Skip to main content

Is John Casablancas Modeling Agency a Scam?

& do aspiring models really have to go thru expensive modeling schools?

These are genuine questions I have after half a week of rushing into what I'm now rushing to get out of..

I'm currently seeking for feedback from those who went through something similar with either John Casablancas, specifically, or any other modeling agency (if that's what this company can be on)..

My experience is as follows:

Having just returned from volunteering overseas, while looking into various employment options, including various humanitarian & non-profit sectors, general retailing, writing, etc., I decided that a modeling/acting opportunity would be yet another option worth looking into.

I looked online for modeling agencies in my city & among the many that surfaced, John Casablancas showed up as both a modeling & acting agency. I filled in the online audition form & later received a call for a "screening" or audition. Once there, I was told that after a short introduction/demonstration by the company & an audition via a short walk down the runway by me, if I had "the look" I would receive a call back for a proper interview.

The next day I did, indeed, receive a call informing me that I had a "marketable look" & was slotted an interview. After going back the following day for the interview--complete with written & oral tests, script reading, & a lengthy interview--I was presented with sign up forms to what I thought was a business arrangement to have the "agency" provide jobs for me, with a commission being taken by them. Instead it turned out to be a set of sign-up forms for a 5-month modeling course with an upfront "tuition & book fee" to be paid immediately..

Friends & family cautioned me that the one thing a valid agency would not do is make me pay upfront. This I learned later to be true from speaking to different sources from the fashion industry on the phone. I had the understanding at the time that John Casblancas is a school (which they are) as well as an agency, and that I'd not only be signing up for a school course, but likely a contract on modeling/acting connections for when the course was underway (as was advertised). Whereas in discussing with my sister later that day & calling a model friend of hers in New York, we were told that agencies don't put models through paid courses, but rather give them lessons free as a business investment, knowing what they'll get from it in the future should the model's career pick up shortly thereafter.

In looking more online, it seems they (John Casablancas) are legit in that they are a modeling school, but that as an agency, they may not give you the jobs promised you before you signed up for the course & from what we read online, most students that completed their course (and completed payments of up to $3000) never got modeling jobs afterward, but were told down the line that, due to grading & other circumstances, jobs wouldn't work out for them after all. Was I told I had a "marketable look" & slotted an interview, because that's what they tell everyone that comes there? I'm busy wondering..

It seems to me that a key in aspiring models being able to recognize what exactly they're getting themselves involved with is in knowing the difference between a modeling school & a modeling agency..This is what I'm now learning. According to some online sources an agency will never charge potential talent upfront for portfolio or class fees, while a school may, & in a lot of cases will. See the difference?

With yet even more research, I discovered that while in some States, certain laws apply that prevent any modeling agency from enforcing upfront handling or class fees for aspiring models, others don't, including Georgia where I'm currently residing.This means that the initial & most often tell-tale sign of fraudulent suspicion in a modeling agency, may not be apparent in some states, as the act of charging for models enrollment in courses/classes before giving them jobs is legal..

So the answer to my question is that while John Casablancas is a fully licensed school, they shouldn't be confused with an agency & any aspiring model/actor looking to be given immediate jobs through them as an agency, should be aware that instead of the work promised them, they may instead be hit up with monumental (up to several thousand dollar) charges in tuition & class fees, while genuine modeling agencies, in general, don't see the need for extensive or expensive lessons in order to become a model.

I know I won't have a hard time making that differentiation in the future..

Feedback welcome.

Be sure to check out the links below for further & more detailed information..

Happy modeling!

More on the subject..


Uh oh on August 31, 2020:

Bruh why do they have there comments limited on Instagram, something is sus about these people

Tim on June 04, 2016:

Modeling/Acting is a good paying profession, just like any job you should know how to do it. Learn it to do it. An agency will not represent you if you are not professionally trained. Learn to earn.

DakotaJane Myers on April 28, 2016:

I have an audition with them saturday at 1 in Oklahoma City........ From what i read..... I am not so sure. I will go just to have something to do...... But i read someone sayong they rejected them because they were....Unemployed...... I am unemployed and a mother looking for opportunities. I did not graduate highschool and REGRET MY DUMB DECISION.... I plan on going back to school but all schools COST money if you didnt do it the old fashion way... I am either gonna go to job core or just get my GED. Acting is what i want though. I have heard of famous people not graduating.... But like in another comment i read... Seems like they were pretty lucky. I wonder how Saturday will go...... Considered i told them already i am looking for a job. The lady didn't tell me, oh sorry you have to have money to make money. Lol.... But also... Maybe she didn't hear me clearly... The conversation was held the day i had to take shelter due to Oklahoma being BI-POPLAR!!! Also..... I don't see comments of the people that said would comment BACK..... I guess it is just that case where..... Just do it and see what happens, comes to affect.

Scroll to Continue

Michelle on September 18, 2015:

Trying to decide today if my son should go through, jc casablanca. Advice please. Tia.

confused on September 02, 2015:

I ha ve a audition with jc today do u think I should go help please.

confused on September 01, 2015:

I have a audition tommrow for jc should I go help please.9,2,15

what a waste on August 19, 2015:

I called the John Casablancas Center 08/19/2015 and asked if they were a modeling school or agency and the receptionist said BOTH?!

Ronnie on May 31, 2015:

The problem is that people are confusing CLASSES with AGENCY. John Casablanca's is the SCHOOL. The agency they use varies by each location, so the work offered is only as good as the agency. You can DEFINITELY get work in the agency without taking classes at John Casablancas, but you have to have experience - they aren't going to just accept anyone. What people pay for is classes that are suggested to them for them to come back and give it another shot. A lot of people get upset because they think that paying means an automatic job. It doesn't! If you aren't good, you aren't good - no one can get the work for you. So that is the problem with John Casablancas reviews and other companies like it they are a school, not the agency. They do have an agency, but you have to be good enough to get in.

Besarien from South Florida on April 17, 2015:

If you are interested in modeling go to a real agency- Next, IMG, Ford. DNA- when they have open calls. In the meantime practice walking on video and critiquing yourself. If you don't have a portfolio see if you can trade modeling for portfolio pics with a local (reputable) photographer. Never pay for anything unless you find no other way. Then pay for the best you can find. JC isn't it.

Sexy on January 01, 2015:

JC it is a scam !

Debebe on December 13, 2014:

if you go to the audition, and the famous scout tells you info about themselves ,for instance, that they are a big wig international talent scout who has been in the business for their entire life, listen carefully. Remember or take notes, write down their name and Google them, research them . You may find all your answers there . They may have just started with this company recently and prior had nothing to do with this business. When you realize someone has told you one lie ,that means they lie . Liars are not accountable for anything they just lie to profit . They want to prosper on your struggles.

Emily on November 22, 2014:

JC is a complete and total scam. Yes, they will tell you how much everything is before you sign the papers, but what they don't tell you is that they accept everybody. I was called in for an audition at 6-7pm one night and sat in a room with about 40 other people. All they had us do was walk the runway and evaluated our "talent" off of that. The next day, everyone was called back and they were ready to sit down with you to sign up. I was told I had to start classes the very next day. They also told you on the very first day of class that as soon as you finished the program you were able to sign with the agency - NOT TRUE! It was not until the VERY LAST DAY of "graduation" that I was told I had to pay in FULL in order to sign with one of the agents. They lie to get you in, make it sound great and then tell you at the last second you have to pay to get signed with their agents - TOTAL SCAM. Worst $2000 I have ever spent in my life. I am still paying for it 6 months later and still cannot sign, nor will I ever.

Mel on July 29, 2014:

JC is real. I go there and they get you jobs. They tell you how much the classes are before they show you papers to sign. And no you don't have to pay them you can just go into there mtm modeling. The part you pay for are modeling classes that show you how to model. And for the people that say they make you buy there makeup they don't. You can pay to have it done or you can do it yourself.

chris brad on May 28, 2014:

Im with JC as a student who graduates today and yes its costly but to me well worth it. I had my first modeling job a few weeks ago and it went great and paid better. JC is a school to help grow skills inside of people. All people are different thus all people have different skill levels they are born with. I enjoyed every week all the way up to my last. I look at it like college. You have to pay thousands of dollars to go and when you graduate your not promised a job just an opportunity to better be equipted to sale yourself. Like modeling and acting jobs you have to audition for, so does in the business world you have to audition in an interview to get that job. If those that made it through the entire JC program and haven't landed anything just keep pushing yourself and don't give up. Keep practicing and you will get better or maybe this type of industry is just not for you. Those who went to JC but quit cause of he say she say or because you couldn't afford it that's your issues because they do have payment plans. Don't judge JC or talk down about them or any industry because that's not the way God intends for us as His children to act. Patients your time will come if that's what God wants you to become.

confused on April 06, 2014:

Reading all these comments kind of confirms my beliefs of JC being a scam. It IS possible that they are a legit school or academy, but if that is so, don't sell me false hopes. Just be honest. Not to mention I received a call one day out of the blue from them asking my kids and I to come to an open audition because they saw I expressed interest. I have never heard of them. So I googled JC and it seemed legit. Then when I called and asked how did you obtain my information? The woman replied (and this is no lie) , "A lot of people ask that, but I really can't tell you. Because we don't know. We just come in and there are different leads on our desk to call." Wth??? What agency says that? Matter of fact , what company says that?

Yes, I decided to take my kids and I anyway. Wanted to check it out. That doesn't cost anything. Got there and this mom was GOING IN on the lady at the front desk. Something about her son being chosen. He got accepted, yet no phone calls were made to her about the audition of some job that was supposedly posted on FB. I walked in on the middle of the conversation. The front desk lady kept telling her your son is listed as an "alternate". Not as an actual candidate. I'm thinking wow. #1 this is VERY unprofessional. She should have taken this woman to a private room and discussed this. #2 now my first impression going in is , they are unprofessional and have lack of communication. Then we audition, the director of the company tells me she sees the potential, we can go far in the industry. . But we need coaching. No problem, I don't mind developing our skills. Then BOOM! She hits me with the price. $1295 per child! Say what! ? $200 deposit down per child. And about $200 a month. But at the end she said we get a certificate and sign with an agency. I totally understand that when you take classes, you pay. Of course. Nothing is free. But that's a bit pricey. And..they said they were an AGENCY. not an Academy. So this is where I became confused. Because to me, if any agency sees talent and potential in you, then they don't mind coaching you for free . It's an investment on their part because they know that the quality of their work is that good that you will succeed in the industry and make them the money.

Angry on March 25, 2014:

My daughter went to JC last year, she only went to 5 months of classes and then she decided that she wasn't getting anything from it. So she stopped going. Now I have a $2000 bill from them. My problem is, if I paid $300 up front and made monthly payments, why do I still owe you if she is not attending anymore. I never asked to take out a loan and did not know that you took out one. I feel it should just be done with.

Leni14 on March 23, 2014:

Okay. I know this post is older but I need to give my input for anyone who may read this in the future:

I PERSONALLY WENT THRU THE ENTIRE JC CLASS & EXPERIENCE (in Michigan)... and it is crap. My mom paid for the "classes" as a graduation gift to me back in 2001. Every single girl that interviewed with got a call-back and every one of them were accepted and to be honest, there were a lot of "plain Jane" looking girls in there. Some not even very pretty (in my opinion) and EVERYONE got accepted. Then, the "classes" were basically teaching you how to apply your make-up or do your hair... And we had entire days of just working out and learning how to "diet". None of which were worth the thousands my mother paid. Then they " required" you to pay even more for headshots by their photographer that were taken in their building against a white sheet hanging in a random room and on their lawn by the parking lot.

When all was said and done, we had a "graduation" ceremony which included us buying our own wardrobe to walk down their makeshift "catwalk" in a tiny room with cheap balloons and streamers everywhere. A part of the contract was that we would be represented by the "agency" for a period of time after graduation and I was even assigned an "agent". Well, said "agent" never returned my calls, never called me saying he was submitting my headshots for any potential jobs and after several months of nothing - no return calls, no prospective jobs, no calls at all - I quit trying. Thousands of dollars for tips on how to do my hair and make-up. Huge waste of time & money. I would highly advise against anyone falling for their bs. It's definitely not worth it!

disappointed on March 11, 2014:

My daughter is now signed up for JC and so far I have had nothing but disappointments . While I don't mind paying for a school , I do mind when they are not actually teaching anything . They get your money by going through a loan company and by slight lies and miss truths . They glorify things by having fake people , fake testimonials , and only allowing the Good reviews through . To those saying it is a great school , people should know they have to pay for stuff , well people should be told the damn truth from the start so they can base their decisions on what they know upfront and not based on lies and what they find after the money has been handed over . The way I see it , they are good at grabbing tigers by the tail , and so far they have avoided being scratched , but now they have a lion by the tail , game on . $340. down payment $161. bucks a month for fifteen months for two classes a month , total through loan company $2662. all so you can listen to a teacher tell you about her long lost modeling days for two hours . If they really want to get a good rep , tell people plain and simple : The total cost , what will actually be taught , and expect to go to school just for the hell of going as nothing is guaranteed at the end except the fact that you are now $2662 . poorer . See how far they get with that .

A student. on March 10, 2014:

I am attending classes at an Oklahoma City location. I intend to make the most of what I pay for. The initial classes are 20 weeks. I have been told I can retake classes for 3 years, if I so choose, which I will most likely do so. I'm going to squeeze everything I can out of this opportunity, because I paid for it. I've seen talk of it being a scam, I've seen talk of it being legit. If it's a scam, I'll bleed 'em dry and earn my money. If it's legit, I'll make the most of it. One thought I've had is that in larger parts of the country, perhaps there are poorly run schools. After all, how many times have you had good service at one franchised restaurant, but terrible service at a different franchised restaurant?

Either way, success is not a magical 'go here, you'll definitely succeed' formula. In anything you do, you can only depend upon yourself to succeed. You could have the best agent or agency in the world, and if you suck, you'll not get hired. This world is hard on us all. You just have to be harder.

If nothing else, the materials provided at the start of the class are useful to me, and this has shown me that I want to do this sort of work, which is a useful thing indeed. I was told I had a non-exclusive contract, so if I find something better, I can change to them instead.

Khoura on November 10, 2013:

Hi, i am a student at JC and I have met some amazing girls through their. i have also attended several workshops in which modeling and acting Producer who have created huge TV shows and represented some very sucessful people have taught. I was not told i have a marketable look, i was told i had good bone structure and that i had a girl next door look. I take great offense to everyone hating on JC. YOU probably sucked at acting or modeling. There are people who are meant for showbusiness and those who arent. Im glad i signed up for JC because at my JC center, we are a family, not just classmates. I have seen many people grow and blossom from a very shy person into someone who can act! Not everyone who goes through the program will succeed, but they never promise jobs when you are signed up for classes!


A girl with jobs!

Jessica on October 09, 2013:

I'm going here right now I don't know if its a scam but yes I am paying a lot of money I don't know If they actually get you jobs or not but they give you the option to work with them making calls so you can Pay your training, so that's what I'm doing, but I have just been in one class

meka on July 31, 2013:

they are a big scam trust I went last month

JC SUX on July 14, 2013:

They turned me away when I told them I was unemployed! Scam written all over it!!!

Adriana on June 14, 2013:

I been attending JC since April. I'm not sure if it's a scam. But after hearing what they told most of the girls during the audition, really made me question JC. But I am thirsty and I am willing to go through the hell to get to my glory. I am doing things outside of JC. Now they do tell you.. " We do not help you get the JOB, it's all you". I'm the type of person that can read people. What they said sounds really rehearsed. But I didn't care because I want it so bad. Going to class at JC one day, I overheard a lady saying " Are you excited? We look forward to meeting you". At my call back I asked how often do y'all have auditions. She replied " every six months". well, I didn't believe that. My biggest issue with JC. At least get attractive people. NOT JUST ANYBODY! It's like they just walk into dollar general and ask people would you like to model. I was standing their thinking maybe I should bum this audition and see if they will give me a call back. But I thought half of the room is already doing that for me. SO the coast 2000. I wish I could use that 2000 dollars on some clothes. They have this thing call Talent Scout ( pretty much using their students at JC to scam other family, every person you recruit you get .25) ???? what the freak. and you also can do Freeze modeling at a local mall. I have yet to waste my time with that. I DO other work. NOT BECAUSE OF JC. BUT BECAUSE I KNOW I HAVE WHAT IT TAKES. JC tells me you're only 5'7 you cant be a high fashion model. ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD. at JC they teach you walks, and how to put on makeup. you make a profile with 800 casting and I don't know if that's legit because I don't sign up for that til next week. But I will be going on either THE FACE or AMERICA NEXT TOP MODEL next season to put my face out there. I think once you have spent over 2000 dollars to be model no cost is too much anymore. that 2000 dollars could have been flight and hotel to go to agency in MIAMI, LA or NY!!!!you don't need JC to be a model. I know by experience. UNLESS YOU JUST WANT TO SAY I GO to John Casablancas. I would never go to a casting call and be like I went to JC. They would laugh at me and potentially I may not get the job. I graduate from JC in November will tell you more later...

April on June 05, 2013:

I went to the John Casablancas school when I was 13 and graduated with the highest grade in my class. I was offered at that time a contract to sign on with the agency. Unfortunately at that time, I couldn't do it, so I went on and some 8 years later, I got a call saying that they still wanted to sign me. So I went and talked with a group about signing on with Model and Talent Management. They asked me to fork over some money to pay for a photo shoot so that I would have current head/body shots for my portfolio. But after paying the money, getting the photos, and signing up with them, they told me that I would have to go look for my own work. They didn't help me out with finding bookings at all, so after a few months trying on my own, I gave up and now have wasted well over $3000 to John Casablancas and MTM. It is absolutely a scam don't let yourself be suckered in either.

Grace on April 21, 2013:

My friend is taking classes form them. I tried warning her that it wasn't what she thought. She then got angry at me for "not being happy for her". I would show her this but she would just get mad. Oh, and the price is like 2,000 dollars.

Frod43 on March 14, 2013:

Unfortunately, several big name model agencies found out they could make more money by charging people that want to be models...for so-called 'training'. In fact if a legit agency thinks you have don't pay anything!..Please do not give them any money! Walk away, fast!

Bt on February 24, 2013:


TornJordans on January 22, 2013:

I Actually Just Think The People Who Went And Auditioned And Didn't Get Called Back Or Booked A Gig Is Because They Just Didn't Have What It Took..? Maybe, I Don't Know..I Have A Meeting Thing Tomorrow. I'll Repost How It Went For People Who Really Want To Know.

christy on January 21, 2013:

I'm a graduate of John Casablancas it's a really great school , I went to he one here in Oklahoma City, Ok I loved it and I can go back for 3 years if I want and I will & they do help you with lots, then you go to auditions after wards and if the people like you they will take you for a movie or comercial, or modeling.

DeAnna on December 12, 2012:

Okayy listen here people JC is a really good place I start in Jan. and you DON'T PAY THOUSANDS UP FRONT!!!! You can pay weekly, monthly, or all at one time OR!!! If your really good like me :) and they want you they set a certain amount up JC IS NOT A SCAM!!! And they are a school AND agency if your a B they have classes for you to take and then help you get auditions and they also help you get into bigger agencys!! The people who work are really nice and NOT EVERYONE GETS IN!!! Ive seen them turn down some people!! There ive said what I want Its your choice if you don't go but just so you no your making a mistake if you don't go!!!

Diana on November 24, 2012:

Well I have an audition tomorrow and now I'm not sure I should go anymore.. hmm.

A on August 01, 2012:

Wow, everyone on here defending this place needs to learn how to spell correctly and to use English grammar correctly. Lykkkkeee y wuld any1 beleeve some1 hew tipes lykeee dis?! Or a person who doesn't know how to use their, there, and they're correctly, or too, to, and two? I guess you don't have to use proper English if acting is your career.

John on July 25, 2012:

there school is not a scam guys loll a IF U GO TO ANY SCHOOl it will be between 1000$-$3000 and thats what your paying for to learnnn..if your good then the agencie will take you for free but if you have trouble but you have a good body and facial experssions they will accept you if your not that well of a good looking person then they'll send you home. What your paying for is the school okay godd. And its up to you to gte work you have to work for it and be determined not just sit on your ass and wait for them my god. this is a real place and not fake like ohh lets say that takes your money and you never sign anything or get calls and when you try to call them it just keeps ringing yea that's fake soo trust me IM john smith i live in Redford Michigan you can look me up on facebook or twitter which im @johnbonton im on instagram so im a real person okay fucking people who say this is a scam ethier didn't have the money for it or are mad because they're child couldn't get in because they didn't have enough determination AND scams never turn down anyone WITH johncasablancas they turn down a lot of people so yeah ITS REAL

Chloe on July 14, 2012: