Model Mayhem / manipulation

Review updated:

This is not really a complaint. I just noticed a lot people shared their stories about why they were banned from Model Mayhem, so I just wanted to share mine. My story is lengthy:

In February of 2010, I joined a social networking site called Model Mayhem. It’s a site for models, photographers, photo editors, make-up artists, and stylists to get together and create photos. I was really excited when my profile was accepted, but then…

I started posting on the discussion forums. I never made any friends... except one. This friendship began on March 31 and ended on Memorial Day in the most ugly way.

On March 31, after reading a post I had written in The Suicide and Violence Help Thread, a photographer from the east coast wrote me this message:

“…I just want you to know I’ve followed your recent posts with great interest and complete sympathy. I hope you’ll continue to have access to a community of online friends. On MM, via email, on the phone, you have access to me as well.

…I encourage you to believe you’re more than capable of self support. You’re also unusually pretty, which never hinders finding work or friends in a shallow world.

I was fascinated by the sheer volume of images you’ve put up on your myspace page. I committed myself to looking at each of the first hundred pages and did so. Happily. It’s a painful, beautiful exercise you’ve undertaken that way – modeling for yourself in isolation.

It seems music is your closest friend. I don’t recall a time when, despite “real world” attachments of all types, it wasn’t mine. Talk to me about it or anything you wish, as you wish. I’d enjoy knowing you.

Email is easier for me (I log on here less and less). But whatever is comfortable for you. I prefer actual conversation, minus the typing, so let me know if you’d prefer it as well.”

That was the beginning of our friendship. He asked me to look at his portfolio and he very much wanted my opinions. I happily went through his port as he asked, and left comments. From there, we exchanged private messages on Model Mayhem every day. He hinted at dating me. He gave me his phone number and email address, and constantly told me how pretty I was, among other great things. He encouraged me to move our conversations to email & phone. He even strongly encouraged me to move in with him, and get out of my home which he referred to as “a toxic pond I was swimming in”. I made the mistake of publicly venting about my isolation and very protective family, so tried to use my own family against me.

The conversation moved to email when I gave him my email address so he could send me a photo of himself. We were emailing each other every day, and quickly getting to know each other…or so I thought. The conversations got increasingly flirty, and he was constantly praising me, and offering encouragement and support. He replied so sweetly to every single email I sent, complimented every private. He kept inviting me to move in with him, and always flirted with the idea of us dating and living together. I very kindly and thankfully declined to move in with him, and he was cool with it.

One night, I surprised him with a phone call instead of an email response. He was delighted to hear my voice. We chatted & flirted for about three hours. We shared our histories and personal tastes. We talked about Model Mayhem and the people on the forums. He vented about how he was tired & jaded with MM, among other things. He trash talked some of the members, lol. We had about three or four phone conversations like that over the course of our friendship. The phone call he gave me on my birthday was the most fun. When we learned we had a lot of the same tastes in food, he became intensely flirtatious and even joked about our “wedding cake”. I really liked the younger "Tyson Ritter" photo of himself he sent to impress me.

Honestly, as much as I enjoyed the flirting and the attention, It also worried me because I wanted to keep things platonic, and I wasn’t sure how serious he was about the flirting and the marriage jokes. I expressed that to him, and he assured me he was cool with being friends.

So we continued to email each other. Sometimes he would post on the forums, and a couple times he even stood up for me when others were rude to me. I really looked forward to his phone calls and emails, and his friendship really lifted my spirits and boosted my ego, but I sensed he was growing distant, so I sent him this good bye email for my own closure:

"Well, I just want you to know that I really enjoyed talking with you. Your words were a real comfort to me, and your emails, PMs & phone calls brightened my day. I still have them. If I never talk to you again, I’ll still remember your words whenever I’m feeling down or caught up in yet another ugly argument or critique."

But he replied that he wanted to continue our friendship.

As I looked at his portfolio, I wanted the friendship to be more public, like all of his other friendships, and because he was my only friend there. It also dawned on me that he never ever left public comments on my photos, and he rarely interacted with me publicly on Model Mayhem. All of his communication to me was private. I started to question our friendship and tried to make it public. That’s when it started to go downhill.

I tried to communicate with him in public by bumping his discussion threads with witty replies, commenting his photos, and leaving comments on his profile. He got annoyed with that and deleted them. It really felt like he didn’t want people to know we were friends, as if our friendship was a joke that he wanted to keep hidden. After I asked him about it, he explained it away and grew more distant. He stopped replying to my friendly emails.

The final blow was when I simply commented "Happy Memorial Day" on his profile the night before Memorial Day. He deleted it the next morning and then accused me of “stalking” him. After all the conversations and jokes about “living together”, I was really furious and hurt that he said that. I left it alone, thinking he’ll cool off and we’ll resolve it eventually. But I never heard from him.

Three days later, on June 3rd, I noticed he logged into his MM profile. I tried to reply to our original private conversation on MM, only to find that he blocked me and that was the end of our friendship. I was crushed and insulted that he called me a “stalker” and just totally cut me off without any closure.

I sent him another good bye email, this time it was angry. But that wasn’t enough closure for me. I wanted to be heard. So…without revealing his identity, I vented about him on the forums. I started a thread called “cheesy pickup lines…” and I posted every compliment and invitation he sent me from day one, to prove that I am not a “stalker”.

Everyone who read it got a good laugh out of it, and said whoever this guy was is a “master # artist”, “cheesy”, “creepy”, etc. The site moderators deleted the thread, and brigged me for violating the privacy rule.

Everyone else has laughed and moved on, but I’m still upset. Why did he go out of his way to reach out to me, act like he deeply cared about and empathized with me, and then abruptly cut me me off at the most difficult time? Did he mean any of the things he said? Or was he just amusing himself because he was bored? Has anyone else on The Suicide And Violence Thread been lied to by "supporters" on the forums?

I still have all his praise, glowing reviews, and everything he wrote to me in my in-boxes. I still have his final email to me: his lengthy, beautifully written attempt to cover up all of his flirtations, suggestive emails and phone conversations. That final letter was condescendingly sweet, as he used everything he learned about me against me, and to his own advantage. (In the video above, I present his most moving messages with matching images.)

After another month of posting on the forums, I realized that he and rest of the forum clique have always perceived me as nothing but a “forum whore” - not that their forum behavior is any better. I finally came to accept that he was no better than the rest of The Forum Clique, but in fact he was much worse.

The only difference between him and the rest of the site’s Forum Clique, is that he is the only one who actually went out of his way – for two whole months – to secretly pretend to care about “the forum whore” …and then abandoned me when he didn’t get what he wanted from me.

I will never understand why he did this only to me and no one else.

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  • Un
      Sep 03, 2010

    It reads as if you played right into his lair. You appeared to be a pushover, and someone who could be manipulated, so he went to full 9 yards. Be glad you got this stopped before yard 10.

    0 Votes
  • Th
      Sep 03, 2010

    I am not complaining, I'm must sharing a story.

    0 Votes
  • Th
      Sep 03, 2010

    *just* sharing a story. Not complaining.

    -1 Votes
  • Sh
      Jan 11, 2011

    Thanks for sharing, there is a lot one can learn from others experiences. As for people asking why you are complaining about MM, you did the right thing by posting their name becuase this is the only way people find out about what kind of people hang around over there.

    0 Votes
  • Fa
      Aug 19, 2011

    why do you assume he did this to you and no one else? He kept your friendship private. obviously when you rebuffed him he just moved on to repeat the process all over again with someone else. people like him never have just one victim.

    but then you'll never get that since the whole thing was all about you for you in the first place. you're not over it because you still want to believe you were "the only one" when it's painfully obvious you weren't.

    0 Votes
  • Po
      Dec 04, 2013

    It's strange because reading this was like reading an account of my own, similar experience. I was literally stalked every day for a couple of months by someone I met via Model Mayhem. Then when he decided he'd had enough, he just dropped me like something worthless. It's a shame that many people lose interest after the novelty wears off and can't value true friendships. Sorry it happened to you but we're certainly not the only ones.

    +2 Votes
  • Ja
      Jul 12, 2014

    I am Jacquelyn Kim Alexander, you can see samples of my professional fashion work as a makeup artist/stylist/art director/photographer/scout-agent on Facebook. I've found and trained many top models and supermodels. I trained them, got them test shoots, jobs, etc. and didn't charge them. I started as a stylist at 14 winning a contest, then at 16 a fashion model. I have 40 yrs of experience in fashion. I care about models as individuals and I want to make their dreams come true. It's not all about money. I never slept with anybody to get a job. I do makeup/hair/styling/art direction/photography/scouting-agent. I am currently writing a "How To" book. I prefer to help models rather than let them fall on their face like on ANTM and they have to figure it out. I want them to be able to use the photos in their books. As a model I did regional and national ads, some runway, a movie. As a former model I was sexually harassed by agents as well as clients on professional jobs. I've had an L.A. agent ask me if they could use the models I found for sex. I found it disgusting and told them I wasn't Heidi Fleiss. He locked that girl up in the hotel room and she called me hysterical because she was far away from home and this creep had her cornered in a hotel room in NYC. She quit after that and seeing another fashion model give a top fashion photographer a blow job on a job. Sex harassment happens in every business but fashion gets the billing. I was as sexually harassed in business and military environments as I was in the fashion business. Another NYC agent said they didn't want the male model but could they use him for the night? I never worked with either again. These were TOP agents. I am currently writing a "How To" book on modeling and was going to scout for models to do more shots. I've done hundreds but fashion is dated. It changes all the time. I don't work with agents here because they're usually unprofessional who run scams on models. They have phony modeling schools to keep them in business. I don't do that kind of stuff. I have never taken advantage of a model. I've never stolen their money, on small jobs I didn't even charge a commission. I knew what it was like being a struggling model. I didn't charge them for tests either except expenses. I storyboarded and designed numerous photos that got models jobs from major designers and Fortune 500 companies. I also booked models for jobs around the world. I've literally done every job in this business. On the other hand I've been used by models who acted like Divas and jerks too so I've seen both sides.

    0 Votes
  • Ja
      Jul 12, 2014

    I forgot to say I read a fashion photography book which suggested the Model Mayhem site. In my area most of the agents are corrupt. They do phony modeling schools to make money. Then the models have unusable photos and aren't happy because their dreams are destroyed. I don't drive a fancy car, I don't live in a mansion yet I had models who made $70, 000+/day. One NYC model agent stole that money after the model did a Fendi job. I've actually heard of several agents stealing money from models, something else I don't do. I am apprehensive about using the Model Mayhem site because I've been scammed by models who want free shots but I get nothing in return, just used. I'm not giving out free advice any more because so many of them just use me for that and go on their merry way. It's a Catch-22. Many of the agents feel they don't have to pay the scouts. The NYC/Paris agent who trained me demanded I train the models but she paid the L.A. agent who used me to get the models in the first place. I got nothing except yelled at and blamed if the models didn't do what they want. So what I'm looking for are models who have integrity on top of looks, who want to be successful, know it's hard work and are willing to do it. I can give them the benefit of experience without scamming them in any way, especially sexually but again it's a two-way street. I don't want to put my reputation on the line any more sending a model to a certain market where she spends all her nights partying in clubs and can't get up in the morning to do the castings. I don't want one who has worked in markets walk in and act like she should get all the jobs because she's so great when she has no editorial to speak of. She got it from me. I've been used for clothing as well as food when the models didn't work due to their inappropriate behavior. I just wanted to add this to my previous comment. Many models are pretty but it's more than that these days. They need to have great attitudes, be nice to people, respect others in the business. I've done makeovers, test shoots, got clothing, etc. and got girls with top agents only to have them run off with a career criminal they met at Walmart or refuse to trave after they begged me to make them models and I got them in a magazinel. In this business you travel. I've been left with two plane tickets for models who acted like jerks this way. I've had a male model who was sent all expenses paid to Hollywood from here to meet with a client and producer (I set up both) meet the client, call all his friends and act like it was a frat party at a business meeting, then dump the bartab for him and his friends on the client. He was so drunk he trashed the hotel room and didn't show up for the photo shoot. He also blew the TV show audition by acting like his body was so great that he'd naturally win. He was a shoe-in but he refused to watch one episode of the show he was auditioning for. He refused to listen to me at all. Then he lost both jobs due to his unprofessionalism. One plae ticket I was stuck with was to do an audition for a $250, 000 movie role. She wanted free editorial tests from everybody, I offered to do it but she refused to meet me in person. She wouldn't send snapshots or sign a contract. Why should anybody test this twit for free? She was overweight for the current market, had a bad attitude and all the agents complained about her. She had contacted me to copy what I was doing. I never acted like this as a model. I should have dumped her right away. The agent I sent her to was really excited until she showed up acting like a Prima Donna and lost the editorial jobs she needed to girls without her experience because they were nicer. Girls who are successful have character, intelligence, they're fun to be around and the photographer/assistant/makeup artist /stylist want to work with them. I want us both to make money and be professional. So right now I need a professional male (6'-6'2" size 38 coat, 30-31' waist) and professional female (5'10"-6'1" size 0-2), both 14-19 yrs old to do photos for my upcoming fashion book. I've never not given a model their test shots either. They will be location in North Carolina for now until I can get back to California. I know what I'm doing and I'll dump anybody who shows up with a bad attitude. I have put together book lists as well as got a posing guide to teach models which is hard to find now. I don't want somebody doing catalog poses for an editorial shoot. Professionals KNOW the difference. I've had shoots ruined. I don't want to have to think about everything like posing etc. because the model is too lazy to practice. This is a business. So this is my major concern with Model Mayhem, that I'll get more jerks and it will damage my reputation. I don't want anybody lying about their height, skin condition or weight. Sample sizes are 0-2. I don't make the rules. I just follow them. And I can prove everything I say with tons of photos. I keep very good records. Also if a parent shows up scowling at me like I'm a pervert I'll stop the shoot. I don't have a problem with escorts, they can hold reflectors etc. but somebody who has made a judgment without even knowing me. No thanks. I don't want somebody to be so lazy they won't go look for the clothing I tell them we need. I have specific photos storyboarded and in my photos the models act, they don't just stand there with a blank stare

    0 Votes
  • Ti
      Jul 04, 2015

    Model mayhem has very poor customer service!

    This was my response after their last message back to me: So because of some random information that only your company knows about I'm not allowed to join or even know what that information is? I understand your need for prudence but I find that a bit rude, and poor customer service I might add. I would recommend you treat your next future customers with a little more humanity; especially considerationg the prestige around your website. You can easily start build a bad name for yourself. But thank you for your time in answering all of my questions.

    0 Votes
  • Pu
      Sep 12, 2017

    Thngs happen, but one should not email/private contact on this modeling site, which is already either a big boon or major heart ache. I'm not judging anybody. And there's alot of kooks out there. But one should also never publicly post personal issues and feelings. There's a time and place for everything but this Model Mayhem really isn't equal to a specific group of people who are in the same boat on a personal issue or problem. This site is really a hit or miss as far as success goes. It's disappointing but I found then unless a model does "nudes"he or she just doesn't get the same flattery, comments, offers. Model Mayhem reminds me a lot of eBay... It's a monopoly almost with not many other popular options for advertising and networking, and it seems It's resultant problems keep growing. The writer of this post, I interpreted it, presented themself as needy and ever willing to pursue some kind of other contact. And actually, pardon me for saying, sounded like they were stalking the other person. Even now they sound obsessed. In both cases is probably sensibly best to leave it alone. Did you want to make something else of it? When the other person was really a total stranger. Then how can you know that this person hasn't behaved that way with others? I found a bevy of learning lessons on Model Mayhem. Often times with what I would call bad experiences such as photographers bailing out on returning my photos to me and outright stealing from me, I'm grateful for the experiences that made me wiser. Many people on forums over the internet can be very hurtful and quote on quote rude. Yes, there is a time and place for everything and sometimes you just have to find out where that is.

    0 Votes
  • Io
      Jul 26, 2018

    I wanted an accound as Digital designer - it is an option to make this type of account and I was treated very bad by Metro Glamour Studio moderator. Worst customer service ever. I can not imagine it can be something like this... Very bad experience...

    0 Votes
  • Io
      Jul 27, 2018

    @Ionut Antochi After I talk with the administrator (who is a great person by the way), I have solved the problem and my account was created - I had problems only with one moderator. So - after all is was ok.

    0 Votes

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