Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cassi van den Dungen takes one step back from her model dream


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.

They noted:

“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.


reality raver said...

Interesting blog post. If the agency did not send someone to Paris with Cassi it is at best a big mistake at worst borderline negligent.

If her character in real life is anything like she was shown on ANTM, she would be highly strung. And you don't need to be a member of mensa to know that the relationship with Brad is a toxic one for her career.

Anyway I hope she gets it together to get a good modelling career going. As I think when she is older she might regret the lost opportunities.

Andylicious said...

ITs just very sad...........comment about French people oh yeah so true....i think everyone who been there done that probably know why Cass complaints but well on her FACEBOOK ....people got fired over it i heard so big lesson for her to....feel Sad for her but at last she tried ! :)

Andylicious said...

SAD that all i can say....but she tried !!


Anonymous said...

Patty, I find your justification of racism quite pathetic. You seem to suggest it is quite OK to be racist towards the French on the basis that you have spent time in France and consider these slurs true. Would you apply the same standards to racist slurs against Asians? Are they acceptable if you have visited Asian countries and seem some evidence of racist stereotypes?

You then go on to say the French have been called much worse things. So, as long as someone else has been MORE racist, that makes it OK? That's a very bizarre justification.

Anonymous said...

The whole point of travelling is to experience other countries & cultures - we all are different, that's really the beauty of it. There is arrogance in every population, let's face it - I just hate the generalisations, along with the derogative remarks.

Shame the old boyfriend went with her - he's not likely to want her to succeed - or she'll be leaving him in the dust.

Amanda said...

I wish Brad Saul would just eff off and die already.

Imelda Matt - The Despotic Queen of Shoes said...

Don't be surprised if Cassi ends up with her own reality television show - the girl is a human headline!

A Colourful Guy Drowning said...

I think Cassi would be better off starting her own business or something - God, anything really - than going through all this drama, and dealing with all these backstabbers, just to be somebody's mannequin.

Alyx said...

'Frasian' (French person of Asian heritage), in the context Cassi used it is racist. Note that she's complaining about a 'Frasian' cabby's driving skills, a common racial stereotype. It's one of those words that can be racist or unproblematic depending on the context in which it's used, and in this case, I'd condemn it.
Slagging off the French in general however, isn't racist, it's insensitive and inadvisable, but it's no different from the other cultural cliches that are regularly bandied about. 'Arrogant frogs' is in line with 'Americans are fat', 'British girls are ugly' and 'Australia is an island of criminals'. There's a different history there, a history where the bloodshed and vilification is mutual, or non-existent, it's not a throwback to the racist horrors of imperialism.
All that being said, while Cassi's actions are condemnable, posting racially iffy and ill-considered slag-offs on Facebook is hardly extraordinary behavior from an Australian girl her age, and she should be taught that being racist is wrong by concerned and better-informed peers, not by the crushing, and often equally un-thought out cacophony of a bunch of internet critics.
Cassi as an amazing model, but she's hardly a compelling voice, and being the constant subject of online chatter probably isn't helping her grow as a person any. Perhaps until she grows up a little her agents should do their best to gently insure that she's seen and not heard.

Anonymous said...

It's hard for these girls. They are just kids playing in an adult world. Infact some of the shit that models have to endure is beyond what normal adults ever have to deal with . The cool and heartless rejection, the critical and oft flippant remarks. I hate with a passion the way people speak of models as commodities on web forum boards such as fashionspot. On top of all this there are weight pressures and 'image' pressures too.

The stresses and pressures these young girls are put under are really hard core, I see it first hand and it can be quite scary.

Anonymous said...

WHat's worse is this young girl will have to live with this for the rest of her life while her comments are forever motalised on google. And no matter what someone says - especially a young person, they deserve the right to change. You can read something was said 10 years ago on google and think it was said 10 minutes ago. Google can really be your worst PR eternal nightmare. I think, or maybe just hope, there will come a day for this reason that people will use facebook and twitter less and less. There's really only so much information you should ever divulge about your self to the world and once your in the habbit of, and are comfortable about posting random stream - you're royally fucked.

Eliah said...

How does one cross check these "leaked" facebook status updates, to ensure they're the real deal?

Who's to say one of those smarmy ANTM contestants didn't make them up, post them to the forum and sit back and watch the fireworks?

DARIAN ZAM said...

'Australia is an island of criminals'.

It IS! FASHION criminals, and boganistas.

Seriously, everyone's missing a big point. She may have been dumb to air her dirty laundry on Facebook, but your account is private unless you add someone, obviously. I'd love to know which evil "frenemy" with access she's granted, cut and pasted her personal business for the world to see. I bet Patty has some ideas on that one...

Patty Huntington said...

indeed DZ.

eliah - i first checked the FB issue with the agent last saturday (27th). at no stage has there been any denial that these were her genuine FB comments.

Alyx said...

I know for a fact that Cassi accepts most friend requests she gets, so it could well have been an opportunistic stranger.

DARIAN ZAM said...

I'm going to start my reply to anyone who speaks to me for the next week "I know for a fact...". I am getting a little bored of the whole Jennifer Jones in Beat the Devil "In point of fact.." thing.

Jayden said...

To Cassi's credit,Parisians can be incredibly rude. I know through my own experiences with them quite recently. Even French countryfolk can be quite scathing towards their stuck-up Parisian counterparts.

So I can somewhat understand where Cassi is coming from. It's her first big international trip, and you definitely won't find the friendliest people in Paris, especially during Fashion Week.

She could've handled her dilemma in a more mature manner, of course, but we've all known she has major "issues" by now. Is any of this really that surprising?

DARIAN ZAM said...

Cassi has apparently confirmed that she did indeed write the items that were quoted on various sites as being from her Facebook. From Ros Reines' story in today's Sunday Telegraph:

"Bloggers were shocked at her outburst. So, why did she write it?

"I was having a really bad day and I shouldn't have taken that out on Facebook - I regret that," she told The Sunday Telegraph.

"Before I left, I thanked IMG for everything they did and I really appreciated everything. I shouldn't have said what I said; it was a stuff-up."

Her long-suffering Sydney agent, Helena Vitolins, of Work Agency, said she just "wasn't emotionally ready for Paris". Clearly, she's not prepared for other cultures."

So there we have it.

Sophia said...

So typical really. I don't understand why she keeps trying to 'make it' if she destroys every opportunity handed over to her.

Patty Huntington said...

DZ -

i checked the story with the agent last saturday (27th). there was no question she didn't write the comments.

a good lesson, i trust, to van den dungen that she is a public figure and as such, everything she says and does is going to be scrutinised and potentially used against her by enemies etc... also a reminder that when someone who is working with your best interests in mind and who is on your team (ie your agent) provides advice, that perhaps it's a good idea to take advantage of that knowledge and experience. the original plan was to send a work agency booker with her. somehow those plans fell by the wayside. in the event van den dungen and/or her bf demanded to go to paris alone, there's not much the agent could have done.

the news ltd papers yesterday had a field day on this and i see today the daily telegraph is trying to play catch up with claims from another former ANTM contestant that van den dungen called her a "fat transvestite" on facebook. many people say dumb shit on FB. including charlotte dawson and alex perry and they certainly can't claim immaturity as an excuse. naomi campbell is better known these days for her anger management issues than she is for her modelling. kate moss made global headlines over cocaine.

they all have the advantage of established careers behind them.

DARIAN ZAM said...

I wasn't questioning you, merely pointing out that another article that was published, directly quoting Cassi herself giving an explanation.

It was Eliah, who questioned it - or not so much that, just made a point that had already been covered.

Anonymous said...

It's just so frustrating. She could have everything so many people dream about if she just decided she wanted it. Lucky girl. I hope she takes a breath, goes for it, and totally smashes the fashion world.

Anonymous said...

I found this article. Apparently Cassi has been doing some loreal Fashion shows in Melbourne. The article was written around the 17 march and states Cassi has put the incidents behind her and that she had pleased casting director's here in melbourne and was put into 5 shows.

Anonymous said...

interesting that the original comment left was by someone called -sassy- : and speculation that it was a former ANTM contestant.

sassy is the name, on the vogue forum, of adele.


DARIAN ZAM said...

wow, the plot thins

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