Models told to wear their personality to casting

NEW YORK (AP) — First thing to recognize about many of the 150 models in the large-scale runway show being held to drum up interest in Fashion’s Night Out is that those catwalkers aren’t just stirring mannequins. They speak. They have interests. They have style.

“I like to meet girls when they’re 20 or 21, when they have some existence and some shine,” said Valerie Boster, bookings editor at Vogue who is casting Tuesday night’s show.
“I can see some girls are well-formed. I love when people engage in chat. It will come across on the runway.”
On this day, Boster, functioning with casting director John Pfeiffer, sees about two dozen model hopefuls in a small Conde Nast discussion room with a 12-foot long space cleared as a walkway.

How they seem and how they walk are both significant, but those are skills that can be “developed,” Pfeiffer says. “A model needs to be built and groomed, but there has to be a spark to start with.”
Confidence is part of that, too. Gracie Carvalho, a 20-year-old Brazilian, comes in with jeans and a tank top, little if no makeup and a comfortable attitude. An onlooker could practically see the wink between Boster and Pfeiffer.

More than one model, however, mentioned the intimidating setting — with the building’s Fort Knox-like security and a crowd of Voguettes in designer clothing buzzing around. To put them at ease, Boster asks about their hometowns, schooling, knowledge and, sometimes, their shoes.
Chrishell Stubbs has the highest heels. She wears the platform pumps with a studded miniskirt and a gray T-shirt, and she strikes a pose while talking.

“I watch them for projection, the way they carry themselves,” Boster explained. Anyone who is shy in here is going to be shy on the catwalk.”
She says there is no right answer to her questions, she just wants there to be an answer.
One young Russian woman who didn’t make the cut was so nervous, she couldn’t recall how long she had lived in New York.

In opposition, Angelika Kocheva, hair pulled back and wearing a loose shift dress, was excited to share details of her plans for that day — her 23rd birthday. “I’m going shopping with my husband!” said the Ukranian-born model.
Bouncy, micro mini-wearing Taylor Kraemer, of Cincinnati, right away charmed when she noted her  forthcoming 17th birthday. “You know, I’m getting up there,” she said with a grin.
Boster was also impressed with Kraemer’s knowledge of sign language. That sort of intensity is what she’s looking for, she says.

Even before Boster and Pfeiffer looked at the instant-camera snapshots posted on their audition board, you just knew that Kraemer had gotten the gig.
She’ll join some of the biggest names in modeling for the kickoff to New York Fashion Week: Gisele Bundchen, Naomi Campbell and Alessandra Ambrosio, among them. They’ll be previewing fall styles that Vogue editors have chosen to represent the trends of the season that the industry is hoping they’ll rush out to buy on Fashion’s Night Out, a national shopping event on Sept. 10.

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