Pro Tips #10: Spotting Fake Castings, Round 501,053,838


Be smart. Don’t get kidnapped.

Photo: Nick Costky

Hello everyone! I just hopped off of the IG live feed this evening- thank you to everyone who popped in to listen!

Today I dissected another fake casting call. It was just another creeper Internet troll looking for lingerie photos (selfies, to be exact) from young women who do not know any better (ugh).

As you all know, I am not the biggest fan of Model Mayhem. I tried paying to use the “advanced” version of the site (bullsh*t) for a few months, and after testing it out, I cancelled my membership. I popped on to see what happens when you downgrade your account and found this lovely casting for a “lifestyle shoot” for an “apparel line” in the Denver section:

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Oh boy. Where to start? There are so many red flags. I knew almost immediately that this was fake, but let me explain why.

Red Flags, one by one (I will refer to the human as “the writer”):

1) “Follow me on IG, like some photos, but under NO CIRCUMSTANCES DM (direct message) ME.” I’m sorry… what did I just read? It is obviously not really the writer’s IG account if they are saying “under no circumstances” should you DM them. Alrighty then. Moving on.

2) “Email photos in lingerie/underwear/bikini and I prefer unedited selfies…” Again, I’m sorry… what? You should never be asked to send in an underwear selfie. Creep alert. Sirens are going off. Wee-oo, wee-oo…

3) “DO NOT SEND PROFESSIONAL IMAGES.” …The heck kind of photographer is this? Any and all clients should want to see professional work. Hiring an amateur model for a big brand shoot is a huge risk. Someone hiring models for a half day apparel line shoot with a rate of $500 should be asking for experienced models with professional portfolios."

4) “Do not text me, message me on the site, send a modeling resume, or DM on Instagram.” Oh my goodness, so many red flags. They are literally JUST ASKING PEOPLE FOR SEXY/REVEALING selfies to be sent to their email. That is LITERALLY what this posting is. I have so many feelings about this, but I will keep them to myself or else this post will take three centuries to read.

5) The overall tone of this threw me off. It felt very aggressive and I felt “off” when I read it for the first time. They are really trying to make sure that no one contacts the real photographer, but at the same time they are trying to make themselves look as legitimate as possible (gotta get those lingerie photos!).

Research time:

1) The first thing I did was conduct a simple Google search on the photographer. Multiple Twitter pages came up, and I believe four different FaceBook pages appeared as well (great).

2) Next, I checked to see if the email addresses listed on both the photographer’s website and Instagram lined up with the email listed on the casting call. The did not. The email listed in the casting call was different. Strange.

3) There are two other castings that are similar (one is the exact same and is listed for Seattle) and for the same time frame. Weird? Pictured below:

4) The writer of the ad has identified themselves as a “female photographer” on Model Mayhem, but a “male photographer” on all other social media outlets. I finally found a photo of the photographer whose name they are using and they are in fact definitely a male. I am not exactly sure what this means but I found it to be odd. I am just listing all of the things that I found to be strange, really.

5) There is barely any interaction with people on some of the FaceBook pages. The Model Mayhem links one, and I found other through searches on FaceBook itself. I did find the actual photographer’s page and he has quite a few followers.

6) The biography written on Model Mayhem has a very cocky vibe to it, and after reading through it I would definitely never want to hire this photographer. It turned me off very quickly.

There was just so much that sounded alarms for me with this casting, but those are the main points I wanted to mention. I hope this all makes sense to anyone reading this through! To put it more simply, if you ever get a weird vibe from a casting, do not apply and just move on.

Think this is a lot of work? Welcome to the world of a freelance model. I do this all day, every day, with every single casting I read. Some are very obviously real and require less background checking. I would normally move on from a casting like this within about thirty seconds or less, but I thought this was a great example of a tricky one that may catch the eye of someone who is new to modeling and really desperate to break into the scene. Always have your eyes and ears open and be alert for red flags.

Signing off! Blog post on atmosphere modeling as a freelancer coming up next.


ashlie noelle


Whew… I have to sit down and stretch it out after all of that.

Photo: Nick Costky

Ashlie Wynne