Photos of Meaghan deWarrenne-Waller and Elmer Olsen courtesy of CTV.
Yesterday, sleepy Fairview Mall was transformed into the site of the Canada’s Next Top Model casting (and to answer your first question, no, Jay Manuel wasn’t there). Hundreds of high-heeled and short-skirted girls (allegedly) aged eighteen to twenty-three nervously awaited their fate before a crush of onlookers and several skeevy guys vying for the best vantage points.
Casting hopefuls lined up as early as 3 a.m. in the parking lot. The process was quick and concise: Approach judge. State name, age and height. Walk. When we got there, one model wannabe was crumpled on the floor after an apparent walk-related ankle injury. As one observer put it, “If you can’t walk in heels…”
One girl carrying an enormous handbag looked up from her bored texting long enough to explain why she thought she should be selected: “My personality.” Sylvia, 22, didn’t seem too concerned with the possibility of rejection. “It only takes me half an hour to drive here, so I just figured why not?” she laughed. “I just did it for jokes.” We asked her what kind of personality she would have if she made it on the show. “Probably the girl who’s shy at first but once you get to know me I become this total psychopath.”
Girls who passed the first test were invited to a callback at the King Edward Hotel on Sunday. Pals Thalia and Heather, both 23, were both turned away for being “too voluptuous and sexy” and “too short and commercial,” respectively. “I’m 5’7″ and three-quarters but you have to be 5’8″,” the too-shrimpy one stated calmly. Krista, 21, also didn’t make it to the next level. “The judge just gave me some tips for next time, like don’t pluck my eyebrows or dye my hair.” She plans to listen to this advice and try again next year.
Photos by Amanda Factor/Torontoist.
Bigtime model scout Elmer Olsen was exhausted after standing on his feet for eight hours meeting girl after girl. “Canadian girls are so well-respected around the world,” he said. “Agents from Paris and Milan fly in here looking for models.” His gut instincts helped him handpick the girls who had the best personalities, photogenic faces, and tall bodies. “I was looking for girls who could model as a career and meet with clients. Some girls are beautiful but when you talk to them their personality falls flat.”
And what about those who got turned away but aren’t ready to give up on their dream? Olsen explains that some girls simply don’t have it, and rather than wasting their money pursuing modelling they should get involved in the industry as makeup artists or other related jobs. “Some people want to be doctors,” says Olsen. “But not everyone can be a doctor.”
Meaghan deWarrenne-Waller (pictured at top) and her mom flew in from Winnipeg just for the casting. It turns out their audition paid off: Meaghan made it to the next level. “I’ve never done modelling or acting before,” she beamed. “Well, except for drama class plays in high school.” Olsen gushed about her over the phone. “When you look at her and then you look at the other girls who were there, do you see a difference? If you do, then you’ve got the eye.”