I love my quest for Muses. It’s almost like a sport to me. Not just because it reminds me of my casting days – I dearly miss all the girls and boys I got to work with, and the creative process of putting a runway show together – but more so because it gives me immeasurable pleasure to find the gems of the world, those genius femmes who are more than just pretty faces, who have an interesting voice and a style that needs to be accoladed with words and insatiable imagery. I don’t mean to brag or anything but I’ve birthed some luminous careers on this platform. These Tales of Endearment have not only served as a personal source of new, long and lasting friendships, but also as a guest list to many a PR maven. Actually, I believe it’s full circle now: it’s a casting for a casting.
The DVF girl is integral to my esthetic heart and I understand her. She’s feminine and classy, ambitious and opinionated, diverse and worldly. She doesn’t crave to be the center of attention but somehow she always is, because she exudes magnetic class and intelligence. She doesn’t wear slutty skirts or ripped jeans; she prefers colorful dresses and flirty rompers instead. To me, she’s the girl you envy for her posture and perfect skin, and her delicate pronunciation of the word “sophisticated”. She’s the friend you can rely on for marital advice and a spa day. Don’t you love her already?? I bet you have a few of your own.
So that’s what I’m always looking for when I cast my DVF girls. But a little extra. To make it on set, she needs to have a story too. Like Kenya Kinski and Gizele Oliviera, the two ravenous beauties I booked for the Fall shoot in Sante Fe. Most of the modeling agencies have a separate division for their “special bookings”: the actresses, the musicians, the bloggers, the famous career kids who look good, and know how to take a picture, but don’t fit the model mold. Next Management calls them “Talent”, Wilhelmina calls them “Celebrities” and Elite calls them “Special Arrangements”.
But let’s not forget the greatest source of inspiring chicas: Instagram! That’s where I found Gizele, a 22-year old blogger/model from Santo Espirito, Brazil. I didn’t know much about her career but I had seen her happy outfits show up on a few of the street style photography feeds. She had this great smile and I always loved what she was wearing. I made a mental note that I would work with her one day. I found Kenya the traditional way, by searching the Ford models image page, but she’s no regular girl. She’s the 22-year old daughter of actress Nastassja Kinski and music producer Quentin Jones. She lives between Los Angeles and New York.
The great thing about these girls was their sense of adventure. For them it was more than just a shoot, or a location. It was an experience. And they invested their entire youthful livelihood. “Santa Fe was breathtaking,” Kenya told me. “To be able to spend the day in the Taos Pueblo Reservation was such an honor. I am such an admirer of nature so to be there was really special. The people living there treated us with such kindness.” Kenya has been riding horses her whole life, “from the time the sun came up to the time the sun went down, I was at the stables,” she said. She’s very passionate about animal rights in general and hopes to one day work with Jane Goodall, one of her big heroes. “My long term goal is to continue to model and also build a platform in which I can fulfill my passion of protecting and bettering the lives of animals from wildlife to factory farms. I have felt a strong duty to fight for and protect animals of all kinds since I was a little girl.”
Where Kenya was the epitome of sweetness and serenity – for lack of a better word, she’s literally the nicest girl – Gizele was her rampageous counterpart. She got crazy with the dogs, climbed in trees, pulled funny faces and absurd poses and entertained her 150k Instagram followers with silly selfies all day. She’s been blogging since 2010 and modeling for just about as long, and she’s in awe of today’s social media landscape. “I found my agency through Instagram, some friends, jobs, everything! I think it’s insane that people around the whole world can see me, follow me and message me.” She’s traveled the world, so she’s seen a lot, but “I always tell everybody, [Taos] was the most beautiful place I’ve ever been in my life, was magical and the nature is just incredible there! I’m so happy I got to see the real american beauty!”
PS. I already know who I want to shoot next… Watch this space!
Photography / styling / casting: Natalie Joos
Models: Kenya Kinski at Ford Models / Gizele Oliviera at IMG
Production: Yasmin Hed
Local assistant: Kristie Karsen
Many thanks to Diane Von Furstenberg and her team, Wendy at Back at the Ranch, Nathalie at Casa Nova, Suzanne at Double Take Vintage, the lady at Ethnic Art Market and Martha at Gypsy Nation Vintage.