The complaint has been investigated and
resolved to the customer's satisfactionResolved Paul Roberts International Modelling Agency Primodels — scam
resolved to the customer's satisfaction
I don't really know where to begin with this complaint, so I will start from the start. I am 6'1 and of an athletic build. For a normal person I could be considered thin, but as a model I would be considered plus size. When I was 14 I received a business card from Paul Roberts one night when I was walking down Swanston Street in Melbourne. At first I was like "pffft, probably just some guy trying to sell something". I put the card in my pocket. When I later reexamined the card in more detail, I was able to see that it was quite professionally put together. I saw "international supermodel agency" and my 14, nearly 15, year old mind went wild. I was already dreaming of being a Victoria's Secret model or the next Kate Moss, flying around the world and living a life of soon to be high profile demand. I was too blinded by the ideal of being a model to look at the situation realistically: I was not model material, no matter how much make up or hair products you put on me. I had low self esteem about my height and I was an average looking girl. This supposed opportunity looked to show a lot of promise in boosting my already less than perfect body image, and ambition took over me. My mum, being tall when she was younger, sympathised with me and blinded by her love for me and her inability to see my flaws was reluctantly supportive of my hopes. Despite being a single parent on minimum wage, after a lot of convincing by Mr Paul Roberts (who showed pictures of him with Claudia Schiffer and Cathy Freeman, along with having an office full of model call cards from other top agencies strategically placed throughout his dingy yet conveniently placed office on St. Kilda Road) was able to convey to my wary mother that with the right "training" I could be a true contender.
He already was flashing the prospect of photoshoots, and walking classes, and told how his business was looking to integrate other aspects to modelling in time. But what first had to be signed was the contract. THIS WAS THE FIRST WARNING SIGN THAT ME AND MY INEXPERIENCED MOTHER FACED. Every girl in the modelling industry KNOWS that YOU DO NOT PAY OTHER PEOPLE SO YOU CAN BE A MODEL. It just does not happen like that. If you have what it takes, an agency will cover your initial fees and later take it out of your wages when you are getting work as a model. However, Paul Roberts justification of the fee was the makeup, photographer, printed folio and classes. BUT: a) Depending on the individual (he did charge some people more and others less, I think this was after he assessed whom he could weasel the most money out of, although he is a lying scammer, he's obviously good at it cause he still to this day is doing it) he would requests payments of between what I believe to be $3000 - $6000. This may not sound like a lot of money to some, but for a single mother with other children who works full time, this was a lot of money for us. He "KINDLY" allowed us to pay it in $1000 installments. I too this day regret so, so, so heartbreakingly, badly that I hadn't made my mother fork out the money which she didn't even have. b) The money was for make up but it is clear to any hygienic human that the make up kit he had was years old and probably retained from a D-Grade makeup course he took in his younger years, and which he uses the same tools without cleaning them on every single girl (or boy) he pulls into his small little rented office. Secondly, he does all the make up himself. And as I said he probably attended a makeup course you pay a couple of hundred dollars for and complete over a two month period to teach you the basics. As you can tell from the girls pictures on the website, the make up he puts onto his girls and boys is neither high fashion nor commercial make up. The style he uses is reminiscent of the 80s, and not in a stylistic fashion, this man has no idea what he's doing, yet goes about it in a way that despite his lack of ability, he can convince everyone around him that he does know what he's doing. When he put the make up on my face for my "photo shoots", and there were numerous occasions, he used a sponge and application method with the foundation that was abrasive to my skin. Nor was the shade of foundation suitable for my complexion or colouring. Additionally the thick pencil eyeliner was put on in a way that did not flatter my eyes or my age, it looked like it had actually expired and was past its best before date. There was black eyeshadow and pink blush and a far too pink lip stick put on me. I didn't even look like a child prostitute, which would at least meant he had managaed to get a bit of sex appeal into the look - something which is at times favoured in the modelling industry, I instead looked like a juvenile clown. The makeup was horrible, I was aware of it and I felt ashamed and sheepish in it. it hurt my face and a part of me felt taken advantage of, a part of me still believed I could be a model. In terms of the hair, he would brush it straight then grab bits harshly and up end it violently with a community hairbrush, a tactic which neither produced flattering effects nor was good for the hair. He would then pat the hair down, as if he knew what he was doing. The photographers, which the large amount of money we paid to him was supposedly covering, were either photgarphy students at university, voluntary ones who were mostly older men, or Paul himself. It was clear there was no budget for hiring other photographers, the bargain was that if he provides a fully clothed and makeup model to them, they get to practice/keep for themselves as long as they share the rights to them with him. My mother was extremely protective of me, and she attended everything I did with Paul. She was always at my photoshoots and meetings. Additionally we had to provide our own clothes and high heels for the show. Now I am not an upper class girl, I am in fact a lower middle class girl who predominantly in my teens was a tom boy. I was now expected to provide "fashion clothes". This was a beginning of an immense amount of pressure, and a questioning of my identity. I "had" to go out and buy clothes and dresses (from the cheapest stores because they were clothes I neither needed nor could my mother afford) so I could wear them to my photoshoot. I was just 15 and had no idea about fashion, my clothes were ill fitted and to be quite frank, tacky and ugly. I began to quetsion everything about myself as it was already put forth that I should dress in a certain manner (that did not conform with who I was). Also I would like to note that I was scouted in sneakers, an oversized hoodie and jeans, and my first meeting where he told me I could be an international model I wore the same outfit. I told a few of my friends at school and they were more excited than me. I was beginning to see that this is not the type of modelling they thought I was doing. They were thinking I was doing photoshoots that produced A-Grade shots whereas I was doing Z-Grade shoots and while all my friends were asking for the pictures, I was too ashamed to show them and stopped talking about it. My first photoshoot I was too nervous and unsure of myself (to be honest I am not photogenic or skilled in front of the camera) to realise the photographer Paul had brought in had neither skill or artistic direction. He made me where one of Paul's ties and the photos that I was shown (never in print, or in my promised folio, they were put up on his website before I got any, unless if you count the digital disc with the selected maybe 10 files he had chose of "final edits" - the editting skills of definitely not a professional, but a novice photogropher) and I looked like a man, all of my worst features were accentuated. I hated the photos and began to analyse myself. I realised I was not "pretty" and was "large" and slowely my self esteem began to diminish. Every week my mum and me would drive from our suburban house (despite her having other kids that needed her attention and care too) to his office in St. Kilda to attend the "classes". Basically these classes were comprised of, depending on the night, 8-15 people walking up and down the room performing "turns he churned out himself" he claimed the key to our success was mastering these turns. He would leave the class and have a leader run through the drills and would maybe come back later (depending if he had to impress any parents or not) to analyse and criticise the movement and ability to turn. Every aspect of you was stared at and analysed, but never was it brought into account that modelling was about size and beauty. Most of the girls there were about as average and far from model as me. This went on for months. And Paul actually liked me, I am actually one of the testimonials on his page, that was about 3-4 years ago yet he has it as a current testimonial. I got a few volunteer jobs. But I was not model material, and Paul kept pushing to get my time, yet I never managed to earn money or get anywhere as a model. He brought so many people in, and he seriously must be rolling in it. He is a cunning, dodgey man. He prays on girls who for the most chance will never be models. What I'm not too sure of is whether he is aware of this, or if he himself is completely delusional. One girl I did a charity event for, I embaressingly told about my association with Paul Roberts in getting the experience, and she laughed (she was a lot older) and told me how she was suprised he was around, telling a story how he had given her a card and taken photos of her in a bikini then asked her to pay thousands. So many people have been sucked into it. I wish there is something I could do to just stop him in his tracks. I do not have a personal resentment towards him, I have a resentment to what he does. I am now 18, nearly 19, and I have just completed year 12 last year. I had an eating disorder for about a year and a half, and completely isolated myself from my friends and family, at school I cut all my friendships and all I did was study. I now have severe anxiety. I went to a counciller in year 12 and all I wanted to do was try and share with her the shame and embarressment and hurt and feeling of failure my experience with Paul Roberts has embedded into me. All my friends and family were excited for me, and thought I was a snob for not sharing the experience with them, no one knew how ashamed I was of it, I never wanted any of them to see my Z-grade modelling which made a mockery out of me. This is especially because there was a girl in the year below me who was a real model for chadwick. I knew how stupid and pathetic my stint with paul roberts was, and I knew how ugly and fat I was to be a model. I regret so badly getting into Paul Roberts. I was not ready to do what he promised, I still had many many more years of my youth until I would naturally mature into a beautiful young, intelligent woman. But being with Paul just made me feel worthless, yet at the same time I always hoped I would end up being the next Miranda Kerr. The truth is 99% of girls are beautiful, they are just not meant to be models, and by making them act like models when they're not, it only brings out and highlights their flaws.
There was so much wrong with my experience, I got work/volunteered work about 4-6 times. And I met a few interesting people along the way, but it was never anything professional, it was actually so amateur I to this day would never tell anyone about it. I hate myself for doing it. I wasted my teenage years where I could have been studying so this point of my life would be a lot easier, diminishing myself esteem. What is worst about my whole experience is that I can never erase it from my past. Thank god with time it is distanced from me, but it has scarred me for life and I now live with a deep sense of unease and anxiety which I know was spawned from my experience.
I never got my photo book, it would take him months to pay me my earnt $120, and I'm pretty sure my second photographer was a pedophile. He kept trying to get me alone with him but my mum wouldn't let him. He made me change on St Kilda Road. I have the worst posture and never learnt anything from the walking classes. I am less of a model now than I was going in. I hate being in photos now. I wish I could remember all the things he ripped me and my poor mum off with, but I have spent a long time just trying to get away from it all. His wife heidi is apparently an ex model, but I wouldn't be surprised if she was just someone he paid to turn up every now and then. His office is horrible and this man is not professional, he just hands out as many cards to as many people and tries to get as many people on contract so they have to pay. Some people pay and some people are smart enough to get the hell out of there. I just wish my mum and me were smart enough from the beginning, I was 14 though and my mum only wanted me to be happy.
There is so so so much wrong with Paul Roberts and his company, too much to write in a complaint. I have been here for about an hour and I can't even verbally explain it all. I just hope no other girls get taken advantage of and they know they are beautiful enough without Paul Roberts, it is better to never be a model than be a paul roberts model.
Sincerely from the girl whose life has been ruined by anxiety.
Sometimes I dream of doing something to serve justice to Paul Roberts, and whats ironic is he operates this scammy little business about 1km from the St Kilda police station. He has done a pretty good job at maintaining enough annonyminity to coax new people in. The skill to his business is that he keeps a low profile so the unhappy people don't bother filing in, and too be honest he's so small scale no one with enough power would make the effort to do it. I mean I signed on with him about 4 years ago but only now am speaking up.
He also changed his name to PRIModels in the past 2 years.
I hope he doesn't contact me cause I am so glad he is entirely out of my life I just hope this helps someone cause there is not much out there to prove what he does.
The company did everything to try to resolve the issue, but after several attempts to contact the complainant, no answer has been received. Therefore the complaint is declared to be untrue.