Model Agencies


[quote=“Aurora01”]1. Keep your options open: Compare different agencies. If possible work with more than one. Usually each agency has its own clients; with more than one agency you will have more opportunities. Don’t sign exclusive contract at least you get benefits that otherwise you won’t get, for example guarantee incomes.

  1. Contract: read and understand before sign. Keep a copy of your contract (!).

  2. Work permit: Don’t work without work permit or you may get deported. The government is paying a bonus (in cash) to the agency who reports illegal workers and restricting the rights to apply for work permits to the agencies who hire foreigners without proper documentation. It motivates competing agencies to report each other.

  3. Working hours: it is illegal to work more than 12 hours a day. You and your employer may get fined.

  4. Payment: Usually you get paid per hour(s). Generally speaking print-ads are better paid than TV commercials, which are better paid than internet commercials. If the videos or photos are released in more than one country, your incomes should increase, also if it airs more than a year. According with Toe 40% is the standard commission fee, so you should get 60% of the contract; make sure you get the right amount. I suggest extras to don’t work for less than 500nt per hour; support characters and main characters should charge more.

  5. Pay-day: Collect your money within 30 days. It is illegal to delay the payment more than 30 days. You can report it to the Department of Labor.

  6. Tax: Your tax rate depends on your residency status. Ask if your agency is paying your tax. You may be eligible for tax refund.

  7. Agency dilemma: Ask your agency to be transparent and share the information with you. Sometimes agencies care more about their self than about the talents career. Example: recently a client had to deal with an agency who threatened not to send the main character to the shoot if the client didn’t choose the extras from that agency; it was a gambling strategy than increased company’s benefits by risking main character’s job.

  8. Agencies war: For clients and talents it’s good to have more options but it is annoying to be in the middle of their fights. Work with the agencies that offer you better benefits and listen what they want to say but don’t take any position. It will save you troubles.

  9. Ask: if you have question or something is not clear ask(!). People with some experience like Toe, the agents, me or your friends can guide you and tell you where to find the information, but with important subjects it is best you check yourself with the government as landshark suggests.[/quote]

Dear Aurora01,

I think that you heart is in the right place with much of what you say but, unfortunately, is not based on the reality of the business in Taiwan. I think that you should compare agencies and be realistic with where you want to take modeling/talent work. If you only think you are only going to do background work here or there and you are just doing it for a laugh and don’t care where your image is used then you might not care about a contract. Again, please refer to the risks one can face.

Your first point surprises me that you are telling people not to sign an exclusive contract. I think you must be talking about the people that I mentioned above; those just interested in background/extra work. For the people that want to take this type of work at least a bit serious then a exclusive contract is a good way to go. The idea that more agencies mean more opportunities is what small agencies or freelance agents try to convince people of in hope that they won’t lose people to stronger, bigger agencies.

Around the world, agencies work with models/talent exclusively and Taiwan is no different. Clients cast from the big agencies because they know it makes their job easier because there is a larger selection and these agencies have the stronger talent/models. Also, from the talents/models side why would anyone help you build up you portfolio or help develop you as a talent or model if you could be off working with another agent tomorrow.

In your third point I am not sure if it is just a case of your point getting lost in translation but it seems contradictory that you are telling people to make sure that you have work permits then you state “(The government is )…restricting the rights to apply for work permits to the agencies who hire foreigners without proper documentation.”The government is not “restricting” the rights of anyone, work permits are just part of the laws that are set up that everyone has to follow.

It is also important to know your status. If you are a student, you can still work. You can apply for an ARC through the school or if you have modeling or talent experience from home you might be able to get a work permit through some agencies unless you have certain scholarships. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can sign a volunteer contract to do a job to gain work experience. There is an agency that recently told a student with a scholarship that if she signed a volunteer contract that she could still work. THIS IS A LIE! I talked to the Labor Department for her and found out there is no way you can get a work permit as a volunteer in TV Commercial work. She could have lost her scholarship or even worse, she could have been kicked out of Taiwan. Also you should always get paid for TV commercial work. If someone tells you you need to do a job for free before you can get a paid job they are ripping you off because I can guarantee that they are getting paid and they are also taking your percentage. Even if you want to do an independent film or any other type of job for free you still need a work permit. So be careful.

As far as point number five, “Generally speaking print-ads are better paid than TV commercials”. I am not really sure where you got that idea from? Yes, if you are doing only background work you could be paid less than print work but for main and secondary characters you will almost always get paid better appearing in Taiwanese television commercials. This is true for both foreigners living in Taiwan doing talent work and overseas models. Print work is also usually much harder work. Overseas models are always anxious to get TV commercials because it can be a huge boost to their invoice.

I see point eight and nine as part of the same problem. There is an agency that got its start doing kids catalog work, and now they are trying to break into the adult TV commercial market. They have been using very questionable tactics trying to do whatever it takes to get established in the market.

There is a set procedure where the clients will ask an agency to send photos of a certain type of talent/model. The standard rule is if an agency has sent in someone’s photo they’re the agency that gets to represent that talent for the job. The agency that I am talking about above has been driving talent to castings even after they have been promoted by another agency. Even after the client said they want to work with the agency that originally promoted the talent, this rogue agency demanded that they use their agency. This is a very tight market and this has been an added headache for the clients. and risks the client not wanting to work with the talent in the future. Of course all of this is another reason why clients prefer working with talent/models with exclusive contracts because then this avoidable headache only occurs with freelance talent/models.

Number ten is the best advice of all: ask people questions, especially about technicalities. Call the Labor Department if you don’t understand. Ask to see the work permit before the job. They are always issued before the job.

All and all a good job Aurora! Most of your post is spot on, I just wanted to make sure that certain areas that were a little off were addressed. I just wanted to make sure that this important message that you are trying to get our there is all correct. Keep up the good work Aurora.


Dear Toe Save,

I will answer you in the following order: 1. Exclusive contracts. 3. Work permit. 5. Print ads 11. “Standard rule”.

  1. I am not telling models not to sign exclusive contracts.
    what I mean is: Model’s exclusivity rights cost money! Don’t give up your rights for free.

If an agency or client wants to sign exclusive contract with a model, that company should pay model’s exclusivity rights according with his/her potential. It is an investment decision; agencies should put their money on the right people if they don’t want to lose it. Big agencies usually can pay more because they get better jobs for their models.
If an agency pays you enough for your exclusivity rights, that is great; otherwise, more agencies mean more opportunities because different agencies have different clients.
From models’ side what it matters is how many cases and how much money the agency gets for you. Agencies lose people when other companies offer them better deals.
From clients’ side, more agencies mean more models to choose, different quotations, different agency’s styles, etc. Belive me, we like to have more options, we don’t rely on only one agency. Agencies lose cases when other agencies have better models or better service.

You asked: why an agency will help you to build up your portfolio if you can work with other agent tomorrow? The answer is because agencies want to earn commissions and without a good portfolio it’s hard for them to get cases for any model. Why do they help you to develop as a model? Because more experienced models earn more money and it means higher commissions. If an agency wants to maintain a model with them, they should keep the model happy with many cases, higher incomes or an exclusive agreement (duly compensated).

  1. About work permit, the important thing is to make sure you have it, especially now that it is rumored that competing agencies are behind model raids. As you mentioned, even if you work for free you need work permit. If you get caught without work permit, you will be ineligible for work permit during 3 years.

  2. If you have never done a print ad, I understand that you believe TV commercials (TVC) are better paid, but I am sure your agency knows that generally speaking clients pay more for print ads that for TVC.
    By print ads people in this industry refers to Magazines, newspapers or billboards. Don’t confuse print ads with catalogs; catalogs are also printed but belong to a different category.

  3. The first step to choose models for a job is through their photos. Clients ask casting directors to contact the agency who sent the photos we like. Sometimes two or more agencies send photos of the same model.
    Agencies can’t demand to represent any model, even if they sent his/her photos.
    According with the law only the model can decide who will be his/her agent, therefore clients don’t interfere on model-agent relationships.
    Due to legal reasons the standard rule is that we sign the contract with the agency freely chosen by the model.
    If there is any controversy, the agencies and the model have to solve it before sign the contract with the client.

I have a good idea of the reality of this business but of course there are different points of view. You are welcome to exchange opinions.


I will briefly classify foreigner models in Taiwan in:

Celebrities: those who have prominent profile and command a great degree of public influence in day to day media. Ex: Margaret, Rifat, Makiyo
Fashion models: those who work in high-end jobs such as fashion magazine covers, runway shows, endorsements, etc. Ex: Larissa, Gosia
Lifestyle models: those who appear in non-fashion orientated products such as most TV commercials for real people modeling. Ex: Toe Save.

Since few models meet the requirements to be a celebrity or a fashion model, their exclusive deals usually represent millions.
Celebrities often sign contracts with advertising companies (ex: BBDO), PR agencies (ex: Havas) or TV channels (ex: SET).
Fashion models usually sign contracts with top model agencies such as Catwalk, Eelin or Fashion

Due to the work permit regulations, professional models coming to Taiwan as visitors (usually referred as overseas models) tend to sign exclusive contracts with agencies such as Pace, Dolls or IMT. They get guarantee incomes depending on their experience.

Lifestyle models don’t work nearly as often as their fashion model peers. Most foreigners living in Taiwan fit in this classification.
Lifestyle models are usually non-exclusive since their jobs are less profitable, so agencies are less prone to pay for their exclusivity rights. By working with more agencies they can get more jobs, while by signing exclusive they can get jobs only from one agency. That’s why models should sign exclusive contracts only if the agency fairly compensates the opportunity cost.
From his posts I guess Toe Save offers exclusive contracts to Lifestyle foreigner models. It can be a good deal if his agency pays an appropriate compensation for the exclusivity rights. Other agencies that also work with Lifestyle models are Halo and La Strada.

Exclusives contracts are the most coveted as they propel high fashion careers and pay high amounts of money, but some scam agencies try to rip off models’ rights without paying a fair compensation. Exclusive contracts without compensation are a trick that some agencies use to take advantage of the models. That’s why this kind of agreements can be declared illegal.


Hi, quick question.

Do so called freelance model agent able to give out work permits? I don’t have one right now and was approached by an agent saying he was freelance. Any info much appreciated.



[quote=“kta717”]Hi, quick question.

Do so called freelance model agent able to give out work permits? I don’t have one right now and was approached by an agent saying he was freelance. Any info much appreciated.


Not sure what you mean by “freelance agent” as usually, it’s the talent that is freelance, but I’ll try to answer what I think is your question.

Some agencies can offer adhoc work permits for each job they help you get, depending on your current visa status, of course. Some agencies can offer a 3 month performer’s visa if you can prove your value and experience to them.

Some agencies will tell you they will get you a work permit, send you to a job and never actually apply for it. This can lead to deportation, not that these agencies care. Be sure to sign with a reputable agency that has a long track record of helping westerners seek work in this field. Do your research. Visit various agents to get the lay of the land. Or PM me with your name and phone number and I’ll gladly tell you which agencies to avoid.


Hi kta,
The short answer to your question is NO.
In Taiwan only licensed agencies that comply with the governmental requirements can obtain work permit for foreigners, a freelance agent can’t.

A freelance agent is someone who is not committed to a particular agency or company, they are self-employed. Sometimes they work with another freelance agent to form a “virtual agency”, other times they are mere intermediaries. Freelance agents usually work with Taiwanese models and when they get a case for foreigners, they just go for it, ignorant of the legal consequences or with little concern for it. Not all of them are careless, some freelance agents have gain their own reputation and clients, but it is hard to distinguish, especially for new models.

The main drawback for freelance agents is the lack of company benefits. They must handle contracts, legal issues, accounting, marketing, and other business functions by themselves. The potential problems for the model are the difficulties to assess the freelance agent knowledge, experience and responsibility, also the complexities of enforce your rights in case of disputes.
The perceived disadvantages of freelance agency have led government authorities to produce draft papers that would, if enforced, make it illegal.

According with your migratory status and artistic experience you can qualify for different types of work permit. Don’t risk deportation by working without it(!).

I suggest you to contact the agencies mentioned in this forum: Pace, Ace, La Strada, Dolls, Halo, Storm, Vnl, etc. I will send you some of their emails by PM so you can assess them by yourself.


Thank you for the information!

I will do my homework so I don’t get into trouble.


[quote=“kta717”]Hi, quick question.

Do so called freelance model agent able to give out work permits? I don’t have one right now and was approached by an agent saying he was freelance. Any info much appreciated.


Hi kta717, I’m glad that you put this question out here. As Aurora01 stated, no, freelance agents cannot apply for work permits because they have no license. Also remember there is no contract between you and the freelance agents so if they don’t pay you what can you do?

Now for the purpose of your question, if you have modeling experience there are several agencies on the list from Aurora01 that you can look into. The problem is that most of these agencies only work with overseas models that have a contract with an overseas agency. For some reason this list also excludes the oldest and most well known agencies in Taiwan? This list includes: New Face, FMI, Fashion and PT (they are mostly focused in China now) but they will not bother with anyone who does not have extensive modeling experience. Also Storm Model Management only works with Asian and Asian-Caucasian models so I am not sure why they were included on her list?

I would guess for most of the people reading this thread they are interested in doing talent work. In the list of agencies that Aurora01 put out there only agency on the list that works with local foreigners doing Talent work is V&L.

And Aurora01, once again I am not sure why you are still telling people that having an exclusive contract with an agency will reduce people’s chances at getting more jobs. The fact that you are continually pushing this idea shows me that you have a hidden agenda and it is for your own benefit. Any professional agency around the world will only promote models or talent that have exclusive contracts and in Taiwan it is no different. The professional agency that have been mentioned in this post will either not work with or will not put much effort into promoting you if you have not sign a exclusive contract. For me an agency that is professional needs to have enough confidence and money to invests in a website, an office and is easily found with a quick Google search. That does not mean that any agency with a website and office is professional but if an agency does not have these business essentials I consider them a fly-by-night operation and would recommend avoiding them.

I will post the contact information for the original list of agencies in the following post.


[quote=“Aurora01”]Hi kta,
I suggest you to contact the agencies mentioned in this forum: Pace, Ace, La Strada, Dolls, Halo, Storm, Vnl, etc. I will send you some of their emails by PM so you can assess them by yourself.[/quote]

Here is the original list of agencies and I have included all the contact information to these agencies.
Pace, Ace, La Strada, Dolls, Halo, Storm, Vnl,

Read the post above to get more info about which agencies work with models and which work with Talent.

Here is the original list of contact
Pace, Ace, La Strada, Dolls, Halo, Storm, Vnl, – asian and mixed models only
Locations: (Taiwan only)
台北市敦化南路二段76號4樓之2 (02)2784-8988 – “models” and overseas modes only
Locations: (Taiwan & Shanghai)
9F-2,No.56,Sec 2,Jilong Rd,XinYi District, Taipei City, Taiwan.
MAIL/信箱 –“models” and overseas modes mainly
Locations: (Taiwan, Shenzhen & Guangzhou)
M +886935 215757
Female Booker : Cherry
M +886 928 879593
Male Booker :
M +886 935 210908
Add: 台灣106台北市大安區光復南路458號13-1樓
13F-1, No.458, Guangfu S.Rd., Taipei, Taiwan
Tel: +886 2 2702-1236 Fax: +886 2 2702-2720 - “models”, overseas modes, Talent and kids
Locations: (Taiwan, Shanghai, Hangzhou & Seattle)
TEL: (886) 02-6610-2345 *18
FAX 02-2833-0021
ADD: 1F, No.23, Lane 195, ZhongShan N.Rd Sec 6, Shih-Lin Dist, 111
台北市士林區中山北路六段195巷23號1樓 - “models” and overseas modes only
Locations: (Taiwan only)
2F, No 36, Sec 1st, Chung-Chen Rd,
Shilin District, Taipei, Taiwan 111 -“models” only
Locations: (Taiwan & Poland)
You can check address and other contact info at there website.

La Strada- I did a Google search and found nothing on any agency called La Strada in taiwan? I asked around and was told that they have no office and no website. They are known for working with kids and they have gotten in trouble for not working with work permits from the labor department.

As I said in my post before this list is not complete there are other top agencies that were not included on this list. I have just given you the contact info for the agencies mentioned in Aurora01 posting before. Some of the other agencies are mentioned in my post above and are easily found through a Google search.


Thanks for the info. Will look and see if it is something for me here.


[color=#004040][b]Moderator’s note: I have removed all the posts about “The Story of S” from this thread and moved them here: … 1&t=116273

I am locking this thread for a while…until the other drama has been resolved and sorted.[/b][/color]


Hi Andy,

Would you let me know the contact informations of those agents? I’ve been trying to model myself, yet have not been able to find a solid agent. Thanks!


@barronchiu if you can get a response 4 years later from an inactive user I’ll be thoroughly impressed. Try networking, there’s a couple relevant Facebook groups. Check out “Foreigner Models, Actors and Dancers living in Taiwan” on Facebook and make a post.

I have been in contact with a couple agencies that seem decent, but they all wouldn’t take third party portfolios. They wanted me to spend an entire day, unpaid, modelling half a dozen different styles for a portfolio with their agency. Just a heads up.


That group doesn’t vet the jobs it allows to be posted (I’ve asked her many times and have offered to help) and you can be sure other agents are monitoring and snitching about those jobs. Try instead Foreign Actors and Comedians or Taiwan Actors Group for safer work leads.

Be careful out there guys…make sure you have a legal work permit b4 going to a set and try to avoid signing exclusive contracts without gaurantees.

Break a leg.


Perhaps you can expand a little bit on what you mean by this? I’m a member of both groups, as well as a few others. But I’ve never heard about an unsafe work lead (nor have I had any issues before, just using proper judgment). I have heard of some people not getting paid for their work in the past, but that’s not exactly “unsafe.”

What should we be looking out for exactly?


Do you have an Open Work Permit?


Did the agency want you to pay for the portfolio though? My main concern is that most of the agencies I’ve found required a pretty steep price. If they don’t require you to pay for it, I’d really appreciate it if you could forward me their contact info. Thanks!


I do, and that’s what I figured you were referring to. I was just trying to understand the use of safe/unsafe in these terms, sounded almost like you were talking about clients being lured into a violent crime or something along those lines.

Now that I understand you were referring to potential deportation, I fully agree. Working illegally seems to be the most common cause of deportation. For those of us not within a legal gray area, is there anything else we should be concerned about, or any pointers?

No, they just wanted me to bring 6 different sets of clothes. Sportswear, business professional, casual, etc. And essentially work for an entire day without pay to create this portfolio that they could do anything with. I’m really not accustomed to this style, usually I just show up, audition (or interview), and then wait for a response.

From my experience, networking is really important. I joined as many groups as possible, made my own posts and then pasted them as a message into all of them. Then waited for responses while checking out existing posts. Made some really valuable contacts this way.

As @Toe_Save said, make sure can work legally before accepting any job. I’ll PM you the agency’s information.