From #LoveMe17 issue 17 S/S 2017: Arianna Singh-Hicks by Kendall Jenner, styled by Panos Yiapanis (8 covers)

From #LoveMe17 issue 17 S/S 2017: Destiny Anderson by Kendall Jenner, styled by Panos Yiapanis (8 covers)

From #LoveMe17 issue 17 S/S 2017: Joyjah Joy by Kendall Jenner, styled by Panos Yiapanis (8 covers)

From #LoveMe17 issue 17 S/S 2017: Mia Autumn Grace by Kendall Jenner, styled by Panos Yiapanis (8 covers)

From #LoveMe17 issue 17 S/S 2017: Belle Smith by Kendall Jenner, styled by Panos Yiapanis (8 covers)

From issue 19 S/S 2018: Naomi Campbell by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, styled by Katie Grand (5 covers)

From issue 18 A/W 2017: Nicole Kidman by Carin Backoff, styled by Sally Lyndley (7 covers)

From issue 16 A/W 2016: Margot Robbie by Willy Vanderperre, styled by Katie Grand (2 covers)

From issue 15 S/S 2016: Lily Rose Depp by Willy Vanderperre, styled by Panos Yiapanis

From issue 14 A/W 2015: Kate Moss by David Sims, styled by Katie Grand (7 covers)

From issue 14 A/W 2015: Alicia Vikander by David Sims, styled by Katie Grand (7 covers)

From issue 13 S/S 2015: Kendall Jenner and Cara Delevingne by Sølve Sundsbø, styled by Katie Grand (2 covers)

From issue 12 A/W 2014: Cara Delevingne by Liz Collins, styled by Phoebe Arnold (5 covers)

From issue 11 S/S 2014: Miley Cyrus by David Sims, styled by Katie Grand

From issue 10 A/W 2013: Edie Campbell by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, styled by Katie Grand (4 covers)

From issue 9 S/S 2013: Cara Delevingne by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, styled by Katie Grand (2 covers)

From issue 8 A/W 12: Jessica Brown Findlay by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, styled by Katie Grand (3 covers)

From issue 7 S/S 2012: Linda Evangelista by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, styled by Katie Grand

From issue 6 A/W 2011: Nyasha Matonhodze by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, styled by Panos Yiapanis (8 covers)

From issue 6 A/W 2011: Lara Stone by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, styled by Panos Yiapanis (8 covers)

From issue 5 S/S 2011: Lea T by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, styled by Katie Grand (3 covers, plus back cover)

From issue 4 A/W 2010, Sienna Miller by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, styled by Katie Grand (8 covers)

From issue 3 S/S 2010: Daria Werbowy by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, styled by Katie Grand (8 covers)

From issue 2 A/W 2009: Alex Hartley by David Sims, styled by Katie Grand (2 covers)

From issue 1 S/S 2009: Beth Ditto by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, styled by Katie Grand

LOVE is looking for its next cover star: Anita Bitton explains #LOVEME20

All those hundreds of selfies may finally pay off–Katie Grand is scouring social media’s most photogenic faces and offering a shot at modeldom’s big leagues. The announcement of Love Magazine’s #LOVEME20 marks their 2nd model search foray. Women aged between 18 and 23 are encouraged to post an image of themselves on Instagram with the # identifier. From there, 20 finalists will be selected and photographed. They’ll be in rarefied fashion air, the judging panel includes not only LOVE’s editorial team, but Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, DNA Models, Anita Bitton, Adwoa Aboah, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Ariel Nicholson. Social media has proven to be a wellspring for potential-packed starpower thanks to its far, far reach, introducing to the fashion industry scores of otherwise-unknowns. For Love Magazine’s one winner the stakes include a contract with DNA Model Management and a Mert and Marcus photographed cover for the publication’s 10th anniversary issue–#20. Discovering models has moved past its more algebraic days, so calculating that x factor can be tricky. Now it’s more of an ever-changing recipe, one that is seasoned to taste. That said, panelist Anita Bitton on the reg lends her discerning palate to the likes of Grand, Miu Miu, Marc Jacobs (and a bunch more) as casting director and founder of Establishment NY. Bitton talked to Models.com on discovering models in modern times and #LOVEME20.

Images courtesy of Love Magazine

With #LOVEME20 what are you looking for specifically? What about the panel collectively?
As with any casting, I am always looking to challenge the traditional concept of beauty, present a new idea, and an alternative vision. Collectively the panel is represented by some outstanding women, all with amazing platforms and voices, and all approaching this from their point of view. I cannot speak for them individually, but based on their accomplishments to date, I would say that collectively, we are looking to push the boundaries, challenge the status quo, and promote a sustainable and healthy vision for Love Magazine and DNA models that is inclusive, and thought provoking.

How did you get involved, in what ways do you work with Katie across the board?

I feel extremely honored to be listed among the group of my industry heroes, and personal favorites. We have been fortunate enough to have collaborated with Love Magazine since September 2013 and have worked work very closely with Katie Grand since that time. We have been able to tap into a mutual rhythm, and an understanding, that enables us to explore and constantly introduce and develop new faces, talent and ideas into the model and fashion space. Katie is a fast thinking, high functioning creative, who moves at a very fast pace, and has a photographic memory. To assist in this process, we have been able to research, file and manage these requests and requirements. There is no down time. We are constantly challenged to think outside of the box, and approach every project with a fresh set of eyes. There is no room for mediocrity. Katie is a visionary, she’s involved in any and all of the creative decisions, and is constantly pushing the boundaries. To be able to work alongside, and assist in this process is, and has been invaluable.

How have the traditional parameters changed for what makes a wanted model over the course of a few years? Has there been a dramatic shift?
As with any and all occupations, being a model is a job. It’s a job in entertainment, and to sustain a healthy and long career, you need to bring your own set of skills to the table. You need to build and sustain relationships. Build on and develop your body of work. The preparation is everything from personal expression, nutrition, skills (dancing, music). It’s like being a professional athlete, and all of the areas need to be touched upon, in order to come together, and produce a sustainable and healthy career. I think the change has been in the access and availability. The fashion industry was once a VIP arena, and the number of girls was exponentially less. I think now the playing field is larger, the opportunities appear easier to come by, but harder to sustain.

Does Instagram take any of the fun out of searching? Or does it make it more exciting?
Instagram has made access to individuals, exciting and fun. Fashion is about selling an image and an idea. These girls are able to present themselves, in the way that is most comfortable to them. There are less restrictions on height, race, size, and a lot more collateral in overall appeal.

With that, is fashion still influencing beauty standards, or has social media begun to influence fashion’s standard of what is beautiful and it is now the reactor?
Fashion is still influencing beauty standards. Social media has improved fashion’s international reach, and the cosmetics companies are responding accordingly. I don’t see this as a reaction, but as a response to a global economy that now demands greater inclusivity.

Doing what you do, do you still get surprised by a great find?
I am always excited at the prospect of finding and helping attribute to or redefine what is beautiful. Providing any one individual with this opportunity is a gift. On our panel we have some of the most iconic beauties in the world, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Adwoa Aboah and Ariel Nicholson. All were at one point discovered, and all contribute largely to the international landscape in many ways, and on many different platforms.

How do you think this process of #modelsearch compares to say a more traditional pageant-style model contest that is tiered from local to international?
I think they are two very different approaches. The traditional pageant is a very controlled, reliable and managed environment. With #LOVEME20, like many successful campaigns we’ve done in the past (#castmemarc), there is a greater tendency to be wild cards, and represent pockets of the world who challenge our conventional ideas.

Since social image, personality and exceptional talents are now tied to a model’s chances of success; if a model isn’t the “whole package” can they still have a long-term career? Are those aforementioned factors absolute must-haves?
To succeed in any career, you have to have a vision of where you want to go, and how you’re going to get there. Without a mission it’s very hard to achieve your goals. As a model you are in charge of surpassing your own expectations, and molding a career, that is for you sustainable, and authentic. I think each career is a case by case study, and unlike the nineties, there are many different paths of achieving one’s goals.

Considering #LOVEME20 will introduce a brand new model, what keeps a model in the game?
Commitment, perseverance, authenticity, education, resilience, and determination.

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