Interview

Ashley Brokaw

Fashion’s Leading Casting Director Defining Today’s Beauty

Ashley Brokaw, once the visionary working alongside Bruce Weber, is the leading casting director behind campaigns and runways for numerous elite clients including Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, and Prada.

What inspired you to enter the world of fashion?

I have always loved fashion. At the age of sixteen, I interned for Seventeen Magazine! I love the fantasy and escapism of fashion. Magazines show a world that is so perfect and polished.

What are you currently working on?

Currently, I am working on Raf Simon’s second show for Calvin Klein. At the same time, I am preparing for the JW Anderson show in London, the Prada show in Milan, the Louis Vuitton and Loewe shows in Paris and Natacha Ramsay-Levi’s debut show for Chloe! It’s quite a busy time for me but exciting and full of high energy.

How do you balance your hectic travel schedule with home life?

Balance is a unicorn.

This is really a tough one. I don’t think there is such thing as “balance.” I have on my Instagram title caption: “Balance is a unicorn.” I do my best to keep everything afloat. Sometimes I need to pull back from work because my family needs me and sometimes I need to focus on my work and my husband and children give me the space to do that. None of what I have accomplished would be possible without the support of my husband. We manage to stay connected through Facetime and calls! I plan special trips for them often so they can meet me when I am traveling. They came to Paris this summer, and it was fun to share what I do.

Let’s talk beauty. You are known for your “eye” finding the next “look.” Please share with us this process and what you look for.

I think models these days are finding ways to highlight their own beauty and help them stand out. They are celebrating their differences.

I think the notion of beauty is really evolving and broadening. I see in fashion that we are really celebrating the differences and uniqueness of the models. I’ve seen that slowly happen in the last five years or so.

I really try and select someone that will make an impact on the runway or in print for the various brands I work for.

Rather than seeing a homogenous army of models, you now see more individuals and more characters that might broaden a brand’s appeal. I think models these days are finding ways to highlight their own beauty and help them stand out. They are celebrating their differences. I really try and select someone that will make an impact on the runway or in print for the various brands I work for. That can mean many different things.

What do you love most about your work?

I love the creativity of what I do and working with the best in the business. I have amazing clients who love to take risks and push the boundaries. That’s what makes my job exciting season after season.

What are your current personal favorite beauty products?

I prefer a natural look. I don’t wear makeup so a great moisturizer is important. When I am in Paris, Farnaz, assistant to Joëlle Ciocco, creates a special moisturizer for me. I also love hair products and my favorite shampoo and conditioner are from the Christophe Robin Baby Blonde line.

Who inspires you?

My husband and my closest friends inspire me.

What’s on your nightstand?

Melatonin, a sleep mask, water, and a good book.

Your favorite hotel?

My favorite hotel is the Viva Mayr Clinic in Austria. I also love the Greenwich Hotel in New York and its Shibui Spa which is fabulous.

A word of advice?

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Good health and love are what’s important in life. Sometimes I need that reminder when things get crazy with work. This always brings me back to earth.

Share a memorable moment in your career…

There have been so many moments! Working for Steven Meisel for six years was incredible. My first Prada show, the punk show for Balenciaga with Nicolas Ghesquiere, and the last Louis Vuitton show in Kyoto at the Miho Museum – these were all incredible. I have had many once in a lifetime experiences, and I’m so fortunate.

featured photography credit: Letty Schmiterlow; models: (left to right) Rianne Van Rompaey, Lineisy Montero

Katie von Strasser

Katie von Strasser is a former ballerina with a background in fashion and art. She is a devoted advocate for people with disabilities. Katie has a passion for travel and all things beautiful.
She resides in San Francisco with her family. (Photo by Darryl Nitke)

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