Are Modeling Jobs on Craigslist Legitimate?

Female models walking on catwalk at fashion show
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Finding modeling jobs through online classified sites can be a tricky and potentially dangerous endeavor. 

The majority of modeling job ads posted on Craigslist (and other sites like it) are for nude or webcam models, or for modeling schools and photo mills trying to sell you something by first offering you jobs that don't exist.

Please keep the following points in mind before answering a modeling classified ad.

  1. Legitimate Clients Only Work With Established Modeling Agencies
    Can you imagine clients like Victoria's Secret, Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch, Revlon, or L'Oreal using Craigslist to find their models? It would never, ever happen. Even small companies in local markets that are legitimately searching for models to represent their products are not going to risk their reputation by putting a free ad on Craigslist or by hiring an unknown model who has not been screened or "vetted" by an established modeling agency.
  2. Advertising Is Too Expensive to Risk Not Working With a Modeling Agency
    The cost of advertising, even at a local level, is staggering. In addition to the cost of airtime on television, space in magazines or on billboards, clients are paying for photographers, stylists, makeup artists and other professionals to get the job done right. A client wants to know that the models have not only been screened but aren't going to cause any conflicts, such as booking a job with a competitor. It would be disastrous for a client to use a model who has appeared, or is planning to appear, in similar ads for competitors. Agencies make sure this never happens and are accountable to their clients if there is a problem. 
  3. There's No Way to Pre-Screen Online Clients
    When you work as a freelance model accepting jobs from classified ads you have no way to screen the client beforehand. You have no way of knowing if they are a real client or a creep who wants to do you harm.
  4. Bad Clients Can Damage Your Image and Brand
    A good modeling agency will always think about not only the income you and the agency will earn, but also how to protect your image and brand. Every booking that a model does can be a reflection of his or her status within the industry. Moreover, the industry is much more cognoscente of a model's "brand" now than ever before, and they will do everything to protect and maintain it.
  5. You Get Paid Less Than a Represented Model (Or Nothing)
    People who look for models on free classified sites generally have no budget, that's why they are posting on free sites. If they have no budget it means they either won't be paying you at all (even if they say they are) or you are getting less than an agency would get for you, or even worse, they want you to pay them for photo shoots or other things you probably don't need. People who look for models online know that they can find inexperienced models who are willing to do a job for $50 that they should be getting paid $5000 for if they had an agent representing them.
  6. It Can Be Difficult to Collect Your Fees
    When you work as a freelance model, you are responsible for everything from finding jobs, booking jobs, collecting fees, and when the clients don't pay, chasing them down for your money. All of this takes time away from the time you could be working and earning more.
    If you are serious about a modeling career it is always a good idea to work with reputable modeling agencies that will do everything to protect you and your image, as well as, negotiate proper rates and safe working conditions. The online classified ads are not the place where you are going to find work that is going to benefit you, nor does the risk justify the small income you may make from these types of jobs.