Name: Robert Fairman
Major: Public Health
Photo courtesy of Jason Benjamin & Matt Daniels – HeadshotsCharleston.com.
Meet Robert Fairman, a fashion model with a passion for runway modeling. This young man has a promising future in the fashion industry thanks to his natural talent for modeling; Robert has been in the industry for a little over a year and has already had the honor of participating in Charleston Fashion Week and walking on the biggest runway on the East Coast. His fierce look and incredible talent has earned him the opportunity to model the designs of some of the more well known names in the industry. Read on to find out how Robert became interested in modeling, how he prepares for shows, and tips he has for aspiring models!
HC: What sparked your interest in modeling?
RF: When I was little, I did a little bit of baby and toddler modeling. In high school, I had some people ask me to come do a shoot for them, but I turned them down because I didn’t think of modeling as cool back then. Last year, one of my roommates said, “Hey, my brother did fashion week last year in Charleston. You should go ahead and do it.” So last year was my first fashion week, and modeling has just taken off for me since then.
HC: How did you feel with your first fashion show?
RF: You can’t describe it. It’s the longest walk of your life on an 85-foot runway, the biggest one on the East Coast. Walking down that runway knowing that people want to buy what you’re wearing for their stores. The clothes aren’t what you’d see the average person wearing, but there are people there from major companies that see the beauty in it and think, “Okay, I could pay the designer $200,000 for six of those jackets.”
HC: Who was your role model as a child?
RF: My parents. I know that’s one of the most cliché answers ever, because everyone says their parents are their role models. If not them, then my grandpa. My grandpa passed away in July and since then, everything he always tried to teach and instill in me has hit home. You never really think about the advice you’re getting; it’s things like praying every day, go to church often, or advice on how to treat people. You don’t really think about the advice until afterwards. Then you’re thinking turns into, “Papa would’ve wanted me to treat people this way,” or “Papa would’ve wanted me to take on the challenge that I’m facing this way.”
HC: How did your parents help you with becoming a model?
RF: My parents were extremely supportive. Growing up, we were a sports and music family. I grew up playing soccer and being a choir member and my brother always ran or cycled and played in band, so for a long time, that was our realm of knowledge. Outside of sports and music, we didn’t really know anything. Last year, when I announced that I was going to do a fashion week, my family was interested and thought it was really cool. I update them on when I get modeling jobs and if I speak with agencies. My mom came to one of my shows this past week, and I got to watch part of the show in the audience with her. It was a really cool experience. They’re very supportive of it and they know that it’s important and something that I enjoy doing.
HC: How do you cope when you’re under pressure?
RF: In dealing with general pressure, I hang out with my fraternity brothers and my friends, work out, or go to the beach. Modeling can be really stressful and is a brutal and ever-changing industry. It’s tough, but I have two model coaches that are the most amazing people I’ve ever met. One of my good friends is a great photographer that does all the fashion week journals and knows people. Great people like them in life can be really reassuring and alleviate some of the stress. At Charleston Fashion Week, I met one of the women that helped start Charleston Fashion Week and she asked me what agencies I’m talking to and told me that I have a great look. The reassurance from the remark of one extremely influential woman calmed my nerves for the entire week.
Photo courtesy of Brocklens.
HC: How do you prepare for shows?
RF: I’ll use Charleston Fashion Week as an example, because it’s one of the longest ones. We find out if we’re going to model in November/December and, if you’re chosen, you receive a huge packet of stuff that you’re expected to do. It includes things like a moisturizing regimen for in the morning and at night, face medication for if you have acne, recommended foods for different meals, and recommended work out routines. Before modeling, I had no clue what moisturizing was, I knew my mom and grandma did it and that it contained sunscreen. The meal and work out recommendations are written from an educational standpoint. You should be working out four to six times a week and you should be incorporating things like granola, yogurt, salads, and fresh fruit into your meals. They also remind you that you should stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and to stay away from fried foods. The two to three weeks before Charleston Fashion Week, I didn’t eat any fried foods, because I knew I would break out and look really greasy and unhealthy if I did. That’s something you can get kicked out of the show for.
There are also other little things to remember. Over Spring Break I visited London which doesn’t have much sunlight, but if I would have gone to the beach or something and got sunburnt, that’s something I could have gotten kicked out of the show for. There are some agencies that are super strict and have a nutritionist, dietician, specific workouts for you to do, specific gyms and trainers that you go to, but it’s more of an educative standpoint. There’s a documentary on one of the Victoria Secret models and she wakes up, goes to spin class, goes to pilates, does kickboxing, then goes to yoga, but it’s like focused on making healthy decisions.
HC: What are some of your favorite designers?
RF: I’m a sucker for J. Crew and Polo. Todd Snyder is actually one of the designers I walked for last year and I love his stuff. He was the head of outerwear at Polo, director of men’s wear at J. Crew, and the director of men’s wear at Gap. He started his own line recently and I love his stuff! He’s such a good guy. His head designer associate is from Raleigh and lives there, so it was cool to talk to him about stuff like that and to be able to relate to him. Another cool thing about modeling is that you get to see stuff that you’d never imagine to see people wearing in public. Modeling gives me an opportunity to be different.
HC: How often do you exercise?
RF: I try to go to the gym every day. I don’t go on Tuesdays, because that’s when I have Bible study. Every other morning I try to run a little bit and then do yoga or pilates, because they increase core strength and give you lean muscle while, at the gym, you’re trying to bulk up. Cardio helps with a mass of things, and I also do CrossFit and weightlifting. Thankfully, the male body image for modeling is going towards lean muscle. People were so used to seeing big, ripped male models with arms as big as my thighs, but now that image is starting to go out of style. Lean muscle guys that are pretty defined, which is my body type, is the look agencies are turning towards. Agencies have been turning guys away a lot recently for being too bulked. During Fashion Week, I didn’t have time to work out often. There was a Thursday where I had to be on set at 7:30 a.m., I didn’t get out until 1 p.m. I had time to grab lunch and I had to be back from 2 p.m. until 11 p.m. Then I had to get up again and do it on Friday and Saturday. If you work out consistently leading up to it, you won’t feel so pressured to do it the week of.
HC: Any advice for Seahawks that are also aspiring models?
RF: Get involved in the little things first. I skipped that, but I don’t recommend going that route. Doing little things like the college fashion week here and the Wilmington Fashion Week are a great way to get started. And there are so many different types of modeling to get involved with, such as runway, editorial, commercial, showcase, trunk show, so it really depends on where you want to fall. Find a photographer and take some head shots. Stepping outside of your comfort zone helps. You have to remember that you’re in control of it, but also that it is a job. Last year, I was in makeup for one of my shows and the lady was mixing lime green into the foundation and I didn’t think it would look well, but it was part of the job and the designer said he wanted it done that way. I thought it would look terrible, but the way she mixed it, gave me an olive complexion and it ended up looking fine. If you’re super uncomfortable doing anything, say something but also remember that it is a job.
Furthermore, be careful who you sign agencies with. I’m talking to professional agencies now and I’m waiting to hear back from them and I always make sure to research whoever I plan on signing with! Be informed. Once you get some footing, you’ll be able to discern who the bigger names are and which agencies will be able to take you in the direction you want to go. Be comfortable with who you are. In the modeling world, you’re surrounded by the most beautiful people ever, but also the most self-conscious people ever and being comfortable with yourself helps you be more confident. Remember to take care of yourself mentally and physically, too! One thing I learned off YouTube was looking at different fashion shows and how people walk in them is great help if you want to get into runway modeling. There’s a specific walk that you have to do.
Source: Jonathan Balliet