Aspiring model says 'free' ad cost her hundreds

HOUSTON - An aspiring model said she feels taken advantage of after paying a man hundreds of dollars and getting no closer to her big break.

Shamonica Jackson had big dreams of being a model, so a Craigslist advertisement for an NBA All-Star weekend fashion show caught her eye. It boasted celebrity names and promised free photo shoots.

Jackson said she she went to meet a man from the ad who goes by Lewis.

"(He) said that they were doing a casting for the NBA All-Star fashion show and that I was perfect for it," said Jackson. "But he said, of course I need to work on my walk, so he was going to do a modeling workshop."

For that workshop, Jackson said Lewis wanted $550. Jackson only had $250, so she gave him that in installments and he kept asking for more.

"Money, money, that's all he would ask for," said Jackson.

Jackson said as the fashion show drew closer, Lewis still had no details about the event, so she started asking questions. She said Lewis got defensive, started threatening her and kicked her out of the show.

"He just kept going on about me going to jail," said Jackson.

When Local 2 met with Lewis, he did not want to go on camera. He claimed Jackson was dropped from the show because she was arguing with another girl.

"(The girl) was claiming she was being harassed," said Lewis. "That's when I said enough is enough."

As for the hundreds of dollars the girls paid him, Lewis said he has done nothing wrong.

"They are not paying to be in the show," Lewis said. "What they are paying for is the workshop."

Lewis said he was casting for a fashion show organized by Billy Foster with New Jack the Rapper. Foster told Local 2 Lewis is in no way associated with his fashion show.

Local 2 legal expert Brian Wice warns consumers not to pay for any deal like thisĀ up front. Wice also said it is best to get all agreements in writing.

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