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Step Daughter contacting 'modelling agencies'

(27 Posts)
shoeaddict83 Mon 13-Nov-17 14:00:05

SO SD is 12 but easily passes for 16yr old, people are usually shocked when they find out her age.

She loves acting and does alot of drama at school and loves messing about with her hair and makeup etc. Her Mum rang my DP this weekend to let him know she has just found out that SD has been speaking to someone online who says they are from a modelling agency and can take her photos to help with her acting career hmm This 'photographer' has never asked her age, and quite obviously we know this scam and understandably both parents are furious as she has handed out her name and phone number and this person keeps trying to ring her.

Shes had her phone taken away by her mum, and whens she is with us this weekend she will have her ipad confiscated for a while too as punishment. She cant seem to understand the issues, and without begin too graphic and telling her usually these men ask you to strip off for 'photos' which then leads to other things, any advise for trying to explain this to her?

I have a great relationship with her and happily spoke to her when she started her periods etc so no issues, and after finding a fake instagram account she set up using some older models photo, we already had a convo with her about dangers of social media and online usage, so i just cant think of the best way to get across the seriousness of it without it coming across as a lecture just because were angry.
Were even more worried as she walks home from school every day and is there for a while on her own before her mum gets back, and although she swears she has not given out her address we cant be sure. Ive suggested we pass the number to the police so if this is someone preying on young girls they can maybe trap them, but thats up to them as the parents to decide.

We havent had SD since we found this out as we wont see her till our turn this weekend but wanted advise on how to approach this issue with her? Anyone had similar?

ohreallyohreallyoh Mon 13-Nov-17 15:12:28

I would make the pastoral staff at school,aware so they can talk to her as well. It may have more impact.

Maybe look for horror stories on the internet? There are lots of videos aimed at that age - try CEOP. This one is good:

Show her websites of legitimate modelling agencies? Maybe a Xmas present could be a professional photo shoot (groupon will be your friend!) with a promise the photos can be sent to agencies?

It is very hard. They all think they are streetwise and think it could never happen to them. If all else fails, remind her having photos of any kind of nudity in a child her age is a criminal offence and can result in years on the sex offenders register. Be alert to the possibilities of additional fake accounts and a second phone. At the very least she must leave her phone with you when she goes to bed and I would suggest all internet access is in the same room as an adult only.

eyebrowsonfleek Mon 13-Nov-17 15:55:05

Google the modelling agency. Hopefully you’ll find lots of links to say that it’s a scam.

If he’s claiming to be from a legitimate agency, call them when dsd is with you and ask to talk to this person. They’ll either say that the person doesn’t work there or the real person with that name will confirm that somebody is using his identity. Ask this agency how they discover models and whether they would contact a 12 year old directly or contact their manager/parents. Hopefully this will prove that dsd shouldn’t talk to this person.

swingofthings Mon 13-Nov-17 16:09:11

I don't think it was right to punish her. In her mind, she was being pro-active, looking for opportunities, so probably thought she was doing something positive.

The problem is that she believed it was genuine, so the only way she will take it in is to have proof that it wasn't. Has anyone spent time with her to do research and show her how you can tell that something is a scam rather than genuine? I would have approached it as a 'research project', so that she was learning about recognising scams, rather than a telling her off.

swingofthings Mon 13-Nov-17 16:10:55

By the way, those scams are opportunistic rather than predatory. I very much doubt it would lead to them watching her moves and deciding to knock on the door to rob or kidnap her.

MrsJayy Mon 13-Nov-17 16:11:37

Did nobody report this to the police ?

shoeaddict83 Mon 13-Nov-17 16:43:02

Thanks everyone for your replies, Not yet reported to police as far as i know - like i said with me not being her parent i didnt want to press this as its for her mum and dad to decide, but i have asked DP to mention it to his ex.
Have not yet seen her so will sit down with her this weekend to get the details and as you say maybe google the 'agency' and show her its a scam. Thansk you for the video link too.
swing we are taking her technology away as punishment as she does know full well about this, we have chatted before when the instagram account thing came out and she is very aware, so why she would give out personal details to someone on the internet is beyond us. She lives for her phone so taking it away is showing her she cant just do these things and still carry on using something she loves to contact her friends etc. Also her mother made that decision and we are supporting by doing the same at our house this week rather than letting her think that her dad and me will be more lenient than her mum about this.
ohreally we do monitor her phone, her ipad is restricted and on our account obviously, and she does only use it when in the room with us and i regularly do a history check on the websites, its taken off her at night etc, unfortunately this didn't stop her setting up a second instagram under the first legit one as i had no idea this could be done without authorisation and didn't know when checking there was secondary account linked. Perhaps my nativity there although im normally quite tech/social savvy! Again lesson learnt to check what shes doing more thoroughly.

dodobookends Mon 13-Nov-17 16:55:28

Modelling agencies don't take photographs of people to help them with their acting career. That's what acting/drama agencies do, and the photos are held by the agency and used by them to put the kids up for jobs. It is also extremely difficult to get on agencies' books - they are usually full. If this person has approached your SDD then it sounds pretty dodgy to me.
Have a look on as there are a lot of folks there with performing kids and plenty of information about agencies - good and bad.

shoeaddict83 Mon 13-Nov-17 17:02:42

dodo thanks we aren’t trying to find a reputable agency, she’s 12 and just likes drama at school, we aren’t trying to find some to further any future career aspirations on that front.
That was just relevant info as to why she has apparently been talking to this mystery agency man. I’m just trying to get advice on how to explain the dangers of the internet/social media to her, not just modelling pics related, but for her to see she can’t just contact strangers on the internet and give out personal details. This incident has just highlighted what she thinks is ok in that regard.

dodobookends Mon 13-Nov-17 18:39:11

No, but if you research genuine agencies, it will become more apparent whether this one is legit or not. You can then show her what reputable agencies are like and explain how they work.

dodobookends Mon 13-Nov-17 18:40:17

Did she find him and make contact, or did he contact her first?

SandyY2K Mon 13-Nov-17 20:29:16

A legit agency won't take her on without a patebt8or guardian aged 18 +. A modelling about saw my DN and on finding out her age...said she had to come along with a parent.

My Dsis went along and after discussion, said she would have to be 16 for the adult modelling.

Even though she looked older...
She was 13 at the time.

RavingRoo Mon 13-Nov-17 20:30:45

Why not contact legit modelling agencies for her?

Thymeout Mon 13-Nov-17 21:18:29

Why not tell her about most likely being asked to strip and pose topless? I don't think that's too graphic, and might shock her into taking you seriously.

shoeaddict83 Mon 13-Nov-17 21:50:50

Thymeout that’s exactly my concern and is what she needs to understand. The video another poster linked above is really good and I’ll be showing her that.

She’s only 12 and I don’t think either of her parents want her particularly in modelling so they aren’t interested in her contacting legitimate agencies, this is more about online protection and being aware how easily people can find info about you and not handing out personal information. That’s what we need to drill into her. The picture/modelling angle isn’t the issue and it’s not a road they are interested in taking her down, it just happened to be that that has led to this issue of her letting some strange man contact her and her seeing no problem with that!
I’d be asking the same if she’d given out info over a gaming headset or something, it’s the principle of online sharing we need to get across the modelling thing is not the focus.
Thanks for all the replies x

shoeaddict83 Mon 13-Nov-17 21:52:58

And sandy I thought that, this man never even asked her age apparently which is huge red flag anyway. I’m presuming either she filled in some bogus form/website contact or he saw an Instagram post from her and contacted her somehow. DP is meeting ex this weekend and getting full details, she just rang him in panic about this guy ringing after his daughter handed out her details to get photos done, so I’ll find out more when we see them.

Oliversmumsarmy Mon 13-Nov-17 22:21:31

Whilst it might be not what her parents want this doesn't mean it is not what your sd wants.

I agree about keeping safe and what everyone has said Internet safety but if your dsd is wanting to go into modelling or drama then I would be looking at how a proper agency works.

At 12 she would be fine age wise for getting an acting agent but if she passes for 16 then even if she was the best actress in the world she is too tall and old looking and most agents wouldn't touch her as she wouldn't get any work. They want 12 year olds that can pass for 5 year younger not 5 years older. They have plenty of 16+ year olds who can pass for 12-16 years old who don't need a licence and all the complications that come with employing a child

Modelling agencies where the only issue with regards to height is you needs to be taller are usually looking at 14 years old being the youngest they accept

eyebrowsonfleek Tue 14-Nov-17 16:30:40

Does dsd watch Dance Moms? The girls on that programme (about 15/16?) have adults like their mums manage their social media profiles, sort out work and are very closely watching practices etc. There’s an episode where you clearly hear the cameraman say filming can’t commence until the mums are back in the building.
I realise that the dilemma is about her not talking to strangers but using the example of successful teens might help her realise that any career opportunities can’t happen without her parents being involved.

Jasminedes Tue 14-Nov-17 16:58:35

Be frank. You would rather not have to tell her, but unfortunately there are a lot of people online out to exploit others. They are very convincing and seem genuine at first. Once she sends pictures, the person is likely to start to request pictures in swimwear, underwear or without clothes. These are for his sexual gratification only - there is nothing in it for her. Also that in some cases people have then been blackmailed 'I will share your pictures/tell your parents unless you pay/do xyz'. Make her promise that if she ever gets into a tricky situation like that she can come to any of you, and you will help her sort it out, with no judgement. Tell her that he might need reporting, just in case he targets someone less savvy than her.

Oliversmumsarmy Wed 15-Nov-17 12:15:38

I think the issue is that her parents are not actually taking account of what their dd wants and completely shutting her down so she doesn't have access to any discussions or help or proper agents and is leaving her exposed to charlatans and worse.

A proper agent would only advertise if they are a new agency or they are looking for a particular age group. They also have proper premises that they work from.

An agent for acting at this age is more interested in how young you look, height and potential.
I know someone who worked on and off as a child model and was on tv and at big London theatre but at 12 shot up and didn't work again till she had left college at 18. Another one we know is under 5ft at 18 and has worked consistently through out her teenage years playing 8-10year olds.

Modelling agencies where height is a must wouldn't touch her as she is too young.

She needs taking to a proper agency who would probably advise her that she needs to work hard in school, do as much drama, singing, dance and sports etc and at 16 consider doing musical theatre at college or after A levels look at drama school.

Why are her parents so against drama as a career. I know many people who are in the industry. A lot you would never have heard of yet they work a lot of the time in small productions or doing a bit of teaching. They have mortgages, they put food on the table they have husbands, wives and children.
It is hard work but they couldn't ever see themselves doing anything else.

Oliversmumsarmy Wed 15-Nov-17 12:21:16

If she is taken seriously she might decide it is not for her and next year might decide on another career to concentrate on.
If her parents wont discuss things then it will just lead to her discussing stuff with strangers on line who don't have her best interest at heart

shoeaddict83 Wed 15-Nov-17 16:57:06

Olivers at what point did i say she is being shut down and no notice taken? Its not that they haven't discussed it with her at all, they have encouraged drama groups which she attends and support what she wants to do, however this drama is among about 5 other interests she has an partakes in incl Keyboard, Swimming, Choir etc so its not like this is one single minded career choice shes thinking about so please dont make assumptions.
shes never wanted photos doing or even mentioned modeling. i said above neither of them particularly want her in modelling which is true, but its not something shes ever mentioned so the subject has never come up! Questioning their parenting is not right.
It appears someone has contacted her online and said they are from an agency and want to take pictures and shes decided these would help with an acting career. Its the fact she has offered up personal info to a stranger that has contacted her we are all very concerned about. If shed mentioned anything to do with photos and modelling before any of us would have happily researched and looked into it with her, this is the first weve heard of it!
I am not asking for advice on contacting agencies or supporting a career choice, i asked in my original post for advice on how to get across the dangers of the internet, social media and giving out information which ive had some helpful advise on from other posters thankyou

shoeaddict83 Wed 15-Nov-17 17:10:07

ohreally thankyou for the video, showed it to her dad last night and he thinks it’s a great tool for showing the dangers of passing info onto strangers and what can be found on the net so we’re going to get her to watch that on Friday

swingofthings Wed 15-Nov-17 17:18:49

Agree with others. Rightly or wrongly, at the moment, she has her mind set up that she wants to be a model. From her perspective, either she can consider this avenue with the support of her parents, or if they are not supportive, she'll do it herself...potentially dangerously.

They need to start listening to their child. They don't have to go along with everything she wants, but they need to listen. If she was insisting on doing ballet, would they insist that they are not happy with her and stop her?

Oliversmumsarmy Wed 15-Nov-17 21:36:36

Olivers at what point did i say she is being shut down and no notice taken?

dodo thanks we aren’t trying to find a reputable agency, she’s 12 and just likes drama at school, we aren’t trying to find some to further any future career aspirations on that front

I don’t think either of her parents want her particularly in modelling so they aren’t interested in her contacting legitimate agencies

The fact that her parents know nothing about her wanting to do modeling and wouldn't want her to suggests she knows the answer before she asked the question and so has taken it on herself but is too young to see the dangers.

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