8 Keys to Find a Legitimate Agency for Aspiring Models


Welcome to Mutsumi Takahashi’s Model Bible.

Last time, we talked about “Why Should I Work with an Agency? Two Reasons to Sign Up!”.

“I want to be a model but I don’t know if you can really trusty agencies”

“Someone came to ask me if I wanted to be a model. Should I go for it?”

“I passed an audition but I was told to go to a school. It is so expensive”

I’m sure some of the aspiring young folks have been through something like this before. It is easy to imagine the anxiety you have especially when you don’t have anyone around you that can tell a thing or two about how the industry operates.

Today, we would like to talk about how to find an agency you can trust when it comes for you to find one yourself.

No matter when you are or where you are there are a countless number of cases where aspiring young people are exploited.

Please keep these key points in mind when looking for your reliable partner.

What Are The Key Points When Looking for a Trustworthy Agency

Where do you start when you start looking for an agency?

Most people these days would start by going online. I’m sure you will find a bunch of different agencies.

You will be able to find details such as some requirements or if they hold any auditions.

Most agencies will review your profile and conduct an interview or an audition and they will pick who they would like to represent. There may be cases where you get picked on the street.

Either way, you have to be cautious because there are a lot of shady ones out there.

Below, we present 8 useful guidelines when determining an agency’s credibility.

1. Does it even exist? Check the website.


Let’s says someone walks up to you and say if you want to be a model. Make sure to go online and verify the company or the very person who talked to you really exists before making your next step.
It is definitely shady if no results show up when you google it.
It is also worth your suspicion when the agency doesn’t have a physical office. Even if it does, it could be a fake office with no real function. It is very important that you verify its existence by looking it up on the map.

2. Does it have any business record?


Most agencies show what their models and actors have done in the past on their websites. Not only whether they have done anything, but it is also equally important to see what it is that they have done.

Maybe you should also double check if they are true. It is risky to take their words for granted.

People talk about pornography as one of the biggest issues that surround the industry. Some agencies convince you that it will just be a stepping stone but advertising agencies would never make offers to such agencies because it is too much of a risk to take that could ruin their clients’ corporate reputation.
Even if it is not at your will, it could leave a significant mark on your career or life once you have yourself involved in pornography. It is one thing you definitely want to avoid if you want to pursue your career as a model.

3. How long has it been in business?


Like we mentioned in your past article, the industry relies on trust and without it, it is very difficult to get a job.
It is very hard for new companies with little history to break in. As a rule of thumb, the longer an agency is in business, the more you can trust it.
However, it doesn’t always mean that newly established agencies are to be avoided. Maybe the company founder has a lot of experience in his/her previous positions and carries that connection to his/her own newly established agency.
You are most likely to find such information on the company’s website. Make sure to find out what the company or the founder’s career is like.

4. What is the atmosphere of the office?


They may ask you to come to the office for an interview or an audition. It is definitely worth visiting even when they say that you don’t need to. If you are a minor, it is a good idea to have your caregiver with you.

What do you see?

Trust your instincts. You may need to give it a second thought if the employees aren’t doing much or the office isn’t very tidy. Trust your first impression.

You would feel the energy in the office if things are going well for them. Everyone would be actively doing something.

How big is it?

It is not about how many people work at the office or how big the office is.
What they have done is far more important than that.

However, it is worth being cautious when the balance is a bit off. They may not be able to look after you well enough when they have too many talents compared to the number of staff. You can go have a look at the website to see how many employees work there, too.

How do they treat you?

Do they welcome you? They will be your agent and they are going to represent you in business?
Do you think you can count on them? Ask yourself these questions.

Do they answer your questions?

Do they answer your questions when asked? It is also important.
Don’t be afraid to ask about money and see if they give you clear answers.
You need to be careful if they give you abstract answers or trying to talk themselves away from it.

5. Do they charge you expensive fees?


They may or may not charge you fees upon registration.

Many of the agencies do not charge you any fees but others may ask you to charge you a registration fee or for your composite cards.

There are some agencies that ask you to join their academy after you pass their audition and charge you a very big amount of the tuition.

Some of these agencies are focused on making money out of the academy and do not put as much effort in promoting you. It is perfectly fine to join the academy if you think it is worth the money but taking the course doesn’t guarantee your career.

The Tokyo Government also made a warning to its residents about it.

Reference (in Japanese): https://www.shouhiseikatu.metro.tokyo.jp/sodan/kinkyu/20140804.html

There are lots of major agencies that run their academies. While such academies have produced successful talents, they are only handful.
You may want to think it carefully before signing up.

It is difficult to say with 100% certainty that academies are the path to your success.

It is definitely worth your suspicion when the agency is not at all known or the academy doesn’t have any successful alumni.

Research and consider carefully in advance.

6. Do they show you a contract? Do they explain what it is saying?


It is dangerous to leave things fuzzy.

Once in the industry, you will be surrounded by confidential information and people will constantly ask you to sign various documents about it.

Here, it becomes crucial that you actually understand what it says.

A good agency explains to you in easy terms as well so that you understand it. How do offers come to you? When will you be paid and how? These are the things you want to check.

Never sign a contract without fully understanding it.

7. Do they have a Paid Employment Placement Business License?


Agencies are by law required to obtain a paid employment placement business license.

You should be able to find out about it on the website. You could directly ask them about it if you want too.

8. Ask around


If possible, it is best to ask someone that knows about the agency or people who actually work for them.

Do they charge you feed upon registration? Do they look after you well enough?

You should be able to find out a lot of bad stuff and. of course, good stuff.

Equip Yourself With Knowledge and Protect Yourself

Above are 8 key points you should keep in mind to see if an agency can be trusted.

Of course, it is by no means a perfect list. Scams will always come up with new ways to trick people into bad deals.

The industry is very competitive and wanting so badly to break through, they are often blinded and allured into scams.

While it is very important to bring such scams to justice, by that time it is often too late and the damage is done. It can ruin your career or worse your life.

That’s why it is crucial that you equip yourself with knowledge to protect yourself.

Having said that, we are not trying to scare you away from pursuing your dream. There are plenty of good agencies with good minded people trying to help you make your dream come true. You just need to and how to find them.

Next time, we will talk about how you can join an agency and more details about the contract.


高橋 睦実(Mutsumi Takahashi)


President of Free Wave Co., Ltd.
Born in Mito, Japan. In 1989, appointed as the Head of Japan office of Star Dance Connection. Established Free Wave Co., Ltd. which represents and manages international dancers and models later becoming one of the top international model agencies in Japan. She likes jazz and cats. She is also working towards saving animals from cruel treatments