Who are some of the modeling companies I should avoid?

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While these companies operate legally, they do not offer a good value for your money. To find more information simply Google their name and add the word scam after it.

Modeling Schools:

John Casablancas Modeling and Career Centers
John Robert Powers
Barbizon

Model Searches:

A note on model searches. They can be a good value if you already meet agency standards AND you can attend without going through any modeling courses. Representatives from major agencies will be there but your chances are no better than going to open call. The advantage of a model search is you will be able to see many agents at one time. For the vast majority of people who attend these model search, it is not a good value. That's because the vast majority of people in general are not qualified for agency representation. Do your research and tread carefully. You can find more information here.

Proscout
Model Search America

Portfolio Mills:
Model Management Inc.