Casting Call with Miss J

Photo by Jordan Di Pirro.

I’m sure we’ve all seen the posters around campus for Miss J’s casting call. I personally pass at least five before entering my dorm room. I couldn’t help but wonder what goes on at this casting call and how it works. Like most people though, I do not have the model height and body, but I was able to go and observe the process. I was very impressed by all of the students. They were professional and ran the casting call like a well-oiled machine. If another department had to do this, I’m sure there would’ve been some catfights.

Photo by Jordan Di Pirro.

The first step in the process is to have hopeful models sign in at the front desk. The forms are fairly similar to a job application, minus the experience. After all, not many people have modeling experience. No, being a part of your family’s annual Christmas card doesn’t count. I asked. From there you are given a number and told to go get your measurements taken. Several SCAD fashion students helped in this stage of the process. This stage also helps to get rid of the cheaters. I saw one girl who was around my height, 5’3”, try to get in by wearing 5-inch heels. For starters, how do you expect to walk in those? Second, you aren’t going to be wearing those all the time. Part of being in a fashion show means wearing the items the designers wants. Now if you pass this stage, you get to finally meet and walk for Miss J and the other judges. Or if you are me, you can awkwardly walk past the measuring stage and ask Miss J a few questions.

Photo by Jordan Di Pirro.

Jordan Di Pirro: When did your relationship with SCAD start?

Miss J: It was almost 15 years ago when Karl Lagerfeld was the designer. He was being honored by Andre Leon Talley. Andre Leon Talley was the person who recommended me to SCAD.

JD: What makes our fashion department so special? Why do you keep coming back?

MJ: It’s a great school. It delivers great talent. The teachers work hard. The students sometimes work harder. You get good results. You get your money’s worth. I think parents sometimes get a little upset when kids don’t work hard enough for them and they don’t get the jobs they want. For example, you want to design clothes and you work really hard and then all of a sudden you change your mind. You changed your mind at the last minute after spending all that money, you decided you don’t want to design clothes, but the school gives you so many different options. You could go for marketing, animation or graphics. Sometimes we do things that we think we do for our parents and not for ourselves. But it’s okay to change your mind, as long as the school actually has different programs to inspire you. It’s very inspirational; especially considering they have Savannah, Atlanta, Lacoste and Hong Kong.

JD: Who has been your favorite model to work with?

MJ: My favorite model to work with any is any model who came in as an ugly ducking and walked out as a fabulous swan.

JD: Since you’ve been doing this for so long, is there a specific quality you look for in a model right now?

MJ: I think a girl who is open to model needs, open to change and open to what’s happening right now within fashion. She should be able to deliver a very simple, elegant and insane walk. She needs to be able to go into personality and character. I think that's very important for a model because in the end, the model is selling herself as a brand now. They have to be able to sing, dance, sew, Instagram and Facebook. It’s crazy, so you have to be at the top of the game. I think a model should come in and inspire the people who hire her: the designers and photographers. If she’s in a commercial for advertising, she must deliver a great punch. I mean, not only that she can sell to younger women, but she wants to inspire all the women. If a woman is 60, she wants to fanaticize about being 40.