“Is this a scam?!” I asked myself in disbelief as I stared at my laptop screen.
Out of boredom that day, I had clicked on my spam folder and found an email with the subject line “Congrats! You’re a CFW NY Model!”. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I clicked on the email and read it over and over again. “Me? A model?!” I wondered aloud. Because of my height, many friends and family members have told me that I should be a model and joked that I could make it big if I were to become one. But I always waved off the idea, telling them that there was no way a tall, awkward, Asian-American like me could even step on a runway.
When Her Campus announced the opening of applications for modeling at the fashion-oriented event, I decided to apply just for the fun of it. Going in, I thought that I had no chance, let alone have my application read. I thought that I didn’t have the confidence or beauty that the models from last year’s College Fashion Week seemed to exude. It took some emails to Her Campus and self-assurance to allow the fact that I was going to be on the Real Runway to sink in.
As the days leading into College Fashion Week dwindled away, I got increasingly nervous. The closest thing to a runway that I’ve been on was the airplane runway at JFK International Airport. I would try to practice posing in front of my dorm mirror at the most random times. I would glance at my reflection in windows when I walked outside to see if my posture was upright and straight. I was afraid of being my natural, goofy self and making an embarrassment of myself the moment I took my first step on the runway.
But my anxiety melted away when the sunny morning of College Fashion Week came around. Sleep-deprived after a long night of traveling and finishing up my Shakespeare paper, a cloud of drowsiness hung over me as I entered the pre-show brunch. The moment I stepped into the room, I was in awe not just by the colorfully decorated brunch space and piles of food, but also by the warmth and genuineness of everyone that was a part of the event. The other models, underneath all their makeup and outfits, were all college students just like me. We bonded over food, college struggles, and photography. It felt like we had been friends for years as we took Polaroid shot after Polaroid shot together and giggled over the silliest things.
Credit: @merzysofia/HC Rutgers
Not only did I get to meet and bond with amazing people, but I also got to model in amazing outfits. The clothes Primark decided to give me were both stylish and comfortable. I had two outfits for the show. One was a wool grey checkered coat, a leather skirt, a green hoodie, a black beanie, and studded black boots. The other was a white sweater, plaid pants, white sneakers, and a fuzzy brown scarf.
While some pieces like the coat and the studded black boots were a bit out of my comfort zone, I didn’t mind it because I appreciated the fact that Primark wanted to be a little experimental while staying true to my style. I was mind blown the moment I found out I was going to be wearing plaid pants, a clothing item I’ve been scouring my favorite clothing stores for. It felt like they had been reading my mind! The hair and makeup team were amazing as well. Contrary to the outlandish hairstyles and uber-colorful makeup looks I had fearfully imagined I would be forced to wear, they only added subtle touch-ups that made me feel both comfortable and glamorous at the same time.
When it was my time to step onto the runway, a wave of confidence surged through me. After interacting with my fellow models and realizing what the Real Runway truly meant, I stopped worrying over how straight my posture was and what poses I had to strike. I just walked down the runway as I would walk down Comm Ave for class. The room was filled with encouragement and enthusiasm as some people cheered me on and clapped for me. They even got excited when I decided to “hit the woah” for my final look.
The glitz and glam of the event made it a fun experience, but what made the experience one I can never forget are the girls I’ve bonded with over the course of the day. While we came from different places and backgrounds, we put aside all our differences and reached out to one another. We cheered each other on during the show and laughed at each other’s goofy antics. We were more than just a group of fashion-loving girls. We were the definition of #squadgoals.
College Fashion Week New York for me was an unforgettable experience where I bonded with so many amazing college women and made so many memorable moments that I would never have experienced elsewhere.