Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, & More On Being A Model

Photo: Courtesy of LOVE Magazine.
Let's throw it back to the '90s for a second — the thrilling days of yesteryear (pre-Instagram), when street style was in its infancy and models were scouted not for who they already were but who they had the potential to be. It was summertime in the industry and the living was easy. Models were more likely to be discovered in shopping malls than via willful submissions. And it's how we were blessed with the defining eras that set precedence for editorials and runway etiquette today.
But, it's easy to see why there's no better time than the present to be a model — and that's why LOVE magazine, the Katie Grand-led biannual publication that often ignites the careers of hopefuls, is holding a model search: The #LOVEME20 competition celebrates 10 years of the magazine and is looking for its next cover star.
In terms of how models are discovered today, the entry rules are pretty standard: post your best Instagram shots, accompanied by the hashtag #LOVEME20, supported by 20 words about yourself and why you deserve to be chosen. The competition is open to women aged between 18 and 23 (sorry, guys) and 20 finalists will be selected to be photographed in New York next month. Sure beats schlepping to the Mall of America in the back of your parent's Buick Roadmaster and standing in day-long lines, doesn't it?
As for what exactly they're looking for, Richard Habberley of DNA Model Management puts it eloquently: "The best models to me are a dichotomy — they are both unique and untouchable, but relatable, all at the same time; totally now, but a shimmer of the past, and a glimpse of the future; the chimera that lives next door to you." But, to keep it real, several of the industry's top models — all of whom are judges in the search — provided Refinery29 with their exclusive take on what the competition means and what a model, today, should stand for. Thanks to the industry's ever-evolving perspective on just what the career of a model looks like, any preconceived notions of said vocation being short-lived, not worth the money, and only for the young and beautiful (and white) are long gone. And the working environment for models is improving by the day.
Ahead, let former LOVE cover stars like Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, and more give you the rundown on #LOVEME20 and what they're looking for in the next, well, them. Oh, and we almost forgot: The lines close on Sunday, April 15 at midnight. Now strike a pose.
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"Being a model today means being part of the ongoing conversations about beauty, inclusion, and empowerment. Models are expected to use their voices and social media to bring awareness to causes they’re passionate about. I’ll be looking for someone with passion who loves modeling and is not in it to be famous. I love models that are new to the game because they move differently — they’re uninhibited. I love individuality and a nonconformist. The person who has it naturally and instinctually will be the one I’ll be focusing on."
- Linda Evangelista
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"The role of a model is changing because now models have a voice. Now, fashion isn’t just about selling clothes or creating beautiful images, it’s about the story. I like to see models share their stories, advocate for others, and bring a new perspective to the table.

"As a young model just entering the industry, I think I can see more clearly and understand the perspective and experiences of aspiring models. I’ve only been modeling for a couple months now, and I’ve gotten [to] where I am today because I have always valued authenticity. I have always spoken my truth, and have always had the drive to advocate for others — and because of that experience, I can see that potential in other young models."
- Ariel Nicholson
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"To be alongside women who aim for the top level in their careers and are creating their own vision of beauty is incredibly exciting, and I look forward to finding a complete representation of how diverse beauty is in 2018."
- Adwoa Aboah
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"A model’s success depends on more than just beauty; personality, professional and life experiences, and [a] drive to succeed are all equally important. The best models understand they are part of a creative process and it’s our job to bring the story and vision to life."
- Naomi Campbell