But London proves difficult even for those who make it off the plane. Austria and Socrates McKinney, her Santo Domingo mother agent, have a hard time navigating their way to castings — even with a driver. (Now wise to the trap of agency debt, I can barely look at a driver without seeing dollar signs spinning like on a slot machine. That luxury must be costing the poor teen a fortune — far more than she could make back in a month of shows. And he's not even getting her to her castings.)
In one scene, Socrates makes Austria take over his call with IMG London and write down her own new casting information because, he says as she wearily takes the ball point, writing gives him headaches. Oh, mother agents! They all work so hard for their lifelong, exclusive, worldwide, multi-agency kickbacks.
Cato reconnects with the man who is possibly the world's most influential casting director, Russell Marsh, who determines the lineups for clients that include Prada and Miu Miu. (Cato got last season's much-sought show exclusives for those.) (Marsh was accused earlier this year of accepting bribes from both IMG and the agency Women to cast their girls in Prada: strangely enough, Model.Live doesn't mention this particular scuttlebutt.) Marsh likes Cato, London likes Cato, Cato walks ten shows.
Austria does three. Including one where a harried fast-talking show director insists on calling all the models by their runway order numbers — as in, Number 3, Number 4, get over here now — because "It's just the easiest way." Austria's sad, perfectly still face in the chair as the makeup and hair artists tug and turn her this way and that speaks volumes. She looks magisterial on the runway, though, so I can't help but suspect the girl is enjoying herself a little bit. At least that's what I hope.
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