required before you meet with a Model Agency to determine if you have the potential to become a model. Simple snapshots are just fine and are often preferred by agencies that just want to see the real you without special lighting or makeup. 

Again, this is the time for you to use your best judgment since many legitimate agencies may prefer that you work with photographers that they are familiar with, and whose work they know will lead to you getting bookings. Agencies in major markets will usually provide test shoots at no upfront cost but will deduct the cost from your first job or include the cost in your formal model training.

Nude, implied nude, explicit photographs or jobs

Another very important point is that legitimate model agencies will NEVER ask you to pose for nude or implied nude photographs. Do not be fooled by a model agency, model agent or model scout that says you need to take off all your clothes, or worse, claim that you need to sleep with someone in order to have model status. These claims are 100% a scam and need to be reported. More on where to report these scams are listed below.

Your body. Your choice. 

There are two legitimate reasons for you to have swimwear or lingerie photos:

  • Depending on the type of modelling work you are interested in getting into, a legitimate model agency or agent might ask you to pose in a swimming suit or in your underwear/lingerie in order to know what your body type/shape is. This will generally be done for your ‘digis’ to show legitimate clients who have businesses that offer swimwear or lingerie/underwear. Your swimwear and underwear clothing options to take digis only need to be items that you are comfortable wearing (they do not need to be revealing, low cut, or sheer).
  • Whether you’re opting for a career as a fashion, editorial or commercial model, if you want to pursue a model career as an underwear and/or swimsuit model, your portfolio will obviously need to reflect this type of work. The type of imagery for your portfolio only needs to be suitable for ‘women selling to women’ – this does not include ‘mens magazine’ style photographs. 

A digi (digital image) is a clean, unedited natural image that represents your truest self.

Final notes

Remember to read as much about the agency as possible before you contact or visit them. The more you know about the agency, the more informed you will be about the legitimacy of the establishment. It’s important to start your model career with real professionals, so be careful, as not everyone is as trustworthy as they might seem.

If you want to stop scammers, report it

If you believe you’re the target or a victim of a scam, the best thing to do is report it. Below are trusted resources to ensure you are heard and the scammer is reported and investigated.


North America

  • Better Business Bureau:
  • Federal Trade Commission:
  • Internet Crime Complaint Centre:


Keep any and all emails, texts, letters or paperwork from the potential scammer or model agency scam as they may be useful in any future investigation.

Where relevant and you feel comfortable to do so, share your experiences: 

  • with your friends, family and networks. This could be when you see them or through an email. 
  • post a status update on your personal social media account(s). It’s important you have support and others are also aware of a scam so they’re not a target.

Further reading: Trusted Resources

The Model Alliance: A new model for fashion. The Model Alliance stands for fair treatment, equal opportunity and sustainable practices.

MEAA: Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance. Empowering Australia’s creative professionals. Built on integrity and powered by creativity, the MEAA is the largest and most established union and industry advocate for Australia’s creative professionals.

Arts Law Centre for Australia: The national community legal centre for the Arts is an information hub providing education, legal advice and advocacy to strengthen, value and respect the arts and culture to make a better world. is a global marketplace to connect talent with brands & clients; locally and around the world. It’s a simple and beautiful way to find the right talent for your next project. It’s a community of models, actors, photographers, makeup artists, stylists, and more, all in one place for you to book in a simple and seamless way.

Further Reading: Explore more of my FREE Model Tips here.

Further Reading: Learn and be inspired by Model + Fashion Industry heavyweights, icons, and trailblazers through my EXCLUSIVE Interviews here.

I hope you found this guide to be useful! Take care and I’ll see you online for the next post 🙂

Ps: this is a quality guide and I don’t mind you sharing it. I’d appreciate it if you follow standard professional etiquette and please quote + credit my content appropriately when you do: 
Kate Heussler | Instagram: @kateheussler Thank you!

Learn More: Check out my signature online Model Courses here to fast track your career: The Model Masterclass.

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