Everyone knows model casting is a world of couches, compliance and corruption, right? Well, not the way we do it.
Our reality is a series of insightful five-minute conversations with good-looking people who have just as much going on upstairs as they do on the outside.
To give you a glimpse into this world, three Highsnobiety regular contributors — casting director Sarah Bunter (who shares her thoughts on each model), photographer Alex de Mora and HS Fashion Editor Atip W —are here to introduce a selection of their most inspiring beauties and let you sit in on the conversation…
SOFIA / PRM
We met Sofia for the first time at London Fashion Week this season and we cast her immediately for Paula Knorr, the most recent New Generation designer. She’s sharp, funny and has such a brilliant individual look. Passionate about tattoos and the work of her friends, she is a real collaborative soul. Look out for her catching the eye of other brands and editorials: last week she headlined the highly-coveted New Faces feature on Models.com.
“My most memorable moment has to be my first casting here in London. It was a Burberry casting. I was late, I was lost, I didn't know what to expect. Then I finally saw those big sliding doors and I just said to myself, 'oh so this is all for real, huh?' I looked over to the side and saw the doorman looking at me funny because I actually said it out loud.”
“The skeleton hanging from a swing on my left arm has a pretty long meaning, but explaining quickly, it tells a story about being positive and having a good heart even in the worst of situations. Only when you can overcome obstacles can you be sincerely happy. I promise it sounded less cheesy in my head!”
“I think my tattoos are the reason why I was dressed in bright pink for two of my three shows for LFW — designers like the contrast apparently!”
“I think everybody responds to looks in different ways. Some people embrace the 'darkness' of my look and tattoos and others take a different approach by contrasting it with the much more feminine and ‘dainty’. I find this very interesting and I can't wait to see what other designers have in store for me.”
“I have actually been following Highsnobiety on social media for a really long time! I'm not going to lie, I low-key screamed a little bit when I got the news for this shoot. So THIS is definitely going on my list of things that make me really enjoy being a part of the fashion industry.”
This is one of Sofia’s favorite things.
YVONNE / STORM
Yvonne is radiant. She was an instant hit with us this London Fashion Week. Already an artist, the modeling world is relatively new to her but her previous experiences in creative worlds have made her an absolute pro. She's graceful, patient, and inspiring. We look forward to hearing her new music and welcome her total fashion industry takeover!
“Music is my biggest passion. I've been writing songs daily since the age of 12 and used it as a kind of outlet or therapy. As well as singing, I also rap. The artists I’d say I'm most inspired by are Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, Jazmine Sullivan, and Tupac. I would love to write for other artists in the near future.”
“I think studying another discipline like music has really helped with modeling. My past experiences as a performer definitely give me confidence and helped me to express myself.”
“Other than resilience, I think the most important thing I’ve learned are the benefits of self-acceptance and love. The way you view and carry yourself really does affect how others see you and translates to the camera.”
“I personally would only recommend modeling to those over the age of 18. I think it is important to grow and find yourself first – after all, your character is what will distinguish you from other models.”
“Sometimes strangers are so kind in the street! People who give lovely compliments for no reason, they help to build confidence. This encourages me to work hard and stay consistent.”
“I don't feel there is a lot missing in fashion but would like to see it break away from the traditional ways & have a bit more edge…”
Yvonne is in the studio this week so look out for updates here.
FREDERIKKE / ESTABLISHED
We first cast Frederikke as a Whistles Campaign girl. She was part of a beautiful portrait series by Paul Wetherill. She’s since worked non-stop, appealing to a number of good taste womenswear clients. She's remained grounded and focused, especially after her time in New York. Returning to London is like coming home to her and we're very pleased she’s back.
“My most surreal moment was actually returning home to feed my chickens! I was super overwhelmed by New York. I had never traveled alone before and suddenly found myself in a very big and very hectic city. When I actually got back to my small hometown it almost felt like the whole thing had never happened.”
“I’ve learned to try not to plan too far ahead because you can become so busy planning your future, you forget to enjoy yourself and the journey there. Also, you never really know what the future brings anyway! I try to keep the route as flexible as possible."
“My favorite people are those who can make fun of themselves! This always creates a nice atmosphere and helps everyone relax.”
“I would advise younger models to look for a ‘mother agent’ they can trust. Mine is my favorite person. There are so many creative and inspiring people in this business. Look for someone who listens and is always making sure everything is going at a pace that you’re comfortable with."
“It feels like there is more than one beauty ‘type’ and body ideal at the moment. I'm a massive fan of this! I hope that fashion is moving more in this direction in the future. My best friend works as a ‘curve’ model and that market is growing at the moment which is great.”
“I would also recommend choosing friends who don't work in fashion — this has really helped my perspective and kept me grounded. They can also help you stay confident and care less about the opinions of those you barely know.”
See more of Frderikke’s travels here.
LAURA / TESS
Laura made us all smile straight away. We first cast her for a lookbook launching at New York Fashion Week. She feels like part of a popular new wave of modeling to us — natural, fun, independent, smart. Her half Irish /half Indonesian heritage gives her a pretty unique outlook. Although new to London and incredibly humbled by her new experiences, we know she’s totally got this.
“Humans seem to be becoming so closed off to their natural empathy these days [because of] the abundance of evil we’re seeing. So when I see someone look at another person and realize that they need a little helping hand, I try and be there for them. It makes me very happy.”
“What has really helped me are books, cooking, and drawing. Are you sensing a theme? Basically, anything that takes me out of my head or just fills my brain with so much stuff that I don't have room to think about anything else. It relaxes me.”
“People can like or dislike you for a multitude of reasons, and if I kept those in mind or constantly tried to conform to someone else's perfect ideal all the time, I'd go insane.”
“I would love to go to Indonesia. Half my family lives there and it's way too expensive for me to go on my own. It'd be nice if I could get to work over there for a little while and reconnect with my Dad's side of the family and my culture.”
“Don't be afraid to go for the things you want, and stop being paralyzed by a fear of failing. The doubt you have stems from no one but yourself! No one will judge you if you fail.”
“I'd really like to see a minimum age requirement put into place. From my own perspective, when I was 15 or 16, like many other teenagers, I had an overblown ego but low self-esteem. Everything felt hinged on what people thought of me, either through what I did or how I looked. Throwing a teen into a world where your value is completely based on how you look seems a little dangerous to me. We don’t even have a union! We need more information and advice on how to survive this industry.”
“My most surreal moment has been actually making enough of an impression on someone that they'd want to interview me.”
Laura would like to highlight the good work and ideas of Stroke.
Isabel / Nevs
Isabel is a fine artist and puppet maker – her Instagram is packed full of wonderful and more wonderful things. She’s fascinating, engaging, a great mover, and a joy to shoot. A real mix of beauty and resilience, she was instantly a Matthew Miller girl for us. She was cast immediately for his Spring Summer ’17 show.
“It's difficult to recommend modeling as what may work for one person is completely wrong for the next. It's a huge bonus to have finished your education or be at Uni while modeling. You can get a better understanding of yourself which means you can have a more positive experience.”
“The things that have really helped me so far are red wine, making bad artwork, Cheetos, and my plants. Oh, and my mother, because she is a witch.”
“Recently, there have been some really positive changes with the way the fashion world approaches casting, but there is still a long way to go, particularly among the more traditional fashion houses. Fashion can be so unbelievably liberating and free and we really need to see this reflected in all forms of creativity.”
“I can tie a knot in a cherry stem with my tongue!”
“My extraordinarily surreal moment was shooting British Vogue. I never thought a girl with a green mullet and shitty tattoos would ever end up there but life works in weird ways sometimes.”
Please look at more of Isabel’s puppet-making here.
If you like what you see, you can check out more from Auditions here.