A Preston woman who is the current Miss Lancashire has joined a campaign to warn young women about rogue model agencies.Advertisement
Mary-Kate McKay, the current deputy Miss England, appears on ITV Granada Reports on Thursday to talk about how she nearly fell victim to a firm that promised her she could be a model.
She said: “I’m working with Fixers to warn people about companies that prey on people that want to become a model.
“I want people to realise that there are some companies out there that are only after your money.
“To have a voice on this issue is an absolute privilege. If I could stop just one person from being scammed then my work will be done.”
Mary-Kate,23, told how after being crowned as this year’s Miss Lancashire event she started looking for a modelling agency.
“I found it quite challenging,” she said. “After filling in loads of application forms and getting lots of rejections, I finally got a positive response, but it turned out to be a scam.
“I was really excited when I finally got a really positive reply from a firm telling me that I was exactly what they wanted.
“They told me that they would be sending me for a really high-end photo-shoot, and that if I didn’t respond there and then, I would miss the opportunity, which terrified me.
“But a couple of days before the shoot, my mum came across a website highlighting all the rogue modelling agencies. Unfortunately, the company that was putting me forward for the high-profile photo-shoot was top of the list.
“It turned out that I would have had to pay for the photos, which can cost thousands of pounds. I discovered that they would have told me that if I didn’t buy the photos, I would never make it in the industry. When I realised that it was a scam, I was devastated.”
Laurie Kuhrt, Chairman of the Association of Model Agents, said: “This is terrible and it’s a blot on the modelling industry because it is kidding young people, including boys as well as girls, that they have got what it takes, when they know perfectly well that it is hopeless.
“They’re taking huge amounts of money from people and fanning the flames of people’s desire to be famous, and then exploiting it ruthlessly. An aspiring model does not need a portfolio.”
Mary-Kate will be on Granada Reports from 6pm on Thursday.
Fixers is a charity which aims to help young people have a voice on issues which affect them.
Have you ever thought about modelling? Or had a bad experience with an agency? Let us know in the comments below