“Okay, this isn't so bad,” I think. “New York is nice. I have the grid system figured out. Everything will be okay." But then the castings start.
"Ah-mazing, girl!” Said the client. “We'll see you later! Kisses love!"
I didn't book the show and I never went to a casting for that casting director again.
“Yes, thank you,” said the next client. “No, no picture necessary."
I booked the show almost immediately after I left.
Uncertainty has been the theme of fashion week for me. It’s a constant struggle to read expressions, actions, options, and cancellations. Never knowing if you were a designer's first choice or were booked for the show on a whim because a similar-looking girl wasn't available. But the whole experience has been a success for me, since the stylist at one of the smaller jobs I did led to a career-changing show.
Fashion week is a gamble. If you're not equipped for it, you don't want to prove it to the clients. You might think, “maybe it's best to sit it out?” But sometimes, everything pans out and the payback is incredible. At the end of the day, it's a crapshoot.
I like to think of us models as mystical cowgirls, riding among the hills and valleys of fashion, shooting at our competitors and grabbing the loot before we ride our horses into the sunset. Realistically, that would be awesome but I'm not too far off. You absolutely never know. I, the fairly generic looking nerd from your local high school, still can't quite wrap my mind around it. Sometimes the shiny, tanned goddess from every guy’s dream can't book a show to save her life. At the end of the day, it's all about listening to your agency and trusting them. There are times when you shouldn't listen to them at all, but let's talk about that later.
The most gruelling part about fashion week is the emotions. We truly live every moment trying to remain focused, staying awake, and pushing through. Countless hours are spent each night trying to tune-out reality, so that you're so wired on emotions you're not sure if you have the ability to sleep anymore. It's like a version of the hunger games, but instead of weapons you're given free toiletries. I think I made all my money back in the freebies that were handed out.
And you know what nobody tells you? Fashion “week” lasts for one month. And for one hellish week, you'll be on your period. Think about that for a minute.
A wise man once told me that every fashion show is like walking into someone's personal mental breakdown. I've seen it all, from backstage fuck-ups so bad that you think they'll cancel the show, to designers getting extremely drunk and then proceeding to emotionally abuse everyone around them. For each of these designers though, this is one of the most important days, nay, hours of the year. And you, the model, may have to live though it three times a day. To put it in perspective, each show is like a mini wedding and the designer is the bride.
With all this extra emotion coming into your life, you'll have to learn how to cope. I started Skype calling friends, family, and even acquaintances, and sobbing in order to get by. Others prefer the tried and true call of the bottle. All you can really do to prepare for the chaos of fashion week is to be as self-aware as possible. Know yourself well enough to know how you're going to handle your emotions, then you can manipulate them into something positive or manageable.
Should you do fashion week? I don't know. You don’t know. Neither does your agency. All you can do is throw on your cowgirl hat, get on that horse, and ride.