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  #1  
Old 03-20-2003, 10:01 AM
Algernon Algernon is offline
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Transcontinental Talent - My Daughter Caught In A Modeling Scam?

Does anybody here have any experience or knowledge about this company?

My 18 year old daughter got approached by a representative of Transcontinental Talent (TCT) while she was working at her job at Hollister's (Abercrombie and Fitch subsidiary) at the local mall. TCT is a supposed online clearinghouse for models, actors, etc. [sarcasm] For a mere $800 they'll post your photos and resume on their site, and the Modeling Agencies will flood you with offers. [/sarcasm]

TCT has been pressuring my daughter to sign up. They've appealed to her ego ("You have just the right look.") and emphasized that the door of opportunity is closing fast ("This is your last chance, we make it a practice to only contact candidates once a year.") I have to admit that they're good. Unethical, but good.

I've been pressuring her to run for her life. I won't spend a dime to help her with this (and I'm pretty liberal with financial help to my kids) but she says she's willing to spend her own money.

I think it's a scam. Legal perhaps, but a scam nonetheless. I found this website which gave me a lot of cautionary advice, and reinforced my skeptical opinion. Modeling Scams. This hasn't fazed her.

I also checked the Better Business Bureau: BBB Advises Caution. This didn't faze her either, in spite of the fact that many BBB offices have rated TCT as unsatisfactory.

She's a bright kid who is usually pretty street smart, but they've got her hooked this time.

My next step is to check with local modeling agencies to see if they utilize the TCT web site at all. I'm hoping they say that they don't.

Again, does anybody here have any experience or knowledge about this company?
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  #2  
Old 03-20-2003, 10:11 AM
Maastricht Maastricht is offline
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Sounds definately like a scam to me. If your daghter wants to become a model, she should send a few pictures of herself to an enlisted agency. If they are interested, they will pay for a professional portfolio to be made of her, as an investment, that they will get back by takign a percentag of her earnings.
Guys like these are playing on the girls vanity and dreams.
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  #3  
Old 03-20-2003, 10:13 AM
DeadlyAccurate DeadlyAccurate is offline
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http://beta.kpix.com/news/local/2003...r_Scam%3F.html
http://www.clickondetroit.com/det/mo...15-151135.html

Just two I found typing in [transcontinental talent scam] in Google.
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  #4  
Old 03-20-2003, 10:13 AM
Eve Eve is offline
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Huge scam. Whenever an agent or agency asks you for money, runódon't walkóto the nearest exit.
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  #5  
Old 03-20-2003, 10:15 AM
DeadlyAccurate DeadlyAccurate is offline
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You could also ask her this question, "Once they get your money, what reason do they have for helping you any longer?"
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  #6  
Old 03-20-2003, 10:31 AM
DeadlyAccurate DeadlyAccurate is offline
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I was once convinced an agent who responded to my query was a scam artist when I received a form acceptance letter. Not wanting to dismiss them completely out of hand, I used my mom's address and created a really, really crappy story synopsis. I mean, it was just terrible, with bad grammar, spelling and punctuation, a terrible plot and poorly-worded phrases. My mom received an enthusiastic acceptance letter, with a hand-written note on the side telling her how eager they were to receive her manuscript. They hadn't yet discussed money, but I knew it would only be a matter of time before they did.
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  #7  
Old 03-20-2003, 10:37 AM
zev_steinhardt zev_steinhardt is offline
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Just out of curiosity, Algernon, how tall is your daughter? Most legitimate modeling agencies require models to be at least 5'8" (IIRC) or taller. If she's shorter than that, then the odds are *so* stacked against your daughter...

Zev Steinhardt
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  #8  
Old 03-20-2003, 10:43 AM
Algernon Algernon is offline
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Thanks for all your supportive advice and cautionary words. (and for the news links DeadyAccurate.) I appreciate your quick responses.

Zev, she's between 5'9" and 5'10". (taller than me ::sob:: )

Other info or experience anyone?
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  #9  
Old 03-20-2003, 10:55 AM
kung fu lola kung fu lola is offline
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Algernon, I have to second Eve here. No legit agency will ever ask for money up front. Ever ever ever. If an agent thinks a person has real potential, they will be willing to make an investment in them in the beginning, knowing that it will pay off later when their Fresh New Face gets the cover of Vogue.

Jane magazine did a story on these scammers last month. TCT even has middlemen who are deluded into thinking they are agents and suckered into suckering other people. It's a pyramid scheme. Run away. Far away.
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  #10  
Old 03-20-2003, 11:12 AM
DeadlyAccurate DeadlyAccurate is offline
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Another thing, it's my understanding (and I could be wrong) that the real modeling world is brutal. Even the best looking will be told about their "flaws". A talent agency that does nothing but compliment would set my alarm bells ringing. "What, there's no area I can improve on? Am I a vision of physical perfection?"
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  #11  
Old 03-20-2003, 11:26 AM
Dogface Dogface is offline
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Legitimate agencies do not charge fees.
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  #12  
Old 03-20-2003, 11:38 AM
Algernon Algernon is offline
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Part of the problem is that TCT doesn't proclaim to be an agency. They're simply an online clearinghouse of talent. The fees are for posting one's information on their web database.

They've readily admitted to my daughter that agencies don't take up-front fees, but "we're not an agency" so it's OK.

This of course, is completely logical to my daughter.
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  #13  
Old 03-20-2003, 11:39 AM
Eve Eve is offline
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There must be a reliable, actual modeling agency in Milwaukeeówhy not take your daughter to one of them for an honest appraisal?
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  #14  
Old 03-20-2003, 11:58 AM
Gundy Gundy is offline
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Algernon, if she doesn't want to listen to you, maybe she'll listen to Jane magazine. They did an expose on TCT a couple of months ago. I don't think they maintain articles on their website, but I'll check if I still have the issue the article ran in, if you'd like.
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  #15  
Old 03-20-2003, 12:04 PM
Doomtrain Doomtrain is offline
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All good advice here, but this sounds like one of those things the kid is going to have to find out about for herself when she blows $800 or so.
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  #16  
Old 03-20-2003, 12:18 PM
peepthis peepthis is offline
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So we can offer better advice: what exactly are your daughter's responses to the BBB reports, scam exposes, and numerous other documented reports about this company? Does she just not care, or think that somehow she'll make a career out of modeling? Though she's being stubborn, she must have some reasoning process making her want to keep doing it.
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  #17  
Old 03-20-2003, 12:37 PM
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Ok, this is a UK perspective but modelling is an international industry so I don't see why it should be different.

This is a scam. It comes up quite frequently on consumer affairs TV progs here. Model agencies do not need professional photos - they have years of experience judging looks from snapshots. If they think you have the looks they will arrange pictures at their own cost. If you don't they will be honest and not waste your time
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  #18  
Old 03-20-2003, 01:07 PM
dajah dajah is offline
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yeah, i almost got roped into this business. but i could smell the bullshit by the first meeting and bailed out in the middle of the orientation. they just set up an office in seattle... beware.


it's worse to be working for them than to be a model on their site. they do apparently get business through their site.
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  #19  
Old 03-20-2003, 01:40 PM
MissGypsy MissGypsy is offline
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I was offered a job with TCT a few months ago, and I made my escape rapidly after I found out what they do. The so-called "scouts" have to maintain at least 5 enrollments per week, which means convincing about 40 strangers a week to show up to these "modeling calls."

They then do a hard-sell on the prospective models to fork over that initial fee, plus a monthly fee, to have a website listing with pictures, statistical and contact info.
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  #20  
Old 03-20-2003, 01:47 PM
Algernon Algernon is offline
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Eve, that's a great idea. I'll try to get an appointment with an agency. That'll do two things, provide some professional opinion on her "looks", and provide a perspective on TCT's legitimacy.

Gundy, I tried Jane's web site, and as you suspect, they don't have back issue articles. I'll email you my email address and fax number.

GMRjujin, it's a mighty expensive lesson that I'd prefer she avoided.

peepthis, you ask a good question. Why does she listen to a stranger but not her father? Two things come to mind, both of which are emotional rather than logical. First, the stranger is telling her what she wants to hear. I'm not. The second reason is simple: I'm her father and she's 18 and she knows more than I do. ("Dad, you think everything is a scam. You need to be more trusting.")

Regarding the BBB negative reports. TCT readily admitted to her there are unsatisfactory ratings. They handled it well though. They told her to check out Disney and Sears, etc. to see how much worse they are compared to the measly few complaints TCT has. (I started talking about numbers of complaints per customer, but she didn't want to hear it.)
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  #21  
Old 03-20-2003, 01:50 PM
Algernon Algernon is offline
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Oops, didn't preview so I missed your post gypsygirl31. Thanks for posting. You and dajah have direct experience. What was it that made you realize it was all BS?
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  #22  
Old 03-20-2003, 01:51 PM
Algernon Algernon is offline
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For all of you posters who I didn't mention by name, please don't think I don't value your input and advice... I just didn't have any specific thoughts in reponse.
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  #23  
Old 03-20-2003, 03:04 PM
MissGypsy MissGypsy is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Algernon
What was it that made you realize it was all BS?
Several things tipped me off:
1. They told me I should be able to find those 40 prospects a week at places I would normally be, like the mall, the grocery store, etc. Even in a large city like Chicago, I don't see 40 potential models in a month, let alone in a week! And if I didn't get 5 a week to sign up and pay for their service... well, they didn't say, but implied they wouldn't be happy.

2. They offered to give me business cards to hand to prospects... with a fake name printed on them. I was supposed to write my name on the back as the prospect's invitation to the open call. But fake names just made me suspicious.

3. They have a 1-page, pre-scripted spiel to memorize and spout to total strangers in malls or nightclubs or grocery stores. It's complete b.s.

4. They don't provide much, if anything, in the way of training that an actual model would need (things like instruction in make-up techniques, how to walk properly for runway modeling, etc.)

5. I never witnessed one of the open calls, but they were bragging about something like an 80% sign-up rate, and how they can talk anyone into signing up.

I would second the recommedation for your daughter to contact a reputable modeling agency. Hope it works out for her!
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  #24  
Old 03-20-2003, 03:18 PM
Gozu Tashoya Gozu Tashoya is offline
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Another vote for scam, also from the gypsygirl side of the fence.

When I did it, the company was called "Options Talent" (I'm sure googling for that plus 'scam' would yield some results), and it was pretty much the same deal. (gypsy, were you "Sage Weston" as well?)

One note, the fact that they were Options Talent (and another name before that, and never you mind all the talk about them being bought by a larger company) is another sign of scam, IMHO.
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  #25  
Old 03-20-2003, 03:23 PM
Gozu Tashoya Gozu Tashoya is offline
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Oh, and FWIW, my "prospective employer" had a much better line of bull than gypsy's apparently did. Looking back, it's kind of scary to think about how good she was.
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  #26  
Old 03-20-2003, 03:24 PM
DeadlyAccurate DeadlyAccurate is offline
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When I Googled [Transcontinental Talent scam] I saw Options Talent as another one of the scam agencies.

I hope in this one thing, your daughter will realize that Dad might know something after all.

BTW, you might also direct her to this thread, unless you don't want her to know your username.
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  #27  
Old 03-20-2003, 03:56 PM
liirogue liirogue is offline
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Algernon, also make sure they don't try to suck her in with making her pay for outrageous lessons. My sister was nearly caught up in this (not with TCT though) and they were going to charge ridiculous amounts to "teach" her. And they only brought these lessons up after she refused a deal similar to what is being offered to your daughter.
I would definitely take her to a real agency. Tell them ahead of time what is going on, and maybe you can even get the agent to debunk TCT for her.
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  #28  
Old 03-20-2003, 04:37 PM
astro astro is offline
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Umm.. it's not a question of whether they're a scam, it's more a question of how long the founders will stay out of jail at this point.

Trans Continential Talent Exposed

see also Trans Continental Talent Investigation
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  #29  
Old 03-20-2003, 04:41 PM
astro astro is offline
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This one's even more blatant.

http://www.fox5atlanta.com/iteam/options.html
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  #30  
Old 03-20-2003, 05:07 PM
Poysyn Poysyn is online now
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I know that legitimate agencies like Ford or Wilhelmina will accept photos of your daughter and let you know if they are interested. She's al little old (usually they like to start them younger) but if she's got potential they'll let you know. Also they don't have to be professional shots, a polaroid will do!

For more info -

Ford Modeling

or

Wilhelmina

Also, ask them to tell your daughter about TCT if she won't listen to you.
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  #31  
Old 03-20-2003, 10:19 PM
kalex kalex is offline
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I actually worked for a 'modeling agency' for one day back in the 80's. (In Fort Lauderdale.) Memory is blurry but they pressured people to drop a lot of cash on their 'special in-house photographers.' They fired me at the end of the day because I asked too many questions.
As has been stated here, legit agencies do not ask for money.
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  #32  
Old 03-21-2003, 01:33 AM
Tristan Tristan is offline
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If she's that interested, have her go to a local photographer and have her tell him she wants to do some head shots. Look around for a place that can put together a "comp card".


If she's dead set on using an Internet company for this, I would recommend www.OneModelPlace.com. A friend of mine actually got a few jobs out of it.

Be careful though... a lot of 'risque' magazines recruit from places like that.
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  #33  
Old 03-21-2003, 09:57 AM
monster monster is offline
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Gypsygirl, I wonder if we were at the same presentation in Chicago. Were you in Oak Brook? I left at the lunch break of the orientation. I realized that they wanted me to trick people into attending a sales pitch meeting and took off.

Algernon, if you truly believe your daughter has what it takes to be a model, invest in some headshots and talk to a legitimate agency. Don't deal with TCT. They're bad news.
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  #34  
Old 03-21-2003, 10:03 AM
Algernon Algernon is offline
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I talked to my daughter last night about this, and showed her this thread, as well as print-offs of many of the links you've supplied.

Her resolve to follow-through with TCT is wilting.

The stories of the scouts (or those who nearly became scouts), and the investigative news stories carried a lot of weight. She was able to dismiss the BBB reports I gave her previously because of the slick arguments that TCT made along the lines of "we're not so bad, everybody gets bad BBB reports."

The investigative news stories were, in her mind, more objective.

Thank you all for your help and assistance. I don't have her completely convinced yet, but it was a lost cause until you posted. This is a great example of how "fighting ignorance" can have concrete real-life benefits.
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  #35  
Old 03-21-2003, 10:17 AM
Eve Eve is offline
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Well, goodóit sounds like your daughter has basic common sense. Take her to a legit modeling agency, and see what they have to say. If she's tall and thin enough and has good "camera bones," maybe she does have potential in that industry.
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