So You’ve Booked Your First Runway Show, Now What?
Posted by Hayley Fordyce on 08 Nov, 2018

So You’ve Booked Your First Runway Show, Now What?

My name is Hayley, I'm a part time model and one of the Customer Success team members here at StarNow. I'm here to share my tips and tricks on how to 'nail' your debut into this thrilling world of fashion and hairspray.

While your first runway show may seem a bit daunting at first, I'm about to put you at ease.

The night before
The night before a runway show, I highly recommended that you treat yourself to a pamper night (I know right? What a chore!). Wash your face with your go-to cleanser, slap on a face mask, brush out the day's tangles and get to bed early – you'll thank yourself tomorrow.

What to wear
Make sure you arrive 'au naturel'. Ladies, this doesn't mean your most "natural" shade of foundation or just a "little bit" of mascara. In this context I mean no make-up. On the day of the show, the designers will also want you to have product free, dry hair.

Girls, make sure to wear nude underwear and bring along a strapless bra just in case. Tidy clothes such as black jeans and a tight-fitting top are ideal, and don't wear any jewellery or nail polish. Likewise guys, your clothes need to be tidy and your facial hair should be well groomed unless told otherwise.

What to bring

  • A good read (or two) for the downtime.
  • Plenty of water.
  • A phone charger is a must-have!
  • Snacks and more snacks. But from my experience I would highly recommend not eating while wearing designer clothes…

Models waiting for the show to start backstage (Hayley second from left) at Project Fashion Wellington's Private Gala 2017.
Photo by Masanori Udagawa

How to act
Follow instructions, be polite and act professionally at all times. But remember, you're allowed to make friends, ask questions and use the toilet! The show organisers understand you’re human. Just remember to act in a professional manner and be respectful to those running the show.

In most cases you won't know what you're wearing until the day of the show, and in some instances your outfit may be getting finished even as the countdown to showtime begins! Your shoes may be too big, or slightly too small, your eyebrows may not be as bold as you're used to, and your hair may be in a beehive; but don’t let it get to you. Enjoy the crazy that comes with being a runway model, and embrace trying new things because no two shows are the same.

Practice makes perfect
Most runway shows will have an early call time for a briefing before separating models into groups for hair and makeup. There should be someone looking out for all the models and directing you to where everyone is gathering. If you're a coffee lover like many of us here at StarNow, there may or may not be a chance for the liquid gold, but if the moment presents itself – take it! You’ll need that caffeine hit to get you through the show.

There will be fittings and practice sessions or "walk-throughs" of the entire runway show, which is exciting stuff! Don’t worry if you're trying on the same outfit as you were wearing a few minutes before, just let the designers do their thing and they'll love you for it.

During the walk-through, listen to the show co-ordinator as they give you directions. Take mental notes on where to pose, the walking pace, and which direction to turn at the end of the runway. They will let you know when to start your walk as everything will be timed down to the second.

Treat this as your opportunity to get it right before showtime. Are you practicing in your garments? Great! See if you can walk well in your shoes and if not, let the designer know. They're here to help you.

'In-the-zone', at the Miromoda Runway Show 2016.
Photo by Masanori Udagawa

There always seems to be a lull period once outfits are on, hair and make-up is applied, and the inevitable selfie chain begins. You can take this chance to have some chill time before the show starts, but make sure you're still available. It's likely the designer will want to do a line-up to make sure their collection is ready to walk – so don't wander off.

There will be a hush backstage once the audience is seated and the beginning of the event is nigh. Make sure to keep quiet and focussed on where you're meant to be. To help the crew during this stressful time, smile whenever you can and listen out for any final instructions before the fun begins…

During the show
The behind-the scenes of a runway show can often resemble feeding time at the zoo. Everyone's senses are heightened; designers, models and crew. They all want a flawless show.

Mastering the art of the quick-change is a skill that requires practice. There can be three people helping undress and re-dress you in your next outfit at the same time. Your arms and legs can be doing different things which takes some serious co-ordination and strong mental zen. Your role is to know when your next outfit should be walking the catwalk, so make sure you're there for your cue.

When you step out on the catwalk, put your best foot forward and initiate 'blue steel'! Stare at a spot at the end of the runway and walk like you've practised. Ooze confidence and the audience won't even know it's your first show. They're looking at the garment just as much, if not more than you. Remember that and show off what you get to wear – you lucky thing!

Once you reach the end of the catwalk, remember to pause for 5-7 seconds to pose in front of the photographers so they can get the perfect shot. "Work" the outfit so the audience can see how it moves and what features it has to offer. Runway shows can be over in no time, so don't forget to breathe and enjoy the rush of the moment.

Hayley catwalking down the Project Fashion Wellington runway in 2017.
Photo by Masanori Udagawa

Final words of advice
Something to remember is that the runway show is d-day for the designers! This is where their hard work pays off and you're there to help them present their designs in the best light possible. Your outfit might not exactly be the one you wanted, but you should be proud to wear it as you glide down the catwalk.

If there's one thing you take from this blog, make it this: enjoy your time on the runway. There is so much work that goes into show prep so embrace your moment, take in the experience, and give yourself permission to have fun!

Want to give modelling a go? Check out our latest modelling jobs below!

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About the author

Hayley Fordyce is one of StarNow's Customer Success Specialists. A long-time lover of the stage, if you need someone to get involved in singing, dancing or modelling – she's your girl! Hayley will give anything a go, even if that means playing the ukulele whilst wearing a Hawaiian lei and skirt in Winter to welcome Cam, our CEO back in to the country #dedicated. She is best known in the office for her positive charm, being a jack of all trades and her friendly smile.