Naomi Campbell's reality show, The Face, held open casting for its second season in New York City on Sunday morning. It was the middle of a heat wave, and by the time we arrived at Chelsea Studios, it was 11 a.m., an hour into the proceedings and the line extended past the end of the block. Outside, it was rowdy and restless, everyone was sweating and hot; the mood couldn't have been anymore different inside. In the waiting room, which represented the front of the queue, model hopefuls waited for their casting appointments, often with their mothers beside them, everyone sitting in absolute silence, their faces tense.
We were ushered into one of the studios to meet the wonderful Devyn Abdullah, last season's winner.
She was very friendly (she even remembered me from a luncheon I attended a few months ago, where she and her supermodel judge, Karolina Kurkova, conducted press interviews in honor of their season win) and stunningly modelesque, endlessly tall and with perfect skin.
The Bronx native attended the second season casting with her adorable daughter and daughter's father, who was on-hand to model a T-shirt he collaborated on with Devyn (above), through his custom clothing company, Amerikan Outkast.
Since winning The Face and a contract with Ulta Beauty, Devyn has signed on to be the brand ambassador at United Colors of Fashion, a non-profit which pairs underprivileged youth with mentors in the fashion industry (she's also gotten involved with the National Urban League, a civil rights group that's one of the oldest and largest community-based organizations in the United States).
She spoke at length about the conditions which led her to pursue a spot as a contestant on The Face — she was a single mom, on welfare, working three jobs. Like many other people that are dissatisfied with the circumstances of their lives, Devyn felt she deserved more. The Face was a way out, a path to a better life.
Meanwhile, downstairs in the casting line, hundreds of girls were hoping they would earn a spot on The Face, that the show could become the same kind of opportunity for them that it has been for Devyn. We approached a few girls to ask where they were from, how they ended up at the casting and what they were going to do if they needed to go to the bathroom.
All images and video shot by Zac