On Friday, I was headed to my mom’s house after lunch when I was approached by an older Caucasian man who asked me if I had ever considered modeling or acting. I was a bit taken aback. Although people had come up to me from time to time and said that I should model, I never took them seriously. I had always been the awkward guy. People seemed to respect me more for my academic prowess than my appearance.
At the same time, I knew that I met the height and weight requirements and I had been feeling better about my photographs lately. I was also feeling a bit more confident after seeing that my workout regimen was making a difference. I had joked with a few cousins recently about modeling. Their response was clear. It was something like “Good idea, but I better not see your stuff hanging out.” I understood. I’m a minister and I’m sure it would be awkward for anyone to see their pastor on a billboard in nothing but a pair of briefs. Nonetheless, they were generally supportive.
I went back the next day for the meeting and it went well. The people were nice and the director of the company seemed knowledgeable, yet a bit too talkative for my liking. He seemed a bit too busy justifying their business practices in order to explain that they were not a scam. I couldn’t understand why any reputable agency spend so much time justifying their practices unless they had been accused of scamming before. (Unfortunately, I can’t actually outline their business practices on this blog, but as he explained how they work with their clients, I fully understood why people were suspicious of them.)
After the group session, we had brief individual interviews with their agents. Mine meeting started with the agent immediately informing me that I resembled Stevie Wonder. I’m pretty sure it was just the hair. Aside from the awkward Stevie Wonder reference, everything seemed in order. We scheduled another meeting to figure out how we could proceed.
Unfortunately, something didn’t feel right about the situation. They were a bit too quick to say they would work with me as a model, singer, and actor. There had been no audition process. Even if I had the appearance of a model, there was always the possibility that I had a horrible voice. We’ve all watched American Idol enough to know that people have a tendency to exaggerate their own ability. As for acting, I already knew that wasn’t my strong point. I could fake it for church plays, but that’s about it.
My biggest red flag was actually their internet marketing model. They employed a very strong search engine optimization strategy using a series of interconnected blogs in order to bolster their reputation on the internet. However, I could find very little information about them or their models on websites outside of their network. I wrote that off as them being a relatively new agency, but it was still a bit unsettling. What if they were really hiding something?
In all honesty, I was a bit suspicious even before I had gotten to this point in the meeting. The last thing I had heard about this agency was that my “nemesis” was signed to it. (Yes, I have a nemesis. Maybe “former friend” or “old friend” are better descriptions, but sometimes he feels like a nemesis.) During a brief time of contact between us, he had mentioned that he was working with a new agency. I had never been fully convinced that he was a working model, but I finally stumbled across his portfolio on this agency’s website. I figured that he would be able to tell me if my suspicions were valid. After all, he had worked with this agency for a few months.
The only problem was that I had no intention of ever contacting him again. We were close friends at one point, but past incidents suggested that we were better off not knowing each other. I am not going to say what happened that caused the rift between us, but it is safe to say that many of my close friends and relatives are still slightly sickened by the mention of his name. However, at my second meeting with the agency, they really were pushing me to sign. I convinced them to give me a few more days to think about the decision I was about to make, but in actuality, I was giving myself enough time to contact my nemesis. Shortly after the meeting ended, I swallowed my pride, pulled out my cell phone, and sent him an email and a text asking him to call me back.
Note: I apologize for the cliffhanger ending, but Part 2 of this post will be up on Monday 6/11. I just can’t end the story until after I have my follow-up phone call with the agency.
UPDATE: Here is the link to Part 2 of this post that went live on Tuesday 6/11/12.