3/21/12

So you want to be a runway model?



When I first started my makeup artistry, I was thrown into the sink-or-swim situation of runway work. Through trial and error, I found what would help things run smoothly backstage during the mad rush and what would create chaos. Through my background as a model and behind-the-scenes in theater, I found myself doing a lot of organizing backstage as well as model coaching. This is the list that was distributed to our models prior to an event. I saw the effect when I was at a show, and other designers had models who were sloppy-drunk, or ripping clothing, AWOL, smearing their makeup, or creating drama. There in the middle of it was my crew, running like a well-oiled machine. The contrast really threw things into perspective. Expectations were clear, and the models took pride in their professionalism.  The woman who started my steps into the industry, through my own modeling work, poked her head backstage and exclaimed, "Oh my god Lucinda! You're like a backstage general!".

So, these are the rules I had drafted up and that we ran by. Most of them seem common-sense, but they still need to be stated, especially as many models are now booked online, and may not have the training of an agency or experience to know what is expected.



Arrive fresh-faced, this means absolutely no makeup. Having to scrub off mascara, foundation or liner slows everything down backstage. Wear big diva sunglasses if you are embarrassed to leave your house without an inch of black goop around your eyes. Do not use sunscreen with titanium dioxide.

Exfoliate. Pick up a good facial scrub and use it to clear the flakes from the skin. Use a toothbrush or warm wash cloth to scrub dead skin from lips.

Be where we need you when we need you. Do not make us have to go hunting.

Shower and dry hair before arriving.

Make sure your nails are freshly manicured, no chipped polish. A natural or neutral nail is best unless otherwise advised.

Bring undergarments in black and nude, make sure you have thongs and strapless bras. A non-pullover shirt is advised so that hair and makeup are not ruined during change.

Bring a book or other diversion if you have a short attention span.

Groom facial hair before arriving, wax peach fuzz and 
 tweeze stray eyebrows a couple of days before the event. Men arrive with a clean-shave unless otherwise advised, exfoliate to treat ingrown hairs, use product to treat razor-burn.

Do not change, touch-up, or adjust makeup, even slightly. Go to a makeup artist on our team. This is about a look that fits the theme and the designer’s vision and photographs well. This is not about what you are used to seeing on yourself or even if you like it. If you change the makeup, you will be asked to wash your face and/or may not go down the runway.

Respect the designer’s clothing. Be careful to keep it clean and undamaged. No smoking in the outfits. Get a patch, e-cigarette, or nicotine gum if you absolutely need the fix.

This is work, not a date. Leave the significant other at home if they will occupy your working time or bring drama to the show.

Staff only backstage. This includes members of the design collective and their assistants, models and security. This does not mean friends, significant others, etc.

This is not a party. No drugs, and watch your alcohol intake.

Remember you are representing a brand. Behave with professionalism and know what you are wearing so you can answer questions about it and direct customers to the designer.

Respect the space. Don’t mess with the venue’s equipment. Do clean up after yourself.

Phones are to be put away during makeup.

Ensure all outfits are hung up after the show and given to the appropriate designer.

If it’s not yours, don’t touch it. If you steal, you will never again be booked.

If you put your fingers in any of the makeup artist’s product, you will be asked to replace it at your own expense.

Do not chew gum on stage.

Eat a meal that will sustain you for the night before you arrive. High protein, and complex carbs work well. Bring energy bars or other convenient snack that can be eaten without destroying makeup. Food is never a guarantee, and disappearing in the middle of preparations to go get food can mess up the timeline.

Even if you are friends with the staff outside of a show, they are your employer at the show. Keep things professional. Don’t slack off, disrespect them, or create drama because you think you are doing a friend a favor.

You absolutely must be punctual. Arrive early or on time and if there is something pressing to prevent that, call and keep the staff updated.

Sit still. Do not distract other models while they are being briefed or in the hair or makeup chairs.

Remember that being a diva must be earned, and once it’s earned, you don’t have to be an ass to prove it.

  

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