“…In this script, I was the audience and the con artists were the entertainment. So my journey begins…”

After numerous submissions to casting calls, I actually auditioned for roles for independent unpaid short films and documentaries. The auditions were fun to attend and I learned a great deal about the audition process. This was a new experience for me and I learned quickly of the vultures that preyed on unsuspecting people who want to be part of the entertainment industry. My first experience was with a talent scout from the online agency. He responded to my submission and told me that he liked my “looks” and wanted to sign me with his modeling agency. Obviously, I am not Tyra Banks, but I figured that I could play different roles in commercials or hosting events; and thus, make use of my public speaking skills. He made me go through four stressful telephone interviews with different people because he said they would decide if I fit with their company. After a week of interviewing with his team, I was brought on board to be part of their model development program and to assist with talent recruiting as well. I was excited and thrilled because I thought I had landed a cool gig right? My elation quickly faded when he told me that I had to pay $1,800.00 to build my portfolio. I thought I was in a dream because up to this point I had been oblivious to the warning signs from the beginning. Whatever voodoo or juju this man had on me vanished because I saw the light and actually yelled on the phone….“WHAT?!” First of all, I told him I did not have that kind of money to give him; and furthermore he should have stated that clearly in the beginning of our conversation because if he did, I would have dropped his call like a hot potato!! So the con continued…He went on to say if I could not pay the full amount for the model development program, I could pay in installments. How sensitive of him right? I say I cannot afford the amount and he suggests a payment plan? In addition, he said I could work for them by assisting in recruiting other talents. He went on to say that I would be on probation for ninety days before I get paid. Really?? Work for ninety days with no pay? What legitimate company would do this to their employee? Basically, he wanted me to become a con artist like him and lure unsuspecting victims so he could drain them financially. Do you know that I had no clue what his company’s name was? He never mentioned it nor was it stated anywhere in his email or voicemail. So I asked for the company name because I was about to Google his trifling behind. As I typed his information on Google, his name popped up on the first line—Boy, did I have a field day reading about him and his so called Modeling and Talent Company. All the posts were from talents he hoodwinked into believing that he could make them superstars. You see, this was my mistake; I should have asked about his company before participating in the interviews or giving him my precious time. Most importantly, I should have paid attention to the red flags. For example, he acted weird and shifty on the telephone as if he was avoiding someone. His emails were never signed off with his name or company name. He did not have an office or a receptionist. He was a one-man show who handled all the telephone calls and financial transactions. Something was not right and when I read all the postings on Google¬—every uncomfortable and weird feeling about him made sense. I kicked myself for being so naïve. It was like being in a toxic relationship and ignoring the red flags because you want things to work out. I guess he was unlucky with me because I could not part with my hard earned money!!.

“…It was like being in a toxic relationship and ignoring the red flags because you want things to work out…”

Do not even get me started on my story about the phony casting director who wanted me to pay $1,000.00 for an acting class because it was required to get me a gig as a talk show host. Or the modeling agency that wanted me to pay to compete in a talent contest in New York. At some point, I attended these auditions for pure entertainment. I became intrigued with the art of hoodwinking so it was my summer mission to experience the scam behind these so called “talent agents”. I often wonder why con artists have such audacity to prey on people who just want a shot at television. Is it a crime to have a dream and pursue it by any means necessary? Nobody should be swindled out of their money because they want to be part of the entertainment industry. When I boldly asked these agencies why they were charging to promote me, it was like I insulted them because they became defensive. I also asked why their fees were not mentioned in the advertisements; and of course, I got no response. In my opinion, they do not mention the fees because it will turn people away. By luring people to their ads, con artists prey on the weak by promising false hopes to make them famous. I honestly believe that if you see a talented person and you know that person has the potential to generate revenues for your agency; you should invest in the person because at the end of the day, you will get paid. Well, the good news is that I have deactivated my account with the online agency and I have gone back to my old ways of contacting television networks directly via email. It worked in the past and it will work in the future. My Baba God will never disappoint me because when my time comes, I will get my chance to work in television broadcasting. To all my fellow hustlers out there working hard to make it in the entertainment industry, do not lose hope or fall victim to the vultures out there. Please be careful and wise; ask a lot of questions because if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is! Always trust your instincts and never stop dreaming big. My journey has only begun and anyone who thinks that he or she can con me out of my dream, my passion, my divine destiny, my season of greatness and my money, all I can say to you is….Really??