Report: #209955

Complaint Review: Barbizon Modeling And Acting School

  • Submitted: Thu, September 07, 2006
  • Updated: Tue, May 13, 2014
  • Reported By: Ocoee Florida
  • Barbizon Modeling And Acting School
    4109 Wake Forest Rd.
    Raleigh, North Carolina

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I first contact Barbizon School of Modeling through a little advertisement I clipped out of the back of a Seventeen Magazine. I sent it in because a friend bet me they wouldn't call me back. Well they did and asked me to come to thier talent search and see if I could make the cut. I went and according to them I "made the cut." I was 12 at the time. I was a nerd who had no fasion sence, no friends, and very low self-esteem. My dream was to become a famous model, so of course I made it. My mom came with me and when the told me I made the cut she was estatic. Then they told her how much it cost, $2000. She said that for something that expensive she would have to talk to her husband first, to which they replied that she would have to pay right then and that if she didn't I couldn't model. So she said ok.

She signed me up for the classes and I was to start in a month or so. When the classes started the teacher was one of the Barbizon models. She didn't really teach us much, only the basics. At the end of the classes we had to take a test on what we learned and if you didn't pass you had to retake the class(At your own expense). Everyone passed. Even though I know I shouldn't have because it was a fill in the blank test and I didn't know anything on that test. After we "graduated" we had to get a photoshoot, and we could only use their outragously expinsive photographer. The photoshoot cost $450 and yet again we paid up.

After that we were told to e-mail them every monday which I did. I was promised a job within the first 6 months of being admitted into the agency. Today makes 3 years and 10 months of being admitted into the agency and I still haven't recieved a job. After one year of being in the agency I called and asked why I hadn't recieved a job and the told me I would have to get updated photoshoots because I had changed so much since my last photoshoot. So yet again we drove 2 hours and paid $500 this time for more photos and still had to pay to get the developed.

After that they called me for IMTA auditions, I had to go to Raleigh again for auditions and even though I messed up my auditions so badly I somehow still made it. IF I paid them $6000 and travel expensis. At this time my parents and I couldn't afford it so we had to turn it down. After that they began to coop an atitude and I still haven't heard from them after that. My advice to all aspiring models is DO NOT go through Barbizon, they are a fake and a fraud and DO NOT want to help you become a model. The only thing they want is MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!!! I want to prevent what happened to me from happening to any other young girl. Barbizon crushed my hopes dreams and spirit and them took my money. I don't want this to happen to anyone else so PLEASE at least consider what I have said before you contact Barbizon.

Ocoee, Florida
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/07/2006 03:46 PM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Barbizon Model and Pact Booker

AUTHOR: Jazzi22 - ()

Most of you saying "It's not a scam, it's a school, they promised you nothing"; you are only half correct. Not all of them call the same way. And the people calling haven't worked with them for years. How do I know? I was also a pact booker. As a pact booker, I would call girls up from different states (I'm in Florida), and tell them about an amazing audition in their area, and that they should go to this audition, while knowing they were just being set up to have more money be asked out of them. Half of what they say is true. You will get more experience in front of people at this audition, you will get feedback. But the feedback isn't actually professional. You have the professionals who do work for people all over the world. They are well known for their work as well. Some of these people you see that they claim to be talent recruits who are giving you feed back, they are the same people every single year. I think it's 2 people total you will see for the 2 different auditions Barbizon holds. You either get to see some guy named Joey Hunter for Passport to Discovery, where you will spend almost $4,000 more dollars, or you'll be at the other audition, with the other so-called professional, for a $900 dollar event.

You're right, they told you it was a school, they never promised you you'd be famous. But they set you up in their placement division where their so-called agents if they need talent, they can look through their graduated girls of Barbizon. Realistically though, a real talent agency will not come to a school for talent. They already have talent lined up for them. Disney, Nickelodean, Universal Studios, they aren't going to Barbizon asking for any students. They are going to actual and REAL agencies. Agencies that actually book their talent with jobs. What's funny is in our Barbizon class, they taught is to NEVER pay upfront fee's to be part of an agency. But here we are paying $2,000 dollars for a modeling class. Excuse me, where does all that money go? What is the point in all that money? $500 is easier to let go of than $2,000. $2,000 I could have used to save up for college.

I had just moved to Florida when I ran into Barbizon. I had NO IDEA who they were. I wish I would have come across this ripoff report place first before doing the school. I wish someone would have warned me it would have been a waste of money. Do you want to know why it's a waste of money? You don't actually learn anything in the class that you can't learn online. They give you false agencies to look for work with. After I graduated the class, I signed up for the placement division. That's when you get the packet of all their well respected and trusted agencies so you can get started on looking for work for modeling and acting. I sent my pictures into 8 of their agencies near me. Not one single reply.

Then I decided to do the Passport To Discovery cruise ship. They said we would be seen by hundreds of different agents from around the world on the cruise. Which was true, we were definitely seen. They gave false hope though. They didn't tell you over half those agents are only there for high fashion models. They said you'd have to do the work to get the agencies to look at you. I did my best with what experience I had to act and model. But I wasn't wanted as a model. They were mostly high fashion models. The high fashion models are the ones that got the real call backs from actual agencies. The last day on the ship was for call-backs. Any agencies interested in us put us on their list and we would wait in line to see some of them. We had maybe 2 hours to do so. You'd see some short lines, but that number or agency didn't have you on their list, so there was no point in being in that line. And then there was a line with around 70 girls and boys waiting to be seen by one agent. That one agent actually had half the talent on their list though, out of the 3,000 girls and boys that were on the ship. Half of them were waiting in the big lines for agents. The sad part? For all the high fashion talent or any acting talent that got more than 20 call backs, they were suppose to go to the ambassadors to tell them which agents are most important to go to. I'm sorry, what? There are important agents there that you should actually see before sitting in a 1 hour line for this other guy here? I mean, I understand the more popular and well respected ones, but what about everyone else that actually wants to get booked. We get to wait in line with the 100 other boys and girls for ONE agent because he was just so inlove with them all. Yea, such "rare" talent found that day. You know what they also don't inform you while you get yourself into Barbizon or on the PTD cruise. Your chances of actually getting an agency.

Some of them have been doing this Barbizon scam for a long time now, so some of them actually know when there is talent in their class or not. But when they are calling every single girl that showed up to the Passport to Discovery audition, they don't tell you if you have high chances or not. So some girls that they know for a fact won't make it, they still call them up. Why? Because they need to fill those spots up. Why do they need to fill those spots up? How else are some of their workers or ambassadors, or even random, non-legitimate agencies suppose to get on the cruise? They all got on for free. With YOUR money. Almost $4,000 dollars for a cruise? I'm pretty sure a cruise doesn't cost $4,000. Oh, by the way, you're paying $4,000 for ONE CHILD, and then if you have a parent come with you, or you're paying for 2 kids, that's double your money. You're paying that SAME $4,000 for every single person you want on that ship.

I can tell you this right now, if someone were doing what I'm doing right now, righting a novel just to warn me about all the hardships I would be going through even bothering to pay $2,000 for a modeling school, I would have taken that warning and not go through with Barbizon. I would have used that money for college. $6,000 right there parents and kiddies. I would recommend saving it for college. Or to get your child a new car. That will last longer than the silly Barbizon and modeling experience. My advice for anyone who wants to be a model or an actor/actress. Get your resume up, take your headshots. If you want to spend money, spend money on the headshots with a really good and well known photographer. Do community plays and build your actor's resume. Your time in Barbizon will be wasted, you money will be put right into their pockets. What's $2,000 x 200? Atleast half of the girls that show up to those auditions have parents that want them to be stars or be happy and do what they love or want to do. $400,000 dollars a year from kids. And thats just one school... That money spent could actually be used to further children's education where they actually have a higher chance at getting a job after graduating college than in the modeling industry. Something to consider I guess. 

Last thing, I would look up agencies near you under the BBB if you're trying to find some to represent you. Jeff Callender and his Ariza Talent and Modeling Agency, is not under there. I didn't want to be represented by him since he claims that costs money. But I did pay to have my photos done by him and the photographer he hired. $300 dollars up front in November and $300 November 12th of 2014. He said they take 3 weeks to process. I got replies via email and calling him at first. But now that it's been well over 3 weeks, I haven't gotten a reply. All I want are my photos... Please, take these complaints seriously. Obviously people are upset they didn't get anything for their children. But that's still money they could have used for their child for things that would have lasted longer than the pure IDEA and HOPE of being a model or actress.

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#2 Consumer Suggestion

Modeling Schools Are Unnecessary

AUTHOR: Fruit loop - ()

I worked for the state agency in Texas that licenses this type of school, including Barbizon and John Casablancas, the two most popular schools. 

TRUE: They DO give training in modeling and makeup, and offer acting classes.

FALSE:  They are an agent who can get you started in the industry(ies) and help you find jobs. 

FALSE: "You made the cut"!! These schools take ANYONE who wants to enroll, even if you have crossed eyes, buck teeth and are four feet tall.  They have to.  It's illegal not to - a little thing called discrimination.

It is not necessary to take training in modeling in order to become a working model.  All that is necessary is to have some head shots taken, and send them to the various modeling agencies. 

Acting lessons are helpful for a working actor, but also no guarantee you'll ever get a part. You must get your own agent and attend auditions.

A study undertaken by the Texas Education Agency - Division of Proprietary Schools in 1995 showed that 33,000 students graduated from the John Casablancas school.  Only FIFTY-FIVE of those students got a contract with the actual John Casablancas Agency.

Not every state requires that these schools be licensed. (Texas does). There is very little oversight for the most part.  Be aware that once you sign the contract, you're legally bound to pay for your tuition. Remember the "read the fine print" statement we've all heard? That's what it means. READ ALL OF IT. The school is NOT legally liable to provide any services, or fulfill any promises that aren't clearly stated in the contract, EVEN IF THEY TOLD YOU SOMETHING VERBALLY.  GET IT IN WRITING.  It doesn't matter if you didn't read all of it, or "didn't understand what I was signing." The act of putting your signature to that paper says you did. This is what a judge will tell you in a court of law. You signed the contract. That's what legally binds you and the school.

Beware of schools that set up in a city (usually in an upscale hotel) and send out "open calls" for models and actors.  They're rarely auditions, and are almost always a front for this type of school.  You'll attend, and be told that, YES! You've got what it takes. You just need some polish. Enroll in our school, and we'll get you started.  Note that they do NOT promise you a job afterward.

You will encounter OTHER expenses along the way - a modeling portfolio, head shots and perhaps a trip to the International Modeling and Talent Association (IMTA) convention in New York. This is not included in your tuition. Don't waste your time with IMTA - it's a talent show. Send your head shots directly to the agents.

It's very much a case of let the buyer beware. If all you want is to learn some styling, get some social graces for your daughter - they're good for that.

Good luck.

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#3 General Comment


AUTHOR: ashley94 - (United States of America)

First of all when you actually pay attention they tell you it is a school not an agency. I personally enjoyed it very much I learned so much from attending Barbizon in Los Angeles. Yes it is expensive and they do not guarentee a job. They provide you with skills and imformation so you can make it possible to make it in the industry. You must be the most enthusiastic in your class and take it very seriously you have to stand out no matter what. They did infact help me with being discovered they had submitted me to one of the best photographers in the industry and he took photos of me and sent them out to all acting and modeling agents he also provided me a list of Legit agents represented by S.A.G that I could also submit the pictures he gave me to ensure the best results. Thanks to Barbizon I have learned how to write my resumes and cover letters. I also know what questions to expect in agent interviews I was also prepared with monologues that Barbizon had given me which I had gotten feed back about how to improve my acting and modeling skills. They did on camera work as well as provided great feed back. Barbizon again is not an agency they simply provide you with the knowlege you need to know for the industry. Also as I had done research on actors and models quite a few of them attended some sort of school.
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#4 General Comment

Umm Yes Barbizon is a scam. If you don't think so you are blind

AUTHOR: MRepetti - (United States of America)

Ok so I agree with you. My friend tried out for barbizon when she was 13 and they told her eveything she wanted to hear. Plus made her pay 2,000. They kept making her pay for photo shoots for years and years and no agent ever "discovered" her. They made her pay to travel to NYC, and after years of milking her out of money they told her she was 30 pounds overweight and that they were dropping her as a customer. Barbizon is a scam and they only want your money. Carmen Electra was not discovered by Barbizon and it makes you feel worse about yourself when they tell you No because you're heavier than other girls.

 So I agree with Amber.

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#5 General Comment

Humm, well

AUTHOR: tarheelgurl1 - (United States of America)

Well I'm starting in barbizon modeling school in Burlington, NC. And I'm going to it every other saturday and I believe itll help me also because Im 16. But it did cost $1,695 but its for a LIFETIME!  And well they said on the website "
If I enroll in Barbizon, can I be sure I will become a successful model or actor?

Just as attending Harvard Law School is no promise that you will become a successful lawyer, Barbizon cannot promise its students a successful career in modeling or acting. However, if you have what it takes to be a successful model or actor, we can help you reach that dream. Furthermore, even if you do not pursue modeling or acting, the benefits of your Barbizon training will give you the skills needed to succeed in any career you may ultimately choose.

READ THAT PARAGRAPH! Also it may be pricy but its for a lifetime so you can go back and get updated lessons also if you move anywhere they will set you up where you move also its called GET A JOB, and its going to be worth it in the outcome because you'll learn life skills and you havent gone on the website and looked at the girl from JONAS she went to barbizon and did ALOT OF HARD WORK. I mean it's going to help me no matter what anyone says and if you get accepted you should be proud that you got accepted because its also called A TALENT SEARCH where you go into an interview. I'm for one EXTREMLY HAPPY :) that i got in. Please just be happy you got in. You have a bad attitude because you dont need to be mad at anyone, its not worth it. Just be happy and use your skills you learned from there and try to use them instead of complain. You need to find a good side to this. Please just try. GOOD LUCK :) CHAO!

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#6 UPDATE EX-employee responds

I worked at Barbizon in Charlotte NC

AUTHOR: Jen - (U.S.A.)

We flew or drove to other states such as Ohio, SC, KY etc. to enroll students. As sales people we had no idea if the school delivered any of the quality instruction we were told to sell. We believed in the product we were selling, since we had no reason to believe otherwise. I had heard of Barbizon since I was a kid, thought it had been around a long time and must be reputable. I did notice things being told to prospective students by other sales reps/admissions directors that were untrue in order to get them to audition or enroll, and there was little supervision to stop this from happening. As an Admissions Director, the only qualifications I needed were sales skills. At presentations/ auditions for new talent however, I was announced to the crowds by my boss as an industry expert. The kids and teens who were there hoping for advice about how to pursue their dreams were told to listen to anything I had to say very carefully, as if I was some authority figure in this business. Luckily, I had enough personal life experience to give some honest direction whenever possible, but almost all the admissions directors I knew working there felt as uncomfortable as I did being put in this position. One Admissions Director I worked with was told by our boss to audition a girl who wanted to become a singer. Having a conscience, she flat out refused since she knew nothing about singing and could not offer any advice. She told me that it was all she could do not to cry at work because of the stress, but she needed a job to pay her rent and had no other opportunities at the time. There was a lot of employee turnover, and I still have not been paid for most of the sales I made. I did take calls from kids who had not been paid for work, and parents who were fighting for refunds who felt they were being ignored. I passed the messages along. We worked in a dimly lit, filthy room, in cubicles away from the school so we could not be accessable to students or really see everything that went on. Our boss did not allow us to take breaks, and our checks were almost always short. In the short few months I was there, I felt extremely taken advantage of & misrepresented to the public. It made me sad to see girls trying to so hard to get accepted to the school when all they needed was money - not potential. I refused to lie to the public to sell the school, as did many of the other reps who did not last. Being a graduate of a modeling school may look good on a resume and help with your career. I still believe that. This was just my experience at this one company.
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#7 Consumer Comment

Barbizon is NOT a rip-off, rather an investment in a future in a VERY competitive business

AUTHOR: Ashley T M - (U.S.A.)

Barbizon was the best investment I ever made. I would recommend the Raleigh institution specifically. In regards to the other review, yes... training cost money. To become a well rounded model/actor one must prepare themselves. Barbizon of Raleigh molded me into a successful actress. The helped me sign my contract with a NYC agency (I'm moving to the city very soon by the way) and they introduced me to some of the nation's leading talent managers and agencies. I've done a local commercial, some castings in NYC and just got cast for two movies to film this month. Like I sad before, it is an investment. Mine was totally worth it. It's all about what you do with what you are given. This place can change your life if you let it. It is a school, so yes there is a a tuition just like any other accredited educational institution. It is money well spent. My time at Barbizon of Raleigh has increased my self confidence and open many doors for me in the industry. I recommend it to all who are interested in becoming a model/actor... or just to build their self confidence. You get out of it, what you put in to it. You should remember that Amber.

PS - Did you know that Jill Wagner, former Punk'd star and current Mercury Car Spokesmodel graduated from Barbizon of Raleigh? There are many rising stars from this agency. Look up Kristen Hansen also... I'm signed with the same agency in NYC as her.
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#8 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Linda - (U.S.A.)

To Miriam:

If you're as ugly as your attitude, then I'm surprised that you got ANY modeling or acting jobs whatsoever.

It's extremely rude to call someone a liar. The Barbizon the writer of the report went to was in a totally different state, so their policies were probably different than the Barbizon you went to. They promised her a job, and she didn't get it. That makes Barbizon the liar, not Amber.

My suggestion to any more people who've been ripped off by this awful company? Look into your local talent agents, the ones who don't use flashy commercials and flattery to get your attention. GOOD agenices won't make you pay for anything but your photo shoot.
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#9 Consumer Comment

I went there!

AUTHOR: Miriam - (U.S.A.)

Ok I went to barbizon too. But when I went to the model search they guaranteed me NOTHING. They told me that they would be able to HELP me find jobs if I signed up with their agency. I did and I got a job or 2 every so months. They also said that it is MY job to be able to get booked for a shoot. So I disagree with you, even though barbizon isn't the best agency it's not their fault, and it's not the agency that gets YOU the job its YOU that gets you the job. Plus I never had a photo shoot or heard of it after graduation. So frankly I think you're lying about some of the things you said, sorry.
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