Cato Van Ee has had the best season of the three models IMG picked to follow for this series. The agency must have known it had a surefire smash hit in Cato; coming off high-profile exclusives for Prada and Miu Miu the previous season, plus a cover of L'Officiel, it would take spectacular bungling on the part of either agent or model for her to not have had a stellar season. What's been served up is a kind of very managed portrait of an emergent supermodel—what the head of the IMG development board, David Cunningham, terms "A confirmed new star on the market—but, you know, I say 'star' in small letters." Clip above, and full recap of what's new with the Dutch beauty after the jump.
This kind of peek at a girl-on-the-verge reminds me of nothing so much as novelist Jennifer Egan's wonderful 1996 New York Times Magazine cover story about the first European season of a certain 16-year-old from Omaha who went by James. James got shingles on her back from the stress. So because of this strange moment, we get to see Cato — who walked in 37 shows in four cities, and, yes, that is her in the brand new D&G cruise campaign—thinking out loud about her future in the business at a time when she is still sometimes uneasy at having to think of herself in the third person. And we get to see her parents expressing their reservations about her choices. Her mother calls her burgeoning career "bittersweet" since Cato's rarely home in the Netherlands these days. Her father seems disappointed that she is delaying university, saying, sternly, "You've gotta finish an education." On this week's episode, Cato is moved from the development board — the home of the young, the inexperienced, the rising stars who could go either way — to the main women's board, which is for those who have more or less arrived. Cato's reaction, in the full clip, when her agents sit her down for the news is unruffled: "I was thinking that at any moment it could happen," she says, evenly. She's not stupid; anyone with an inkling how this industry works would know it's time for a girl like Cato to graduate, though not in the way her dad would wish. 'Model.Live' must be taking off on a Cato-ish trajectory for IMG and Vogue. What was originally conceived as a one-off series with a 12-episode arc has somehow stretched the 4-week ready-to-wear season into 14 weekly episodes, with the last set to go live next Friday. I had been wondering if the success would lead IMG to develop the idea further — for instance, if there would be any follow-up with Madeline, Austria, and Cato when the Fall/Winter 09 shows roll around. But this episode ends with the revelation that there will be a second season. Maybe sometime soon Cato will take Caroline Trentini and Catherine McNeil's places over at Express.com. She was all over competitor H&M's online home earlier this fall. Earlier: Vogue's 'Model.Live': "I Feel Like My Confidence, More And More. This Is My Place." Vogue's 'Model.Live': "Shows Don't Even Pay. At All. Zero. Zip." Vogue's 'Model.Live': "Don't Change, Just Improve" Vogue's 'Model.Live': "Everybody's So Sorry, And They Love Me, But Everybody Wants Cato." Vogue's Model.Live: "Maybe The Clients Call You, Maybe They Don't. It's Just Like A Guy." Vogue's Model.Live: Crap Instructions From A Casting Agent Vogue's Model.Live Sets New Online Series Record For Time Taken To Jump The Shark Vogue's Model.Live: The New York Fashion week Hustle Begins Vogue's Model.Live: Models Are Strange, When You're An Agent Vogue's Model.Live: Castings Can Really Be A Grind Vogue's Model.Live: Don't Get Famous, And Other Gems Of Parental Wisdom Points For Effort: Vogue Reality Series About Modeling Surprisingly Realistic, A Little Boring Related: Model.Live Episode 13 [Vogue.tv]