Ashley Graham and Emma Grede Talk Transforming the Modeling Industry With Good American’s Immersive ‘Good Squad’ Casting Call

Good American held its seventh annual open model casting call in Los Angeles on Saturday. Those chosen as winners will become the new faces of the brand’s Good American #GoodSquad with the purpose of advocating for inclusivity within the fashion industry.

The model casting call was hosted by Emma Grede, Good American cofounder and chief executive officer. She was joined by an all-star panel of guests including supermodel Ashley Graham, stylist Karla Welch and CEO, investor, and lawyer Meena Harris. Ahead of the auditions, the group discussed personal purpose and career aspirations.

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(L-R): <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ashley Graham;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Ashley Graham</a>, Karla Welch, Emma Grede and Meena Harris.
(L-R): Ashley Graham, Karla Welch, Emma Grede and Meena Harris.

The Los Angeles casting call was the third in-person event the brand hosted this year (the fourth will be held via Zoom) following stops in New York and Nashville.

WWD spoke with Grede and Graham about Good American’s non-traditional approach to the casting process.

“The meaning of it has really changed for people,” Grede said, adding that applicants see it as more than just a job opportunity. “What’s happened is the popularity has always been there, but people have become very emotionally invested in the company because of the open casting.”

Graham reflected on her first experience at a casting. “It was so judgy. I haven’t gone to a casting in a long time, but you walk in with your portfolio… and I just remember it being like you felt, you felt shameful. And you felt very unwanted and undesired.”

Emma Grede and Ashley Graham. Courtesy of Good American.
Emma Grede and Ashley Graham. Courtesy of Good American.

Good American aims to change that approach. “We want the company to represent our customers,” Grede added. “And if you open [the casting] up, that’s what happens.”

The event was an immersive experience with activations that included confessional-style booths where participants could record video testimonials, selfie mirrors and walls emblazoned with affirmations. “This is just a breath of fresh air,” Graham said. “This is what a casting should be. It should be empowering and uplifting for every single person who leaves this building, whether they’re chosen or not. To know that they are so worthy of something that is so much bigger than what they have right now, and what they’re striving for, and that more hard work and ethics are going to get them even further.”

Good American was originally founded by Grede and Khloé Kardashian as a body-positive denim brand in 2016, with an inclusive size range of sizes 00-32. Since then, the brand has expanded its product offerings beyond denim and its physical presence with brick-and-mortar locations, pop-ups and collections at major retailers.

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