American Girls Are Back on the Runways

We've seen two waves of model nationalism in the last five years: first, the Brazilian glamazons, led by Gisele, and then alien-eyed waifs from the Eastern Bloc, led by Sasha Pivovarova. But the runways this Fashion Week are going to look less like the U.N. and more like high school.

According to Douglas Perrett, a casting director whose clients this fall include Vena Cava, Ashleigh Verrier, and Benjamin Cho, American girls are in — at least in New York. Why the shift?

Perrett points to such all-American influences as Shelby Adams portraits and My So-Called Life's Angela Chase (played by Claire Danes) as the source of what he calls a "close-to-home aesthetic" that's healthier and more down-to-earth. American girls have "a relaxed natural mutt vibe," he says.

There are more prosaic factors, too. Like money: "It's a lot less expensive to use an American gal than to sort out the financial (and legal) issues of a foreign one," says Perrett, especially given the difficulty of getting visas these days. And American girls are more dependable. "Local girls work hard but don't make modeling their entire life — they're not supporting the whole family with one photo shoot," he continues.

Here are nine American girls to watch out for this week:

Ali Michael
This 17-year-old from Dallas, Texas, opened Lanvin last season and appears in this month's W.

Alexandra Tomlinson
From Atlanta, she stars in D&G's pre-fall ad campaign.

Alison Nix
A Louise Brooks haircut made this Denver girl a hit on the fall 2007 runways.

Rachel Alexander
The California girl walked for Prada, Miu Miu, and YSL in the fall 2006 season.

Rachel Clark
She opened Proenza's fall 2006 show and has appeared in editorials in Harper's Bazaar. Not bad for a gal from Florida.

Erin Heatherton
The athlete from Chicago is a new haute-couture fixture and has a fall Dolce campaign.

Laura Selfridge
A resident of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, she spent the summer getting naked with Ryan McGinley on his road trip.

Alex Shaffer
The horseback rider from Jackson, Maine, (pop. 400) will debut this season and has already accumulated buzz.

Danielle Hamm
The Alabama resident walked for Dolce, Burberry, MJ, and Marni and appears in Marc Jacobs's spring campaign.

Browse photos, videos and career bios of over 200 models at The Model Manual [NYM]