model tracker

Casting Agent James Scully’s All-Time Favorite Models

Top row, from left, Liya Kebede, Lily Donaldson, Anja Rubik

Middle row, from left, Christy Turlington, Jessica Stam, Coco Rocha, Lara Stone

Bottom row, from left, Freja Beha, Raquel Zimmerman, Isabeli Fontana, Caroline TrentiniPhoto: Patrick McMullan (Fontana, Kebede); Getty (Donaldson, Trentini, Turlington); Imaxtree

James Scully has many a man’s dream job: He determines which long-legged beauties score a spot on top runways. His first major casting was for Todd Oldham in 1993. Since then, he’s also helped cast Gucci and YSL shows during Tom Ford era. And from 1999 to 2001, Scully was the bookings editor at Harper’s Bazaar, picking which models, hairstylists, and makeup artists get hired for shoots. After a recent two-year hiatus, Scully is back with his own runway-show production company. We followed him during fall castings for Look, and somehow managed to make him list his all-time favorite girls. Considering how many resort castings he’s set to work on (Carolina Herrera, Stella McCartney, Derek Lam, Zac Posen, and Jason Wu), you can probably bank on many of these faces popping up in New York soon.

Liya Kebede: An all-time eternal favorite for me — she’s an exotic Grace Kelly. Models work for years to develop the poise, grace, and style that she came to the business already equipped with! It still shocks me that I sometimes have to sell her to a client, but every time she walks in the room, she always proves me right.

Anja Rubick: The total package: perfect skin, amazing walk and the only model I can think of that never requires alterations at fittings. And she speaks with a slight lisp, which makes me melt. Most models would have ruined their careers by cutting off their hair, but it seems to have catapulted her to superstar ranks this year.

Lara Stone: In my entire career I can count on one hand the models whose presence and beauty are so otherworldly that they can silence a room and stop traffic. That intense gaze and luscious body! I’m sure she is not even aware of how powerful and arresting her beauty is, and it’s no surprise that Paris Vogue is a love letter to her every month. She can’t walk a lick, but that never hurt Stephanie [Seymour] either.

Coco Rocha: I will be the first to admit I did not believe the hype, but within five seconds of meeting her, I was totally charmed and understood why everyone loves her. Some people feel her look is specific, but I find her to be the most chameleon-like of all the girls.

Raquel Zimmermann: The energizer model! I think she’s the only model of the last ten years who never goes out of fashion. It’s as though she never ages yet gets better-looking each season. Probably the most versatile model of all, she truly could be in any show. Her professionalism rivals any model and her timeliness is equal to Cindy Crawford’s, whose punctuality was legendary.

Freja Beha: The queen of cool. Probably one of the most-requested models of all my clients. She is the perfect old-school clothes-hanger with a little eighties androgyny thrown in.

Isabeli Fontana: There is something almost saintly about her — if you told me she could heal sick children, I would be a believer! Yet on the other side of the coin she has a body better than all the Victoria’s Secret girls combined. And one of the kindest models I’ve ever worked with. Glides down a runway like a panther. And the most beautiful blue eyes in the biz.

Jessica Stam: The Starbucks Kid! I think she was born with a cup of coffee in her hand. Sweet and sexy, you always know what you’ll get with Jessica — a perfect, fit body and a walk that could sell a wet paper bag. If there is ever a questionable outfit in a show, give it to her and you are guaranteed a runway photo.

Lily Donaldson: One of the most-expensive-looking girls, yet a frail beauty at the same time. Beautiful skin, baby eyes, and pouty lips. A real English rose, but there’s a sexpot underneath all of that waiting to be unleashed. She’s also more guarded than the other girls, which throws people off, but it makes me super-gushy and nervous like a schoolboy. I could totally see her married to a rock star!

Caroline Trentini: Perfect body. Always full of energy, always happy, and I have not met a better walker since Carmen Kass. She can model anything.

Favorite Supermodel: Christy Turlington The greatest model of all time! You could combine every model to this day into one person, and they wouldn’t come close (sorry, girls). Probably the biggest crush I’ve ever had on a girl. It would be a dream to have the opportunity of working with her on a show again before I retire, but that seems about as likely as winning the lottery. —Kendall Herbst

Read more from New York Look.

Casting Agent James Scully’s All-Time Favorite Models