Laura Jones—5 feet, 6 inches and 125 pounds—could have been on the path to Vogue.
Instead, the aspiring 22-year-old model from Vancouver uncovered this week's Rogue—5th Element Artists Inc.—a photo agency in Portland. Jones' dreams cost her more than $2,000 and ended with her photo on 500 cards that feature her nipples more prominently than her eyes.
The story begins last October at the Crystal Ballroom, where a roving modeling scout for Pulse Management approached Jones, who was attending a Decemberists concert. The scout told Jones she could be a model and referred her to Pulse.
Jones then attended a cattle-call audition with other men and women Oct. 21. There, Jones says, Pulse owner Stacey Eastman told her she'd be perfect for the Asian market because Jones is half Chinese.
Jones then signed with Eastman's management company, and was referred to 5th Element Artists, which is owned by Stacey Eastman's wife, Shayna Eastman. She charged Jones $2,025 for photography, makeup, hair, styling and other incidental costs. (Portland fashion insiders say it's common for wannabe models to front the cash for photo shoots, but that the usual rate is approximately $450.)
When Jones showed up in November for the photo shoot, she says photographer Rodney Ray selected a beige, see-through blouse from her wardrobe and told her to wear it sans bra or tank top. Jones says the photographer told her he'd PhotoShop the photo later to hide anything embarrassing. The photographer declined to answer WW's questions.
But the photo wasn't airbrushed and was sent to Stacey Eastman for his approval. It was then printed on 500 composite cards, which models use to get gigs.
Jones was upset, and now wants a full refund. Shayna Eastman refuses, saying it's Jones' own fault. She did offer a $275 refund. "This was her mistake, if in fact that's what it was," Shayna Eastman says. Jones says Stacey Eastman, her manager, promised her the "Lamborghini" of modeling portfolios.
"I think I got a Ford Pinto," Jones says.