It goes without question- modeling takes practice, dedication, and hustle. When you see a model strutting down the runway, know it’s the result of weeks, months, even years of hard work to get to that point.
What it takes to get runway ready is slightly different for every model, but there are some things that every model does to make sure they’re on their game come show day. See below for some tips on getting yourself runway ready!
LEADING UP TO THE SHOW
The tips below aren’t just things to do before show season, but daily lifestyle habits of working models. By following these guidelines all year, you never have to worry about a surprise runway booking and will always be on top of your game.
Get Lots of Sleep: This is obviously easier said than done and some weeks will be better than others. We all know that a lack of sleep is tough on the body, and if you’re consistently skimping on your rest it eventually takes a toll on your health and your appearance. You can usually tell by looking at someone if they’re sleep deprived, so it’s important that you always try to log as much sleep as possible so you look & feel your best.
Maintain a Healthy Diet: A well-rounded diet is a must for models, not just during show season but as a lifestyle. However, during show season, healthy eating is often ramped up (this does NOT mean crash dieting!). In the weeks leading up to a runway show, it’s best to make sure you avoid foods that make you look bloated, and eat more of the foods that make you feel energetic and healthy. Many models will cut carbs or certain foods that cause them to feel sluggish.
Workout: This isn’t a quick pop into the gym to jog on the treadmill for an hour once a week or so routine, this is a lifestyle of consistent workout sessions to be in a constant state of fitness. Whether you’re a size 2 or a size 16, being fit and healthy for your body type is key to looking and feeling great on the runway.
Practice!: The last thing you want to do in the weeks leading up to a show is skimp on your practice sessions. Just because you made the casting cut doesn’t mean you’re safe from being dropped the day of the show. I have seen girls get dropped numerous times just hours before the show starts because even though they practiced leading up to the casting, they hadn't since they were booked, causing them to look stiff on the runway. Always be sure to keep practicing, and switch your shoe styles often so you are comfortable in whatever the designer may ask you to wear.
WEEK OF SHOW
Mani/Pedi: Getting your nails done the week of a show is always a good idea. Not only will it look good, it’s also a great way to relax & have some time to yourself. Make sure to use neutral or clear polish on both fingers and toes so you will match with whatever the designer dresses you in.
Hair removal: make sure to fully wax/shave your legs & underarms. If you will be wearing swimwear or lingerie, don’t forget to address the bikini line (sometimes a good idea to do it anyway, you won't always know ahead of time what you’ll be wearing). If you prefer waxing over shaving, do it at least 2 days before in case there is redness or bumps.
If Requested, Get a Spray Tan: Do not get a spray tan (particularly a super dark one) if the designer has not requested it, especially if you didn’t have a tan when you did the casting. Also make sure to do this a few days before the show so there is no risk of the tan transferring onto the clothing.
Eat Clean: While a well-balanced diet is standard practice year-round, it’s often tightened up a bit the week of the show. This DOES NOT mean starving yourself the week of the show, but rather avoiding foods that you know will make you feel bloated or lethargic. For me it’s diary, so the week of the show I’ll avoid things with dairy in it so I know my stomach won’t be bothering me the day of the show.
Stay Hydrated: Part of a healthy diet includes staying hydrated. Not only will increasing your fluid intake make your skin look better, but drinking water will also help keep your energy levels up. Being hydrated before hitting the runway is critical in preventing dizziness and even fainting caused by dehydration.
Cut Alcohol: A definite way to make sure you’re not looking puffy on the runway is to cut alcohol entirely the week of the show.
Maintain Workouts: Make sure to keep up your usual workouts the week of the show. It’ll help keep your energy & confidence levels up with it’s show time.
PRACTICE: Again, I can’t stress this enough. Never stop practicing!!
NIGHT BEFORE SHOW
Pack Your Model Bag: Maintaining an organized and ever-ready modeling bag is a must for every model. Even if the job says you only need to bring nude underwear, it’s always best to be the model that comes prepared and saves the day rather than hoping everyone else has it covered. Check out my post on what to pack in your bags for women and for men.
Wash Your Hair: It’s usually best to do this in the morning the day before the show, so your hair isn’t too clean but also doesn’t have day’s-worth of product build-up in it. After washing, don’t add product and style it- let it be natural!
Check Nails: If you didn’t get a mani/pedi earlier in the week, remove any nail polish from your fingers and toes and put on a fresh nude or clear coat. Most designers will want you to have a clean nail for show day. If they want models to have their nails painted anything other than nude, they will usually provide the color the day of the show or let you know in advance to paint your nails.
Tip: apply a clear base coat on your fingers & toes to help prevent any nail polish they may apply from staining your nail bed. This is especially helpful if you have multiple shows to do and the next designer wants you to have unpainted nails.
Pamper Your Skin: Thoroughly cleanse, exfoliate, tone, and moisturize your entire body. Soft, healthy skin will make you glow on the runway, ashy legs will not.
Tip: The night before a show is not the time to try out a new skincare product! The 'miracle' mask you picked up at Sephora the day before may sound amazing, but unless you've used it before, you have no idea how your skin may react. Don't risk it, and stick to your usual routine!
Know Where You’re Going: This is so important. Be sure to look up the location for the show the night before and plan your route. Know how long the drive will take, where will you park, and where you need to check in once you arrive on location. Showing up late, whatever the excuse may be, could lead to a client not booking you again. Always plan ahead, and give yourself an extra 15-20 minutes to allow for traffic or difficulty finding a parking space.
DAY OF SHOW
Show Up Natural: Unless you have been requested to do your own makeup or to arrive with your base foundation on, always arrive with nothing but moisturizer on your face. Bonus if you have time in the morning to do a quick face mask to help give your skin some extra moisture.
Same goes for your hair. Unless you've received instruction to straighten or curl your hair prior to arrival, it is best to leave your hair natural!
Get Dressed: Wear loose, comfortable clothing, but not your pj’s! One of my biggest pet-peeves is when models show up to a booking looking like they just rolled out of bed. The call time may be early, and it may be a long day of sitting around, but you still want to look like a model. You are a representative of your brand & your agency, and you want to present yourself in a professional way. Wearing loose clothing is also important because you don’t want lines on your body, especially if you’re in a leg-revealing look.
Also, unless the designer specifies otherwise, it’s always the safest bet to wear nude undergarments (make sure they are seamless so they don't create lines under your clothing). Don’t be surprised if you are asked to remove your bra or panties to avoid lines.
Tip: Keep it simple. A button-up shirt is great because it’s easy to get off after having your hair & makeup done. Avoid wearing something that has a turtle-neck or lot of layers and pieces, as you may have to get changed a few times and a high-collared shirt that buttons up the back will be impossible to get on and off quickly and without messing up your makeup.
Put Your Phone Down: Don't have your phone out the entire time you’re backstage. Be present and available for whatever direction is given to you. Also take advantage of this on-on-one time with the stylists to network. Shows are always good for exposure and getting to know people in the industry. Make it a point to network with everyone from the hair stylists and makeup artists to the designers and production crew. You never know who somebody may be able to connect you to or what friendships you will make.
Make Sure to Eat!: The day gets long, and often food isn’t provided for models, so make sure you have plenty of snacks to get you through. Many models have fainted before the show due to not eating, so be aware of this & keep your body fueled.
Listen to the People in Charge: They are there to make sure everything runs smoothly and have already logged many hours before you arrived. Pay attention to direction and don’t get caught up chatting with your friends and miss your cue. Stay focused and remember you’re there to work.
Don’t Stress: The day of the show you will experience multiple fittings, rehearsals, hair & makeup sessions, photo shoots & who knows what else… Having patience while the show chaos carries on around you is essential. If you let the craziness get to you it could throw you off your game when it’s time to step onto the runway.
Last but not least… HAVE FUN! All the hard work, nerves, and preparation brought you to this moment, so take it all in and remember why you love doing it so much! You’re not always going to have hair and makeup that you think is amazing and you won’t always love what you’re wearing, but remember not everyone gets this opportunity and would love to be in your exact ugly shoes at that moment. Be positive, be thankful, be fierce, and kick ass on that runway!