Signing up to Model Agency
There are hundreds of agencies in the UK. Model Advice explains that agencies can be separated into three tiers.
The most elite are the agencies that belong to the Association of Model Agents (AMA). The AMA is a self-governing group of agents that have set their own standard of requirements for those belonging to it. These are the most stringent and competitive agencies to get signed to. The AMA has scouts all around the UK on the lookout for new faces. However, the likelihood of getting scouted by a top agency is low and these agencies often demand exclusivity from their models.
If you are invited for an interview by an AMA model agency, be sure to ask about the full amount that will be deducted from your earnings in commission, and also the amount you will have to repay the agency for extras, for example photographs, training and, if necessary, accommodation. Although these agencies do not charge up-front fees, any money invested in you will be deducted from your earnings.
The requirements of an AMA model agency are nearly always the following: you will have to be at least 5ft 9″ (female) and 5ft 11″ (male), of an unusual beauty and slender build. Only 2-5% of all models break into the industry through getting scouted, thus it represents a very small minority.
The second tier includes the hundreds of agencies that are credible and find models paid work. Aspiring models will usually send in their photos or visit these agencies in person. Should the agency be interested they will sign the model. However, in sending their photos to different companies, models will unknowingly contact cowboy agencies in the process and put themselves in a vulnerable position.
The cowboy agencies make up the third and final tier. These scam agencies will accept the model immediately and promote a promise of paid work. They generally ask for an upfront fee to join the agency and give you the promise of paid work under the condition that you purchase an expensive, and often useless, modelling portfolio. So be wary and always check out the agency before you sign with them.