Top Casting Agent Explains Why Victoria’s Secret Models Are Inking High-Fashion Deals

Liz Doupnik

miu miu ss2013 collection campaign 3 Top Casting Agent Explains Why Victorias Secret Models Are Inking High Fashion Deals

Victoria’s Secret Angels are many things: sexy, sultry and seemingly perfect. But—despite the fact that most are legit models—they’re not really taken seriously outside the realm of bras, undies and skimpy winged outfits. That ideology might be shifting, however, as we’re spotting more and more of these bodacious babes in high-fashion editorials and cutting-edge ad campaigns, as well as walking exclusive runways around the world. While they’re not necessarily replacing “conventional” coat-hanger models, it appears the Angels are increasingly spreading their wings and landing themselves some serious fashion cred.

This week, for example, Miu Miu revealed that Adriana Lima will appear alongside fellow VS vet Doutzen Kroes in the brand’s Spring 2013 campaign—a pretty big coup considering the Italian house is known more for attracting fashion-forward, quirky customers. Lima’s also recently walked in fashion shows for the likes of Givenchy and has appeared in W editorials. Then there’s the adorable Miranda Kerrwho popped up on recent runways for Chanel, Balenciaga, Dior, and Lanvin. And of course, there’s the monarch of all VS Angels, Gisele Bunchenwho recently walked for Alexander Wang and Givenchy.

To learn a little more about why super-sexy Victoria’s Secret models are infiltrating the high-fashion world, we enlisted Kristi McCormick, casting director extraordinaire and founder of leading casting and consulting agency Matchbook

StyleCaster News: We’ve noticed that in the last couple of years, more and more Victoria’s Secret models are appearing in high-fashion editorials, campaigns, and runways. Why do you think this is?

Kristi McCormick: Funny, but it really is the other way around. VS models are booked based on their editorials, campaigns, and runway jobs. VS rarely picks a model (new face) without a full editorial book with tearsheets from around the world. Once the model gets a VS contract, their visibility and exposure increases, making them even more attractive to their current editorial and campaign clients. Once they’re booked after their first VS campaign, they automatically get a new title: “VS model Adriana Lima poses for Visionaire cover” for example. This brings more visibility and press to the clients the model works for. Advertisers and magazines don’t have to pay additional for this added press exposure by using a VS model.

Is there a specific VS trait that’s drawing casting directors’ attention?

There’s definitely a trend in hiring beautiful models with great personalities. Years ago, VS would just base decisions on the model’s look and portfolio. Now, the models have to be spokespeople as well. They go on talk shows, they comment on fashion, they are filmed and interviewed for behind-the-scenes. If a model walks into a casting and has the right body and look, plus if she demonstrates ability to be a spokesperson, she’ll almost surely be confirmed.

Has Victoria’s Secret models’ curvier figures become more desirable to fashion insiders?

From a commercial standpoint, one would think curvier models should be booked nowadays—just to relate to the general public. But if you look at the VS model trend over the last 10+ years, you’ll see the models used today are thin and more editorial-looking than in the first few years of the campaign.

In the beauty world, VS seems to be becoming more sophisticated while also growing in popularity. Do you think this is partially attributed to the models? Why?
Everyone in the world knows what being a Victoria Secret model means. Once VS extended this meaning to include beauty products (as well as lingerie), this was a great branding move. Once a model gets booked for VS, she becomes part of an iconic group of beautiful women, and part of history. That association alone will help with sales of ANY VS product. They could go in the furniture business if they wanted to!

Models like Kate Upton—who can be considered cut from a similar cloth as VS women—are also becoming more visible and appearing in a large range of high-end editorials. Are magazines eager to feature more versatile, accessible models?

Kate’s more of a celebrity than a model in my opinion. She didn’t grow up as a model for years in order to achieve her “supermodel” status. She became a celebrity model in a very short period of time. British Vogue putting Kate on the cover means (to me) that they wanted to sell more newsstand issues that month (which they probably did!).