Fashion Models of The Future by Virginia Kluiters Fashion Models of The Future by Virginia Kluiters Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine

Fashion Models of The Future by Virginia Kluiters

Photographer Virginia Kluiters @vkluitersphoto, with an amazing team, presents Fashion Models of The Future, a marvelous fashion editorial exclusively created for Vanity Teen online to celebrate the diversity that is often overlooked in the modeling industry.

“I conceptualized this project after feeling frustrated working in the fashion industry and seeing models sidelined due to their races, body types, or other differences. To combat this, and to honor Women’s Month, I set out to celebrate the diversity that is often overlooked in the modeling industry.”

Virginia Kluiters

Coco Mitchell, model for 40+ years non-stop, Wilhelmina Models

Q: Have you seen any changes in representation on the runway and in magazines over the past 5 years?

A: I only started being booked on beauty shoots since the pandemic (3yrs). So much has changed in the past three years. It’s as if the gates have been opened. All ethnicities have been ushered in!

Q: What brands do you admire and think are committed to diversity?

A: I admire Christian Siriano for his many years of commitment in the fight for size diversity as well as color diversity on the runway. Pat McGrath has been leading the charge for diversity in her color palette and many beauty campaigns.

Q: Do you see yourself represented in the fashion and beauty industries?

A: As a woman of color and of a certain age, I don’t see myself represented as much as I would like. I thank Christopher John Rogers, Tia Adeola, L.L.Bean, Talbots, Macy’s, TJ Maxx, and Estée Lauder, just to name a few, for booking me. In doing so, I believe it reinforces the fact that WE still buy clothes, use skincare, and wear makeup.

Q: What does womanhood mean to you?

A: Womanhood is a mindset. It’s a decision where girls (however young or old you are) decide to stop tearing each other down but unite to support each other. It’s a realization that we are stronger together!

Q: What inspired you to become a model?

A: I decided to be a model after the owner and founder of Ford Models, Eileen Ford, stopped me on the street. She asked me if I had a book. I told her I have lots of books, I was a teacher. She asked me how much money did I make and she said I could make that every 15 minutes. After one year of teaching, I called her. She told me I could travel for work and make lots of money. I decided to say yes in order to enrich my life and help support my family. I lived in Europe for eleven years. I speak four languages. I walked for YSL (the man), Givenchy (the man), Christian Dior, as well as countless others. I’ve also traveled extensively. Eileen Ford was right!!!!!

Q: What is unique about you?

A: What’s unique about me is that I have been working this long in an industry I’ve come to love. What’s unique about me is that I am not easily offended. What’s unique about me is that I never let go of my intention to be a light in the darkness, to speak for those who are afraid to speak up for fear of losing a client. What’s unique about me is that I am a walking miracle.

Sequoia Douglas, model for 8 years, self-represented

Q: Have you seen any changes in representation on the runway and in magazines over the past 5 years?

A: Marginally. There has been a shift since the conscious shock of 2020, but we can’t call it change until we see commitment.

Q: What brands do you admire and think are committed to diversity?

A: Fenty by Rihanna, EMME by Korina Emmerich, Gucci, and Hendricks Designs by Nikki Hendricks.

Q: Do you see yourself represented in the fashion and beauty industries?

A: Not accurately.

Q: What does womanhood mean to you?

A: I think adulthood is about being able to reckon with who you truly are and keeping yourself accountable— being able to recognize your strengths and weaknesses, then delegating your energy accordingly. You cannot really own womanhood or manhood until you do so. How can one say they understand the power of womanhood or manhood when they are constantly running away from themselves? To own your power, you must own everything that you are, without shame or ego, but compassion. From there, you can have agency over your energy.

Q: What inspired you to become a model?

A: The idea of being a channel of art. As a model, I am the final element that brings the vision to life on set; emulsifying the vision of the glam team, designer, stylist, and photographer with the environment helps me to kinetically interpret the story, resulting in a creative divinity that I can’t seem to get enough of.

Q: What is unique about you?

A: I am a trained chef.

Bri Scalesse, disability advocate and model for 3 years, We Speak Model Management

Q: Have you seen any changes in representation on the runway and in magazines over the past 5 years?

A: I have definitely seen changes in the representation of disabled models in magazines and on runways over the past five years, but not nearly as much as I’d like to see. Whenever I see a disabled model on a runway or in a magazine, it is so major because it is still so rare. I’d love to see disabled models on all runways, in every fashion week, in all magazines. It shouldn’t be a singular moment, and that goes for the representation of all bodies.

Q: What brands do you admire and think are committed to diversity?

A: Some of the brands I love that have amazing, authentic representation are Savage X Fenty, UGG, Tommy Hilfiger, NARS, and really any brand that is actively, constantly celebrating many different types of bodies and communities behind the scenes and in front of the camera, are making a difference.

Q: Do you see yourself represented in the fashion and beauty industries?

A: There are very few visibly disabled models in the fashion and beauty industries. Jillian Mercado really paved the way for models in wheelchairs to have a space in the industry and was the first model I saw who I felt represented my body.

Q: What does womanhood mean to you?

A: I was raised by women. First, I was raised by my mother, and after she passed away, I was raised by my grandmother. My sister, my cousins, my friends, the community of disabled women—women have made me wholly who I am. From my mother, I learned to be soft and kind. From my grandmother, I learned to be strong and full of fire. Womanhood is who I am.

Q: What inspired you to become a model?

A: My childhood self inspired me to become a model. Growing up I didn’t see disabled women in films, shows, magazines, or advertisements. I didn’t feel like my body was being celebrated or represented anywhere. My childhood self, who longed to see someone who looked like her, is what drives me to model today. I don’t want anyone else to grow up feeling like their body isn’t important or worthy of being on runways and in magazines and most importantly, worthy of self-love. I want disabled women to feel beautiful and powerful in their bodies.

Q: What is unique about you?

A: I truly believe my softness is powerful. I believe my disability is powerful. I believe all the things I felt insecure about growing up are powerful. My disabled body is incredibly unique, and I love it.

Gess Pugh, model for 2.5 years, BTWN MGMT

Q: Have you seen any changes in representation on the runway and in magazines over the past 5 years?

A: Yes, there definitely has been a slow shift in diversity over the past few years. It’s been refreshing to see the industry embrace communities that have been othered for so long (i.e., plus size, LGBT+, disabled, BIPOC, etc.) in fashion and beauty spaces. Five years ago, we wouldn’t have imagined seeing a model over a size 2 on the runway, and now it’s becoming more commonplace to see size 12s and 14s, and even 16s, walking for major luxury brands. Magazines have followed suit as well; I think about the new British Vogue cover where they cast all Black models or the numerous covers that have been done with plus-size models and celebrities. It overjoys me because fashion truly should be for everybody and everybody.

Q: What brands do you admire and think are committed to diversity?

A: I’m a big fan of Christian Siriano; from day one he has been committed to dressing women of all shapes and sizes, and it’s so refreshing to see that reflected on his runways. I also love brands like Chromat and Aune Collection, who have made inclusion a part of their company’s ethos since inception; it means a lot that they didn’t treat plus-size people and people of color as an afterthought.

Q: Do you see yourself represented in the fashion and beauty industries?

A: Sometimes! I think the industry is trying and we’ve made some strides, but there’s still a way to go. It’s great to see plus-size models and Black models being celebrated the way they are now, but it can feel performative. I’d love to get to a place where casting diverse models isn’t a big deal, it’s standard practice. The industry should reflect the real world, and the real world is made up of complex people with multiple identities and nuances.

Q: What does womanhood mean to you?

A: Womanhood means being an alchemist – just look at how we take the challenging cards we are dealt and transform them into a life full of magnificence and beauty. Women are the personification of grace, power, and resilience.

Q: What inspired you to become a model?

A: I was fed up with not seeing people who look like me, the everyday plus-size Black woman, represented in fashion and media. The little girl in me that believed I was ugly and unworthy because I didn’t have a thigh gap and long blonde hair, like the women on the cover of magazines, pushed me into this industry. I wanted to prove to her, and other women, that our beauty is not diminished because of our size or race.

Q: What is unique about you?

A: Most people would be surprised to know that I grew up in a small, rural town with military parents. I think that really gave me a unique perspective on the world because I was the only person who looked like me in school and my neighborhood. Truthfully, I hated feeling so different. That exclusion, in a way, fueled me to help create a world that’s more accepting and inclusive.

Tara Raani, model for 4 years, Kev Mamangement

Q: Have you seen any changes in representation on the runway and in magazines over the past 5 years?

A: There has been a lot of representation in models and on-runway. However, where I haven’t seen as much representation is in all the people behind the camera. I’ve been in runway shows where hairstylists and makeup artists didn’t know how to do black hair or how to put eyeliner on hooded eyes. In addition, the people behind the camera for a lot of these brands have full-time salaries, benefits, etc. But, the models in front of the camera only get paid for the day as gig workers. I think both in pay and to be supported onset, women of color need representation on both sides of the camera.

Q: What brands do you admire and think are committed to diversity?

A: Brands I like are Luar, No Sesso, and Collina Strada.

Q: Do you see yourself represented in the fashion and beauty industries?

A: I am a South Asian queer woman. I do see myself represented in the last few years, but maybe that’s just because I know all the South Asians in fashion, and we share our work with each other. I’m not sure most people in the general public could name a South Asian model.

Q: What does womanhood mean to you?

A: Womanhood to me is about creating the future. A big part of my writing is imagining a society built on care and spirit instead of profit and exploitation. Women have traditionally been caretakers of children, creators of children, always thinking ahead. I hope to use my womanhood to do that on another scale and create a world where we have abolished capitalism, gender, and racism.

Q: What inspired you to become a model? What is unique about you?

A: In addition to being a model, I’m also an actor. I was really drawn to modeling because I wanted to learn how to capture someone with a still image. I believe that the ability to command a still image makes my abilities to command moving images that much stronger.

Storm Dove, model for 2 1⁄2 years, Muse Model Management

Q: Have you seen any changes in representation on the runway and in magazines over the past 5 years?

A: I’ve seen some changes, but there is a long way to go when it comes to diversity and being much more inclusive to represent many different forms of colors, shades, tones, shapes, and heights.

Q: What brands do you admire and think are committed to diversity?

A: For one, Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty/Fenty, they have done a great job at making everyone feel represented and not forgotten or ignored. They are definitely committed to diversity in a way where people can see all of these diverse looks and see themselves in each show, campaign, and photo.

Q: Do you see yourself represented in the fashion and beauty industries?

A: Somewhat, but not very much. I feel that there should be a bigger collective of each kind of person. There should be no reason why if I’m at a shoot, or open a magazine, I only see one model/person with Vitiligo out of like 20 different models onset or the runway. Representation isn’t just putting one or two models that look “different” out of almost 30 models and thinking you’re “inclusive” or representing the people. There’s obviously more than just one or two people in the world with vitiligo or one or two people who may have different unique features in general from the “norm,” so it’s only truly being represented if we are all shown equally.

Q: What does womanhood mean to you?

A: Womanhood is growing into yourself and the growth we make every day mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Women are divine, we are caring, we are loving, and all of what we are is infinite. We represent beauty, strength, courage, confidence, and most importantly, resilience.

Q: What inspired you to become a model?

A: What inspired me to become a model was honestly showing people the beauty within differences. Also, representation as well and not only representation for people with vitiligo but anyone in general who might feel like who they are and what they look like isn’t beautiful because it’s “different” or not “normal.” Everyone’s beauty is uniquely made within their own image. It’s beautiful, it’s strong, and it’s unique, and this all starts with representation, which I try to show and give.

Q: What is unique about you?

A: What’s unique about me is my universal spirit, me feeling like no matter what someone’s ethnic background, race, age, or anything that society makes us feel like we’re divided in, I always feel connected to a person, and seeing people for who they truly are on a mental, spiritual basis. My love and care for people are infinite.

Xoai, model for 2 years, We Speak Model Management

Fashion Models of The Future by Virginia Kluiters Fashion Models of The Future by Virginia Kluiters Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine

Q: Have you seen any changes in representation on the runway and in magazines over the past 5 years?

A: For the past five years, I’ve noticed more people push for diversity in background, color, size, and gender in fashion and beauty. More and more brands are marketing themselves as genderless. This is the kind of meaningful change we need—where our society begins to change from the root. Genderless clothes should be the norm, not a gimmick or a token gesture to benefit from the spending power of the LGBTQ community. We need more of that diversity, not just in front of the camera, but also in rooms where decisions are made. Hire trans people as fashion and beauty executives. Shift the way people value trans people’s work.

Q: What brands do you admire and think are committed to diversity? Do you see yourself represented in the fashion and beauty industries?

A: Trans people have been at the vanguard of gender, of expanding ideas of gender, in the fashion and beauty industry. We have taken garments created without us in mind and adorned ourselves beautifully. Trans designers at No Sesso and Gogo Graham have been leading the way in showcasing the brilliance of our community. Fluid by Harris Reed, Collina Strada, Savage X Fenty, and Luar are other brands that are creating with marginalized people at the core of their purpose. I see myself represented by these artists, who are pushing the industry forward.

Q: What does womanhood mean to you?

A: Womanhood is not about one particular thing. There are as many definitions of womanhood as there are women on Earth. And that’s exactly what I love—we come from all kinds of experiences, and our differences make us collectively more beautiful.

Models Bri Scalesse @briscalesse from We Speak Model Management @wespeakmodels, Sequoia Douglas @i.am.sequoia, Storm Dove Fredrick @stormdove from Muse Model Management @musecurve, Xoai Pham @xoai.pham from We Speak Model Management @wespeakmodels, Tara Raani @tara.raani from Kev Mgmt @kev_mgmt, Coco Mitchell @cocomitchell3 from Wilhelmina Models @wilhelminamodels, and Gess Pugh @gessflyy from BTWN Management @thebtwn.

Photographer Virginia Kluiters @vkluitersphoto, wardrobe stylist Anna Katsanis @annakatsanis, wardrobe assistant Paulina Castro @paulinacastrostyle, hairstylist Allie J @everything_alliej, makeup artist Lindsay Kastuk @lindsaykastuk, set designer Sally Morris Clark @sallymorrisclark, videographer Maria Panina @mariapphoto, video editor Santiago Correndor-Vergara @pl0xi_the_arsonist, photo assistant Arianna Vetere @arivetere, retoucher Elena Misjuk @elenamisjuk_retoucher, fashion designer Christian Siriano @csiriano, jewelry designer Bonheur Jewelry @bonheur_jewelry, in Werk Studio @werk_studio and The Atrium @theatriumnyc, exclusive for Vanity Teen online!

Text edited by Adrian Gomis @adriange_

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