A Model’s Guide to Escorts and Professionalism

In her previous video, Eleanor Rose covered model safety by explaining how to check photographer references and why they’re so important.

This week’s topic also focuses on model safety by discussing the controversial topic of bringing an escort to a photo shoot. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, in the modeling industry an “escort” refers to someone who accompanies a model to a photo shoot.

Check out Eleanor Rose’s YouTube channel for an extensive set of videos full of advice for models.

Photo credit: Alan H Bruce

Eleanor Rose

Eleanor Rose is a freelance model, mentor and coach based in Southern California. As founder of Empowered Muses she helps freelance nude models who are tired of getting all the wrong gigs attract plenty of great clients. Find more resources at

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:

13 Responses to “A Model’s Guide to Escorts and Professionalism”

  1. March 12, 2016 at 12:03 am, Porcelain Rose said:

    I have some pretty huge issues with this video. If this were an industry networking site, rather than a site comprised of mostly freelance models and photographers, it would be different… but the advice given here is actively endangering young women by discouraging them from taking possibly the most valuable step to ensure their safety. It is *SO* easy to get an account here, to pose as a photographer who is “just starting out” or even to set up a new profile to escape a negative reputation (I have, personally, been the victim of someone who did this).

    There is no safety for models here. On this site, specifically, if you say something bad happened at a shoot you’ll be dismissed as a drama llama… you may even get banned.

    Saying “check references” sounds great, but there will always be a first.. and who wants it to be them? There are plenty of ways for a sneaky person to dodge the reference bullet, anyway (like not listing photos/credits from shoots with models who wouldn’t give them good references)… and no way for models to call out bad photographers or to warn other models about bad experiences.

    Furthermore, it is misleading to say that a model can’t be successful if she does insist on an escort. I have been doing photographic work regularly for over two years now, and I have had very few shoots that fell through because I insist on an escort. Most photographers understand. The only real advice to models should be to make sure that they’ve chosen a good escort (one who will sit quietly, out of the way, and entertain him/herself..and not interfere with the shoot). My escort has a list of references as long as mine, because I always bring the same person. (The *one* time that I didn’t bring my escort along with me to a job there were NO red flags until our third time working together… at which point the guy got handsy. It wouldn’t have happened if I had followed my own policy and brought someone along).

    There is ALWAYS a lot more danger for a naked woman than there is for anyone who is not going to be naked.. that includes the photographers and also housekeepers and massage therapists.

    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I know that there are plenty of wonderful legit photographers, here. I’m not saying that the site is full of horrible people who are out to take advantage of innocent models. But in every large community there are a few, and they tend to be good at hiding. I, personally, would rather lose a few shoots than end up filing a police report.

    (As an aside —
    Photographers, I have heard that one of your main concerns is equipment walking away. A pretty elegant solution for this is to require photo ID from model and escort before the shoot begins… grab a photo of them, if something disappears you know who has it.)


    • March 14, 2016 at 7:40 am, Vas Littlecrow Wojtanowicz said:

      You are right on the money with this response. Let me tell you, the longer I worked in the industry, the more true what you said became.

      I modeled professionally for thirteen years. I checked references AND I brought paid professional security (as opposed to friends, family or lovers) to freelance shoots. If the shoot was not organized by an agency, or was not taking place in a professional studio with a reputation for safety, the client would more often than not be an amateur. If the client did not have a proven track record of safety, but I felt safe anyway, I still took precautions. If the photographer had an issue with security, then I suggested he work with one of the agencies that represented me, or a vetted professional studio. In fact, in many situations agencies would be the ones who would pay and insist on the security, even in professional shoots, especially if once I achieved a certain degree of visibility. If you are an investment, you will be protected. This is why even celebrities have security staff.

      Using the logic presented in this video, if a photographer does not trust the model or the security, then perhaps the photographer not work with these people. It’s easy as that. As for the photographer’s concerns about equipment, that’s why a professional model should always have business liability insurance. Good insurance should help replace broken equipment. Otherwise, if the model and the security guard steal equipment, then a photographer who followed standard record-keeping practices and obtained ID, should call to the police. And yes, it is okay to call the police in a model’s home state. Interstate crime is typically a felony.

      Although I liked making art as a model, I was a business, so I modeled to make money. Just as a model should be able to work in front of multiple people without being affected, a photographer should be able to do the same. That’s just how the industry works. Conversely, if a model can’t afford to hire professional security for a shoot with a client, then the model isn’t charging enough. Unless I am explicitly hiring the photographer either for pay or barter, it’s a business, so taking things like security personally seems counterproductive to creating an atmosphere of professionalism.

      One final minor nitpick with the video: the correct industry label is not “escort.” The correct term is “security.” I checked this article, wondering why MM would be promoting prostitution. Gosh, I feel silly. 😉


      • March 25, 2016 at 10:09 pm, Eleanor R said:

        Hi there! My advice is meant for freelance models, not agency models, hence the confusion regarding the term. While I wish the freelance community had chosen a term other than ‘escort’, that is the term that my target audience will recognize. Additionally, as my advice is for freelance models I’m not surprised that your experience as an agency model differed drastically.


        • March 26, 2016 at 6:12 am, Vas Littlecrow Wojtanowicz said:

          I have worked as both a freelancer and agencied. In fact, I started out as a freelancer, and since I was non-exclusive and non-union, a sizeable portion of my work was freelance. I think the disconnect is that the market has changed considerably when I started. Basically, when I was working the standard of expectations for both agencied and freelance were practically the same. Unfortunately, everything from the pay scale to security has changed, and I am not sure that it has been for the better.

          I totally understand where you are coming from. Unfortunately, I know WAY too many models who ended up being victims of sexual assault, even after background checks, references, no red flags and resume verification to recommend a shoot without a chaperone (the term the freelance community used to use, and I am familiar with.) Then again, I also feel very strongly about professional models (freelance or agencied) having business liability insurance.

          In any case, thank you for the feedback. It’s interesting to see how things have changed since I retired.


          • March 26, 2016 at 3:04 pm, Eleanor R said:

            How long has it been since you retired? I’ve only been around since 2011, so I can’t speak to how much has changed, but I certainly agree that modeling needs to be treated as a business. Including, should a model decide to pursue it as more than a hobby, the legalities. That’s why I’m working so hard to get information out there, and why many of my videos are slanted towards the business aspects.

            However, I’m genuinely unsure if I would change things so that chaperones (I like that term!) are the norm, even if I could. I believe that would take the emphasis off of due diligence and would severely negatively effect new models just coming in. There are definitely way too many models who end up victims, but I don’t think that normalizing chaperones would much affect that, and it would put newer models who can’t afford to hire security at higher risk.

            Personally, I think that it would be far better to open up these conversations, continue to build strong networks of models who support each other and spread vital information, and make this an industry where photographers who behave inappropriately are unwelcome and cannot survive. I think putting the impetus on the model to spend money out of pocket for a security guard furthers the aspect of rape culture that teaches us that as women it is our responsibility to protect ourselves from rape. It is certainly good, in this society as it now stands, to take precautions, but I would rather advocate that we change the industry in such a way that we force out the unsafe elements and create a safe space than change it so that chaperones are the norm.

            If you’d like to have a private conversation about this I’m certainly open to continuing the discussion – I very much appreciate your contribution here.

          • March 26, 2016 at 7:40 pm, Vas Littlecrow Wojtanowicz said:

            I retired in 2009. But I respect your opinion, and appreciate your candor. I just feel differently. At this point there are too many points of ideological divergence for me to feel like this is going to be a fruitful conversation publicly or privately. But thank you for your thorough and thoughtful response, and I wish you the best in your endeavors.

        • March 26, 2016 at 9:29 am, Saif Shaikh said:

          Wanted to be a model can you please help me.


          • March 26, 2016 at 3:27 pm, Eleanor R said:

            Hi Saif. If you need help, a good first step is to NOT spam posts in the edu section. I recommend the critique forum to start with. If you choose to ask people privately for help, you’ll need to have an idea of what you want to do as a model and what you need help with. Be polite, and don’t demand help or expect it of them. Only approach people who have made it clear that they are willing to help new models. There is a mentor system on MM, but I don’t know if it’s still functioning.

            I am personally happy to help new models, but I require them to approach me respectfully and in such a way that I don’t feel like I’m being spammed.

    • March 25, 2016 at 10:04 pm, Eleanor R said:

      Hi Porcelain. It’s great that you have a dedicated escort who can afford to attend all your shoots with you. When I say that you cannot be successful as a model with an escort, it is based on two things:
      1. It WILL limit the paid work you have access to
      2. It WILL limit the amount of work you’re able to accept
      In regards to the second point, this is both because you will have one more person whose schedule you will have to make work for the shoot, and because if you intend to model full time you’re essentially asking your escort to give up their life so that they can accompany you.
      The statement is, of course, subjective, as there are different opinions of what being successful as a model means. For the sake of this video, I was referring to turning it into a full time career, which is simply not realistic when one insists upon bringing an escort.

      To address your other points:
      1. Checking references is not fail proof (othing is), but neither is bringing an escort
      2. There absolutely ways for models to call out photographers and warn other models about bad experiences

      I appreciate your concern about model’s safety, and your taking the time to leave a thoughtful comment. But I have spent five years modeling, over three of which have been full time, and I stand by my advice.


      • March 26, 2016 at 9:02 am, Porcelain Rose said:

        “There absolutely ways for models to call out photographers and warn other models about bad experiences.”

        Please elaborate. In my experience, the Mods in the forums do not allow models to post bad experiences to warn other models. There isn’t any sort of curated black-list, that I know of. How can a model pro-actively warn other models about a photographer who has pushed boundaries that shouldn’t have been pushed? Perhaps this should be the topic of another video, since it is an important issue that many models deal with.


        • March 26, 2016 at 3:24 pm, Eleanor R said:

          Model Mayhem is not the only place for us to congregate. It is vital as freelance models that we network with other models and build communities with which we can share this information. Social media has been a way for models to out unsafe photographers for quite some time, and word spreads when models make this public within the communities they trust. This depends on two aspects:
          1. Trust that the models in our networks will not endanger us by sharing what we say if we request that it not be shared and/or sharing it with a dangerous photographer that we are outing.
          2. The willingness to have our stories shared, and being clear about whether they can be shared and whether our names should be shared with them.
          My biggest recommendation to new models is that they make friends with fellow models as quickly as possible so that they can benefit from shared information.

          Just sharing with a few model friends and giving permission for the story to be shared (with or without your name attached) can get it nationwide quite quickly. (Obviously, were you to share it with requests that your name not be attached, there would be a framework in which models needing more information could request to be put in touch with you. It also would not be spread as widely, since the route would only be through people who absolutely trusted each other to only share such information if it came from a reputable source. But it is a viable option if you need anonymity.)

          As for a public blacklist, there is one that made the rounds last year and is a good place to start. I’m happy to send a link to any models who ask me for it, since I don’t believe MM will want it posted here. It has inspired many other, smaller, personalized public lists, including one of my own that I posted shortly after the first one came out. It also resulted in a ton of flack and those of us who published lists losing work and being threatened. Public blacklists can be explosive in this industry.

          I personally feel that they are necessary, but there are concerns about the legitimacy of such lists since it’s a word-of-mouth situation. It’s a touchy subject, and the industry is going to have to collectively decide whether we’re going to start valuing models safety over photographer’s reputations. It’s the same age-old argument we find around women publicly calling out rapists and/or trying to press charges.

          Overall, short term, the private conversation route seems to be more successful in getting the word out while protecting models from volatile situations. Long term, I have high hopes that public outing will gain more traction.


  2. March 10, 2016 at 3:11 pm, Gary Abigt / Select Models said:

    In agreement with most everything mentioned. Also agree with Eleanor’s recommendation of attending group shoots. Great way to work with lots of talented photographers in a completely safe, group environment… while making money and getting free images for your portfolio. Total win-win situation for models.


    • March 23, 2016 at 3:36 pm, Saif Shaikh said:

      Hii i am saif here.19yrs old.Can anybody help me out for Modling plZzz.


Leave a Reply