As a model, it is essential that you are always prepared when you are on a booking or have a day of castings ahead of you. Your “Model Bag” is a vital part of being prepared, and should contain everything you may need for a show or a shoot.
If I am going to a shoot, I usually prefer to use a small carry-on luggage style bag that has swivel wheels because I tend to pack more for a shoot than I would a show, and having a wheeled luggage bag helps take the strain off of my shoulders and back. For shows, I tend to use a stylish weekender duffel bag (my go-to favorite is the Roma Travel Bag from Floto) that can hold everything I may need for the day. Whichever style you prefer, make sure the bag is durable, looks professional, is easy to use, and can hold a LOT of stuff!
So, what needs to go in this model bag? A few things will vary depending on the job at hand (example: they may ask you to bring a red pump or black jeans), but there are staples that you want to make sure you always have available regardless of the job. Be sure to always ask your agent if the client has any specific wardrobe or shoe requirements for you to bring.
Below is a list of a few essentials that you should have in your model bag for every booking:
1. Shoes! For a show or a day of castings, your shoes are probably the most important item(s) in your bag.
When packing for a show, its best to have at least two pairs of shoes- one black pair & one nude pair (to be safe, I always have four pairs: a black & nude pump as well as a black & nude strappy heel). If you have already done a fitting, this helps narrow down what you need to bring as far as color and style.
Tip: Even if the designer is providing you shoes, or you know your personal pair that will work best for your look, always bring a backup pair- you never know when a heel or strap might break!
Packing for a shoot gets a little more complicated. If you know the shoes are going to be provided, you really only need to bring the standard black & nude pairs just in case what they provide doesn’t fit. If shoes are not being provided, bring a variety of styles ranging from boots to strappy in black and nude. If you are able to, ask ahead of time if they have a preference on shoe style to help narrow down the choices.
Tip: Don’t forget to bring a pair of flat shoes for when you are leaving the event or driving home! By the end of the day your feet are going to need a break!
2. Water & snacks: these aren’t always provided, so you want to make sure you’re keeping your hydration & energy up.
3. Fashion tape: Double sided tape will save you if your garment is slipping or too revealing. ALWAYS check with the designer or a dresser before using it to make sure it won't damage the garment!
4. Nude & black undergarments: A nude & black strapless bras, seamless g-strings, and boyshorts are basically your model uniform. Go for super plain designs without any branding, lace or patterns, and the more seamless the better!
Underwear accessories: ‘Chicken cutlets’ (push-up boosters), stick on bras, and nipple covers can be a life saver at shows, so don’t forget them!
Tip: in a pinch, round bandaids can be used as nipple covers if you forget them!
5. Makeup: even though makeup is almost always provided, make sure you also have your own kit in case you need to do a little touch-up and an artist isn’t available. I can remember one instance where a makeup artist didn’t show up for the show and they had all the models do their own last minute, so it’s essential to make sure you’re prepared for this.
6. A changing scarf: A small scarf to put over your head when changing so that you don't smudge the makeup, mess up the hair or stain the garment. I often use a silk purse duster bag because it’s light weight and doesn’t take a lot of space in my bag.
7. Something to do: Especially at runway shows, there is a lot of ‘hurry up & wait’, so having something to read or work on helps pass the time.
8. Portable phone battery: with all the down-time that comes with being on set, there’s a good chance you will be spending a lot of time on your phone checking social media & emails, so you want to make sure you have a portable battery with you in case there isn’t good access to outlets.
9. Cash: You may need cash to cover parking or to use at a vending machine, so it’s always good to have a small amount on hand. Don’t be rolling around with hundred dollar bills though, you don’t want to be out a lot of cash if your wallet gets stolen!
10. Comp Cards & portfolio: It’s always good to at least have a few of your comp cards handy, that way when someone important (like a designer, photographer, artist, news media member) asks for your information, you have a business card on hand to give them. This also makes you look super professional!
11. Emergency Kit: Bandaids, small alcohol pads, small sewing kit, safety pins, sanitary products, contact case/solution with a pair of back up contacts (if you wear them), and pain reliever (I like to take one as I sit down do get my hair done, it will prevent a headache if the hairstyle is tight or you have a lot of poking pins. It also reduces the pain from the heels later on in the night!)
12. Dressy outfit: Think ‘little black dress’ to wear after the show in case you decide to attend a networking or after-party event. Make sure it’s something that doesn’t wrinkle so you don’t have to worry about it being packed in your bag.
I hope this guideline helps prepare you for your next booking! The more jobs you do, the more you’ll be able to streamline and personalize the necessities. I find it’s best to always have your bag mostly packed, that way you’re not scrambling last minute to get it together and risk forgetting something!