Pasha Harulia concedes that she entered the modeling industry very randomly, after being scouted on the Russian version of Facebook two years ago. “Now here I am!” she says with a laugh, pulling her vintage Britney Spears hoodie over her pageboy crop. “Britney is the goal for me—smiling all the time and funny, I want to be like her.” Born in Yevpatoriya, a small city near the Black Sea in Crimea, Harulia has been traveling the collections circuit, eager to see the world “and learn more about photography,” she says, making sure on this shoot to study Weir diligently and take lighting notes. Still, her ideal evening involves staying in (“usually in pajamas”) and cooking vegan with her girlfriend. Feeling the health benefits of her recent change in diet, she has made veganism something of a cause. “If I could change the world tomorrow, I’d want people to care more about what they eat,” she says. Her distinctive tomboy verve, integral to her personal style, first surfaced when she cut off all of her hair at age 11. “I was supermad at my mom for not letting me cut it. So I just made a ponytail and chopped it off.” If casting is the most disagreeable part of her job, the camaraderie among the models is, for Harulia, the highlight. She met her best friend in Japan on her first trip there two years ago. “It’s a really tight friendship, it’s cool,” she says, pulling on her father’s oversize patched jean jacket as she readies herself for another week of shows in Paris, her beloved vintage Polaroid camera in hand to document her “weird” adventures.
Pasha wears a Valentino dress; Buccellati necklace and earrings.
This shoot is 16-year-old Finn B’s first editorial. “It’s been a whirlwind, and I am still figuring things out,” says Finn, who began modeling this past summer, after being discovered (“more like surprised!”) outside his local Sainsbury’s convenience store in North London, where his family moved from Milford, Connecticut, in 2003. Still, modeling takes second place to his studies, and college plans are in motion; he’s hoping he will land at Glasgow School of Art or Central Saint Martins, to study sculpture or fashion design. Finn, whose delicate bone structure and platinum buzz cut convey subversive cool, loves the street-style influence on the runway at Balenciaga, noting that his own uniform of black chinos, T-shirts, and construction boots sourced from Uniqlo and Camden Market might best be described as “sort of posh skater boy.” Camden, a counterculture hub since the 1970s, is the epicenter of Finn’s social life. “We hang out, shop, go to music venues like KOKO and Electric Ballroom, where it’s mostly punk, some funk.” Neck Deep and Creeper are his favorite bands, but he concedes that nowadays “everyone likes a bit of everything.” Adwoa Aboah is a role model: “I think it’s really good that she’s bringing unfamiliar subjects forward, things that are taboo. I love Gurls Talk,” he says, referring to Aboah’s platform, where young women can discuss topics ranging from mental health to sex and empowerment. Positive individuality is another touchstone for Finn, who would like to get a third piercing, this time on his lip, and grow a fringe—while keeping the buzz cut, of course.
Finn wears a Fendi sweater and pants; Lanvin turtleneck.
Street casting in the digital age is, of course, borderless. And so it was that a direct message from the photographer Harley Weir left on Manami Kinoshita’s Instagram brought the 24-year-old from Tokyo to New York in January 2017. “Home is everywhere,” says Kinoshita, acknowledging that while she misses her “family and crew” and the Tokyo shopping experience (the vintage shops and arcades of Shibuya), “my boyfriend is in New York, so I feel I am hugging the city.” Nights in her new hometown revolve around “being drunk and happy,” and dancing with friends to bass and classic ’90s euphoric club anthems. With the notion of authenticity shaping the fashion industry, Kinoshita stands out for her petite (by modeling standards) five-foot-seven stature, with a punky haircut that has become her calling card. Currently, she is sporting tufty, fiery red spikes. “I like to change my hair color—red, bronze, and I was blue recently,” she says, drawing her baggy skater jeans to her chest in a physical embrace. “I dye it myself.” Her daring personal style has caught the attention of Demna Gvasalia, for whose Vetements shows she has walked. Her own style icon is her rockabilly father, who wears his hair swept up in a Regency-style pompadour and whose “style and music make him the coolest,” she says. She credits him with her fearlessness. “Now, I do what I want, and I can go extreme with my own style.”
Manami wears a Pam Hogg catsuit with collar and headpiece.
With her spindly figure and mane of white-blonde hair, 19-year-old Hunter Schafer projects an otherworldly air. Raised in North Carolina, she began modeling in her final semester of high school, and moved to Brooklyn last year, after signing with Elite. An illustrator and activist, she came out at 13 and transitioned at 14, relying on the Internet to help her “put a finger on my identity, and discover small queer publications and Instagram presences, like Tavi Gevinson and Laverne Cox.” Being in high school as a trans teen was not without its complications. “Going to dances was weird,” she says, “because dressing up is always very binary.” She started out making “comics exploring my trans-ness and my sexuality” that soon drew the attention of Rookie magazine, Teen Vogue, and, eventually, her current agent. After modeling full-time for seven months and interning for the up-and-coming New York label Vaquera, she has her sights set on a degree in fashion design at Central Saint Martins, in London, where she’s moving this fall. “The influx of trans models is interesting, but, like myself, most of them pass as cisgender, meaning that someone on the street isn’t going to look at us and assume we’re trans,” says Schafer, who longs for a broader awareness. The Women’s March, she points out, “was applicable to the higher end of the privilege spectrum: white, cis, heterosexual women. But when it comes to Black Lives Matter or a trans intersection of that sort of feminism, people are not there in the same way.”
Hunter wears a Jonko/Liam Johnson dress; Falke socks.
“I don’t want to politicize aspects of my identity,” says the 22-year-old New Yorker Massima Desire, who, despite making bold strides on the Marc Jacobs runway this season, is still finding her way in the fashion world. Like many of her generation, she is socially and politically engaged, crediting the trans model and activist Munroe Bergdorf with giving her words to live by: “Stick up for yourself, and do not get into any bullshit. If you are true to yourself and put yourself out there, no one can stand in your way.” Desire has a background in dance—the mesmerizing work of the German chorographer Pina Bausch is a constant source of inspiration—and she cites the physical extremes of butoh dance with enabling her to “first understand myself, understand my body, and find self-love.” No matter their age, “I think everyone is trying to find themselves,” she says, observing that movements like Time’s Up and #MeToo have exposed the dangers of outdated power structures. “It’s as if the veil has been lifted,” she says. “Yes, discussions around sexual harassment and violence have been gendercentric, but they can only help long-term. We need to redefine what community means.”
Massima wears a Gucci dress.
Ariel Nicholson may have had Disney’s Little Mermaid in mind when she chose her own first name at the age of 10, but these days the 17-year-old New Jersey native favors her “insightful and magical” Shakespearean namesake, whom she played in a school production of The Tempest. Appropriately, Ariel is the spirit who is freed in the final act. Nicholson, who is six feet tall, with wavy Pre-Raphaelite locks, has already appeared on the runways of Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs, fitting modeling in between her studies at a Waldorf school in Chestnut Ridge, New York. “I love school, actually,” she says buoyantly. “It’s very artsy and really inclusive. I’m transgender, so I needed to be somewhere open and accepting.” Even the faculty, she points out, had special training to make her feel at home in the community. She recalls that as soon as she could speak, she was insistent that she was “more than a feminine boy or a boy who liked feminine things.” Her mother, Kerry, whom she calls her number-one supporter, managed to find the Ackerman Institute for the Family’s Gender & Family Project, in New York, which has services like a playgroup for trans kids and youth, which Ariel attended starting at age 8. There she learned to become outspoken and confident. Even when she was “outed” in the locker room at her previous school, she recalls, she managed to handle a really rough experience positively, “with girls asking me questions. It blossomed into something great, because after that I didn’t have to hide anymore.” Nicholson now volunteers at Gender & Family Project and is convinced that speaking out is key. She references an extensive list of heroes, including Gloria Steinem, Audre Lorde, Angela Davis, and the trans woman trailblazer Marsha P. Johnson. “My mom did her research. She’s been incredible in helping me in my transition, and now with modeling.”
Ariel wears a Bottega Veneta slip (sold with dress, not shown). Beauty note: Ride the wave with Kérastase Aura Botanica Eau de Vagues texture mist.
Hunter wears a Coach 1941 dress; Marc Jacobs neckpiece; Simone Rocha socks. Ariel wears a Coach 1941 dress; Cartier earrings; Marc Jacobs neckpiece and shoes; Pantherella socks.
Massima wears a Michael Kors Collection T-shirt and trousers; Missoni turtleneck; vintage belt from Modes and More, London.
Finn wears an Hermès coat and sweater; Fendi pants. Hunter wears a Marc Jacobs dress; Stephen Jones for Marc Jacobs hat.
Pasha wears a Louis Vuitton sweater and trousers.
Ariel wears a Matty Bovan jacket; Stephen Jones for Matty Bovan headpiece; Chopard necklace.
Massima wears a Burberry top; Wolford bodysuit; Chanel hat.