Last week, a 19-year-old aspiring model named Hayden Holt filed a lawsuit against an agent named Aristeo Tengco alleging sexual harassment, sex discrimination, and violations of labor law. Since Holt's suit became public, fellow models formerly under Tengco's "care" Jessica Lee and Kayla Hill, both 17, have joined the lawsuit. They spoke to Good Morning America today about the sexual harassment they say they faced from their agent, Aristeo Tengco.
According to Holt's complaint, the sexual harassment began when she signed with Tengco's agency, Emmanuel Models New York, and moved to New York City last August. Emmanuel put her up in (and charged her for) Tengco's own Upper East Side apartment. (It is not considered unusual for an agent to live with new face models he or she represents — although as Carré Otis wrote last year in her memoir, Beauty Disrupted, it is a living arrangement that has also helped to cover up the sexual abuse of models by their agents.) Last August, on her second day in the city, Tengco allegedly touched Holt inappropriately, "rubbing her arms and legs in an unwelcome and sexual manner."