Casting Digest: New York’s Free-spirited Models

New York has always attracted colorful characters both as a storied city and a fashion capital. It’s no wonder its habitués includes a cast of models cut from a unique cloth, plucked from near and far. Though many call it home, we rounded up seven free-spirited models marching to the beat of their own drums in art, attitude and style–and making it look so good. Personality counts and they’ve got it in spades, so it’s no wonder each are inspiring industry-goers in their own way. Here’s a snapshot of the models you should be following as part of our new series: Casting Digest.

Photos by Barrett Sweger for


To those who know me, they know I love bowling and beer. I love art and poetry, I love rejoicing and celebrating the very simple things in life, I don’t need much to be content. I could be awed and inspired by an abandoned frisbee on the curb.

Fact check:
I’m from Lyon and London, my mother is Algerian and my dad is British, I am the only French person in both my families (technically), given I was born there. Grew up in Lyon, south of France and went back and forth to England, where I ended up living in my late teens up until this July. I now live in Greenpoint Brooklyn. [Before modeling] I did so many joe-jobs: Leafletting, pet-shop/dog groomer assistant, intern at a big music label, worked in pubs, you name it! Suffice to say I now have the value of a dollar. Word.

Follow her here @hayettmccarthy


Woman about town…
Currently I am alone in my room listening to lo-fi recordings I made with my best friend, Olivia, in my bedroom. It’s our new band project called, “Rose Stains”. It’s a two piece duo.

I love collecting wigs because I have so much fun getting into different characters and performing.

Sarah after dark?
After8PM: Out with friends, catching a concert or movie. 11PM: I could be out dancing or in my room making a short video. Depends on my mood. Some nights I feel like isolating myself and creating my own world in my room.1AM: Probably awake. I feel the most creative at night: Writing, k-holing on youtube, discovering music for hours, editing videos, watching films. Or I am out DJing. I tend to DJ 1 to 2 nights a week. I have a hard time making solid plans so I tend to be quite spontaneous. Since modeling is unpredictable it makes my personal life have to go with the flow.

Follow her here @sarah__abney


On her Mind? Off her Mind?
I’m normally obsessing and thinking about what to do next. I’m trying to let go a bit and just do what’s here right now. The past is gone and the future doesn’t exist so why am I worrying so much? There’s a lot of freedom in that for me.

I love hanging out with my close friends and getting to know them more and more. They continually inspire me and make me laugh. I love getting to play and make music with my band (Diet Choke). They are freaks in the best of ways and I love them a lot. I love getting to wake up with the power to chose how to spend my day. That’s pretty cool I think.

Follow her here @rubyaldridge


Personal style
I’d say my personal style is somewhere between Kim Possible in stealth mode and Tony Montana.

Slick after dark?
You can usually catch me hosting a very intimate soirée with my homies choppin’ knowledge.

Modeling misnomer
I’ve heard that I look like Willow Smith. I’m not salty about it, but why do we have to compare at all? Why can’t I look like Slick Woods?

Follow her here @slickwoods


Julia after dark?
I usually get sad when the sun goes down because the day is over and the adventures are done. But nighttime is also its own kind of day, and I love playing shows, going to shows, and DANCING.

Fact check:
I’m 20 years old, born and raised in New York City, baby. I play music all day and spend most of my time touring around the world in my band “Sunflower Bean“… I had my first kiss when I was in the eighth grade, by the East River. We snuck over the railing and dangled our legs over the water.

Follow her here @juliacumming


On her mind? Off her mind?
How to help people, how to positively impact our world, how to start my jewelry business in a sustainable way, how to deal with modeling and the uncertainty it comes with (which I’m actually starting to love–truly living in the moment!), what qualities I like in people, what qualities I dislike (and what that could be teaching me about how I can work on myself), what my life will bring, what time will bring for our species and planet, why the world still uses fossil fuels, why do we mass produce animals like they are a gear in a machine and take away their natural way of being, why more people don’t live from empathy,why people as a whole aren’t more kind to other “strangers”, why people can’t see that the way the government is set up now and how we are living is hurting us and our planet, how humans are even alive and what living is…what space is…just normal everyday stuff like that.

BE YOURSELF, all parts of yourself. Rock it. And show it. Not everyone will like it, but not everyone is going to like you anyway!

Follow her here @thejaywright


I love knitting sweaters, making clothes and tattooing people.

Fact check:
A 100% Ukranian from the Czech Republic. 23 years young. Even though working at McDonalds was my biggest dream, I’ve never worked there. I sent them my résumé though once and then never showed up for the meeting. I’ve worked at the art gallery in Paris for some time. Also worked at a tourist store in the center of Prague, sold a lot of magnets, but that was a very very long time ago. I also style, but that’s not exciting for anyone to read.

Follow her here @sasha_melnychuk

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