The 50th Anniversary Issue of W is an all-out supermodel celebration featuring 17 cover stars ranging from the world’s most famous names to women who are well on their way to total fashion domination. See every cover model here and read Jenny Comita’s essay about the evolution of the beauty standards that define the industry here.
What is the biggest change you’ve seen in the modeling industry over the past 5 to 10 years?
First of all, social media. Half the time now, I do a photo shoot so I have something for my feed. It’s like having two full-time jobs. When you’re young, which most models are, it’s sort of precarious because you’re still figuring yourself out. If you’re working out who you are on a public platform, that can be a lot of pressure. But then, it’s also great because you can tell people who you are. You don’t need someone else.
Another thing is casting directors. That wasn’t a thing in my day. But when my daughter started modeling, the casting directors were so important. There were definitely places where I had to be like, “Kaia, I know a lot about this business, but I don’t know about casting directors.” That was new to me.
How has social media shaped the casting process?
For casting, it’s allowed these kinds of beauty and voices that weren’t what the fashion industry was using to break through. It brought them into the larger conversation about what is beautiful. Our eyes now are seeing that there is beauty everywhere. There are no rules anymore. We’re recognizing that humans come in all shapes and sizes, and we all want to be spoken to.
At 56, do you find that you have a different approach to modeling than you did when you were younger?
Being a model is, in some ways, like being an athlete. It’s a skill, and you get better at it. But, as with an athlete, your physical being changes. I’m aware that I don’t look the same as I did when I was 25, but I bring experience and confidence in front of the camera that I didn’t have then. And I still like what I do. I never thought I’d be working the way that I am at this stage.
Photographers Inez & Vinoodh have a spare, elegant style that transcends time. For this issue, the duo celebrated two legends—Iman and Cindy Crawford—as well as two newcomers with bright futures: Sora Choi and Loli Bahia.
Hair by James Pecis at Bryant Artists; makeup by Sam Visser for Dior Makeup at Forward Artists. Manicures by Bojir Hasanov for Deborah Lippmann. Cindy Crawford at CAA. Casting by Michelle Lee at Michelle Lee Casting.
Produced by VLM Productions; production manager: John Nadhazi; lighting director: Jodokus Driessen; photo assistants: Joe Hume, Fyodor Shiryaev; digital technician: Marc Kroop; retouching: Stereohorse; fashion assistants: Andrew Burling, Tyler VanVranken, Natalya Clarke; hair assistant: Aziza Rasulova; makeup assistant: Juan Jaar; manicure assistant: Jenny Salinas; tailor: Luis Cascante at Altered Agency