Report: #451218

Complaint Review: Empire Talent And Models - MARISA SCLFANI

  • Submitted: Tue, May 12, 2009
  • Updated: Fri, May 13, 2011
  • Reported By: Maricopa Arizona
  • Empire Talent And Models - MARISA SCLFANI
    10309 N. Scottsdale Road--Suite 2A, Scottsdale, Arizona 85253
    Scottsdale, Arizona

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

Well, I have to say that I am humiliated that I even have to write this report. I am one of those people who would've liked to think that I could not be scammed. I was wrong.

I signed with Empire Talent and Models in February of 2008. I am a former model from another state, and when I moved to Arizona and started a family, I saw an ad on Craigslist about an upcoming Pampers Commercial. I gave her a call and set up an appointment the following week for my daughter and myself.

At this meeting, I met with the "Agent", - one in charge, MARISA SCLFANI. She proceeded to give me her song and dance about how "real" agencies never ask you to pay any money, and she doesn't. She also told me how she was one of only a few "licensed" agencies in the state. She did tell me that I would have to have some photos taken, but she was very smooth by also saying that I didn't HAVE to use her suggested photographer. But, after explaining how her photographer knew what her casting needs were, I figured that I might as well use her photographer rather than try to go find one on my own. I had to pay $1400 to have photos taken for both my daughter and me. It has since been reported that Marisa keeps the lion's share of that money. That is where she gets her money.

We were signed with her for over a year and didn't receive a SINGLE call for a job...even after I called and emailed her asking what was going on. She will just go on and on about how "she is suhmitting me us all the's just that she has to wait on casting to pick you up....yada yada yada...." I signed up with her because it was something special that I could do with my daughter, and the hopeful side of me wanted to believe her.

Today was the final straw. I FINALLY got a call from her office manager, Kelly, telling me that I was chosen to audition for a commercial and that I needed to come in for 15 minutes to do a quick video audition. I explained that I could not come in on that day because I was out of town. Kelly explained that it was okay and I could still come in the next day at 1:00 for a video audition because they would still have the equipment and time to do it for one more day.

So....I figured out a way to have my family taken care of, researched the company online (as requested by Kelly) so that I knew what to answer on the video audition, and drove the 50 minutes to Scottsdale for this quick audition...because to me it was still worth the possible opportunity.

I arrived to the office, greeted by Kelly, and was told to please have a seat and Marisa would be with me in a moment. I waited, and sure enough, Marisa came in and said, "Well, hi! So, you are here for the....." and paused like she had no idea. I had to tell her what job I was there for. She said, "Oh, well, I needed you here yesterday." I explained that I spoke with Kelly the day before and that she told me to come in today for a 1:00 audition because there was still time.

Marisa just said, "Oh wow. I already submitted those last night. I don't even have the camera to tape anymore."

At this point, Kelly slipped away into her office. Oops.

Marisa thought it was sufficient enough to just place the blame on her secretary (who, yes, was partially at fault to schedule an appointment before even checking to make sure that it was even possible). But, what about Marisa? She is the "Agent-in-charge" here. What kind of professional, a woman who runs a business, can let that happen? How did she not find out, when doing her check with her office manager that morning about the day's schedule, that the 1:00 appointment didn't make any sense to her? Hey, she is getting her money when people sign with her with her scam. Who needs to even find out who is coming to see and her why? What kind of professional is that??? For goodness sakes, her office manager's office is TWO FEET from her office door, and they didn't even communicate that day's schedule to see that there was a problem.

I was angry enough when I realized that I was scammed... Now it is even more upsetting to realize that there is absolutely NO professionalism with these people. They just DON'T CARE. She tried to simply smile and say, "Oops", tell me how "adorable" I am and how she submits me everyday, and shoo me out the door.

It was then that I came home and checked online for any scam reports on her. At the time that I signed with her a year ago, there weren't any (Yep, I checked). Now, within the past year, I see five. I also see that their stories are exact replicas of my own.

It's interesting to see Marisa's rebuttal to one of the claims. She says how "unfortunate" it is to see people lying about what happened to them. Well, I'm here to ask, if it is such a lie, how is it that my story of how you scammed me is EXACTLY the same as the way that you scammed these others? Did we all just happen to make up the EXACT same story???

I know that there is nothing that I can do to stop Marisa and what she is doing to innocent people out there, but if reading this report can stop one more mother from signing up herself or children (as something special to do with them, etc.), saving up and spending money that her family didn't really have to throw around--only to be humiliatingly scammed....then writing this is worth it.

Luckily, my year's contract is up with her, and needless to say, I am opting out of any sort of extention.

Marisa--I'm not sure exactly how you sleep at night knowing that this is how you make your living. I'm sure that, after reading this, you will simply roll your eyes and go back to counting how ever much you made today, but know that you are affecting people's lives here. I may not be rich, but my family is strong, and we live an honest life. I hope that you can one day say the same for your own.

To the others out there, don't let the nice Scottsdale office and the big promising words fool you. I was actually modeling successfully in another state before I moved here and signed with her. Then suddenly, I was trapped in a contract--and therefore turning away other agencies who WERE reputable and wanting to sign me--because I was already committed to Empire Talent and Models. I lost an entire year of modeling/acting income, and I'm doing the only thing that I can to try to save you from the same fate. Run....don't walk....away from this business and this woman, and best of luck finding the right agency for you. This one ISN'T it.

Maricopa, Arizona
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/12/2009 05:26 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 General Comment

Empire talent

AUTHOR: Mike - (United States of America)

Hi, I read the above report criticizing Marisa and her agency. I am a client having signed up as. "Talent" five years ago. Marisa was open and honest with me when I first went to sign up with Empire. She was recommended by a friend.

I could have chosen my own photographer but opted to use hers and glad I did as he put together a stellar portfolio for me that presented me in a professional and attractive manner. He was no more expensive than others

Over the past five years Marisa has been professional , proactive and supportive of me in gaining opportunities in film, commercials and print ads. She had exposed me to many different casting organizations and production companies

I have been in a movie and two national comercials thanks to Marisa.

This business is difficult at best and I feel that Empire talent agency is a first class and professional group with stellar credentials in the industry both regionally, locally and nationally.

For the many years that empire has been in business the few complaints are a small percentage from sour grape clients that did not get as much work as they wanted or expected.

When something comes up Marisa always submits my pictures. Many times I don't get called because her clients don't like my "look ". Or experience. I feel that Marisa is a competent and legitimate owner that cares about her stable of talent and does a great job for us.

I guess you can 't please all the people all the time. ...., Empire has been voted the best of Phoenix for the past two years. So that tells you something and there are 27 other talent agencies in town.
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#2 Consumer Comment

Marisa Sclafani is not a "licensed agent" -- there's no such thing.

AUTHOR: Anonymous Client - (Virgin Islands (US))

In response to "Actor99"

Quote, "It should be noted that Empire Talent and Models is one of perhaps 7 fully licensed and "Better Business Bureau (BBB)" accredited talent agencies in the state of Arizona.  You don't get that way for ripping people off."

"EMPIRE Talent and Models is a reputable and LICENSED agency." 

Licensed with whom? As it turns out, "Actor99" (who is, in all likelihood, actually Marisa herself -- it's not like you have to prove who you are to leave a comment...) is technically correct. Empire Talent & Modeling is licensed -- business license, that is. And she does represent it as a "talent agency." So, yes, technically it would be a "licensed" agency.

What Marisa (or any of the alternate identities she creates here to continue to misrepresent her business against those who she's victimized) won't tell you is that there is NO licensing body specifically for talent agencies, or modeling agencies, or literary agencies. None. There are various associations, unions, guilds and so on; for those who wish to be represented, these include organizations such as the Screen Actors Guild, the Writer's Guild of America and the National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981), among others. For agents, these include the Association of Authors Representatives and the International Modeling and Talent Association. However, neither of the latter two actually licenses anyone.

By claiming to be a "licensed talent agency", Marisa (in all her guises) is misrepresenting her credentials.
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#3 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Actor99 - (United States of America)

I am an actor/writer that commutes between LA and Phoenix often and read this "report" and feel it is important that the record should be set straight. 
First and foremost, Kristi, the individual that wrote this report sounds as though she is on a personal vendetta to slander Marisa Sclafani's reputation as she mentions her by name rather that focusing on the "business".  I have done business with Marisa on a number of occasions and have found her and her agency to be both reputable and professional and providing no hint of "ill repute".
It should be noted that Empire Talent and Models is one of perhaps 7 fully licensed and "Better Business Bureau (BBB)" accredited talent agencies in the state of Arizona.  You don't get that way for ripping people off.
Show business is tough enough and casting directors can be ruthless in their view of talent as "meat on the hoof".  Marisa has thorough understanding of the business and it's dark side.  She judges dispassionately and professionally.  If she doesn't get talent work, she does not get paid.
She did not ask me for any fees or obligate me to secure any portfolio because I, as a professional, came to the table prepared and ready to hit the ground running.  My portfolio is a tool and cost me nearly $2500.00 to help me find work, I take classes to sharpen my skills because you have to be prepared for anything and they cost money too.  Therefore, I would venture to say Kristi that if Marisa said you needed something like photos or classes, you probably needed them in her eyes.  I don't know where you were  modeling before or what state it was, the likelihood is that it was NOT in LA or NY. 
It pains me to see that someone that was probably told a truth that they could not handle is using the web to slander a professional in such a way.  EMPIRE Talent and Models is a reputable and LICENSED agency.  Kristi, I certainly hope YOU can sleep at night knowing that this drivel you have written has besmirched a professional's reputation.  I for one am perfectly happy with the work I get from Empire.  And if I work, they get paid.  Then and only then.  As a professional to a novice I say, get a dose of reality.  You are not on "America's Got Talent".  It's to tough business and you, to quote the film" "can't handle the truth"...  Actor99  LA/PHX
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#4 Consumer Comment

stop pretending your a satisfied client!

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

This will be brief - Hey Marisa stop trying to be the person that sticks up to you horrible company. We are just warning everyone from being scammed out of our hard earned money. Just close you business down and stop looking for more victims. Everything you say you are is a lie.
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#5 Consumer Comment

I'm baffled at the ignorance!


I have to say that I'm baffled how people can be so adamant about getting ripped off from a Talent Agency! A talent agency is the middle man between directors/casting agents and YOU! What a talent agency provides is the vehicle and tools you would need to actually be considered for any kind of work in the "industry". They know what casting agents are looking for, etc.. They do not hire anyone!! They instead, supply an inventory of individuals for directors/casting people to view. Then it's up to those who are directing/casting, to invite individuals to an audition! A group of individuals may audition but only one is chosen! Again, it's what the director is looking for NOT the talent agency!! Being a former model in a different state doesn't guarantee work!! Especially in AZ. This is not LA or NYC!! Come on lady.. My daughter and I both have been signed for 3 years with MARISA SCLAFANI from EMPIRE TALENT AND MODELS. We were told exactly what to expect.. that if we wanted to seriously get work, we would need photos..any professional photos! We did not HAVE to use ones that Marisa preferred. Because you chose to use the photographers that she referred you to, does not make it a scam! You did that of your own free will! My daughter has had 3 times the work I have, but because she has a universal look and is younger. I have been on many auditions before getting a YES!! We have never been asked to give Empire Talent Agency fees or any other monies whatsoever! I think because you were the one who signed a contract with expectations, you didn't read or listen to Marisa.. You may have had stars in your eyes! Also, I do not believe you turned down work from any other agencies, that's a lie. They would work it out if others offered you work, as they did with me. Please do not continue to give this agency a bad name because you're disgruntled...move on lady..the rest of us are completely satisfied with EMPIRE TALENT AND MODELS AGENCY, and that's hundreds of us.

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