Wilhelmina PA is a licensed affiliate of Wilhelmina. What does this mean? It means they have an association with Wilhelmina. They are not Wilhelmina NY and prospective models should wipe that name from their mind altogether and evaluate Wilhelmina PA based solely on their ability or lack of ability to book clients.
The word scam is a volatile word that I try to reserve for people operating illegally. Wilhelmina PA, John Robert Powers, Barbizon, John Cassablancas all operate more or less legally in most States. Many will take issue with their business practices which generally include accepting anyone with a valid credit card and hard selling classes and modeling conventions.
So forget the name Wilhelmina. I say the same about John Casablancas Modeling & Career Center and Elite. John Casablancas founded Elite but the school has nothing to do with Elite Model Management Corp.
Here's a couple of people who wrote about their "open call" after they replied to Wilhelmina's craigslist ad.
For those who don't know, this is how a legitimate modeling agency does open call.
1. You walk it, someone looks at you. If you are too short, too fat, too ugly, too anything, they will send you on your way and you will never even see a booker.
2. If you are within stats, they may ask for your book if you have one. If not, they may take a few snapshots and send you on your way.
3. If they are more interested, you might meet with a booker who may ask you a few questions and take your measurements. Then you will be sent away.
If they like you, they may offer you a contract. That's when the real work starts. If they don't like you, they will either say no, ignore you, or tell you that you are too commercial, too editorial, too anything.
This is not how legitimate agencies do open calls.
1. Huge cattle call where you look around the room and you think you are at Walmart.
2. Everyone states their name, where they are from, and why they want to model. Nobody gives a shit. You're not on ANTM and Kelly Harmon is not Tyra. Child Please!
3. Do a mock runway walk. For Christ sake, you're in Podunk, PA, not NYC. Nobody gives a shit about your runway walk.
4. Extended sales pitch. WTF? Did you just get teleported from a modeling agency open call into a Jamaican vacation time share sales pitch?
5. You've been "selected". Hooray! What's your credit card number?
And now for some testimonials:
i also waisted gas on this open call to what i thought was an opportunity with a major agency. i was thrilled about the overall opportunity. so i drove all the way to god knows where up in the cut and was a bit thrown off by the fact that there were like 80 people in the building, possibly more. when i got there. i wasnt surprised because i mean they did put it on craigslist. but at the same time i figured wihelmina would have been more selective on the groups coming out to see them. then the presentation was ridiculous. in my case i got an email back for a set appointment so i thought it would have been more one on one. this women who showcased her son the whole presentation then takes it upon herself to allow everybody to go around the room and say their name where they were from and how they ended up wanting to model. im thinking ARE YOU KIDDING ME? lol we got cancer survivors in the building telling there story which was sad but just irrelevant and too much. i was ready to go at this point. then we were all asked to walk the runway which was pointless as well because this b*tch wasnt even payin attention. ok so in essence of the charges that they are trying to collect from the possible models. some of the fees i didnt have a problem with because i could have used some of the stuff. but i didnt need most of stuff they where offereing i could have paid that i went along. but at the end of the day they still were asking me for 1100 dollars. and this broke down to 75 dollars for a port folio binder. 60 dollars for 2 to 12yr post on their website. 375 dollars for a modeling expertise class, 80 dollars for fed ex ups mailing fees. 180 or so dollars for orientation and some other crap. ok so i had agreed to pay the website fee, the port folio binder fee and that was all i was giving. now the modeling expertise class you charge 375 for what i was told was a one time class. so for someone not like myself but for someone who might have never modeled. if you get this person a job 8 months after the class how much effect really is this 400 dollar one time only class gonna really have. so i thought that was crazy. then on top of that im lookin at their website and the models that they have existing now on there. the photos are pictures of the models that im sure they shot or the models have allowed them to use of them. so my questions is where is the work proof that you have gotten the people you represent already. before i blow my money how fast am i goin to benefit from doing so? so again the professionalism was terrible and i wouldnt recommend them to anybody as well. check me out @www.modellog.blogspot.com. this is what i do. just did the cover to a local magazine called swerv. issue comes out dec 18th. dc, md area or go to swervmag.com to order. im gonna do this with or with out these lames.
MAn MAn Man, SMH. I had traveled from Delaware which was at least three hrs. I was Hyped up for the monologue i had practiced all night because I love to ENTERTAIN and also do my modeling thing. Its feel great to actually be in front of camera. But I was feeling good until i arrive to some back road where they set up a Pool hall and there was no big sign of Wilhelmina PA. Instead I seen a little ass black sign made out of cardboard box and a lot of cars parked hovering the small abandoned building the call WILHELMINA PA. I stepped into the building and still feels like I'm still the hell outside "The Building had no heat. C'mon im freezing my nuts off in here. Damn I felt like i was walking the Brooklyn bridge to go get DIDDY a cheesecake the way my feet were num" . So there is no one at the front desk directing on where to go or what to actually do but there are signs on the wall. I can tell they just set all of this up because it was very unorganized already. Then this light skin dude comes down asking everyone all loud "Did everyone sign in. I also need you to fill out these applications and staple your pic and resume to it also". I can tell he was rushing and overwhelmed by so many people throughout the day. Then we just waited...for like an hr in the freezing cold while the damn door kept opening because of new applicants. Man It was so many people in one lil ass room that i thought i was at a Roscoe Jenkins family reunion. We finally made it upstairs to here this Women "Kelli Harmon" speak on the success of her young son who is now 18, who she started at a young age to get him where he is now. Bravo that is what im here for too lady. "SUCCESS" But anyway we had babies, young teens, young adults, and just the straight elderly packed into this lil ass room with a broke ass runway. LOL. We all had these packets they had handed out before we walked into the room that explained some crazy ass rates for us. So everyone was to stand up and introduce themselves. This Lady Kelli Harmon was in the back just relaxing not paying anyone no mind. While her two punkass assistants look at everyone weird as hell while they speak. PRETTY CREEPY. So I had to walk the runway and killed it. Then afterward i had to cold read and do a entertaining monologue for this guy in a lil office. I talked with the person that supposedly had scouted me when i sent off my pics. So i gave her some good personality. And I was off for a long ass trip back to the DE. A couple of days later I received a call from a blocked number.I dont know about you but I dont answer blocked ID's. So I got a msg from Wilhelmina PA saying to call them back. I called them back today and I conversed with the scout who says that they want to represent me. Helllll YEAHHHHHH!!! Scout:So we want to set up a photo shoot and get you out here to sign the manager contract that is for specifically for two years. So You have a fee of $2500 that is due when we meet. ME: OH HELL NAH! Got Dammit another SCAM. I cant wait to look back on this situation when I make it big . HAHAHAH Wilhelmina PA $2500 for a photo shoot, the kits, website fee. Remember My face when you turned me down. Well look at me now.
Here's one person's account of an email exchange. Looks like she did her research and saved a few thousand dollars. Good for her.