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Oh baby! Mom and daughter pay price for trying to make little girl a star

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Every mom thinks her baby is beautiful…cute enough to be a model or work on TV. The problem is there are businesses that play on those feelings. And thousands of people are left with dashed dreams…not to mention lighter wallets.

That happened to Elvera Arindell and her daughter Kristine McMillan. Krstine had high hopes for her own daughter, 10-month-old Scarlette.

“I was really trying to get my daughter into modeling.”

Kristine went online to the Wilhelmina website. But somehow she wound up on another site, InterFACE. She saw the cute kids there and signed up. InterFACE called back and set up an appointment for her, her mom and her baby, Scarlette.

They took the train to Interface’s office just off the New Jersey Turnpike in East Brunswick.

“When we got there it looked very nice and professional. so I thought this is gonna work. This is really gonna work. Until they said we are not a modeling agency.”

InterFACE is a talent marketing business. It just promotes people on the web and maybe elsewhere. It is not a talent or modeling agency.

“They said that they would go ahead and promote her, “ Elvera told me. “But did we have any pictures for her? We hadn’t done a portfolio.”

mom and daughter

No problem. InterFACE would schedule a photo shoot. Elvera put down a two-hundred dollar deposit.

But the next day: Elvera had second thoughts.

“It was going to be too costly. It had already cost us about $52 just to get here.”

So Elvera decided to get her money back. She notified the company in writing within three days of the contract being signed. That’s exactly what the contract required. But more than two months later, no refund.

So I went with her over to the company’s office. We met a guy named Mitch Rubin who’s listed as the Chief Operating Officer. Mitch and I discussed the situation. After a few minutes, he checked the records, apologized for the situation and gave Elvera a refund check.

Elvera learned a lesson: “Always do your research, haha.”

If she had done her research, Elvera could have discovered that just over a year ago, InterFACE settled a lawsuit by New Jersey’s Attorney General for $400,000. InterFACE was accused of misleading customers into believing it was an actual modeling and talent agency. It did not actually admit any wrongdoing.

Elvera also might have seen that the business has an “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau with 167 complaints registered in the past three years.

Remember, talent and modeling agencies shouldn’t be charging you for photos, classes or anything else. They make money by taking a percentage when they find their clients work. And generally, they can spot someone with “it” right away. So don’t fall for any shopping mall or street corner come-ons.