Q. Please can you advise me on what are the good/top model agencies in Kent/London as my daughter who is 17 is keen to have a stab at this area. She is quite a stunner and 5′ 7. Thanks.
A. This is going to be brutal – but forget Kent. Local agencies really don’t have the contacts that your daughter needs to get ahead in this field, and all the best agencies are based in London. However, there are many, many unscrupulous ‘model agencies’ out there which will charge a significant amount for putting together a girl’s portfolio, or a fee for taking your daughter on. This will never lead anywhere. As our friends at Storm model agency observe, ‘Lots of girls and boys want to get into modelling. Many are being exploited by unscrupulous people posing as bogus model agents. On the false promise of a successful modelling career, girls as young as 15 are spending up to £500 on portfolios of pictures that are useless.’ They continue: ‘Do not believe anyone who tells you that you need a professional portfolio to be considered by an agency. Natural shots without make-up are the best guides for us to decide as to your potential. Many people have thrown away hundreds of pounds having useless pictures taken on false promises.’ In the event that your daughter is taken on by a leading London agency (and they are all in London), you need to be aware that reputable model agencies don’t work like that: they take a commission on work that your daughter does, and for any model starting out, they will organise ‘test’ sessions with up-and-coming or established photographers, who will work for free – together with your daughter – to create images that they can also use to further their careers. (Make-up artists and hairdressers also work for free on these shoots.) We would suggest, instead, that your daughter submits photographs of herself via the websites of a few of the leading agencies. We have personally worked with all of the following agencies, who all offer the opportunity to submit photographs (remember the advice about looking natural) on-line: Storm, Premier Model Management and Models 1. But do be aware, though, that at 5’ 7” your daughter is on the small side (Premier have a 5’ 8” minimum). The instances of girls shorter than 5’ 8” being taken on by a reputable agency are really very, very few and far between – and you’ve already read what we have to say about the dodgier agencies out there. Don’t say we didn’t warn you, and your daughter – but good luck, nonetheless.