I like to pride myself on giving people the benefit of the doubt when meeting them. I assume the best, just as I would hope they would assume of me. I have recently discovered that in the modeling world, this rule of thumb might need to be ruled out.
I've been modeling for about 16 years and about a year ago, I started my modeling career back up again after a baby break. A model friend gave me a few contacts to help rebuild my book and get me started. One of the photographer contacts was very willing to refer me to some big names, one of which owned a very reputable high fashion magazine. I immediately made contact. I will refer to him as Ron in this blog.
Over the course of the year, I have been in contact with Ron about certain projects, endevors etc., that he and I (separately) have been involved in all the while hoping to catch his interest for his magazine. All contact was online via myspace and facebook and the occasional quick IM. All very formal. All very professional. All very...normal.
Finally he was ready to take me serious as a model. He booked me to walk in his fashion show for LA Fashion Week. I didn't end up walking for reasons far too boring to mention but I did go and help him run his show. I coordinate fashion shows and other events as well so for me this was a huge honor.
So the day came and went smoothly. We met. He seemed very sweet and genuine. I did my job and left.
A few days later, he offered me a gig modeling his clothing line, which I wasn't able to take, but I thought it was my big break and maybe, finally, my way into his magazine.
Three days later, I was walking in another fashion show and ran into his ex-girlfriend and another model who were talking about him. They didn't realize I was listening or even that I knew him. As the conversation went on, I realized he was harrassing the model and trash talking her online to other people. She was begging his ex to speak to him on her behalf. The ex later explained that he already had a police record for violently kidnapping her. Yikes. I never let on that I knew him.
Needless to say, I dropped all contact with this person and will avoid any further contact with him. I think it is a good rule of thumb that when you are working with people in this industry, especially when not agency referred, to err on the side of caution. Don't trust blindly just because they have credits, a huge following, experience or a big fashion world name.