*8th April 2017 Update
I have decided to remove the person’s name. I wanted to move the focus of the post from the scammer to the experience. Long story short, please be careful with whom you trust. I also did receive my money back. Thank you.
*WARNING: THIS IS A VERY LONG POST*
As many of you know, I was scammed. As some of you know, it was by someone whom I trusted. I even considered this person as one of my closest friends.
This post has been in my draft for the past 4 months but has been on my mind for the past 8 months. I never wanted to post this, nor did I want to draw more attention to the person who scammed me. I think it is important that I let everyone know what had happened so it does not happen to them.
The person who scammed me was XXX.
Back in April of 2015, I, at that time, thought that I had made a friend on a shoot. We started talking every day about modeling and other miscellaneous things. In June 2015, XXX was helping me come up with ideas for my upcoming shoot and helping me find photographers that I could potentially shoot with. XXX had mentioned that there were other models she was helping for a cost and asked if I was interested in partaking in the arrangement of being my manager.
It was hard for me to say no. I didn’t know how to say no. We were really good friends and I felt like if I said no, could it have possibly ruined our friendship? I gave in and said sure. I gave XXX $100 roughly every 2-4 weeks, or when I was able to.
*These screenshots were altered to hide transaction ID and card number. Everything else has remained unedited.
The original agreement was $400 for 5-6 photoshoots. Throughout the conversation, there were numerous times when XXX had insisted that I had only paid her $100 or $200. When in reality, I had already given her $300. There were three different occasions when I had to send her screenshots stating that I had already paid her. I tried giving her the benefit of the doubt and assumed that she was busy and had simply forgotten. By the 3rd time of telling me that I still owe her $300, it was becoming evident that she was trying to see if I was oblivious and would send her even more money.
XXX did deliver one out of five shoots she said she would. XXX had promised that she would put together the photographer, the hair/makeup artist, as well as the clothing. The first, and only, shoot she set up for me was back in August of 2016. There was a lot of miscommunication for the time and place of the shoot. I also had to go out and purchase new clothing items since XXX had originally told me that clothing was going to be provided and there was a specific look we were going for.
After the shoot, XXX insisted that she was credited as the stylist.
Although it did not bother me as much, I felt that it was unfair to list her as the stylist as she was not the one to provide the clothes, nor did she even style the shoot at all. She simply told me that I needed a denim jacket. The photographer and I had to come up with the outfits and pairing of the clothes.
After I had already sent her $300, XXX kept texting me every other day asking if I had the last $100. Being a college student who recently moved, I didn’t have the money right away. My source of income was dependent on YouTube and social media product features. I had to ask XXX for an extension couple of times because I was barely making enough for food and gas to commute from the place I was living at to school. Eventually, I had told XXX that I wasn’t able to pay her the last $100 and to just use the rest of the money on 4-5 photoshoots instead of 5-6. XXX never replied to that text and she seldom reached out to me after that.
I was depressed because I thought I had lost a friend.
Nothing progressed in the next couple of months. XXX would randomly text me every now telling me to shoot with these specific photographers, but never actually set up a shoot. There was a time when XXX had tried cutting ties with me by claiming that I was spreading rumors, even though the rumor was not germane to me.
I felt like she did not want to keep up her end of the bargain anymore and needed an easy way out.
I felt embarrassed and like an idiot for giving XXX $300. Never told anyone about this. Somehow I always told myself that XXX was busy and gave her the benefit of the doubt. I was in denial. I didn’t know if I was scammed and I needed a second opinion. The only other person I told about this was to Valerie. Valerie told me that what XXX was doing was fraudulent. She also suggested that I go meet up with one of the other models XXX claimed she was helping.
A couple of weeks later, I met up with one of the models (I will be calling this model Casey*). Casey had also felt the same way and was annoyed that XXX was still telling people that she was helping Casey out even though it has been months since they last spoke. XXX had set up a shoot for Casey but had told the photographer the time of the shoot to be 3 hours later than what she had told everyone else. There was a lot of miscommunication during the shoot and the inspirational pictures that XXX set up did not correspond.
Casey had also tried to get their money back but eventually gave up.
I had asked XXX a couple of times when my next shoot was going to be. Her response would typically be “Oh, I’m busy right now with other 4 models that I’m helping out”. Yet, she would post on Facebook asking if there are any models out there that would be interested in getting help. Of course, this baffled me. XXX would never keep track of my schedule. I would tell her dates when I would be out of town or dates where I would be busy with school/sorority. Her response would be, “oh sorry, I’m getting everyone’s schedules mixed up,” which I get.
I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt but over time, it just seemed like if she was too busy, maybe she shouldn’t handle it anymore. I eventually got tired and had asked if I can have my unused money back because I was too busy to the point where I couldn’t set aside 3-5 hours for a shoot. It was more convenient that I set up my own shoots and plan my own schedule. At this point, it was supposed to be $240 since she had used $60 for hair and makeup on the shoot she had set up for me.
* A little back story: I was going to LA for winter break and had asked XXX if she could recommend any photographers that I could shoot with while I was there since she had previously lived there for a couple of months. I didn’t realize that information was worth $300 – I was merely asking for a recommendation.
I didn’t realize how hard it was to ask XXX for my money back. At this point, I knew I wasn’t going to be getting my money back. If XXX isn’t going to give me back my money, I might as well try to make her keep her words. I gave XXX a couple of photographers whom I’ve been wanting to shoot awhile, but she would constantly tell me that they were hard to get a reach of. I was a bit confused because I had personally DMed them myself and they had responded within the next day.
Another model (I will be calling this model Kelly*) I knew was about to give XXX $500, which was $100 more than she had originally asked from me. Kelly was telling me that she needed a couple of months to save up money to give to XXX, but XXX was very adamant about giving her the money as soon as possible. I met up with Kelly and had told her the story. XXX was very passive-aggressive with her texting especially after Kelly had declined XXX‘s help.
* These screenshots were sent to me by Kelly. These were conversations between XXX and Kelly.
A couple of days later, XXX had messaged Kelly saying “I think you need to change the way you photograph yourself, no sexier. Not right now. If you want to be sexy then it needs to be portrayed differently not like a random person just picked up a camera and took photos. No more winged eyeliner at least no when you model.”
I mean, I don’t know XXX‘s intents are. Maybe she genuinely wants to help out Kelly, but who is XXX for her to tell Kelly what she can or can’t do? There’s a line between giving others suggestions and telling others what to do. Kelly said:
I don’t exactly think she understands how damaging her words can be sometimes. I know I’m not the best model on the planet, and I know I need to learn how to do other things, but people could go about it in a better manner than this. You can definitely tell that she is into herself, because she tried telling me personally that I needed to do more shoots like her, and look like her, and do my make up and hair like her. Oh, and let’s not forget that I have to look at her Instagram for inspiration.
Two months ago (February 2017), I went on a shoot with a photographer who had asked me about XXX. I didn’t tell him any of this. All I told him that I knew her from a shoot we did back in 2015. The photographer then proceeded to tell me that XXX was harassing him on my behalf about shooting with me.
I was baffled.
I was scared that there were other photographers out there who are under the impression that I’ve been asking XXX to harass them on my behalf. XXX started helping out another model, Yessenia, whom I had personally reach out and had told her my experience with XXX. Of course, I wished her best of luck and hoped that XXX fulfilled her agreement.
XXX contacted me and told me to stop telling people that she was scamming me. She also said that she would send me back $300 by that Monday if I stop “bad-mouthing” her. In other words, XXX was trying to pay me to keep quiet. I wasn’t “bad mouthing” her, simply telling my side of the story along with screenshots as evidence. Monday came and I had contacted XXX asking when should I be expecting the money. She told me that she changed her mind and will not be sending me back my money.
XXX posted the newest movie trailer from The Little Mermaid saying that they had completely mess with a Disney film. My apologies for not being able to get a screenshot of my comment before it was deleted. I believe there were roughly 2 or 3 more comments before I was blocked on Facebook. Valerie had posted something along the lines of, “this movie is based on the actual story by Hans Christian Anderson. If anything, the Disney film changed the story when they made it so this movie isn’t messing with Disney’s film”. My comment was, “someone please tell me that XXX is kidding about messing with a Disney film”.
Yes, I know my comment was petty, but I’m not going to lie, I was mad.
I was mad that XXX had told me that she was going to give me back my money but did not go through with it. XXX had then called Valerie and I out asking why are we commenting on her Facebook to disapprove. I understand why XXX would call me out; my comment was not germane to the post at all, but Valerie was merely stating her opinion. XXX said that she isn’t my agent or my manager, thus she doesn’t have to do anything I ask – she did all of his to be nice. I thought was quite funny because as I have posted, a screenshot of XXX stating that she was my manager.
If XXX was doing this to be nice, she wouldn’t have needed money from me. XXX had never told me that she was going to send me $150 before this conversation.
She had explicitly told me that she wasn’t going to give me back my money and had “wish you the best of luck.”
XXX then texted me the next morning saying that she will be depositing $150 back to my account. XXX refused to give me a rundown of what she has spent my $300 on. When a customer purchases anything from a store, they are given a receipt – a full rundown of the items they have paid for. I am, in this case, a customer of XXX‘s. I am XXX‘s client. XXX had explicitly stated that she was my manager. Another thing that I do not understand is her deposit with companies. Out of all collaborations I have done, I have never had to put a deposit on anything.
Many of you have seen my post about this on my Instagram story and had reached out to let me know your experiences with her. Thank you to everyone for the positive wishes and thought.
These shoots she’s setting up for the “models that she is helping” are shoots that she had set up for herself and decided to include the models. I hope many of you don’t think I’m petty, but it took me some serious thinking to post this. Yes, some things I had said to XXX weren’t nice, but I’ve given her the benefit of the doubt countless times.
I never wanted to do an expose on her, but more people need to know about this situation. Whether or not she’s going to give me back $150 is still unsure. I will update this if she does but I highly doubt she will. Even if she does give me back $150, I still want a break down of where the rest of my money went.
Thank you to everyone who read this.
I’m very grateful for all the positive thoughts and wishes from everyone whom I’ve shared my story. I hope you guys understand my intentions with this blog post and I don’t mean to be malicious. I’m not starting drama and I’m not “bad mouthing” XXX. I’m stating FACTS and things that had happened throughout these past 10 months.