Overzealous Model Scout or Something More Sinister?

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by Morgan Fogarty
Bio | Email | Follow: @morganfogarty by Photographer Chris Keimig

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - 17-year-old Annie was at SouthPark Mall with two of her friends a couple weeks ago around 8pm on a Saturday.  She says a man and woman in their 50s approached them.  "They told us we were the prettiest girls in the mall," she says.

Annie says the duo told the girls they should be models, travel to Disney and take advantage of their "once in a lifetime" offer.  Annie and her friends said "no thanks."  She says, "They wouldn't take no for an answer, they kept, like, almost begging us to model.  They even told us, 'make up a name if you don't want to give us your real name.'"

The couple left for a few minutes and then the woman returned.  "And she sat down with us again...and begged us and said she would get a commission and stuff," says Annie.  Annie had enough and called mall security, who promised (and did) tail the couple until they left the property.

Annie's mom, Millie, says, "I was really proud of her, that she handled it."  Millie says it took her a few days to process the "what ifs" of her daughter's run in.  She says, "I really don't know, are we just dealing with obnoxious model scouts?"

"It's terrible. It gives all of us a terrible reputation," says Brittany Mumford of Evolution Talent Agency in NoDa.  Mumford, the agency director and senior booking agent, says legit model scouts don't discuss money and don't harass people.  "Especially a minor, that's another thing you have to be really conscious of. You know, in our business there are a lot of predators out there and a lot of horror stories.  She (Annie) was very smart in doing that, listening to her gut," says Mumford.

The "scouts" are from Florida.  WCCB News called them Wednesday and spoke with an employee who denied the harassment accusations and said they'd have one of the owners call us back.  We're still waiting for their call.

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