Modeling is a profession that epitomizes the axiom that many are called and few are chosen. Each year, hundreds of young women come to New York hoping to model. But, even of the dozens picked by Manhattan agencies, only a handful become stars. Here, from the Class of '03, some of the most likely to succeed -- wearing clothes they selected themselves.
NAME: VANESSA PERRON
HOMETOWN: CHICOUTIMI, CANADA
MODELING FOR: SEVEN MONTHS
Thanks to her high school teacher, who encouraged her to send her pictures to Next, Vanessa's career is well on its way. She has photo spreads upcoming in Numero, shot by Patrick Demarchelier; Italian Vanity Fair, shot by Pamela Hanson; Italian Vogue, shot by Paolo Roversi, and Amica, shot by Patrick Ibanes. When she did these WWD pictures, Vanessa had just flown in from Paris, where she appeared in her first two couture shows -- for Chanel and Givenchy. In the French capital, however, locals find her French-Canadian accent difficult to understand, and they often ask her to speak English.
Here, she wears Ruth's cotton and spandex top with silk trim.
HOMETOWN: HARSTAD, NORWAY
MODELING FOR: JUST OVER A MONTH
For the short time she has been in New York, Iselin has received a lot of attention. She's on hold to shoot with Miles Aldridge for Italian Vogue and for the Penny Black ad campaign with Terry Solis. Prada, Miu Miu, Calvin Klein, Jil Sander and Helmut Lang all have options on her to walk their runways for fall. Not bad after a little more than a month on the job. When she first started working, however, Iselin was afraid to wear high heels; they're uncomfortable, and she'd never walked in them before. That's something she'll just have to get used to.
Here, Iselin wears Mint's striped cashmere tube top and cotton overalls.
HOMETOWN: ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA
MODELING FOR: 10 MONTHS
STYLE: CASUAL CHIC
Though she hails from the country of Peter the Great, this young Russian actually grew up in the Garden State and worked as a dental hygienist. That all changed 10 months ago when she went to an open call at Elite, got a contract and tossed away her latex gloves in favor of something more delicate. Valerie has already worked with Patrick Demarchelier, Miles Aldridge and Ruven Afanador. She has appeared in i-D, German Vogue, Amica, Elle and Italian Glamour, and in ads for Custo Barcelona, Les Copains, La Perla Swim and Aldo.
Here, she chooses C. Ronson's striped cotton dress.
NAME: UJJWALA RAUT
HOMETOWN: MUMBAI, INDIA
MODELING FOR: OUTSIDE INDIA, JUST OVER A YEAR
STYLE: SEX KITTEN
Ujjwala Raut is the oldest and most experienced of the group. Her career first began to soar when Tom Ford cast her in his Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche shows for spring and fall 2003, and he went on to make her the face of Saint Laurent cosmetics. She has appeared on numerous other runways, too -- Emanuel Ungaro's, Missoni's, Roberto Cavalli's and Victoria's Secret's among them. Ujjwala has worked with photographers Patrick Demarchelier, Carter Smith, Robert Erdmann, Alex Cayley and Philippe Cometti and appeared in Allure, Italian and German Vogue and Italian Marie Claire. While she was shooting last week in Harlem for Surface magazine, she was wearing extensions. As she tossed her head for the camera, they flew off -- and the crowd went wild.
Here, Ujjwala in Lisli's crystal-studded wool jersey tank and Vince's nylon skirt.