Report: #137194

Complaint Review: John Casablanca

  • Submitted: Fri, April 01, 2005
  • Updated: Mon, May 16, 2005
  • Reported By: Wilson North Carolina
  • John Casablanca
    4326 Bland Rd
    Raleigh, North Carolina

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

Many young females are getting rip by these no-good modeling schools, in this case "John Casablanca". Two years ago my American dream was to become a top ideal, maybe a singer, maybe even a model. I got a letter threw the mail about a agency review at the local "holiday inn". I was 13 at the time, i wore glasses, very skinny, low self-esteem.

The hotel was pack, in the letter it said that only a few people were sent an invitation,(to me it looked like everybody BUT a few people was sent a invitation). It was so many people that we had to stand in the hotel hall to listen to the woman talk about John Casablanca and how it is with Elite (which everybody know is a big name agency) and how they got people like Tyra Bank famous (which now i know is a lie).

Finally they had us walk the runway. At the end they told us they had three list, one where people who they didn't need to see, the other where a list of people who had talent and needed to wait outside the hotel room, and the last list (which was the one I was in) was people who they thought had talent but needed a little practice which the referred us to their modeling school. Then I was happy, finally somebody seen threw my shyness and found the "Diva" hidden within. 'Oh boy, I was about to go on a ride of my life'

The modeling school came up to a total of 2,000 dollars. They gave us a list of things we were suppose to learn (I still have that list) and we didn't even go over half of it. Each class was like a repeat. Basically the stuff was common sense (you know like, think positive about yourself when walking the runway, you need pictures in order to enter the business.) They actually gave us a modeling workbook that we never did anything out of. They actually told that one day we might come to class and there will be a big time director there wanting us to perform in front of him. (That never happen)

They told us we needed to take pictures but use their photographer. The man made it seem like I was so good. (Remember now I'm going through my maturing stage, pimples like crazy, big glasses, no kinda figure just plain jane, but I could really work the camera- I wonder how many other girls they told that to?)

After I finish the classes I heard nothing from them. About a year later, I get a call from a Woman who say she works with John Casablanca and has a management company open and would like to help me find a agency. "WOW" i thought I'm really moving up.

We get down there and they want a 1,000 dollars. So we pay them. I go to all the classes but the finally 3 and during my classes I was suppose to be getting calls for casting within the North Carolina area.

Now I say casting because they tell me I can't do modeling. "Your not model material, your not tall enough, they looking for a certain look and that's not you" all this is presented to me AFTER I paid the thousand dollars. My main purpose for doing this was to MODEL.

Well I continue going to the classes anyways, and it get time to take pictures (these modeling scams always resides around these costly headshots). And the same man who took my picture at John Casablanca is the husband of the woman who's at this new place "Avanti" pretending to be my mananger.

They say they not going to choose everybody just a few people who they think can make it in the business and they write certain time on everybody paper. While in the end everybody who is at the "open call" comes back. They just have total different times for you.

So you thinking "I'm hot stuff I got picked out of 60 girls" when all the wild all 60 of yall have been picked and paid the 1,000 dollars. And them knowing that you ain't modeling material. Having you get all happy about a scam. And in the end it hurts you the most when you a 13 year old kid who got picked on all their life and finally you think you gona be the next Tyra Banks, when all they want is your MONEY!

They tell you they made people like Tyra Banks (which was my role model at the time) famous but you find out they didnt!! maybe she went to the school but they had nothing to do with her becoming famous.

Then to top it off, they refer our names to other "so call agencies" that come to north carolina looking for talents.

Ladies please think this through "a big name agency is not gonna go to no small city looking for the next supermodel" They wanted us to give them 3,000 dollars upfront and wait til november and go to Texas (we got to find our own way to texas and book our own hotel room and pay for our own food).

The money is to pay for a man coming to help us with runway moves. Well in Texas we suppose to talk in front of these big agent people, who suppose to talk to us one-on-one, and sign us. If we are not signed we can always pay 3,000 dollars more and come again next year.

These people also worked with John Casablanca, they were not outer state people. One of the same woman i remember from the hotel review that got me to go to john casablaca modeling school.


If anybody want to help me legally put a stop to this scam let me know, im willing to help 100 percent. It's not cool to play with people emotions. I come from a family with money problem, we used our savings trying to pay for these STUPID classes, and for what?? In the end it was just a scam!!

Fayetteville, North Carolina
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 04/01/2005 01:07 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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Updates & Rebuttals


#1 UPDATE EX-employee responds


AUTHOR: Syri The Carter - (USA)

 This rebuttal was posted by the owner of the agency. How fake can you get

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#2 REBUTTAL Owner of company

john Casablancas and Avanti

AUTHOR: tito - ()

I cannot say enough great words on how these two companies John Casablancas Raleigh and Avanti changed my life and made my dreams come true.  The classes werewere awesome.  I learned all the marketing tools I needed to succeed in this industry.  

I had tried two other well known agencies that only wanted me for my money.  So, thankful for the major opportunities I have been blessed with as a result of JC and Avanti.  My first job was in Drumline 2, when I received my first check I almost fell over to get $12,000.00 and only paying $2000.00 for training; a great return.  You only get out of something what you put into it.  There will always be haters out there and people that didn't do anything with the tools they were given; and that is just pure laziness on their part.



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#3 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Robert Amatruda Rip OFF

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

The guy from California is Robert Amatruda. Search him under Amatruda, Benson and Associates. This is a typical JC scam. They lie to eveyone.
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#4 UPDATE Employee

good experience with John Casablancas

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

My Daughter was sent a letter in the mail to come to a model/ actor search. I have 6 children and took all of them that wanted to go to this search. This search was held at an hotel there were lots of people there wanting to be a model or actor. An agent from California was there to tell about the business.

He was real imformative. He told all of us in that room that this was not a gaurntee that he would take anyone to LA with him, it was not a gaurntee that you would be a famous actor or actress or model it was simply to pick out ones that had potential for the industry.

I do have to say that some people there that thought that they could be a model were not model material. The prospective actors and models were sent to a line and asked to walk down the runway and tell your name, age and what you wanted to do the most act or model then you had to say on a scale of 1-10 how bad you wanted to do it.

I beleive that they have you do this to see if you are shy, or out going as well as if you are tall, short and have the look it takes as well as the desire. Lets face it, you have to be good at acting to get a job in it. You have to have that special look to model. You do not have to be a knockout but you do have to have something that is marketable.

My kids all got up and did thier thing. Afterwards they had to do a photo shoot set up in the hotel. The photographer was not Casblancas photographer that they use. He was from Raleigh. After this was done they split all of the wantabees into three groups. A,B,C groups. A group was small and picked by the agent from california, again not to go to California but he picked them because he said he saw potiental and wanted to see them again later after some very short training. Group B was in need of longer training more confidence and self esteem but might be able to do something in the industry. Group c could go home. At the end of the night they gave us appointments with John Casablancas to sit down and go over the school.

We went to our appointment.They had all of us the kids, parents go into a room to discuss the trade of the business. They sent kids home that didnt have a parent with them. They told these kids that this was impotant and they needed to have a parent with them to sign a contract.They even told the kids that were 18 to go home and get a parent to be with them. They were very nice to us, didn't promise anything. They told us all about the industry. It was a mother and Daughter that had been in the industry trying to get a break. They told us how they were ripped off and spent lots and lots of money and bogus promises. They told us that they decided to operate there own business which is Avanti. They wanted to make sure that they were there to help people. They didnt want what happened to them happen to us. They told us a little about Avanti and how Avanti and Casablancas were linked (so to speak) and that after you go through clases with casablancas you could be called on to come to be apart of Avanti showcase. She explained a little about the showcase.

She explained that John Casablancas in North Carolina had a little better opportunity in the industry because North Carolina was huge in the film industry and growing. Then we talked about the classes with Casablancas. After this was through if you wanted to sign up for the classes you could stay and they would call you back to discuss the fees associated with the training at casablancas.

We were told that our Daughter was selected to go through the advanced group which was 10 weeks of training. Even though she would only be going for the 10 week course she could take advantage of 3 years of training with the school which included 2 photo shoots a year that are required for young actors because of there ever changing looks.

If we wanted the pictures we knew we had to pay for them. This was all explained up front to us. I asked a lot of questions, I left no stone un turned. We were told all about the classes what she would learn.

I did ask a lot of questions most of which they probably wouldn't have just offered that information. I beleive that they do not offer it because most people do not ask. I can assure you every question I asked they had an answer. And didnt say well, let me ask, let me find out. They knew the answer and didnt beat around the bush or sugar coat a thing.

We signed with Casablancas and Kaylee started her classes there with a very good instructor who had credientials in the industry this was not a person who they trained that had never acted in thier life.

Kaylee was very excited about going to classes and did very well in them. John Casablancas never told us anything that wasn't true. They are a school. thats what we were paying for. And Yes, there are things you need to know to be able to get infront of a camera and act.. So, the school was very impotant to my daughters career. We started our adventure in August of last year by December the school wanted my daughter up for reviews.

When we signed my daughter up for the classes we were told that John Casablancas had a agency Model Talent Management. If you were in the school and you got good grades ( so to speak) and your instructor recommended you, you could go up for Reviews this is where the school puts you in front of the agency to see if they would like to represent you as an agent.

My daughter did her reviews in December. It was a formal audition where she had to do a one minute monologue preferable one she wrote herself then do the cat walk. We also had to get a formal resume done for her. We got a call back from MTM (Model Talent Management) In January just as he said we would because of the holidays. We set up an appointment with Casablancas to talk with the gentelman who is over MTM.

The gentelman was so very nice and again explained everything to us. He told us that they liked my Daughter and wanted to sign her on with them.We did sign with them this is why I say that we are an employee with them.

They told us right away that they could not gaurantee her work ever if any. We knew that we would have to do a lot of research our selves to get auditions for her. We knew that there may be times that we would get called to do a job that might not pay at all. This would still be good experience. They told us that they were an non exclusive agent meaning we could work with other non exclusive agents as well.

If they came across something that they thought that our daughter should go out on they would call us to set up the audition. They put her picture in a book that went out to various agents in the Carolinas. They never gave us false hope. So, I find it hard to beleive that this person was told all of this that she says. It is my opinion that she didn't listen very well to what they were telling her and she didn't ask questions. Some people just get it in there heads that they are going to make it. Was her mother there with her?

Anyway, 2 weeks later MTM called and said they wanted our daughter to audition for Avanti. MTM said that they (MTM)were a non exclusive agent and if Kaylee was picked by Avanti ( in raleigh) then she could be in a showcase where she would get to showcase her talent in front of 20 different agents from all over the Carolinas who would be strictly an exclusive agent.

Meaning she would be able to get work and difference in pay would be greater with an exclusive than an non exclusive. Again even if you sign with an exclusive agent it is no gaurantee that you will have work. We went to Raleigh to Avanti, again it was an audition.

They looked at Kaylees marks in class, they look at her picture and resume. They had more than 100 people there and not everyone was picked I do know that for a fact because I was there.

What the girl said about Avanti lying to her about how many people they pick for the show. She is not being truthful. They only have 100 people in a showcase, I know my daughter was in it. There were more in the acting division than the modeling because they are very strict at who they pick for modeling. They were strict with who they picked for the acting as well but the modeling had certian criteria to meet. You do have to be a certain heigth, weight, bust size, hips the whole nine yards to do high fashion run way. That is a given everyone knows that.

Avanti did pick Kaylee to be in the spring showcase and we did sign with them. We knew that we would pay for it as well. We were told the fee included pictures as well. We were told that all of us were required to buy at least 5 tickets for the showcase at $10.00 each this was the only additional fee we would have. We all knew by common knowlege that if you were from out of town like we were that we would have to stay in a hotel that we would pay for. We stayed in the hotel that the showcase was being held and they did give us a huge discount for being with Avanti.

We traveled back and forth to Raleigh for several months. Avanti puts on 2 showcases a year. Spring, Winter. Avanti went over all that my daughter would do in her workshops. Workshops were required to be in the show. They explained to us why we all had to buy the tickets. EVERYONE had to buy at least 5 tickets. This was to help pay for the costs of having the agents come to see the showcase. Pay for meals, hotel, ect..

My daughter completed the work shops with Avanti and did do her showcase on May the 1st. Everything was so professional. The models showcase was absolutely breath taking. They did an awesome job. I was greatly impressed. My daughters showcase was just as nice. She did her thing and did it well. there were over 70 actors that had to do the showcase. The agents were all there and everything that Avanti said would happen did.

after the show we had to stay to get our call backs. This is misunderstood by the phrase call backs, this doesn't mean that you will get a list of agents who will call you back. It is a list of agents who are interested in you based on your proformance and would like to see you to discuss having a professional working realtionship in the industry, you would have to call them to set up an date to discuss the contract.

Again, it is not a gaurntee that you will get work or rich. It is an exclusive agent, they do have an interest in getting you work, if you work and get paid they get paid.

My daughter did get call backs we did set up our interviews with all of them and we were told by Avanti after we went to all our interviews with them ( the interviews were to discuss the business to business, what they expect from you and what you can expect from them, the contract) we needed to get back with Avanti to go over all the contracts and they would sit down with us and discuss what would be best for us and our child.

Then when we picked an agent and signed we would all have to send in a letter to Avanti cancelling our contract with them. And another letter telling our Avanti experience.

My experience with Casablancas and Avanti has been wonderful... it was everything we were told it would be, and more. It is my opinion that if anyone feels that they were ripped off by Casablancas in Charlotte North Carolina and or Avanti in Raleigh you misunderstood what was being said to you and or you didnt ask enough questions.

It is a choice to go to the school. They do not promise you anything. What they offer is training and it is good training. My daughter will continue to go to training as long as she is able to under her contract with them. So, to all at Casblancas in Charlotte, and Avanti in Raleith you are wonderful and I appreciate all that you have done for Kaylee. Pat, Jennifer, gray, Sheryl from Avanti, thank you for being so informative and being so good to Kaylee you are all wonderful.

Casblancas, Michele, David, Lane we are very proud to say that we had taken your courses and have had nothing but a wonderful experience wih you..
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