Runway Casting Call 101

Earlier this week, I interviewed some of KC’s best designers for insight on what a designer looks for when casting runway models. This week, I’m going over some tips on how to prepare yourself for your next casting call.

Don’t let the panel of judges intimidate you, read below and be ready to rock your next casting!

Dress basic: At castings, models are asked to dress as simply as possible since the designer wants to see what each model really looks like without being distracted by loud or trendy clothes. A basic model casting outfit usually means black or dark blue skinny jeans, a fitted black or gray tank or t-shirt, and a good pair of heels.

Minimal Makeup: Just as designers prefer models to come to castings in the most basic clothes, they also often want to see a bare face or very simple makeup. This helps your natural features show, whereas heavy or bold or makeup can be distracting.

A bare makeup look generally includes some lightweight foundation or tinted moisturizer, concealer where needed, bronzer, and a few strokes of mascara.

Here are examples of 'digitals' that they'll take of you at the casting call. You can see here that I'm not wearing makeup and my hair is also natural!

Heels: We all know that height is key for runway models, so when attending a casting, ALWAYS wear a great pair of heels. Aside from adding inches of height, they also typically make your body appear more elongated.

Tip: Avoid wearing wedge heels, they make your legs and walk appear clunky and don’t showcase that you are able to walk well in stilettos.

Heed the Requirements: When it comes to casting calls, it is especially crucial to follow the specifications laid out in the casting description in order to give yourself the best chance of being picked. Remember, part of being a good model is having the ability to follow directions. If you can't fulfill the requirements for a casting call but attend anyway, it makes a bad first impression and could lead the client to believe that you don't follow directions well. If the casting is for models that are at least 5’10”, between sizes 4-12, and over the age of 18, don’t waste their time (or yours) by attending the casting if you’re 5’5” and only 16.

Arrive Early & Be Prepared to Wait: Casting calls are typically held during specific time frames, and if it’s an open call (meaning not agency specific), you can expect a lot of people to show up. Being right on time or late will put you at the end of the line, which could mean waiting for an hour or more for your turn. I've attended casting calls where there was hardly anyone there and I was in & out quickly, however, that is rare. In general, expect to run into a group of people at casting calls. Since it can take a while to get through everyone, be prepared and bring a book or something simple to keep you occupied.

Photo by Tou Yang

Practice, Practice, Practice: Sometimes, you don’t have advance notice of when you’re going to be sent to a runway casting call, so it’s best to ALWAYS practice! When you do have notice of a runway casting, make sure to increase your practice sessions in the week leading up to the casting call. Pro tip- switch up your practice shoe styles often so you are comfortable in whatever the designer may ask you to wear. I like to practice in my highest, most uncomfortable shoes so that way whatever they may ask me to wear will seem easy!

Be confident: One thing that really stood out in last week’s post, is that the designers are drawn to models with personality & confidence. Even if your nerves are getting the best of you, push it aside and channel your inner supermodel! Being confident draws attention to you, and having that kind of presence is what designers are wanting in a model wearing their designs on the runway.

I hope these tips help your kill your next runway casting! Don’t forget, the next Kansas City Fashion Week casting is Saturday, December 1st - 9am- 4pm and Sunday, December 9th - 9am- 4pm. To help save time in line, make sure you preregister!

May the odds be ever on your favor!


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