Kidnapping Reminds Models, Agents that Security is a Priority
JACKSONVILLE, Aug. 8, 2017 /Standard Newswire/ -- A leading international news item of the six-day kidnapping of British model, Chloe Ayling, may be the most terrorizing experience imaginable, or a fabrication for publicity. What is not in doubt is that vigilance on the part of those representing models should see Ms. Ayling's reported crime as an omen and understand that the validity of any photo-shoot requires more scrutiny than ever.
Very little attention has been paid to the agent representing Ayling, the model kidnapped and allegedly held for ransom in Italy. It is a primary duty of an agent or manager to prevent such crimes by vetting every appointment.
Grace McCullough (photo), a 17-year-old high school senior in Florida, travels on an of average twice a month to New York City for work as a model. She never travels alone, she is never on a job without her "momager," her mom and manager, Melody McCullough. Before evaluating the pay offered or how glamorous the event, the security of the photo shoot is foremost on Melody's mind. Verifying references and checking backgrounds is part of every job. The financial cost of Grace having her mother with her is an indispensable business expense.
This added expense for never being alone is seldom covered by the client hiring Grace. Though this week, the cost of having her mother in tow is being paid by Seventeen Magazine and Barbizon.
Grace says, "My mom is always freaking out about the shoots I go on; she just did earlier today. She worries all the time. I definitely think about safety and try to always be aware of my surrounding. Personal security It is not a problem for quote-unquote models, it is a concern for every girl."
"There has been more than one occasion when my concern for Grace's safety embarrassed her," says Melody. "Once she was on location in a dressing trailer and the crew had to move the trailer just a few feet. My response was as if she were being kidnapped. We think back and laugh, but if there is some way harm could come, I have most likely imagined it. I make no apology for being hyper-vigilant."
Grace's father, Gary McCullough, works the opposite side of the camera. He is a professional photographer. In his view, avoiding potential problems is equally the responsibility of the photographer. And he is not only referring to the safety of the model. "I never meet a woman, or girl, alone for a photo shoot," says Gary. "Yes, I believe it is good security for the woman, but I am not willing to put my reputation in the hands of a stranger. I once read that the evangelist Billy Graham would not ride in an elevator alone with a woman, so no one could falsely accuse him of untoward behavior. That seems extreme, but in this day-and-age, I think it is wise if you don't allow to exist the environment for an accusation. You don't need to make a huge production of it, just be in the habit of doing things that precludes the possibility of impropriety, real or perceived."