Powerhouse casting directors Barbara Nicoli and Leila Ananna collaborate frequently with renowned stylists and top brands to select models for fashion editorials, advertising campaigns, and runway shows. The two have regularly cast the catwalk models for Burberry, Gucci, Versace, Saint Laurent Paris, and Armani Privé. Besides the international luxury brands, Nicoli and Ananna are also responsible for choosing models to front high street and contemporary brands’ advertising campaigns such as British boutique Jaeger, as well as editorials for VogueNippon, Vogue Russia, i-D, and Flair magazine.
Introduced to the industry when she worked as a dresser at university, Nicoli began to freelance for production companies in Milan, whose owner directed runway shows for high-end Milanese brands at the time, like Valentino and Salvatore Ferragamo. She began memorising the faces of the models she saw, and eventually became an assistant to the casting director.
The two have incited controversy before for their views on the lack of racial diversity on the runways. “We think we need to keep in mind that these are shows. A show needs to make you dream, and it doesn’t necessarily need to represent reality,” Ananna told Buzzfeed, prompting many people to take to their blogs and internet forums to question the racial composition of the ‘dream’ that fashion shows intend to convey.