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Photo via by Charlotte Wales


January 16, 2024

Annabelle Nickoll

On April 24, 2023, Vogue Magazine announced the launch of Open Casting, a digital competition to discover the next generation of top models. For aspiring models across the globe, the thought of being selected was like coming into the possession of one of Willy Wonka’s golden tickets. To enter into the mysterious, magical gates of Vogue headquarters and to be in the presence of Editor-in-Chief, Anna Wintour, is a dream for many. It was no surprise that in just two weeks, over 67,000 global applications were submitted and many shared their videos to Tikok under the hashtag #vogueopencasting, which has amassed over 300 million views. 


In order to submit an application, individuals needed to be femme-identifing and 18 years of age or older. Anyone could access the application portal on, and it was free to enter. Participants were asked to submit photos, a short video, and answer questions to showcase their personalities.


The competition format is altering the standard conception of career trajectory in the modeling industry. Most are familiar with the stories of major 90s and early 2000s supermodels getting scouted on the street as a teen and then being flown to Paris to become an overnight runway icon. But the concept of brands and agencies choosing from models who are actually interested in the profession and willingly applying to make this their lifestyle is less common. Open castings and submissions make modeling more of a chosen profession and a trained skill rather than placing a majority of the emphasis on looks.


Vogue’s main objective with the novel project was to discover and endorse an emerging wave of models who epitomize a contemporary concept of beauty. In a youtube video documenting the competition, the global talent casting director at Vogue, Ignacio Murillo, commented on the goals: “After the fall/winter 2023 shows we wanted an initiative to respond to the lack of diversity we saw that season on the runway.” They were looking for models with a range of nationalities, races, sexual identities, body sizes, and backgrounds, marginalized groups that are largely underrepresented in fashion and media. 


With hopes of becoming the next greatest supermodel, winners would be invited to walk the Vogue World runway to kickstart London fashion week, featured in a documentary about the competition, and, of course, inside the infamous pages of the iconic magazine’s October issue


On May 8, the application closed. Then, a team of Vogue editors, stylists, and casting directors, as well as fashion leaders such as Eva Chen, director of fashion partnerships at Instagram, and model and diversity advocate Paloma Elsesser meticulously sifted through each submission. Ultimately they chose 8 finalists. The new models were from South Africa, the UK, France, Morocco, China, Japan, Ghana, and the United States.


Mars, a finalist from Los Angeles, said, “I identify as queer and non-binary. There aren’t a lot of non-binary models out there. There is an opportunity here for me to bring a voice to my community.” 


Abrar Mohammed, a finalist from London, also shared, “As a Hijabi model, I was quite weary of the industry. There’s not many of us, so I just thought perhaps the industry wasn’t as welcoming. A career in modeling would allow me to be that representation that I wasn’t able to see when I was younger.”


The Vogue team selected a diverse group of individuals, as no two finalists look remotely alike. It is clear that Vogue is attempting to dismantle a limited standard of beauty and broaden its definition to encompass all bodies and all types of people. They are beginning to value unique stories and personality equally to striking faces, becoming more conscious of whose stories they're telling. 

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