Many kids dream of becoming famous models or actors, and supportive parents are often willing to spend hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars on a program to help their children achieve their dreams. However, not all of these programs are created equal. Mother and daughter duo Kelli and Erica Turner have made a name for themselves and their talent development program, Turner Talent, by exposing the “glam scams” that take advantage of unwitting parents.
One of Turner Talent’s goals to make the talent industry safer and more accessible is to take down the glam scams that have given the talent industry a bad name. These “talent showcases” charge parents thousands of dollars to provide them with experience and opportunities that frequently promise to “skyrocket” their kids to stardom. Unfortunately, as with so many things in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Turner Talent co-founder Kelli Turner has one experience in particular with one such glam scam that was undoubtedly unorthodox. Thanks to her years of experience in the industry, Kelli was recruited by one of these showcases to serve as one of their training experts. Little did they know that she would use this opportunity to go “undercover” and peel back the curtain on the reality of what happens at these deceptive programs.
Exposing the true face of glam scams
In her experience, Kelli compares what happens at these glam scams to a “pep rally,” in that they talk a big game and get parents and children excited without delivering any verifiable results. “The purpose of these glam scams is to get parents and kids excited and have them buy more options and packages,” she asserts. “Many families will walk out the door having spent anywhere from $5,000 to $7,000 or more — and have nothing to show for it.”
Kelli argues that the worst thing about these glam scams is how they mislead aspiring talent and their parents. “These programs try to make everyone feel that they are something special and deserve to be ‘discovered,’” she explains. “But, in reality, these showcases really pitch the tiny percentage of people who make it big. Although it is possible to reach this level of success, the chances of doing so — especially through a program like this — are unrealistically slim.”
One of the main benefits advertised by glam scams is the ability to get in front of casting directors and agents, but there are several problems with this. “First, getting in front of agents should never cost you anything. Agents make their money off a percentage of jobs booked — if they’re earning money in other ways, they likely aren’t reputable or helpful,” Kelli says. “Furthermore, these agents and casting directors add only a select few to their database.”
That isn’t to say that these programs are entirely meritless, but Turner Talent wants to ensure that parents know what they are signing their kids up for before making a multi-thousand-dollar commitment. “Kids can have fun at some of the group classes, and they’ll learn some basic techniques and get to walk a runway,” Kelli explains. “However, There are safer and much more affordable ways to get a foot in the door in this industry.”
Getting a foot in the door without falling victim to a glam scam
Indeed, to start safely and correctly in the talent business, it doesn’t have to cost a lot. “There are very few industries that you can start a side hustle for under $400 or — if you purchase professional-quality headshots and photos — under $1000,” Kelli asserts. “Spending thousands of dollars for one of these showcases isn’t necessary. You get to meet all kinds of people, have unique experiences like time in the hair and makeup chair or even walking a red carpet, all while being able to make money from it! This industry can be a ton of fun, and if you’re serious about it, you can work in it full-time.”
This behind-the-scenes look at what happens in glam scams was eye-opening for Turner, inspiring her to advocate for more transparency and trustworthiness in the talent industry.
“We strive for transparency in all of our work, and we want to legitimately help our clients pursue their dreams,” says Kelli. “Part of helping our clients reach their goals is teaching them how to avoid being misled by one of these common scams. We continue to share our knowledge with other industry leaders and the public, hoping that, one day, we can stop glam scams from taking advantage of people forever so that they will be able to achieve their dreams safely and affordably.”
Leave a Reply