An awful truth of the modeling and acting industry is that scams exist. It is so important for aspiring models and actors to educate themselves on what is acceptable practice in the industry and what to watch out for.

At Barbizon, we want to provide information that helps anyone with goals of pursuing modeling and acting to make their dreams come true. We have put together a list of modeling and acting scams that you need to be aware of and avoid. Knowledge is everything, so please take a few minutes to review this list and stay diligent as you reach for the stars.

    • Be wary of agencies or schools that guarantee work.
      No one can guarantee work. A college can not guarantee a job to a student the same way that agencies and modeling schools can not guarantee jobs in the industry. What agencies and schools can offer are opportunities. Like any other industry, landing modeling and acting jobs is about the needs of the industry and whether or not you are the right candidate to provide what the job is asking for. If an agency or school guarantees work, do your research on the company and ask questions to really understand what is offered and what is really being guaranteed.
    • Exercise caution with people who want to charge for pictures and/or portfolios first.
      As a model or actor you will at some point in your career need to have pictures taken for comp cards or headshots, but if you are being asked to shell out money at the absolute start of your career it could be a red flag. Compare the prices you are being asked to pay and ask to see examples of work before deciding if there is value in the offer. Also, know that a portfolio is a book of actual work done, not a collection of your favorite photo shoots so you can’t purchase a true portfolio.
    • Beware of companies who want to put you in a directory to be sent out.
      You need to research what the directory offered is all about. Ask how and who the directory is accessible to and see what others have posted about the directory on the internet.
    • National or international affiliations can speak volumes.
      There is a saying “You are the average of five people you surround yourself with,” that you may heard. The company and clientele your school or agency works with speaks volumes about how reputable they are.
    • Ask how long the agency has been established.
      Be wary of small agencies with no history. Being new does not necessarily mean a company is a scam, however without the longevity of providing value to clients and creating a niche of experience and knowledge within the industry you will need to be extra cautious in determining the legitimacy of a company.
    • Pay attention to the email address or account you are talking to.
      Usually, an email from a legitimate company will come from an email address with a branded domain. For example, an email from Barbizon may come from a or type email address. When an email comes from an or or any other free email service, you should perform an extra level of due diligence to make sure you are speaking with an authorized representative of the company/agency. This goes for social media requests as well. If someone claims to have scouted you via social media, it is a good idea to check out the company’s website and call the official number or email the official email address to verify the account who reached out to you. You should never provide payment information or send photos to any one in the industry without knowing who you are speaking with, why they are requesting that information and what the industry standard is so you can be sure you are only working with reputable companies. 

Barbizon Modeling and Acting school was established in 1939. We share testimonials from students, parents and renowned agency/industry professionals on our website and encourage potential students to visit third-party websites like Consumer Affairs and the Better Business Bureau to learn more about our services. Though we cannot guarantee work, we can provide you with benchmark industry instruction as well as opportunities and support to navigate the industry. We will always work to support our brand promise:

The Barbizon experience is about discovering what makes you special, and developing your one-of-a-kind “star” quality for the whole world to see. Our expert modeling and acting training, along with life-skills instruction, will give you the confidence and tools to shine for a lifetime.

We hope this information helps you to be safe and diligent as you start in the modeling and acting industries.