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18 Ways to Get Cast As a ‘Real’ Model

Photo: Davids Sims

“Real-people casting” is decidedly not a new trend — by this point, it’s been employed by everyone from Dove to Lanvin to Uniqlo to V, which put a regular Jane on its cover in 2002 — but it shows no signs of slowing down.

Last week, DKNY cast “real New Yorkers” in its fall ads, Marc by Marc Jacobs recently found its campaign faces on social media, and Cara Delevingne is scouring Instagram for new models. So we decided to try to figure out what, exactly, it takes to make it as a “real-person” model. (Make sure to take “real” with a healthy dose of salt here.)

1. Have a hair color that falls on the Crayola end of the spectrum. (Like our sassy blue-haired friend in the Marc by Marc Jacobs campaign, or the dude in the DKNY campaign.)

2. Have five or more hyphens in your job title. Sample: DJ-entrepreneur-kiteboarder–vegan baker–filmmaker. (Or this Lanvin model, who described herself as a “musician, activist, and podcaster.”)

3. Have a gap tooth.

4. Have tons of freckles.

5. Have a septum piercing.

6. If male, be a surfer, skater, or bro-chef.

7. Be “striking.”

8. If you’re a man (or woman!), have a sea-captain-esque beard.

9. Narrative tattoo mural.

10. Looooong gray hair. Like, dusting the floor.

Photo: Dove

11. One well-placed wrinkle, along the smile lines, indicating a life joyfully lived.

12. Actually be a model already. (Like Soo Joo Park and Eliza Cummings, in the DKNY campaign.)

Photo: DKNY

13. Have been a model for 40-plus years. (Like Carmen Dell’Orefice. Or the lady below, modeling for Britain’s TK Maxx chain.)

Photo: TK Maxx

14. Look exactly like a model, just a little shorter.

15. Be racially ambiguous.

16. Be a drag queen.

17. Be Rita Ora.

Photo: Marks and Spencer

18. Be Waris.

18 Ways to Get Cast As a ‘Real’ Model