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9 Things I Learned as a Model at College Fashion Week

The Real Runway is all about feeling beautiful inside and out. The Real Runway teaches college-aged women that being confident is badass, and a runway-ready body is any body that can strut its stuff down the catwalk. The Real Runway brings women together to celebrate themselves, make new friends, and become inspired in all the right ways. The Real Runway was created by Her Campus to celebrate College Fashion Week 2019, and I became real on the runway.

On September 28, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Boston with three other members of the Her Campus at UCF girl gang to take in the flashing lights in the hottest new street style, provided by Primark. College Fashion Week is an annual event that takes place in Boston and New York City each fall to bring girls together to empower each other through fashion. This year, I was selected to be a model and soak up the spotlight. Here’s what I learned.

How did you get this opportunity? Did you have to apply for it?

I was selected to be a model this year after applying online through Her Campus. In order to be eligible, I had to post a picture on my Instagram and explain what The Real Runway means to me.

How much modeling experience did you have prior?

While I’m not a trained model by any means, I participated in a local fashion show hosted in Winter Park last year, and I loved it so much that I was eager to continue my journey down the runway.

What did the day look like for you?

In the morning we started with a “Come as You Are” brunch hosted by the Her Campus editors for all of the models to get to know each other. It was so much fun getting to meet in a relaxed environment before heading to the venue for the show. Plus, we got to load up on the most delicious meal of my life, so no complaints here.

After that, we all headed to the venue. They ran through the program with us and the order of events, and then we had some downtime before getting ready for the show. Then, Glamsquad made us all beautiful and did our hair and makeup before trying on all our amazing outfits for the show. Before taking the stage, we were able to enjoy a VIP hour at the venue and visit with all the guests and sponsors. Then it was showtime! 

Did you have to walk down an actual catwalk? In front of a crowd? Was it nerve-wracking?

Yes! There was an actual catwalk set up and it was so fun! We were able to practice before the actual event so we didn’t trip in our beautiful high heels, and it felt so fun to be up on stage. I wasn’t nervous at all until I turned the bend and saw just how many people were at the event! It was sold out, and all I could see were cameras flashing. But as soon as I heard the cheers, all my nerves left my body.

Did you get to pick your own outfit(s)? If not, did you like what you had to wear?

When we applied to model, we gave a brief description of what our style consisted of. The day before the show, we went to Primark in Boston for our fittings, where the girls at Nationals had our looks pre-selected for us based on our style. There were three shows, and we each had two looks. Half of the group wore monochromatic athleisure and the other half wore 90s Grunge. Then, all of us wore neutral fall looks.

I loved both of my outfits and felt like they fit my style perfectly! The best part was that we got to keep them in the end. For the girls who didn’t love their outfits, we were also allowed to trade.

How many hair & makeup artsist worked the event? What was the process like?

There were about five hairstylists and five makeup artists working at a time. They pulled us one at a time and began our looks based on if we were in the athleisure show or the 90s grunge show. It went pretty quickly overall, and they were able to help with any touchups throughout the night. After making the models look beautiful, the Glamsquad went out and was there to do the guests’ hair and makeup if they so chose.

What style tips did you takeaway from CFW?

I learned to step outside of my comfort zone! The outfits they chose for me would have never been what I picked out for myself at the store, but I ended up adoring them. Layering is very in right now, and neutrals are the new black!

Did this experience change you in any way?

Yes! I got to strengthen my bond with Her Campus members from around the country, own my confidence, and fall in love with a new city.

Did you get to do everyting you planned on doing while in Boston?

No—but that’s just an excuse to come back, right? The city was beautiful in September, and I loved what I saw. Unfortunately, our flight times limited us from seeing too much, and being a model was a full day commitment. If you’re interested in participating in the future, I definitely recommend adding a few more days on to your trip!

Overall, attending College Fashion Week was a life-changing experience, and I am so excited that this opportunity presented itself. Getting to own my confidence on and off the runway is the greatest gift that Her Campus has given me, and I can’t wait to attend the event again next year!

HXCO, Lena

Images: 1, 2 

Lena is currently a senior at the University of Central Florida and very emotional about it. She serves as HCUCF's President and Campus Correspondent and is studying hospitality in hopes of making her childhood dreams of getting paid to travel the world come true. She is head over heels in love with all things aesthetically pleasing, so what could be better than working a job that will result in cute photos? While she's not in school or checking out the tacky tourist attractions around Orlando, you can find her spending more money than she has on concerts, clothes, and crappy coffee. She is a low-key movie addict and a high-key Instagram addict. If you want to see what she's up to when she's not hiding behind her laptop screen, you can follow her on Instagram @lena.daniels 
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