Light eyes -- that is the only feature John Casablancas, head of the Elite Agency, would target as a physical attribute of a top model today. All of the finalists in his Look of the Year contest had light eyes, he said.
What separated the winner, Frederique Van de Wall, 17, from the others? "She has all those ingredients which are right, which were right last year and before that. The market may change in what they want in a model, but I don't change."
Van de Wall, he said, "is a classical beauty. She would have been a beauty 20 years ago, and will be 20 years from now." She's a "charmer" with a sense of humor, a sensational figure, sportive, feminine, sensual, "not flat, clothes rack." She is fit but not muscular, and is an excellent tennis player. "She plays like a man," he added, laughing.
Winners were chosen from 65,000 contestants worldwide, the final selection made by Paris designer Azzedine Alaia, Casablancas and four superstar models: Paulina Porizkova, Kim Alexis, Iman and Joan Severance.
"Light eyes are an asset for photography, particularly black and white photography. Black eyes are a black spot on pictures," Casablancas said. "Today, what really matters most is a pleasant frame, relatively good looks and a personality that reflects charm."
Casablancas doesn't expect any nude photos of his finalists to turn up later, as with Vanessa Williams, the former Miss America. But he thinks that "if a girl has done a nude shot for a test it won't destroy her career" -- although he hopes it will not happen. "These are all schoolgirls, young kids, who don't have that kind of past behind them. Most of these girls came to us without any pictures at all, nude or clothed." Later he said, "If they have made a mistake, we will have to live with it."