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Runway Show Preparation

Getting booked for a runway show involves much more than just showing up the day of the show. It's quite a process that begins well before the show date. While every model has their own routine, there are a few things that every model should do to prepare for the runway!

runway model on the runway during fashion week wearing yellow coat.

Week of the show(s):

Continue workouts: No matter your size or measurements, being fit and healthy for your body type is key to looking and feeling great on the runway. Staying consistent with your routine will help keep your energy levels up and give you the stamina to make it through the long show days.

Avoid food triggers: A well-rounded diet is a must for models, not just during show season but as a lifestyle. However, during the show season, healthy eating is often ramped up (this does NOT mean crash dieting!). In the week leading up to a runway show, it's best to avoid foods that disagree with your body (hello, dairy!) and eat more foods that make you feel energetic and healthy.

Cut alcohol: Even though there are usually parties happening the nights leading up to the shows, cutting out alcohol is good for your mind and body. Even one glass of wine can make you puffy and feel sluggish the next day.

Practice: The last thing you want to do as the shows approach 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 practiced since they were booked, causing them to look stiff on the runway. Always keep practicing, and switch your shoe styles often so you are comfortable in whatever the designer may ask you to wear.

Day Before the Show:

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 days worth of product or oil build-up.

Remove all nail polish from your fingers and toes: Most designers will want you to have clean nails or a sheer natural color (i.e., not white, not pink, not French tips). If they want models to have their nails painted a specific color, they will usually provide the color on the day of the show or let you know in advance to paint your nails.

Tip: Apply a clear base coat on your nails 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: make sure you remain consistent with your skincare routine and step up the moisturization by adding masks. Soft, healthy skin will make you glow on the runway!

Tip: The day before a show is NOT the time to try a new skincare product! Please don't risk having a bad reaction and just stick to your usual routine.

Hair removal: Make sure to do your whole hair removal routine the night before the show. If you are wearing swimwear or lingerie, be sure not to forget the bikini line (usually a good idea to do it anyway; you won't always know ahead of time what you’re wearing). If you prefer waxing, do it at least two days before the show in case there is any irritation.

Know where you’re going: 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 you will park, and where you need to check in once you arrive on location. Whatever the excuse, showing up late could lead to you being dropped from the show and the a client not booking you again. Always plan ahead, and give yourself an extra 20-30 minutes to allow for traffic, unexpected construction, or difficulty finding a parking space.

Pack your bag: See my post on model bags for a list of the must-have items on the day of a runway show.

Day of Show:

Show up completely makeup-free: 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.

Leave your hair natural: As with the above, unless you've received instruction to straighten or curl your hair prior to arrival, it is best to leave your hair natural. If you straighten your hair beforehand and the designer wants you to have curled hair, your style may not be able to be changed since it was already heat-styled a certain way, making you mismatched from the other models.

Get Dressed: Wear loose, comfortable clothing to prevent getting seam lines on your body, but do not show up in your pj’s. 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 and someone they would want to work with again.

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 with a turtle neck or many layers, as you may have to get changed a few times, and a high-collared shirt will be impossible to get on and off quickly without messing up your makeup and hair.

Network: Shows are always good for exposure. Be sure to socialize backstage with everyone from the hairstylists & makeup artists to the designers and production crew. You never know who somebody may be able to connect you to, and the more people know you, the more opportunities you will have.

Wear nude undergarments: 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).

Put your phone down: Don't have your phone out the entire time while having your hair and makeup done. Be present and available for whatever direction is given to you. Also, take advantage of this one-on-one time with the stylists to network.

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.

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!


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