When I found out that Kanye West was going to be casting people from off the street for a place in his upcoming Yeezy Season 3 presentation, I headed to the address as quickly as possible. I'm not a model, though, so it's not like I was really there thinking I would be chosen. But, as I got off the E train at 23rd street, I still felt like I had half a butterfly wing in my stomach. I was one of what had to be about 2,000 people “auditioning."
Right off the bat, it was easy to see that I was heading in the right direction. The entire block was painted with taller, thinner folks than me, all sporting very strong facial features. Still, the hordes couldn't quite guide me to the right spot. I almost walked into the Tommy Hilfiger show, which was right next door, but before I could make a complete fool of myself among the celebrities and influential fashion insiders, a girl with an iPad told me I was in the wrong place and pointed me down the street. I could tell from her attitude that I hadn’t been the first, and surely wouldn’t be the last, to try to walk in the wrong door.
The doorman at the building helped a herd of oddballs including myself to the 12th floor. In making it upstairs, all of my initial inclinations for this casting were confirmed. The line was absolutely crazy, snaking out into the hallway. I was “greeted” by a curly-haired girl carrying a minor stack of paper, and was instructed to fall into the guys' line. Both were so long and winding that it really just appeared as one big mass of people. Despite this initial confusion, I made my way to the back of the line and prepped for a Supreme camp-out-like wait.
Looking around, I was surrounded by beautiful female models with gorgeous faces and tight bodies, from every race, all-half dressed, with their best resting bitch face, laughing and giggling amongst themselves. It was clear that there was a fair representation from many of the better models from the better agencies in the city. Other notables in attendance were those in Kanye's braintrust, including Ian Connor and a few models from last season, like Luka Sabbat.
Considering the situation—possibly being picked to model for Season 3 and walking in Madison Square Garden, I didn’t feel too out of place. I saw a solid portion of guys who wouldn't be the first persons that’d come to mind when you imagine a male model. I even saw one of Ian's buddies run over to snap a pick of this long haired fellow in white paint-stained overalls on a separate camera. That felt like an unspoken cosign from the Kanye camp, so don't be surprised if you see bruh in season 3.
For once I didn't regret playing high school sports, as all the guys in attendance were required to take their shirts off. While I waited, I played on my phone, acting very fake busy, doing my best to channel the cool loner in the room who doesn't talk to anyone. It was clear that a lot of the models had known each other from past castings and shows. It seemed that they could tell who was real competition and who was a waste of space. Despite all the factions and cliques, I was unfazed and as photo time drew nearer, I felt my chances increasing little by little.
As couple hours passed and a few serious models left, quietly referring to other castings they didn’t want to miss. Despite its outrageous length, the line moved rather mechanically—something reminiscent of your school lunch line, except this time it was a bunch of shirtless bros in place of the booger eaters you remember and instead of students asking for lunch, you're basically a piece of meat. That butterfly wing managed to form the rest of its body the closer I got to the front of the line. Before I knew it, it was my time to step in front of the camera. I pretty much blacked out. As I stepped onto the taped "X" on the floor, the photographer asked me was I ready, to which I lied, responding with an oddly confident "yes." I wiped my chin and was shot immediately after having looked into the lens. Thanks a lot. The second photo I was actually prepared for, and took it like a champ. Two crazy bright camera flashes and we were done. It was over.
While I put my shirt and jacket back on and made my way to the exit, I looked back with a longing gaze at the others in line awaiting their time to shine.
Will I get a call back? Who knows? I could look at the odds and get all butthurt about it, but I’ll let what happens happen and just revel in the fact that for maybe one instant, Kanye West will know who I am.