From Nada to Prada: Natalie Westling

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The following is an excerpt from a piece originally seen on The Style Con:

I can’t figure out what it is about 17-year-old model Natalie Westling. Maybe it’s the ratio of eyes to lips—how those giant, baby-girl doll orbs threaten to swallow you whole, how her pert, tight-lipped pout offers you nothing. The character. The neighborhood skater turned high fashion model vibes. That’s probably what it is. That, and, you know, that flaming red hair always gets me. I think I inherited my dad’s affinity for gingers.

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“Bara Holotova: From Nada to Prada” on The Style Con

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Czech model Bara Holotova has one of those faces that you don’t have to do anything to—there’s no need for much maintenance beyond maybe a smear of Chapstick and a flick of Maybelline. Her cheekbones do the talking. I mean, you could keep change in those gorgeous little hollows. Still fresh into her teens, Bara started off in 2007, a pretty little Lolita with a wicked pout and porcelain skin. If Anna Paquin, Behati Prinsloo, and Lara Stone had a baby (if only!), it would be Bara. And so our little supermodel/superactress hybrid has been doing the rounds for the last few years, switching up her hair like most people change their pants. Just because you don’t technically need to do anything with a face like that, doesn’t mean agencies aren’t going to want to bleach, chop, and shred your hair into the 8th dimension on the off chance you might finally book, you know, Prada.

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“Janice Alida: From Nada to Prada” on The Style Con

Screen-shot-2014-03-10-at-11.34.46-AMThe following is an excerpt from my piece “Janice Alida: From Nada to Prada” as seen on The Style Con:

Canadian model Janice Alida arrived on the scene in 2011 with a solemn stare and a serious pout, the type of face that reminds me of someone’s sad suburban wife, waiting at home for a dude who never answers his phone when he’s on “work trips.” (Alida is, in fact, married, and though I don’t know the details, let’s just assume happily.) Porcelain skinned and blue eyed, Janice was rocking that monochromatic, dishwater look my LA agency gamely stripped me of ten years ago because they didn’t know what they were doing. “Go brunette,” they demanded. “You’ll look more editorial” – which would have been great if I were actually living in a city where you could book Vogue shoots. The type of modeling gigs you get in LA are more along the lines of dancing around a beach in a pink latex bikini singing “Don’t you want a Fanta? Fanta?” Think cheesy. Think lucrative. Think anti-fashion bullshit.*

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“Mirian Haney: From Nada to Prada” on The Style Con

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The following is an excerpt from my piece “Mirian Haney: From Nada to Prada” on The Style Con:

Sign of the times? California newcomer Miriam Haney started out in late 2013 already beating the industry at its own game, arriving freshly shorn, all bangs and no baggage – just how I like ‘em. Six months later, she’s growing that shit out. Nada to Prada-ing in reverse, as it were. Which begs the question: Is short hair over?

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“Gracie Van Gastel: From Nada to Prada” on The Style Con

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The following is an excerpt from my piece “Gracie Van Gastel: From Nada to Prada” as seen on The Style Con:

In modeling, there are some girls who just start out getting it. Even in the most horribly lit,over-styled, makeup-caked test shoot taken in the bowels of some photo studio in the middle of anti-fashion hell, they manage to shine through against all odds, communicate their, I don’t know, model aura or something. I’ve seen these girls operate in real-time, and, say what you will about the talent required to model, it’s something to behold. These girls are the unicorns, the girls who, at ages as young as 14 years old, when most acne-riddled twerps are just freaking out about whether or not the shoes they wore to school were Popular Kid Approved, possess a transparency that took myself, as a model, over eight years to get, which, given the brevity of most modeling careers, is about seven years, eleven months, and thirteen days too long. But the unicorns… they’re the lucky ones. They’re like Harvard-bound dorks born understanding calculus. Only, you know, these are fashion babes destined for Vogue.

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“Xiao Wen Ju – From Nada to Prada” on The Style Con

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The following is an excerpt from my regular series “From Nada to Prada,” as seen on The Style Con:

When Chinese model Xiao Wen Ju first got her start in 2010, she arrived on the scene with the over-dyed, strawberry brown hair one might find on any frightfully ordinary lass in a domestic cell phone campaign. But to be booking that haute couture ish, you better be lookin’ extra-ordinary. Just a few months into the game, Xiao got the memo and quickly took her hair back to its dark, silky roots. Voila! A star is born.

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“Agnes Nabuurs: From Nada to Prada” on The Style Con

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The following is an excerpt from my piece “Agnes Nabuurs: From Nada to Prada” as seen on The Style Con:

“She’s so ‘normal’ looking to me, but it’s nice…” 

So wrote one commenter of Dutch model Agnes Nabuurs on The Fashion Spot’s message board, a place where model enthusiasts stalk, chart, post, revere, revile, and – in my case – research. It is the beta Magna Carta of careers, where you get a chronological, documented account of a girl’s appearance in the fashion world, from potentially regrettable start to laughably lucrative finish. Had I more a remarkable career myself, I would have hated this website. But I didn’t, so yay!

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“Chiharu Okunugi: From Nada to Prada” on The Style Con

Screen-Shot-2014-01-12-at-11.11.04-PM-1024x693The following is an excerpt from my regular series “From Nada to Prada” featuring Chiharu Okunugi as seen on The Style Con:

When an agency is really doing their job right, making sure all the nuts are bolted down, the career plans are in order, I don’t have shit to talk about there are simply no nada model moments on record. There are no failed test shoots, no DIY fashion shows in Bushwick basements, no documentation of offensive, wayward abuse of Sun-In. Yes, when this happens, as it very rarely does, an agency can make it magically appear as though a girl has simply fallen from the sky, preordained from the heavens to be strutting down catwalks wearing $5,000 Latex bikinis to the latest EDM soundtrack. This, my friends, is model magic.

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“Andreea Diaconu: From Nada to Prada” on The Style Con

Screen-Shot-2014-01-05-at-11.12.05-AMThe following is an excerpt from my piece “Andreea Diaconu: From Nada to Prada” on The Style Con:

“No Makeup.” That’s one of the first categories of Google-able images you’ll find of Romanian model Andreea Diaconu, second only to “Street Style” – which basically means bitch has a wardrobe and a face that will make you hate her desperately. And let’s not even talk about that body. Jesus Christ. Life, as many know all too well, is not always fair. It doles out its blessings unevenly, like a crappy saltshaker with half of its holes corroded with an old, brackish crust. Some people get nothing, most people get something, and others get it all. Andreea falls into the latter camp.

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“From Nada to Prada: Soo Joo Park on The Style Con”

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The following is an excerpt from my piece “From Nada to Prada: Soo Joo Park” on The Style Con:

Unless you’ve been living under a rock with scant access to magazine stands or high-speed Wi-Fi, you’ve probably heard of Soo Joo Park. The Korean-born, California-bred model made it big in the fashion world in 2013, following a we-don’t-fuck-around bleaching of epic proportions. The result? A new-and-improved Soo Joo, rocking an elfin, Orlando Bloom circa Lord of the Rings vibe — you know, if Orlando Bloom was a lady babe who looked bangin’ in Chanel. But torching her strands within an inch of its life seems a tiny price to pay for the success that came as a result. What girl wouldn’t risk getting her hair a little crispy in exchange for Chanel and Tom Ford campaigns?

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