Are you ready for the next installment of the Cassi van den Dungen rollercoaster? Sadly this one ends with her 33,000 feet somewhere above Central Asia on a plane en route to Australia. Yes as frockwriter types, van den Dungen is winging her way back downunder, having failed to book a single show at Paris Fashion Week. No interest? Nothing could be further from the truth. Frockwriter can reveal that she was heading to Paris Fashion Week on option for an exclusive. Indeed a tremendously prestigious Paris Fashion Week exclusive which, if secured, would have undoubtedly launched her international career. She didn't get it. Even after three meetings with the design house and casting director. Now anyone who knows anything about the modelling business knows that this could have happened to any girl. There is however a little more to this back story, so buckle up.
Last month frockwriter reported that van den Dungen was heading to Paris Fashion Week for the shows, having been signed to what’s called the Paris “Development” board of the world’s biggest modelling agency, IMG.
IMG did not, however, broker the option.
That was already organised. All IMG had to do was manage van den Dungen once she landed in Paris – taking, of course, their percentage.
Work Agency made the decision to send van den Dungen for the entire week of shows after word of the exclusive started leaking back in Sydney – much to the surprise of the agency. It’s unclear who talked but frockwriter has her suspicions. The idea of sending van den Dungen for the week, one assumes, was that if she didn't get the exclusive, she might still get the opportunity to do other shows.
That was the theory anyhow. Things didn’t quite go to plan.
What happened after van den Dungen arrived in Paris is really between her and her agents. And it would have stayed that way had it not been for the extremely unfortunate fact that whatever did go down, she talked about it on Facebook.
It’s unclear when the following comments were made, but they were both posted on the RTV Games reality tv web forum on the 23rd February.
The anonymous poster – who some have suggested may be a former ANTM competitor of van den Dungen’s – could barely contain their excitement vis-a-vis the Facebook discovery.
“annnndddd CASSI DOES IT AGAIN!!
shes chucked a tantrum and is coming home from Paris.. her and her boyfriend have made posts saying how much they hated paris and they are coming home and couldnt stand the people and how IMG just isnt before.
so once again another wasted opportunity!
did anyone else guess this would happen?
so much for being mature and ready!!!!”
Before cutting and pasting the following comments, apparently directly from van den Dungen’s and Brad Saul’s Facebook accounts:
“Cassi Van Den Dungen: coming home tommorow all these people are ****ed in the head the agency is trying to run me not the other way round i should be the boss ahh well IMG isn't the agency for me yay i miss my dog10 hours ago · Comment ·LikeUnlike · View Feedback (3)Hide Feedback (3)
Cassi van den Dungen i'm not upset infact im quite happy i dont like these frog eaters and snail slurpes anyway
9 hours agoCassi van den Dungen ohhhh and the frasians (french asians) are idiots
9 hours agoBrad Saul and they cant drive this one frasian couldnt get out of a parking space and kept reversing in to the cars infront and behind him funny ****
Brad Saul is coming home tomorrow fukn french people are ****ed up and arrogant10 hours ago · Comment ·LikeUnlike · View Feedback (1)Hide Feedback (1)
Brad Saul and rude and perverts and they just stare at ya i swear to god im am going to lose it with one of them soooooon lol”
With extraordinary efficiency, the Facebook comments were then circulated to at least another three web forums, including high profile fashion forum The Fashion Spot.
Forum users apparently couldn’t get enough of the drama, with pages of new posts generated.
Some expressed their incredulity and disappointment at the news, from van den Dungen’s own beestung lips, that she was upping stumps and heading home a week before the Paris shows had even begun.
Many, however, slammed van den Dungen for making what they deemed to be highly offensive and “racist” comments and for screwing up, they claimed, yet another opportunity.
Some have also expressed their surprise that van den Dungen was accompanied on the trip by her boyfriend, as distinct from the Work Agency booker who was originally supposed to chaperone her.
Sydney's Work Agency has worked with van den Dungen for the past eight months with, it seems, not a single step out of place. In hindsight, it seems unfortunate that she wasn’t also accompanied to Paris by a chaperone from the agency with whom she had at least some semblance of a working relationship.
Frockwriter got wind of the drama on Thursday evening, but it wasn’t until Saturday that we managed to reach van den Dungen’s agent to confirm the story.
Anyone who checked the original Paris post would have seen several new comments about the Facebook incident and an update from me, confirming that she had not left Paris but was still attending appointments. Whatever drama had transpired earlier in the week appeared to have blown over. Not so the online commentary however. Sources indicate that IMG was pretty pissed off about it. Even so, van den Dungen subsequently popped up also on IMG's New York Development board - only to be removed several days later (she remains on the Paris board).
It’s this blog’s understanding that van den Dungen did not have her final meeting with the fashion house in question until Saturday or Sunday (ie February 27/28). After not getting the exclusive, IMG made the decision to send her back to Australia. We understand van den Dungen was “devastated”. She boarded a plane on Tuesday.
Couple of points here.
There are no doubt plenty of people who are thrilled with the news that van den Dungen failed to launch this week in Paris.
Indeed, many have expressed their hatred for her on the abovementioned forums. It’s been a fascinating read actually. Beyond cutting-and-pasting her private Facebook comments into other forums, moreover, some of those parties have also been busy little beavers trying to make sure the story gets wider play by emailing at least one newspaper reporter.
Frockwriter was planning to do an update once we definitively knew that van den Dungen was on the plane.
The irony of this latest Facebook drama won’t be lost on ANTM co-hosts Charlotte Dawson and Alex Perry, who of course slagged van den Dungen off on their own Facebook accounts late last year, only to find those comments similarly spread across the internet at breakneck speed.
Just on the “racism” aspect – on which van den Dungen already stands condemned - let’s put that up for discussion here.
Frockwriter was unfamiliar with the term “frasian” and when we did a quick net check, all we could find were references on the Urban Dictionary suggesting an equivalent to Eurasian or one newspaper story, referring to French/Asian fusion cuisine. If it's a racial slur, we're not familiar with it. Similarly, van den Dungen's enemies appear to be insinuating that by “snail slurpes” she may have meant snail “slopes”. These parties are not, presumably, the slightest bit interested in entertaining the possibility that it could have been an innocent misspelling of “slurpers”. Childish, yes. Racist? Not so sure about that.
As for van den Dungen airing her agency business with her Facebook mates, there is no question: massive mistake.
Why didn’t the agency make her available for other shows once the exclusive fell through? Good question. She was, after all, in Paris and there is some suggestion that other parties were interested in her, but she was listed as “unavailable”. Which of course she was up until last weekend.
Probably not the wisest political move to complain about the French in the same breath as you critique your Paris agency.
Suffice it to say however that frockwriter has not met many people who returned from spending time in France without complaining about French arrogance (including this writer, who lived in Paris for three years).
Indeed, books have been written about French arrogance. The French government commissioned a report into its own reputation for arrogance. And the French have been called much worse things than frog eaters and snail slurpers. Try "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" – a phrase originally coined by The Simpsons and which found its way to, among other places, page one of The New York Post.
As noted, lots of girls have been optioned for exclusives and failed to secure them. Not necessarily because they are the embodiment of the anti-christ.
Sometimes there’s just a better girl. This seems particularly true when agents blab to mainstream media outlets before shows. It happened to both New Zealand’s Olivia O’Driscoll and Australia’s Georgie Wass with the Prada show. Clients and casting agents appreciate discretion - not a media circus.