Backstage at a NYFW Runway Show

If there is one thing I learned through walking in NYFW, it is that modeling is tough work. Media has it portrayed that we sit backstage, leisurely talking to one another, being catered on hand and foot, getting our hair and makeup done and fitted for the show. Nothing could be more inaccurate. My experience was chaotic, stressful, somewhat painful, and overall miserable.

On the first day we were to check in at noon sharp, no exceptions. Two hours later we were finally checked in. The coordinators still had not set up the runway and the first showcase was supposed to go on it two hours before and we still were not allowed back into hair and makeup. It was a few more hours until I was seated in a chair to get my hair and makeup done and the first designer to go on stage was M.I.A. The whole thing was a mess and we had no idea what was going on. Half an hour later than we were supposed to start the show, I had completed my transformation and was ready to go-- but clearly they were not. It was two more hours until the show finally started, putting us 3 hours behind schedule when the show was supposed to end at 11 PM.

The designers threw clothes on us and pushed us out the door, we were ignored by the backstage crew, and they did not provide us with anything to eat or drink after ordering us not to bring any food or beverages with us to the show. By the end of the day, after walking in all three showcases, I was starving and exhausted. I had no desire to come back the next day… and I guess I wasn’t the only one.  The following morning only half of the models were present. I knew today would be even crazier, and I braced myself for a long day.

We started up only half an hour behind schedule which was much better than before, but not everything went so smoothly. Things were too crazy for me to even realize I had been standing in 5 inch heels for eleven hours or that I had nothing to eat or drink all day. Because of the shortage in models, I was put into 3 extra shows leaving me with 6 shows (3 in one showcase)! I was really happy to work with these extremely talented designers but the whole thing was a mess. I was given a lot of opportunities through this experience, and learned a lot, but I am honestly questioning if it was worth it.

As far as designers go I was pretty lucky. I worked with an extremely talented 16 year old (so Jenny Humphrey), some international designers from Beijing, a designer who was featured in Vogue Italia, and got to close the show for one of my designers in a beautiful couture gown. For hair and makeup I met two extremely kind, and easy going women but wasn’t lucky during every transformation. One of the hair stylists was ripping through my hair with his comb, pulled out giant chunks of my hair when removing ponytails and pins, and did a horrible job. For the most part I was lucky, but one bad experience can ruin anything especially when you are left teary-eyed in pain afterwards.

Overall the journey was a huge roller coaster but I can truthfully say it was a learning experience. My goal is to plan fashion shows and events like this one day, so through this I was given a behind the scenes look into what I (hopefully) will be doing. Plus, I was given an example of what NOT to do! I made some good friends, was handed many opportunities, and learned a lot from this, so I think it is safe to say I was lucky to have had this experience.

Have any of you ever modeled before, or worked backstage at one of these shows? Was your experience as hectic as mine? I’d love to hear back from you! Let me know if you have any questions and feel free to share any comments or opinions you have. Thanks for reading! Xoxo.