Baby Modeling Scam Revealed


Last fall, a young woman stopped me in the mall and asked if I ever thought about having my son model for catalogs and TV commercials. “Yes,” I answered skeptically. She gave me a short application to fill out and said someone would be in touch with me to schedule an appointment.

“Is there a fee to join your company?” I asked.

“No. It’s completely free,” she answered.

“Do they want you to pay for pictures or a portfolio?” I asked.

"No, there’s no obligation to do anything,” she answered in the sweetest of voices.

Something wasn’t right, I concluded. It sounded too good to be true. I left the mall forgetting about the encounter and wasn’t reminded again until that following Sunday morning when a call came through from InterFace Talent.

“Are you Lewie Jayden’s mother?” a gentleman asked in a smooth jazz radio voice.

“Yes. Who’s this?”

“I’m Jay from InterFace Talent. How are you today?”

“Oh. Before we get too involved here, I have to tell you that I’ve done some modeling before, and I know that a lot of agencies want you to pay for their services. We don’t have money to pay for pictures, portfolios…”

“No worries. The 45 minute consultation is completely free. There are no fees, and you do not have to pay to use our services.”

I was still a little skeptical, but I let him proceed to talk me into an interview at 6:30 p.m. for the following day.

“You and your husband need to bring two forms of identification to the visit and a few photos of your son,” he added.

“Gee, I haven’t developed any recent photos of my son in a while. They’re all on the computer. Maybe I should change the appointment for the following Monday.”

“No worries,” he answered. “Any photo will do. You can just print the pictures from your computer.”

“Still, maybe I should wait until the following Monday.”

“No. Tomorrow’s fine,” he said, practically cutting me off. “I’ll give you directions. If you come a little later than 6:30, don’t worry. We’ll wait for you. Just know that if you cancel this appointment, there will be no other opportunities.”

At this point, a little red flag should have popped up, but it didn’t. For once in my life, I wanted to be convinced that this “marketing company” was different. I wanted to be convinced that it was reputable and not a scam.

As we drove to the silver, modern, high-rise building in South Norwalk, Connecticut, my husband continued to shake his head: “Are you sure this whole thing isn’t a waste of our time?”

“I hope not,” I responded. “If it is, I’ll owe you a million apologies on the way home.”

Apparently, my husband felt that I owed him some other “favors” as well.

Like a little trooper, baby Lewie endured the 50 minute drive without a complaint. We unfastened him from the car seat and sat him in his small stroller before walking into the large waiting room that was surrounded by big glass windows. As my husband strolled Little Lewie to a nearby seat, I reported to the receptionist and filled out another, lengthier form. As I looked around, I noticed that there were at least ten other families in the room with their kids, ranging from a few weeks old to early high school age. The guy with the jazz radio voice made it sound like we had an exclusive appointment, but apparently, there were a lot of families that had 6:30 appointments.

After a half an hour wait, a sleezy looking Italian guy greeted us with a pearly white Colgate smile. “Is this Lewie Jayden?” he asked bending down to Little Lewie’s height in the stroller. “You’re so cute!” He stood back up. “Hi Dad. Hi Mom. My name is Michael.”
We followed him into this ultra modern office with super high ceilings. “So, what do you guys think about seeing Lewie in commercials and in print?” he asked, still sporting his superficial grin.

“We’re both comfortable with the idea as long as Little Lewie gets to maintain his childhood,” my husband answered.

“Oh, of course. No worries. My job is not to make anyone famous. My job is to get Lewie a few jobs to help you save for college,” he answered, sitting very smug at his desk.

He asked us for our two forms of identification and the photos of Little Lewie. Since I still didn’t have the time to develop any recent pictures, I brought in his JC Penny portraits that were taken after his first birthday.

“Wow!” he exclaimed, looking at the pictures. “You have one cute kid. He could easily get work. I bet you don’t have a single bad picture of him.”

“You’re right,” my husband and I explained. (We’re not modest people when it comes to our son.)

“In fact, I bet you get compliments about him wherever you go,” he said, sounding a little rehearsed.

“Why yes, we do,” my husband and I agreed again.

Michael proceeded to tell us a little (I mean a very little) about the company and then showed us pictures of children, supposedly represented by InterFace Talent, that got work with Toys R Us, Babies R Us, and even Jennifer Lopez.

“You see all the pages in this book?” he asked while flipping through his binder. “This is all the work we’ve gotten for kids like Lewie just for the month of September alone. You see, 80% of the clients we represent get work.”

I didn’t find the binder or the 80% statistic believable, but I let him continue.

“All we need to do is take pictures of Little Lewie and have comp cards made up of him. Then we send them to the companies, and he gets work.”

Then, looking as if he were about to share a secret with us, he slid a “mysterious” piece of paper onto his desk and pushed it in our direction. “Here are the prices for the photo shoot,” he explained. I wouldn’t recommend the cheapest one for $550. I would go with the Deluxe package, which gives you the opportunity to take pictures of him in three different outfits.”

I looked at the Deluxe Package and noticed it cost $1000. There were other packages that were more expensive as well.

“I’m not prepared to make an important decision like this right now,” I answered. “Can we take some information home with us and then decide if this is something we would like to do?” I asked.

“I’m sorry, but you have to make the decision now,” he answered. “We don’t send these sheets home with anyone.”

Right then, I knew something was WRONG. What reputable company makes their clients decide to work for them right on the spot, and why were these damn photo shoot price sheets so secretive?

“I’m sorry, but I’m not prepared to make a decision like this now. In fact, to be honest, we really can’t afford an investment like this at the moment.”

“Well I’m sure you could make it work financially if you really wanted it. I see people in worse financial situations that are able to work something out.”

“I’m sorry, but we’re not prepared to pay for something like this now.”

“Tell me,” he said, glaring directly at me. (This time his Colgate smile had disappeared completely.) “You said you did modeling before. You know that this business comes with a price. You know that you need to pay for photos to market yourself. Why even bother coming?”

“Yes, I do know,” I answered, “and I was scammed quite a bit on paying for photos like this. Your representative who called me yesterday told me that there were no photo fees, so that’s why I came today. I figured you collected your portion of the revenue once you found us work.”

“Well, the agencies you work for will take a certain percentage of the revenue…So, you mean to tell me that you’re going to deny your son the opportunity of a lifetime? I mean you spent this kind of money on yourself, right?”

Okay, so now this Michael was getting personal and downright nasty. First of all, I tried modeling before I had a family or any real financial responsibilities of my own. Secondly, I wasn’t denying my son the opportunity for anything. Who the hell was this greasy Italian model wanna-be?

“I’m sorry, but I just don’t see it that way. He’s got lots of opportunities and a great future ahead of him because he has two parents who love him very much.”

Before we left, he actually offered to knock down the $1,000 price to $550. “I’ll tell you what? Because I believe your son can make it big in this industry, I’m willing to have our company invest in half of the price, so all you have to pay is $550,” he said, looking rather uncomfortable.

At that point, my husband and I knew this whole thing had to be a scam. I mean really. All of a sudden, this guy is bargaining with us like a used-car salesman. How fair is it that we could get away with paying $550 while other parents would be scammed into spending the entire $1000, plus the extra $250 for the composite cards? We looked at each other and shook our heads. “Sorry, we need to go.”

I had to blog about this because it makes me mad that so many innocent people become prey to these companies. As an adult, I had at least three different companies scam me out of my money. One company went bankrupt before they even had a chance to market my very expensive comp cards. Another company, TC Talent or TCT, took my money and found me one job for which I did not get paid. Yes, I’ll be the first to admit that I’d love to see my little munchkin’s face on the cover of American Baby Magazine, but it’s not going to happen with a company that lies and forces you to make a decision to work with them right on the spot with no guarantees of anything. Let’s form a community and put these CEO’s out of business. Anyone who becomes rich by preying off of people’s hopes and dreams should be in a small jail cell somewhere watching other people live the dreams he/she wants but cannot have.


  1. Oh wow.

    That is amazing!

    I can't believe that .... well I can, but that is awful!

    You should publish the name of the company so others can watch out!

    Thanks for the post.

    Going Green with Noah

  2. that is so frustrating! I am so sorry that happened to you! Thanks for the info about that so we can all be aware! Also thanks for the sweet comment on my blog you are so nice!

  3. I'm glad you posted this. Hopefully this will keep others from being scammed. Good for you standing up to the sleazy guy!

  4. Hello i also host a friday blog hop! Feel free to add yourself to the list any time! Im your newest follower!

    Have a wonderful Friday!


  5. Unbelievable! Well, it could happen to most of us where are kids are concerned. We only want the best and for them to succeed.


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