Weird History

The Complicated Story Of John Casablancas: The Man Who Created The Modern Modeling Industry

John Casablancas founded one of the world's best-known modeling agencies, Elite Model Management, in 1972. Five years later, he opened the New York branch of Elite Models and soon went global. Through Elite Models, Casablancas discovered models like Stephanie Seymour, Cindy Crawford, and Naomi Campbell, essentially inventing the concept of a "supermodel" in the process.

But, as is the case with many industries, modeling is associated with a dark underbelly. Within that context, Casablancas was part of establishing a culture that discriminated and exploited young girls and women beneath a facade of craft and glamour. In addition to his positive influence on modeling, there were numerous scandals involving John Casablancas, especially as his predatory relationships with his modeling talent became clear. As a middle-aged man spending most of his time around beautiful women, Casablancas acted the part of a degenerate behind the scenes while using his modeling agency as his glamorous playground. 

Casablancas passed in 2013. Quite telling is the fact that none of his high-profile former clients - the world's first supermodels - made statements or came to pay their respects.