A Look Back: StyleCaster’s Portraits of Alana Zimmer, Jenny Shimizu, And Other Top Models

A Look Back: StyleCaster’s Portraits of Alana Zimmer, Jenny Shimizu, And Other Top Models
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Jenny Shimizu verbalized it best when she told us “it’s a lot of power to be a model, having access to reach people in different countries and all over the world, why not use some of this power for good, rather than be just a beautiful girl in a magazine?”

The girls you’ll see in the above shoot, entitled Model Citizen, are successful by any definition, beautiful by a mile, and they’ve reached beyond the glamourous confines of fashion to support causes they believe in. All in all, these are models that are taking it to another level.

Lyndsey Scott, NEXT

Alana Zimmer, Ford
Tao Okamoto, Ford
Elettra Wiedemann, NEXT
Jenny Shimizu, Women Management

Anna Speckhart, Marilyn Agency
Marike Le Roux, Wilhemina Models

Photographer: Doug Inglish, CLM
Photographer’s Assistants: Jesse Untracht-Oakner & Cory Foote

Stylist: James Worthington DeMolet, Frank Reps
Stylist’s Assistant: Chris Lee
Creative Director: Emily Finkbinder, StyleCaster
Hair: Dennis Lanni, Art Department
Hair Assistant: Hannah Nichols

Make Up: Jenna Menard, Art Department
Make Up Assistant: Lucie Nguyen
Interviews and text: Kerry Pieri
Original live date: August 3, 2011

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Yigal Azrouël dress, $1,995, at Yigal Azrouël

Model: Alana Zimmer  

Charity: The Japan Society's Earthquake Relief Fund

Hometown: Ontario, Canada

What sort of work have you done for the charity so far?
I held a brunch at The Fat Radish in March with my friend Britt Maren. We researched different foundations but found that not all of them donated 100% of funds to the cause in need, whereas the Japan Society did. We raised $16,717 and put together the fundraiser in less than a week. This was our first fundraiser but hopefully we can do more in the future!

How were you discovered?
Working in a restaurant.

Dream photographer to work with (dead or alive)?
I wish that I could have shot with Irving Penn and Richard Avedon. At the moment, two of my favorites are Inez and Vinoodh and Nick Knight, both whom I've had the opportunity to work with.

Where do you hope to see yourself in 5 years?
I live for the moment, not the future!

Emotionally Unavailable t-shirt, $120, at Beyond 7 Boutique; Jason Wu belt, $350, at Jason Wu Studio; Yigal Azrouël fur scarf, price upon request, at Yigal Azrouël

Model: Anna Speckhart

Charity: Ronald McDonald House

Hometown: Pittsville, Illinois

How did you get started?: It was totally random, I was scouted and actually I didn’t want to do it for a while so I turned it down and I finished school, and then when push came to shove I decided that I wanted to give it a try. So I spoke with my mother agency and I got started and everything was really great. I’ve been extremely fortunate. I think it’s all luck to be quite honest but I’ve been really lucky.

How would you describe your personal style? Casual, yeah very casual. I live in jeans and I borrow a lot of shirts from my dad. My best girlfriend, she’s really good at fashion and she helps me a lot so, thank you, Camille!

What do you see yourself doing in five years? In five years, I hope that I’ll still be traveling. I’d really love to build a house back home. Just taking advantage of modeling.  I mean, I hope that I can progress and be fortunate enough to do that and if I can’t, I hope I find something else that I really love to do, but right now I don’t know what that is.

left: Carven dress, $2,490, at Carven; Janis Savitt earrings, $325, at Bergdorf Goodman; Cartier ring, $31,400, at Cartier

right: Louis Vuitton sweater, $1,500, at Louis Vuitton

Model: Jenny Shimizu

Charities: HRH [Human Rights Campaign],  GLSEN [Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network],  APAHM [Asian Pacific American Heritage Month], Act Up, Save Japan! 

Hometown: California

Why do you think it’s important as someone in the public eye, to get involved with helping others?  Well, I think in hindsight, now that I’m older, it’s just that I realize that it’s a lot of power to be a model or to be having this much kind of access to reach people in different countries and all over the world. And now, why not use some of this kind of power for good and to say things that are happening in the world and kind of voice your opinion and become more than just two-dimensional, rather than be just a beautiful girl in a magazine,why not have a story behind you, you know?

What have been some of the highlights of your career?     
I think one of the highlights was the fact that when Bruce Weber was taking pictures of me like a month later my friends woke me up in the middle of the night and said come to Times Square with us, so I went to Times Square an that’s when they used to put the big billboards of models up there and I looked up and saw a huge billboard of just me and a portrait of my face and it said underneath “American Beauty.”

left: Calvin Klein Collection trousers, $695, at Calvin Klein; Brian Suter-Maury jacket, price available upon request, contact bosmaury@mac.com; Bracelet, model’s own

right: Derek Lam vest, $6,500, at Derek Lam

[Left] Model: Lyndsey Scott

Charity: Educate! Uganda

Hometown: West Orange, New Jersey

Tell me about how you got into modeling, your getting-discovered story.      
Okay, well I posted my picture on Models.com and my first agency found it, and that’s how that happened.    

That’s a good story for Models.com! They like that one!

What’s the most pivotal or exciting moment in your modeling career so far?     
I guess the first big job I did was Calvin Klein exclusive and that was really exciting, when it’s your first job, it’s unbelievable, you can hardly believe that this is happening. And I’ve had a lot of other great moments and a lot of people supported me and I’m really grateful for all that.

If there were any fashion photographer past or present that you could work with, who would it be?    
I’ve recently worked with Ellen von Unwerth and she’s amazing, I knew from seeing her pictures, she’s a female and she does these beautiful, sexy pictures and I just knew that I’d love her and I did. I’ve worked with Mario Sorrenti and he was a lot of fun too. I guess you have to work with a photographer to see what the vibe is like between you because I think that’s most important, just the energy between you, the way you interact comes out of the pictures.

[Right] Model: Elettra Wiedemann

Charity: One Frickin’ Day

Hometown: NYC

You actually started your charity, tell me the story about it.  Not intentionally, but yeah. Basically we just really wanted to focus on very specific projects that had really low budgets but really big achievable goals and had like really big impact. But we find that kind of a lot of charities, I think, around the world have these huge goals that are very well minded, their heart’s in the right place, but they’re kind of hard to achieve.

How did you get your start in modeling?  I just was going to college in Boston and wasn’t digging it that much and wanted to take time off, and in that same kind of period that I was thinking about what I wanted to do if I took like a gap year. I got recruited to do Abercrombie & Fitch, and I thought that was going to be like a one time thing, and then I got sent to Milan and then I did fashion week it kind of like just snowballed into this amazing thing and I’ve been doing it ever since. I finished school and all that but I did take a year off and kind of just explored the world, which was really good for me.

How has having style icons [mom, Isabella Rossellini, grandma, Ingrid Bergman] in your family affected your style? 
I don’t really know, I mean it’s impossible to say because I’ve never had another life to compare it to. So you know, I don’t think of the women in my family as icons, I think of them as my mom and my grandmother, who I never actually met, because she died before I was born. They’re obviously very stylish ladies, but I also have a lot of friends whose mothers are also gorgeous and stylish too and they’re not considered icons. So you know, that’s just like an external perception of my family, which is not really how I perceive myself.

left: Catherine Dean gown, $2,311, at Shopbop; Alexis Bittar bangles, $170 & $215, at Alexis Bittar; Shoes, model’s own

right: Ohne Titel coat, $3,925, at Barneys NY; With & Wessel top, $120, at With & Wessel

Model: Marike Le Roux

Charity: Red Eye Inc.

Hometown: South Africa

What makes you feel drawn to helping people and getting involved? I think it’s my background coming from South Africa, my mom and dad had one of the very first shelters for homeless kids, they started that the year I was born and so I think I’ve always had that natural attraction to helping out in any small way. It’s actually helping yourself, too, more than just helping others.

How did you get discovered? Well, my family moved to South Korea when I was I think 13. I got discovered on the street there, and this agent kept following me everyday when I walked to my parents, and I just never spoke to him, and one day he followed me to my parents’ work and there you go.

What would you say are some of the best perks about modeling? Definitely getting to see the world. Meeting amazing, creative, driven people and getting to work with them.

What are some of your most favorite places that you’ve visited? I have to say, last year I went to Gambia, which is Western Africa, it’s called the Smiling Coast of Africa, everyone there just smiles. It was one of my favorite places.

left: Zac Posen dress, $1,850, at Zac Posen; Mandy Coon belt, $312, at Mandy Coon; Patricia Von Musulin bangle, $3,000, and ring, $650, at Patricia Von Musulin; Janis Savitt bangle, $350, at Bergdorf Goodman; Cartier earrings, $4,125, at Cartier

right: Oscar de la Renta gown, $14,190, at Neiman Marcus; Mandy Coon ring, $246, at Mandy Coon

Model: Tao Okamoto

Charity: Save Japan!

Hometown: Japan

How did you get started in modeling?  
When I was in junior high I was walking on the street and this guy just came to me like, are you interesting in doing…actually it wasn’t modeling, he said  TV stuff. I thought, oh, maybe I can do something for the people to use my height and looks. Then I talked to my parents and they said, 'Oh, if you really want to do it, you have to find a good agency.' Then I sent some pictures to a model agency. That’s how I started. I only modeled in Japan for like five years since I started, then I went to Paris. I think my first big, big thing was the YSL show in Paris or maybe the Moschino campaign.

What would be your dream modeling gig?
There are so many dreams I’d…I always want to do a Chanel show because it’s just major and like so spectacular, so yeah, I’m going to do it before I quit modeling.

You’re very known for your hair and it’s such a great cut, have you always had your hair short ? No, I’ve been only having it three years now, so before I had really long hair like everybody else. So I miss it sometimes!

left: J. Mendel gown, $4,200, at J. Mendel; Bulgari bangle, $3,400, at Bulgari

right: Marc by Marc Jacobs blazer, $398, at Marc JacobsMaxMara trousers, $450, at Sportmax (212) 674-1817

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