John Casablancas (December 12, 1942 – July 20, 2013) was an American modeling agent and scout who founded Elite Model Management in 1972.

John Casablancas
Born(1942-12-12)December 12, 1942
DiedJuly 20, 2013(2013-07-20) (aged 70)
OccupationModel agent, entrepreneur
Spouse(s)Marie Christine (1965-1970; divorced)
Jeanette Christiansen (1978-1983; divorced)
Aline Wermelinger (1993–2013; his death)
ChildrenJohn, Fernando, Cecile, Nina & Julian Casablancas

Early lifeEdit

Casablancas was born in Manhattan, New York City, on December 12, 1942, the youngest of three children of Fernando and Antonia Casablancas,[1] and grandson of Spanish textile machinery inventor Fernando Casablancas Planell.[2] His parents had fled to the United States to escape the Spanish Civil War during the 1930s.[1]

At age 8, he began attending Le Rosey boarding school in Switzerland where he met “many children of the international jet set, and began a somewhat wayward life for the next two decades.” He continued his education at several universities in Europe but never graduated.[1]


Casablancas founded the Elite Model Management, a modeling agency, in 1972 in Paris, France.[1] Casablancas is credited for developing the concept of supermodel in the popular culture, turning models into celebrities that were featured in mass media as personalities rather than just faces.[3] Elite proved to be a success, grossing nearly $100 million in annual model bookings during the years that Casablancas ran the day-to-day operations of the agency.[1]

By promoting the concept of supermodel, it was said that “turning models into idols, their egos (expanded) in direct proportion to their earnings potential.” In 1990, Linda Evangelista, who, at the time was married to Gérald Marie [nl], the president of Elite in Paris, told Vogue something “”that came to define the vainglorious world of modeling that Mr. Casablancas had created: “We don't wake up for less than $10,000 a day.”””[4]

Casablancas founded the John Casablancas Modeling and Acting Agency and School, [5] and the Star System model and talent management agency.[1]

Personal life and deathEdit

Casablancas divorced Jeanette Christiansen, his second wife.[6] Casablancas is the father of Julian Casablancas, the lead vocalist of the American bands, The Strokes and The Voidz. He also had three younger children with his third wife Aline Casablancas (née Aline Mendonça de Carvalho Wermelinger),[7] who was the winner of Elite Model Look 1992 in Brazil.

His marriage to Christiansen ended because at age 41, he was having sex with a 16 year old girl. [4]

A resident of Miami, Florida, Casablancas died in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he had been receiving treatment for cancer, on July 20, 2013, at the age of 70.[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g Wilson, Eric (2013-07-20). "John Casablancas, Modeling Visionary, Dies at 70". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-08-17.
  2. ^ Cabana, Francesc (July 28, 2013). "La família Casablancas". El Punt Avui (in Catalan). Retrieved November 2, 2017. John Casablancas Ubach... era el nét de Ferran Casablancas Planell (1874-1960)... John Casablancas era fill de Ferran Casablancas Bertran, el germà gran de la família.
  3. ^ John Casablancas obituary: Agent whose company, Elite, ushered in the era of the supermodel - The Independent
  4. ^ a b Wilson, Eric (July 22, 2013). "John Casablancas; modeling visionary founded Elite agency". Boston Globe. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  5. ^ Casablancas, John. "John Casablancas: Modeling, Acting".
  6. ^ Wilson, Eric (2013-07-20). "John Casablancas, Modeling Visionary, Dies at 70". New York Times. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  7. ^ LIMA ABIB, Alberto. A família Wermelinger: uma aventura em dois continentes (a imigração suíça de 1819–1820). 2000, self edition, 391p, ISBN 9788590146612