This is a story about modeling and madness…
"I looked at his pictures more and they have quotes over them and they say the weirdest things," Said Madeline, a model
…a story about catwalks and Catholicism.
"How can you have all this Nazi stuff and reference Jesus? I mean, it made my stomach turn," said Sarah, a model.
"He would like to see women dressed in religious clothing," said Deb, the mother of a model.
A story of fashion, and fascism, and fear.
Xtina-model - "He told me he hired a private investigator to look into my family,” said Xtina, a model.
"I worry that he's going to lash out more than just making posts on Facebook," said Kitty, a model.
His name is Anthony Raphael Perlas. He's a photographer who claims he has a studio in Ferndale. His company is called Seroptics Models.
"He contacted me to join his modeling agency," aid Madeline.
I first heard of Anthony Perlas more than a year ago. Madeline, a 20 year old model contacted me.
Madeline agreed to do a non-paying test shoot with Anthony Perlas. But after a closer look at his photos determined he was:
"Trying to get his views across using young women."
His views appeared religious. He represented himself as running something called the Latin Mass Society. Latin mass is a very traditional Catholic church service. But there was nothing traditional about these photos. Madeline's mother Deb suspected models wanting work for their portfolios would wind up with Anthony:
Deb: "Putting white veils on them and taking pictures."
Rob: "And as a mom you thought that was a little fetish-y, weird?"
Deb: "Fetish-y, creepy. Yah."
I began watching Perlas. His Ferndale studio turned out to be this storage barn at his “supposed” business address - a house.
Models like Sarah actually worked with him there.
"He started asking me a bunch of personal stuff like if I had a boyfriend or not and I thought that was a little inappropriate."
But he seemed like a harmless, eccentric guy.
"I thought he was a little weird, kind of squirrely."
Kitty worked with Anthony on a shoot in Ohio. As was Perlas' style, it was a trade deal. She got the nudes she wanted for her portfolio and Anthony got his photos of her wearing veils.
Then, Kitty says he wanted her to shoot a video extolling the virtues of Anthony Perlas and his Latin Mass Society. Kitty declined but plenty of other models haven't.
Unidentified model: “To all the women out there that have heard negative things about the Latin Mass Society and Anthony Perlas, they’re all lies.”
Perlas' Latin Mass Society was soon being bashed by religious groups online. Then thing got worse. Sarah says Perlas suggested a shoot she found repulsive.
"We should do a Nazi shoot. Have like concentration camps and do something crazy and at first like I thought maybe he's kidding.”
Rob: "What did he seem like to you in the interview?"
Weird because if his odd, supposed job offer for alternative model Xtina.
"He said he could get me into Victoria's Secret.
Xtina was amused.
"I have over 50 tattoos. Have you ever seen a Victoria's Secret model covered from head to toe in tattoos?"
Her interview ended with Perlas bumming a ride to his home. A home he was soon evicted from, although no one would know that. His websites still claim it's his studio.
Perlas went on the attack, sending threatening messages to local models, for seemingly no reason.
He posted anti-Semitic messages on the Facebook page of a young Jewish model who was visiting Israel.
Perlas began posting photos of Adolph Hitler on his Facebook pages.
To further scare his enemies, he put photos of himself at a gun range saying, "murder=evil, killing =good."
Now calling himself 'supreme leader Anthony Tridentine,’Perlas has been spreading his hateful messages to all in the modeling community.
Perlas Facebook live - "Do you think I would make outrageous posts if it’s going to harm my business? It’s not even scratching it. I have calculated every action and words I have spoken. I am winning victoriously."
And when models who were once his friends offer concern, he retaliates.
"He pretty much threatened to sue me and he wants 15 thousand dollars," said Kitty.
Xtina says he threatened to kill her family.
I went to confront Anthony Perlas but he's gone, posting his hate for Michigan models from an unknown location.
But I did contact him on Facebook ,"Would you be interested in an interview?"
"Certainly. I'm a modern day progressive who protects the constitution. Think Nazi Germany, except Nazi America. You can say I'm a national socialist or a Nazi in that sense."
While he agreed to meet me for an on camera interview in which I told him I'd come to him, it never happened.
Sarah - "I don't know where this hate or this drudged up stuff comes from," said Sarah.
Rob: "Do you think there are girls that are scared?"
This is a story about modeling, beauty and bigotry.