EXCLUSIVE: I Went To Kanye West's Yeezy Season 4 Casting Call, Here's What Happened
By Isha Thorpe
September 7, 2016
Sunday (Sept. 4) was a beautiful day. I woke up early, dressed in a simple sleeveless top and jeans, applied zero makeup and headed out the door. The night before, I read Kanye West’s tweet about wanting “Multiracial Women Only” for his Yeezy Season 4 casting call and decided that I would swing by the fun audition on my way to my sister’s place in Harlem.
The casting was from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. When I got there a little bit after 10:00 a.m., a former colleague of mines who I was meeting up with, radio/tv host and producer Georgette Pierre, was already there. It was less than an hour before the audition was about to begin and the line was already filled with hundreds of women. Luckily, Georgette was already in front of a huge amount of hopeful models, so it wasn’t too bad.
“So, I was like, it’s Kanye. Not to be funny. But, why not? Sky’s the limit and to have an opportunity like this in NYC in my backyard, it doesn’t cost anything to come to a casting call,” she told me about why she to decided to attend. “My guy friend was in the last show earlier this year [Yeezy Season 3] and I was inspired. And then literally talking to you about it, it kind of calmed my nerves. I was just like, ‘I’m gonna try this. I don’t have anything to lose.'”
As I was observing these women – and also being observed right back, since the minute I walk up to the line -- I noticed different heights, skin tones, hair textures, facial features and body shapes. Needless to say, I loved this! It was beautiful seeing all of the different varieties of women there. After all, multiracial women's appearances vary, contrary to belief.
Some of the ladies looked nervous, others looked excited. A few of them looked confused, while different women unfortunately looked a bit insecure when they saw more people walking in line. Emotions were just all over the place. I, for one, was EXTREMELY thrilled about all of this. Though it would’ve been cool if I would’ve been chosen to model some Yeezy Season 4, the real reason I was there was for the fun experience and to write about it later.
Truth be told, I actually modeled in my younger years and even interned in college for top fashion labels like Joseph Alturzarra, L’Wren Scott, Rag & Bone, Proenza Schouler, The Row, Maje, Dries Van Noten, just to name a few. That’s right, I corresponded with countless celebs’ publicists to supply them with outfits for fashion shoots and red carpet events, for the famous clients. From first lady Michelle Obama, to Halle Berry, Rihanna, Angelina Jolie, Beyoncé, Trey Songz, Chris Brown, Brad Pitt, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Lawrence, Sarah Jessica Parker, and way many more for me to remember; I gifted them all with high fashion clothes and accessories that they wore to strut their stuff for the cameras. I planned and worked some of these major labels' star-studded New York City Fashion Week shows, as well.
But, I eventually left the industry when I realized that I couldn't see myself in this field for the rest of my life (or another day) and music journalism was my true passion. So, when I saw the commotion about Ye’s casting call, I instantly wanted to just go and have some fun. Not to say that if I would’ve gotten chosen I wouldn’t have accepted because I would’ve. But, I definitely wasn’t looking for my “big break” like the other women I was in line with were, either.
So, as Georgette and I were inching (literally) closer to the door, the girl in front of us suddenly gave us a small note. It was a sweet letter with words of encouragement to everyone who was trying out. “Read and pass to the girl behind you,” it said. “You’re going to do great. You’re beautiful and you’re you! @sameraflowers Girl Power!”
Of course, I automatically go into “Aaaaawwwwwwww, this is sooooo ssswweeeetttttt” mode when I read this. As I looked at other girls behind me reading the note, some looked in awe, at first. But then, they all started looking more at ease and genuine smiles spread across each and every one of their faces.
Kim Kardashian would later retweet this letter with hearts, when the person who wrote it, tweeted it on her social media.
Not long afterward, a woman who was working at the casting warned us that there have been people not affiliated with Yeezy who’ve been asking women in line for their personal info. “Everyone, please be safe! There are no casting agents or anyone from casting going down the line to collect information. Do not give out your personal information to anyone asking! Thank you,” she shouted to us, with a smile.
Some more time goes by and we’re finally by the entrance. So now I’m looking on Instagram to see what’s actually going on inside of the building. And low and behold, I see video of Kanye West walking into the casting – he’s f*#&%$@ here!!!
When I asked Georgette what she thought she was going to see inside, she said, “I have no idea. I’m doing my best to stay open-minded and go with the flow and be present.”
She added, “Whatever you need to me to do Kanye, and his people, I will do.”
Learning that Ye was there automatically made me a billion times more ready to enter! The only thing I was hesitant about was my “clap back” to him, when he called out iHeartRadio a couple of weeks back. Oh snap, I hope he doesn’t recognize me from my Twitter profile picture!
Finally, after waiting over 2 hours in line – which wasn’t that bad and went by pretty quickly – I was finally inside. Someone working there recommended that we put our heels on now because we won’t have time to inside. That’s when I slipped into my super shiny, super fiery (SUPER EXPENSIVE) red Stuart Weizman pumps that I was gifted at previous college fashion internship (for free, might I add!). I’ve never even worn them up until this point because I’ve been afraid to mess them up. However, I felt like today was the day to bust them out of their box.
I walk into the room and instantly see flashing lights (see what I did there?) from cameras and I hear Biggie “Juicy” playing. Yo, this casting call is lit! On top of that, the entire room is all white everything with a couple of hot pink couch that stick out. Nice touch.
A woman sitting at a desk takes down my information and instructs me to stand back in line, afterward. I comply. As the line in here is moving, I’m looking over people’s shoulders to see if I would spot Ye anywhere. But, I don’t and figured that he was in another section – probably spying on us in some type of one-way glass or something.
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What I do see, though, is that this line is leading directly to the photographers. My photos are about to be taken! Another woman then directs me to another line and a guy takes my name once again, before I step in front of the camera.
“I was really siking myself up because if you really believe in the things that you want and you tell yourself that you can achieve, then you can have it,” Georgette said when I asked her how much being casted would mean to her. “So, I’ve been giving myself the excitement of ‘Ah, I got selected.’ But, I would really lose my s**t. But, I would be very humble about it because it’s not something that I thought I would ever do or even pursue…I work in TV production, I don’t consider myself a model.”
She continued: “I can appreciate him [Kanye] going unconventional, mixed with conventional in regards to his casting calls…Just know, if you see me on the screen, just know there’s a thousand thoughts running through my mind if I get selected with -- my straight face – in Kanye’s Yeezy season 4 collection, killing it.”
I remember the photog who was about to snap me telling another girl, “We just want to see how you look. This isn’t a fashion shoot.” And this was very true. The photographer instructed me to stand straight with my legs apart a bit and just look at the camera. After this full body shot, he took another pic of my side, and then two more head shots. And that was it! You better believe I did what Tyra Banks taught me and I smized like a pro, though.
Now some may say, “What? That’s it? I wouldn’t wait in line for 3 hours for a few seconds worth of pictures.” But, be quiet because I would and did, and I had fun doing so. I honestly had a blast. Unlike traditional casting calls – which I’ve also been to – there’s something about having a recording artist like Kanye West plan one that just seems way too good to miss out on, if you have to chance to attend.
It was also beautiful to see girls, who were all technically competing with each other for modeling spots in the show, all be kind to one another. These ladies were wishing each other good luck and cheering every one on who was vying for the same spots as they were. Unfortunately, this is rare to see many women do. Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m all for women sticking together instead of having jealously, greed and selfishness tear us a part. I’m so happy that I witnessed this unity in line with all of these ladies. These moments, aside from actually getting photographed, were priceless.
I’ll also add that all of the people who worked at Ye’s casting call were very cordial, as well. You never know how fashion heads are going to react, especially with “amateurs.” However, Kanye’s staff was very friendly to everyone I saw them assist, including myself. Shout out to them.
To be honestly, I wasn't ready to leave. The entire vibe in the room was incredibly cool. It was definitely the place to be on Sunday. Who knows, maybe I’ll attend another in the future, if I feel like it. We. Shall. See.
New York City Fall Fashion Week kicks off today (Sept. 7) with Kanye’s Yeezy Season 4 fashion show, streaming at 3: 00 p.m.
Holla me on Twitter at @IshaThorpe if you want to ask me more about the lit Yeezy casting call or learn more about the many other music-loving antics I always seem to be up to.
Photo: Getty Images