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The Sun Response

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Dear Laura (The Sun newspaper)

Models Direct is a national model employment agency and since 1990 has represented men, women, children and babies throughout the UK. being national, MD differs from the service a provincial model agency offers. MD benefits clients who come to us for models, by offering a bigger, national range of models for them to choose from, than say a local agency to them.

Similarly, MD models benefit by them being put forward for modelling assignments further afield than their local agency are likely to be offered.

By way of example, we may have Exeter models working in Manchester and Birmingham clients selecting models living in Ipswich. Travel costs would be paid in both examples and models are only put forward further afield if they have previously agreed to travel.

Most people know and understand modelling to be a highly competitive industry. As with acting and entertainment agencies, there are no guarantees of work. Indeed no responsible agency, especially in today's climate, would dream of using the word guarantee.

MD represents people of all ages, including children nationwide and puts them forward for a variety of assignments , i.e. short term paid work, in fashion, advertising, photographic, film and TV. Everyone appearing in these industries is being, or has been paid and came through an agency. We have done this since 1990.

Finding our models work

Clients come to us for models and we propose a selection for their choice, based on gender, look, colouring, experience, availability, location and fee.

The attachment 'Model Comments', lists sample models comments from Models Direct models, men, women and children of all ages, having been selected by our clients for paid work assignments. Many of these comments are parents of children registered with us.

Inevitably as with any selection process, there are models who are disappointed at not being selected for assignments.

A booking requiring one baby model means only one will be chosen, yet 30 may have been proposed, we make no secret of this.

In fact, as part of our service in representing our models, we do quite the opposite, we tell every model they are being put forward for selection by sending a personal email, every time, irrespective as to the outcome.

A sample of high profile clients who have recently selected our babies and children for the following assignments:

  • BBC Pictures - the 'EastEnders' front cover main feature as 'Roxy and Shauns' baby' all the Christmas '08 BBC TV programme magazines
  • 'Kids Chinese Club' ten children, international internet usage
  • Clarks shoes
  • Flynn Pharma Ltd -- six children to promote the child attention disorder medication ADHD
  • The current Mamas and Papas babies clothing, toys and accessories international catalogue .
  • The current Babies 'R' Us babies clothing, toys and accessories international catalogue .
  • The current BBC show 'Mistresses'

These models parents' are among the many who get the lucky email, 'You've been selected!...... are you available'?

We make a one off initial charge of £107.25 plus vat in respect of including our models for three years in our work seeking publication. Our team of full time professionals use this publication to work hard in promoting our models for no additional charge and any work we secure for them, we claim one third of the model fee, for doing so.

We have many young models who have been selected by clients within days, even hours of registering.

A 3 week old baby is currently featured in the Mamas and Papas catalogue who was selected for the booking the day she registered.

This is a parents response after such an assignment .

'When we got there they asked us if we could dress Oliver in a pair of khaki trousers for him to wear one of his own tops (we took a selection) Oliver was sat in a really nice wooden highchair at the end of breakfast table laid out with breakfast bowls several mini muffins....Oliver was given a muffin to eat whilst photos where being taken, he loved it he looked really happy and at ease......Darren and I stood behind the photographer every now and then waving and pulling silly faces to make him giggle and smile! The photo shoot took approx 45 mins they said they where really happy with the many photos they had taken especially a full frontal shot. We then cleaned up Oliver (the muffins where a little chocolaty) changed Oliver then said our goodbyes as they had what they needed and left to make our way home. They did mention that they needed a photo of a baby asleep in a different reclining highchair......we all agreed that Oliver was by this point wide awake and we would not be able to get him to sleep easily. Everyone was really friendly and made us feel at ease (I felt quite nervous for him before we got there) all in all I think he enjoyed it and both Darren and I felt very proud.

Oliver was 5months old and secured his first assignment within 6 weeks of registering

Olivers' Model Fee: £80.00,

Our service to our models

Every model registered with MD appears in our online publication. Models registered with us are given a personal user id and password to access their account, monitor and update their e-Portfolio, photographs, information and graphs to see how often and when, they have been included in client searches.

In addition to these features and benefits, we email our models every time they are put forward for work, to our knowledge we are the only agency who offers these collective services to its models.

A major difficulty all agencies who represent children have is being left with out of date photographs. Children and babies, photographs need to be updated every few months, their look changes daily and very noticeably monthly. Yet many parents forget or cant be bothered, once over the initial registration excitement, to update their babies photos needed to represent them.

As a pro active effort to remind parents, we email them to update their photographs regularly. It is pointless representing a 2 year old child with new born photographs. Some parents never update their child's photographs (despite the reminders) then complain 'they haven't heard and had no work' - you could check those complaints you have, by asking that simple question?

Some agents insist on professional photographs for representation and as a profit stream, charge to take them. We do not and as may be seen from the attached Model Comments, many of our models selected for work used their own home taken snap shots .

In addition to the emails sent every time a model is put forward for work, we also email our models monthly with agency updates, which include in house news, jobs and bookings, a copy of our modelling magazine IMAGE , competition winners and ePortfolio reminder prompts.

A copy of our Spring modelling magazine IMAGE is attached for your information. IMAGE is the only modelling magazine produced in the UK and is sent quarterly to our models.

Models Direct is a modelling Employment Agency, not to be confused with showcase companies like 'Star Now' for example.

Showcase companies fall outside all employment agency legislation. They are not subject to any Government inspection and deep in the small print of their Terms and Conditions are the words 'We will not look for work for you'. They are not work seeking on behalf of the model.

Whereas, Models Direct is strictly regulated and annually inspected by BIS , the Office of Fair Trading, OFTEL and the Department of Employment. MD is a proactive work seeking employment agency - big difference.

MD was licensed from 1990 as a model employment agency No E369, when there was such a system. Now with cost cutting measures there is no licensing. The upshot being, the public stand to be easily confused between irresponsible showcase companies offering virtually nothing to hopeful models and legitimate Models Direct type Government controlled Employment agencies, who are established and respected for their efforts and success in supplying models to industry.

There is no apparent distinction or accreditation in the confusing scrabble by showcase companies competing for custom, to influence online search engines as to who's who and which is which.

BIS and other controlling Government authorities recently reviewed model agency legislation and the Directors of Models Direct were invited by to contribute to that process. This is ongoing and we are currently pleased to be involved.

Natasha Harding for Zak ref: 212363

Natasha registered 2 year old Zak with us and his representation commenced on 29th January this year, five weeks ago.

We see that Zaks online account was accessed on 12th February, but has not been since.

If Natasha logged in she would be able to see from her Account Activity graphs that Zak has already been put forward 4 times in 5 weeks, since his representation commenced.

This information would have also been emailed to her at the googlemail email account she provided.

Odd that Natasha chose to jump on the negative bandwagon by saying 'she's heard nothing' when we have the times and content of four emails we sent to her in as many weeks, documented.

Here is a copy of what Natasha could see by logging in at anytime online to her account:

Zak will continue to be put forward and represented by us for baby modelling opportunities, whenever his look is called for.

Please remind Natasha to keep Zaks photographs updated regularly to reflect his current look and give him the best possible chance of selection, pretty pointless otherwise.

Unless of course as a researcher, it was all just a trial.

Our Clients

Moving to our clients, our 'Client List' includes clients who have at some time booked models and used our services.

It is not surprising that whoever answers a company's' phone might not be familiar with all that company's activities and suppliers. Their blank response doesn't mean we are wrong.

If you would like to see the documentary evidence supporting our claim to have supplied models to any of our listed clients, please ask.

You may not have heard of all the photographers and advertising agencies we work with who are hiring models for more well known clients, however, here are some of the names you may know, who we have directly supplied baby and child models to;

  • BBC
  • ITV
  • Mamas and Papas
  • TOMY
  • Barclays
  • Early Learning Centre
  • Clarks
  • Mothercare
  • Nestle
  • Talkback Thames
  • The Apprentice
  • Toys 'R' Us
  • Babies 'R' Us
  • Woolworths

I hope this email helps to provide a balanced view of the provincial modelling industry as a whole and Models Direct in particular.

It is of course disappointing not to have ones' child selected for work by clients and many parents take it personally.

However it is important to realise that prospective models, or parents, may approach the business with a distorted expectation and we attempt to address this by emphasising modelling as highly competitive and even more so, for the younger the model.

We are constantly reminded of the disastrous current economic climate and the media grapple daily for still darker adjectives emphasising our ever deepening demise into economic gloom and depression.

This doesn't help the confidence of our clients in hiring models and publicising regenerating their own businesses.

So perhaps with three million readers, there's' a role for The Sun to play in enthusiastically helping us get Zaks modelling career off the ground?

If your intention is to investigate fairly the validity of any complaints you may have by understanding exactly what employment agents offer models, then we at Models Direct are pleased to co operate in that process by discerning unrealistic expectation, from reality and co-operate fully in the interests of balanced journalism.

Yours sincerely

Suzy O'Connor


Follow up response...

Hi Laura

Your email is saying you are away until 23rd, so in your absence I thought I'd send a copy of The Suns own page and smack bang in the middle the centre picture features one of our baby models we supplied.


Glad to be of service!

Kind regards


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