John Casablancas


  1. Introduction
  2. John Casablancas and Institut Le Rosey
  3. Casablancas and Elyss Models
  4. John Casablancas and Elite Model Management
  5. John Casablancas and two dead models
  6. John Casablancas and Gérald Marie
  7. Casablancas, Trump, Elite Model Look (formerly Look of the Year)
  • Alain Kittler
  • Gérald Marie
  • Donald Trump
  • Ivanka Trump
  • Malenia Trump
  • Paolo Zampolli
  • Jeffrey Epstein
  • Naomi Campbell
  • David Copperfield
  • Stephanie Seymour
  • Institut Le Rosey
  • Adnan Khashoggi
  • Coca-Cola
  • Gunnar Larsson
  • Paula Brenken
  • Ingmari Lamy
  • Ann Schaufuss
  • Bebe Buel
  • Marie Anderson Boyd
  • Cindy Crawford
  • Lynn Kohlman
  • Paris Planning
  • Ricardo Samuel Goldstein
  • Ricardo Bellino

Family of:

  • Antònia Casablancas
  • Ferran Casablancas
  • Ferran Casablancas Planell
  • Silvia Casablancas
  • Marie Christine
  • Jeanette Christiansen
  • Aline Wermelinger
  • Julian Casablancas
  • John Casablancas Jr
  • Fernando Augusto
  • Nina Casablancas
  • Cécile Casablancas

Owner / Founder Of:

  • Elite Model Management
  • Elyss Models
  • Elite Look The Year
  • StarSystem model scouting

John Casablancas


John Casablancas was a US modeling agent, scout, founder of Elite Model Management, and a predator that preyed on young models. John Casablancas was born in New York in 1942 to Fernando Casablancas, a banker, and Antònia Casablancas, a former model, and is the grandson of Catalan textile machinery inventor Fernando Casablancas Planell. His family fled to the United States in 1930 after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. John Casablancas was the youngest of three siblings, Fernando Casablancas and Silvia Casablancas. John Casablancas died on July 20, 2013, in Rio de Janeiro, of cancer. [1]

John Casablancas and Institut Le Rosey

In the 1950s, John Casablancas attended the Institut Le Rosey. A Swiss boarding school for children of the international elite in business and royalty. It included the children of the royal families of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Greece, Yugoslavia. Some of the better-known alumni at Le Rosey are the Shah of Iran, Prince Rainier, the Duke of Kent, King Fouad II of Egypt, King Juan Carlos of Spain, King Albert II of Belgium, King Baudouin of Belgium, Nicholas Negroponte, Prince Albert of Monaco, and the Aga Khan IV. [2] In 1957, John's sister Silvia Casablancas was the 'official' girlfriend of Prince Karim, Aga Khan IV. [3] Le Rosey also included sheiks and the children of the Saudi Arabian arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, including his nephew Dodi Al-Fayed who was killed with Princess Diana.[4] In the 1990's John's son Julian Casablancas also attended.[5]

Casablancas was raped at the age of 15 by a 28-year-old woman and then passed around to others. In the documentary "Casablancas: The Man Who Loved Women," John Casablancas claims: "I lost my virginity at the age of 15 on a summer night in 1958, in Cannes, on the French Riviera." Casablancas claims he met a 28-year-old Danish woman named Désirée through a decadent playboy from Argentina named Albert. Days later, Casablancas and Désirée met in town and went for a swim at the Croisette where she raped him afterward. John goes on to claim he was passed around to her friends, "It was so exciting. It was my first lesson in love, and a fantastic lesson it was! I started meeting her friends. One was a beautiful German brunette called Margaret. We also started having an affair. She was very naughty and introduced me to more of her friends. I discovered a group of young, beautiful women looking for a rich lover or even a husband." John Casablancas also claimed other Le Rosey alumni lost their virginities to prostitutes: "Most of my friends had awful first experiences with hookers, or ugly girls, in awful places."[6] Another alumnus, the 14-year-old son of a Saudi Sheik, was raped weekly by a prostitute while attending Le Rosey. After the family instructed his bodyguard, a retired cop with the Lausanne vice squad, to teach him 'the facts of life.'[7]

Upon returning to the Institut Le Rosey, Casablancas claims to have fallen in love "very passionately" and "very regularly." When the school hired a young maid named Priska, age unknown, Casablancas had sexual relations with her, the circumstances unknown. The school sent a letter to John's father rescinding John's letters of recommendation. The letter allegedly read, "Dear Sir, Your son slept with the maid." "Your son has betrayed our trust. He has betrayed everyone here. We don't want to know him anymore. All letters of recommendation are immediately suspended." According to John Casablancas, his father told him, "You are disgusting. You're a horrible human being. You will never be able to talk about your time at Le Rosey. Your name doesn't exist there anymore." [8]

John Casablancas planned to attend Harvard or Yale, however, having his letters of recommendation destroyed left him without options. He attempted to join the US Marines. He went to the U.S. embassy in France took an admissions test. According to the man representing the military and the embassy, John Casablanca's results were so bad that he wouldn't even register him. He told Casablancas, "These results show you to be stupid, but in the medical sense of the word."

Casablancas and Elyss Models

In the early 1960s, John Casablancas attended several European universities but never graduated. At age 22, through a school friend from Le Rosey, John Casablancas obtained a job offer. He was hired as the promotion and sales manager for Coca-Cola in Brazil, despite having no background or experience. In 1965 John Casablancas married his long time girlfriend Marie-Christine, and they moved to Brazil from France. They had one child named Cécile Casablancas, who was born in 1969 in France. The marriage lasted 2 years and ended in 1970 on a trip from Brazil to France.

John Casablancas lived in a Paris hotel on rue d'Argout until 1967 with his roommate Gunnar Larsson, a photographer who is always surrounded by models. Through Gunnar Larsson. John Casablancas met Jeanette Christiansen, 19, a Danish model, and miss Denmark in 1965. In 1969 John and Jeanette opened a modeling agency named Elysées 3 in Paris and John's father loaned them a hundred thousand dollars. The money was spent finding offices, hiring three bookers and fifteen Scandinavian models, all friends Jeanette. The idea was to scout in Scandinavia, the source then of most models for the mainland European market. Elysées 3 failed to take off financially until John Casablancas handed it over to his brother Fernando Casablancas.

John Casablancas and Elite Model Management

John Casablancas and two dead models

In 1972 John Casablancas, Alain Kittler, founded Elite Model Management in Paris France. Elite Model opened with several high-profile models including Paula Brenken; Ingmari Lamy; Ann Schaufuss, Clive Arrowsmith's girlfriend, Bebe Buell; Barry Lategna's wife, Lynn Kohlman; and Paris Planning's Emanuelle Dano. Within a year at least two of John Casablanca's top Elite models Paula Brenken and Emmanuel Dano were found dead under suspicious circumstances.

Paula Brenken died after she allegedly dove out a window in a drunken state the night after she told friends she had been raped by a photographer. Soon after Emmanuel Dano "died" after "falling out" of a moving car after attempting to fend off a gang rape. "She was out for a late-night drive with several male friends when they attempted to [gang] rape her", according to Casablancas. He claimed she "died instantly" and that he also discovered her body lying in her own bed, raising suspicions about his testimony. In both cases, there was an insufficient police investigation. The only explanation of their deaths came from John Casablancas.

In 1977, after the deaths of Emmanuel Dano and Paula Brenken, Elite Model Management opened offices in New York, and used their tragedies for publicity and self-promotion. John Casablancas declared war on the US model agencies Ford and Wilhelmina. Shortly after opening the New York office, Elite was sued for $10 million by Ford and Wilhelmina, but the cases were unsuccessful and resulted only in more publicity for Casablancas. Due to the death of Wilhelmina Cooper in 1980, models were in a panic to find a stable agency. Ford was affiliated with Elite until Casablancas began stealing Ford's models. Throughout the 1980s this was known as the 'model wars'.

John Casablancas and Stephanie Seymour

In 1978, John Casablancas and Jeanette Christiansen had a child named Julian Casablancas. Julian was the lead vocalist of U.S. bands The Strokes and The Voidz. John Casablancas and Christiansen married a year later in 1979 and soon after divorced in 1983 because John Casablancas was publicly grooming and raping child model Stephanie Seymour, 16 years old. In 1984, John Casablancas met Stephanie Seymour when she was 15-years-old via a contest at a shopping center in San Diego he was 41-years-old. Over the next year, John Casablancas took Seymour to Acapulco for the final round of The Look of the Year contest, then to New York. Among the five finalists that year, were Cindy Crawford and Stephanie Seymour. John Casablancas' predatory behaviour towards very young girls was not a secret in fact it was widely known within the fashion industry and the social scene in New York City long before it was reported to the public.

On Stephanie Seymour's 16th birthday, he threw her a party at a cocaine-fueled nightclub in Milan, and a week later she moved in with him. According to Casablancas when referring to Seymour, “the way she developed — there’s a quality that developed about her that is this incredible sensuality that a woman-child has, a true woman-child … her voice is a child’s, her attitudes, the way she holds her feet and her hands are those of a child, at the same time with an incredible sensuality to it. And that mixture was and is so explosive … This was something like a forbidden fruit for both of us.” After two years, Seymour's parents intervened and broke off the 'relationship' between the young teen and the 42-year-old man. John Casablanca's openly admitted that he often raped children and lured young women, “that was the business I was in ... many of us are fascinated by the idea of a woman-child, like Brooke Shields in the movie Pretty Baby.” In Pretty Baby, Shields played a child rape trafficking victim being sold to adult men. Casablancas's reputation for raping child models was established and openly embraced by the New York social scene.

John Casablancas and Gérald Marie

By 1985 John Casablancas and Gérald Marie had been acquainted and an alliance was made between the two. In 1986 Paris Planning merged with Elite Model Management. Gérald Marie became its European president. He ran the agency alongside John Casablancas and together, they helped launch the careers of Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen, and others.

Marie Anderson Boyd, who was an agent and vice president at the Elite Model Management’s Chicago office between 1985 and 1990, said models would regularly report sexual misconduct they experienced on go-sees. She never passed the reports to her managers at Elite, in part because executives like John Casablancas and Gerald Marie also engaged. “They established a culture of compliance with sexually predatory behavior ... That trickled down into everything everybody did.” A 2012 study by Model Alliance, found that 52% of models are rarely or never accompanied by guardians to a shoot, even though the majority of models start working between age 13 - 16, and 50% are exposed to cocaine. Anderson Boyd told New York Magazine that she remembered watching two female executives plead with Gerald Marie and John Casablancas to stop raping children. They responded “We are men. We have our needs.”

In 1991, Elite had offices around the world, from Tokyo to London. John Casablancas' first supermodels were Christie Brinkley, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Gisele Bündchen, Heidi Klum, Andie MacDowell, Iman, and Paulina Porizkova, and Linda Evangelista. Many of these models were 'discovered' through Elite's annual modeling contest the Look of the Year which was launched in 1983. The name was later changed in 1995 to Elite Model Look and features models age 14 - 25 from over 55 countries. These young girls and women were paraded in front of wealthy men who participated as judges.

Casablancas, Trump, Elite Model Look (formerly Look of the Year)

One of the most famous Elite Model Look (formerly Look of the Year) contest judges is U.S. President Donald Trump. In the New York disco era nightclub scene, John Casablancas brushed shoulders with organized crime and befriended future U.S. President Donald Trump. They were introduced at some point during the mid-’70s through Roy Cohn. According to Trump, John Casablancas tutored him in the “modeling agency” business. During this period, Trump engaged in such excess of debauchery that he deemed it “my second business” according to author Michael Gross. According to Donald Trump during an interview with Michael Gross, “You had drugs, women, and booze all over the f--kin’ place ... If I hadn’t got married, who knows what would have happened? ... I don’t think anybody had more sex than I did. Sex was all over the fucking place ... I would watch supermodels getting screwed, well-known supermodels getting screwed, on a bench in the middle of the room. There were seven of them and each one was getting screwed by a different guy.”

Donald Trump was often spotted at Elite Model Management parties as far back as 1982. Trump hosted events for Elite’s modeling contests, provided lodging for the contestants, and at times acted as a contest judge alongside John Casablancas, Gerald Marie, and others. According to a witness, Patty Owen, an Elle, and Cosmopolitan cover star, “He would always be at the bar. That’s where he would stay and that’s where all the new models would hang out ... Whenever I saw him, I was always like: why does John have to invite him?”. According to another witness Barbara Pilling, an Elite model, Donald Trump asked her out for dinner in the summer of 1989. She recalls Trump asking how old she was. “I said 17 and he said, ‘That’s just great – you’re not too old, not too young.’”

Teenage Elite models in the late 80s and early 90s were required to attend private dinners with Donald Trump, John Casablancas, and other men. Heather Braden, an Elite model, in the late 90s, alleges that she was instructed to go to a party in a mansion on one of the islands near Miami Beach where she witnessed Donald Trump and three famous actors, who she refused to name, prey on dozens of young models isolating many into bedrooms or other parts of the mansion, “Clearly, we were there for one reason. We were just pieces of meat.”. According to witness Shayna Love, an Australian model who was 16, “It was presented as our duty as models at the agency. It wasn’t an invitation. It was like, you have to go and do this.” Love recalls attending a dinner with John Casablancas and Donald Trump “This time it was a private area, a big table and lots of girls – I’d say around 10 to 15 of us, all between the ages of 14 and 18,” she said. “It was just us models, Trump and John. We were all underage, but we were offered drinks,” Love said she went home early, but other children stayed. Eli Nessa, an Elite Model, stated, “We were a bunch of kids, just put there with all these older men.”

Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump, age 15, became a model at Elite Model Management directly under the management of John Casablancas. Monica Pillard, the president of Elite, had been eyeing Ivanka since she spotted her on Donald Trump’s lap when Trump was a judge of Elite's Look Of The Year contest, which was hosted at Trump Tower. Pillard also served as a judge in the Miss Universe pageant, which was jointly owned by Donald Trump and CBS, as was the Miss Teen USA pageant. In 1999, Trump started a modeling agency, Trump Model Management, cloned after John Casablanca's own Elite Model Management.

In 1993, John Casablancas married the child model, 17 year old Aline Mendonça de Carvalho Wermelinger, winner of Elite Model Look 1992 in Brazil. She also participated in the Elite Model look 1992 in the Slovenia finals which included, Ruffa Gutierrez, Diane Heidkrüger, Marta Cecchetto, Oxana Zubakova, Eugenia Silva, Nieves Álvarez, Amit Machtinger, Lee So-ra, Melania Knauss (Donald Trump's future wife). had three children, John Jr, Fernando Augusto, and Nina.

John Casablancas retired from the agency in 2000, his decision to leave came after then-president of Elite Europe, Gerald Marie, was featured in a 1991 BBC exposé into the sexual abuse and rape of models - many of which were children at the time - in certain agencies. The BBC reportedly filmed Gérald Marie confessing that he hoped to seduce the contestants at Elite Model Look (the new name for Look of the Year), as well as offering an undercover journalist money for sex. The former BBC journalist Lisa Brinkworth was sexually assaulted by Gérald Marie in a nightclub in October 1998, when she was posing undercover as a model. Marie was suspended from Elite; in an interview at the time, he said: “I’m destroyed… I’m finished.”

In 2004, Elite filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after two lawsuits were brought against it by a group of former models and employees, it was bought by Creative World, which is owned by Eddie and Jules Trump. No relation to Donald Trump, the Trumps outbid ID Models boss Paolo Zampolli and child trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

Donald Trump later hired John Casablancas to be on the board at Trump Realty Brazil, a $40 million project aimed at the Brazilian wealthy elite, as a "lifestyle consultant of sorts." The project was pitched by Ricardo Bellino with the help of John Casablancas and they were partners alongside Ricardo Samuel Goldstein the founder of Security Beverages Americas and Gold & Bell. In 2007, Goldstein co-founded with John Casablancas, the StarSystem model scouting project, and previously assisted Ricardo Bellino and John Casablancas in the implementation of Elite Models in Brazil. John Casablancas died of cancer in 2013.