Scams, vanity and hope

The pageant business full of scumbags? Who would’ve thought!

The only direct experience I have with this sort of thing is being friends with a woman at a previous job who was interested in modeling.

She was certainly attractive enough for it, but so are millions of women around the world. Modeling is a star field — a very small percentage make big money, and the rest make almost zilch.

Anyway, she was stopped on the street by someone who said they’d like to have her pose for some photos and that she might be a “fit” for their agency.

I told her that this was almost certainly a scam and that though things like that did happen sometimes, to be wary.

She asked me to go with her to the screening process and I agreed. It screamed scam city to me the moment we walked in. A hundred girls in a room (and me) with some guy who looked like a combination of Ryan Seacrest and Vince Offer telling them they’d have to pay a few hundred dollars to have their official photos done to go on to the next stage.

I leaned over to Kim after a few minutes and said, “This is a scam. Let’s roll the fuck out of here.”

But she wouldn’t do it. She wanted to believe so badly that this was her shot, to escape her depressing typist job, that she wanted to give them that money just in case.

I sat through the snake oil pitch and then tried to convince her again that it wasn’t worth any money to get these photos taken, that I could probably take better ones for free anyway, and this was not a good idea.

It didn’t work. She paid the money, got some bad photos taken, and as far as I know that’s all that happened. At least she didn’t get scammed anymore out of the deal.

To be fair, this Vince Offer-looking guy was convincing. I’m about the most skeptical person you’ll meet, but by the time the meeting was done I was about 20% convinced in spite of myself. But that trance lifted the moment he shut his mendacious mouth.