Photo project

Californication: Young Women in Pursuit of Hollywood Fame

Anoush Abrar photographs casting participants aspiring to become famous actresses, models and TV show hosts.
Anoush Abrar

Born in Tehran. When he was five, his family moved to Switzerland. Studied photography at Lausanne University of Art and Design. His works have been exhibited during solo and group exhibitions in the UK, Switzerland, France, Italy, USA, and Australia. Has worked for Vogue, New York Times, L’Officiel, W Magazine, Wallpaper, and Intersection.

The state of California revolves around the film industry, celebrities, and success. Projecting an image of fame and fortune, beauty and happiness, Hollywood draws people like a magnet. I started this photo project because I wanted to get as close as possible to the young people who flocked to this city seeking fame and fortune.

The main idea was to focus on women – the hopeful starlets and models – because, as opposed to the men, I felt that they have more opportunities for success through appearances in TV shows, TV advertisements, lingerie campaigns, and erotic calendars. Through body care, excessive aerobics, gym visits, and even plastic surgery, they try to create the perfect image that caters to the whims and demands of the cinema and star industry. Running from casting to casting, appearing on shows and getting their photographs taken, these women will stop at nothing to be noticed. Who are these girls? What are they ready to do to achieve their dream? How far will they go to achieve celebrity status? What drives them?

Following the casting trail, I easily established contact with some of the models I portray in these images. Also, I put casting calls out on the Internet, which helped me meet more of them. It takes a lot of time to talk with a model and gain their trust.

These girls are normal people like you and me who want to make it in the movie industry. Happiness is not the point here but only the goal. Some of them are happy, some not. I really admire these girls. It is not easy to live in California, and earning money going from one casting session to another is even more difficult.

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