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Paul Roberts International Modelling Agency Primodelsscam

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Hello,
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.

scam

RESOLVED

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.

Responses

  • Da
    darciemr Jun 07, 2012

    my friend is a part of this right now and seems to be totally oblivious to it all!

    0 Votes
  • Da
    darciemr Jun 07, 2012

    Hi Rachel!
    I just read your whole story from start to finish and almost had a heart-attack!
    My friend is currently involved in this whole scam... She was scouted last year, and has been going to these so-called 'catwalk classes'.
    After hearing your story, I truly believe that you should definitely report and investigate this further!
    You should put a report into A Current Affair or even Today Tonight!
    Get this man known! He needs to be stopped.
    My friend is currently on this New York trip with him and the rest of his unaware 'models'.
    Please please please consider investigating this further!
    My friend and I are very worried about our friend who has seemed to become a victim of Paul's scam.
    She also has been acting very differently since she started it all, and has become, as some would say, 'fitness addict'.
    When you get the chance, post this story to ACA or Today Tonight, so they can perhaps investigate it further.
    I'm very interested to hear the result of this 'scammer'...
    Thanks for sharing, you've definitely made me aware and your story has really touched me
    xxx Darcie

    0 Votes
  • Ac
    AC7777 Jul 11, 2012

    Hi, Rachel,
    Actually I know PR long time ago. Its more than 15 years. At that time, I was a student. At that time, I was young. Really young.
    I saw lots of girl very exited to be model. They gave PR lots of money. Even I am student, I can see the problem. However Paul is very sweet in words. So when model realize he is lied, it is too late. coz Time and money are most important to young model.
    BTW I know he is a Con Man. However I got no prove to take him in court.
    THX.

    From,
    AC

    0 Votes
  • La
    ladyparabellum Aug 22, 2012

    Hi Rachel,
    I just want to say thank you for sharing your story. I am 16 years old and 5'8 and I was approached at Flinders Street station by Paul Roberts. At first I was, as you put it, blinded by the prospect of becoming a model. I got my mum to make an appointment for the orientation session but luckily she stumbled upon your review.
    Thanks again, you have saved me time and money.
    Hannah

    0 Votes
  • Ks
    ks123 Sep 13, 2012

    Rachel,
    I know you can't change what has happened to you, however you have just saved my daughter the same fate. Thank you so much for posting the complaint as I was undecided as to whether my daughter should sign with him. I have only just had a meeting with him last night and was not total sold on him but like your mother only want the best for my daughter, who like you, was so excited at being spotted on the streets of Melbourne by a "talent scout".

    0 Votes
  • Li
    Lilla Marie Sep 14, 2012

    I was approached today by the sleez. Im so glad I'm aware of the con men out there. Thankyou for your review.

    0 Votes
  • Bd
    bdaggers Oct 12, 2012

    Hi Rachel,
    Early this year I was approached by this foul human, also on Swanston st. Luckily, I knew almost immediately that it must be a scam - being just a very insecure 16 year old myself. So prior to being approached, I chose not to contact Paul. However, my new boyfriend is involved with PRImodels and has been attending these 'classes'. This just shows haw many people he approaches considering neither he or I live in the city, (and about 4 other girls I know have been approached, one of them who have fallen in to the scam.) yet we were both approached from just being there very occasionally. I haven't been able to tell him yet, however I will build up the courage to tell him asap. I think what Paul does is absolutely disgusting and needs to be stopped. You should DEFINITELY go to A Current Affair or something similar, with this story. It is not fair at all for children and young adults to have their hopes raised so high, to just be thrown into the dirt when the realization hits them. Especially people who do not have money to throw around and believe they may be able to make money out of this. Thank you so much for sharing this story, it must have taken a lot of guts.
    - Brittany

    0 Votes
  • Sp
    Spka Jan 01, 2013

    This is a wonderful complaint and my heart goes out to all those being scammed. I am lucky enough to be represented by Viviens in Melbourne, but not being the ideal height (173cm) and being ethnic (curves galore) I have a lot of trouble with my self esteem trying to mould myself into a model. I cannot even begin to fathom the damage this despicable man has done to you and your mental well being. Any person that makes a girl feel like she isn't good enough should not be allowed to work near them. I really hope that girls don't fall for this scam, and that his demands for payment are a signal of how dodgy he is.
    Absolute a**hole.

    0 Votes
  • As
    A.Stuart Jul 09, 2013

    We disagree with all the comments because our experience was fantastic with Paul. In our view all these comments are a fabrication and defamation created by other model agencies who are jealous of PR good fame. This kind of low and primitive attack on better people is a simple [censor]iness and shows lack of education or common sense.
    My regards
    A. Stuart

    0 Votes
  • Ra
    Rally Jul 22, 2013

    Everything you have said Rachel is so so true, this man is just a con artist. He does not have work for the girls he takes on, he takes there money, makes them do these classes, as you say he is the make up artist photographer all in one. My daughter was with him, I too was conned by him and alarm bells were ringing from the start, but after ringing him to see who he had sent photos of my daughter too and asking what he was doing to promote my daughter he gave my daughter a volunteer job...He should be closed down. In my daughters class not one girl was over 5'8, so none of them were ever going to be models. He had not got any work for the girls in the class yet he was still recruiting more and more girls. I did eventually see through this slimy man and took my daughter out of his sham of a agency. Please get the word out there he is a con...

    0 Votes
  • Pr
    protective mum! Nov 25, 2013

    Thanks Rachael for taking the time to share your experience. My daughter has been "spotted" by Paul recently.We went for an interview and even though I didn't have a good gut feeling was considering going through with it as my daughter so happy.Gave her confidence a boost and of course as most con men do he was convincing. Luckily I bragged on Facebook and a friend let me know all about him. There are much more reputable agencies. Don't let this ### bring you down. He is the one with problem, not you.

    0 Votes
  • Ab
    abcblah Dec 09, 2013

    Wow so shocked. I was approached and given a card like a year ago but didn't have the time to apply and when I did, my dad rang and Paul said to send a natural photo of my face and then we'll get an appointment. I'm 5'9 and thin but ordinary and I hated the photo that my friend took which is why I didn't go through with it. But just these last few days I'd changed my mind again. Watching shows like 'next top model' made me want to do things like them. I had been planning on taking a new photo very soon. When just tonight I was typing in PRImodels and the google search engine happen to come up with 'complaints' and that's how I found this. All I can say is wow. What an ###. And thank you sooooo much!

    Please report this to today tonight or something! This ### needs to be stopped.

    As for your self esteem. All though it is far easier said than done, you need to hold your head high and prove that piece of ### wrong. You're tall - the kind of girlfriend for a hot footy player ;) and I'm sure you are far prettier than you realise. It's gonna be hard but look at the good things and I'm sure getting things off your chest can only help. You need to accept what has happened and learn to love yourself, look at you're best qualities.

    0 Votes
  • Ga
    gauracho Jan 23, 2014

    My Name is Garry and i joined this academy 3 years ago and still part of it, I have done lot of modelling assignments so i don't agree with this complaint. I saw lot of other models in these years who got lot of jobs. I suspect Rachel is an identity created by jealous competitors of Paul Roberts because i checked with Paul no one with this name has ever attended his classes in fact Paul was surprised to read this complaint and he searched for all previous records but found no one with this name.

    -1 Votes
  • Pl
    Plasticpinkhearts Oct 12, 2020
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Back in 2009, my friend was scammed by him too. He is an absolute scum bag and I can’t believe he is still in business.
    My friend never got any work and I was suss in him from the beginning. I kept questioning him — he didn’t like me at all. He’s a typical con man - sleazy, greasy and overly confident. I am so sorry this has happened to you and I hope you are doing better now.

    I also wrote a review about him:

    https:///link removed/

    0 Votes
  • Ja
    Janette munday Oct 28, 2020

    I want to set the record straight here.
    I am now 36 yrs old and in 2000 when I was 15 in Bourke St Paul approached me in my jumper and jeans. I am far from model material.
    He gave me his card he actually took me to his office in st kinda and showed me all those pictures on the walls of celebrities he had apparently worked and met with. I remember seeing a class of people doing the catwalk practice. He also took me to a event nearby to show me who his supposed models were in that crowd.in his office he was preening me and talking so much rubbish I had a bad feeling and felt uncomfortable right there. He offered that contract or whatever u want to call it and I remember just switching it off in my mind. I guess I wasn't so naive that I tried to convince myself. I walked out and never looked back.
    I remember how uneasy he made me feel espnwhej he told me to pose. There was one thing he said that never left my mind 20 yrs later and that was to put ur tongue on the top of your mouth when u smile to give that model pose...
    I was a child and he took full advantage of my invulnerability. I'll never forget how much of a sleeve he was. I wish I had spoken up all those years ago it may have helped alot of young naive girls from putting thier trust into this man. I now have a 4 yr old girl and if one day she grows up I hope she has the sense to use her intuition to make the right choice when it comes to filthy money grubbing old men like this. If anyone ever wants to report this to ACA or similar im all for it.
    Janette munday

    0 Votes

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