Walk, Point, Shoot: A Model’s Behind-the-Scenes View of New York and Paris Fashion Weeks
For models, Fashion Week starts the week before the shows, with castings all over the city. You show up, walk for designers and casting directors, and hope to get picked. Sometimes you don’t find out if you’ve been booked for a show until the day before. Two years ago, I started taking a camera with me to castings and shows to document what I was seeing.
This season, castings began on a lonely Labor Day weekend. While most of my friends were out of town, I shuttled around to different offices and shot a look book for a Korean designer. I went to SoulCycle classes and, at night, put on face masks. These things just get me in the game — there’s really nothing you can do to prepare for the runway other than just feel good about yourself.
Lately, casting directors seem to be looking for either brand-new faces or for big-name veterans, like Naomi Campbell or Gisele, who both made surprise appearances on the runway this season. It’s tough to carve out a career in between all that, when you’ve been around a few seasons but you’re not a household name. Still, this season I walked for Opening Ceremony and J. Mendel in New York, and then I went straight to Paris, where I was booked by Hedi Slimane for Saint Laurent. Every designer asks that you walk down the runway a different way: Sometimes it’s graceful and feminine; other times it’s tough, like at Saint Laurent, where you just feel cool about yourself. I walked in the Chanel show, too, where Karl Lagerfeld staged a “feminist” rally and asked us to come out holding picket signs and shouting slogans. I chose DIVORCE POUR TOUS because it felt less awkward to scream something in French than it would in English.
Being a model today is about so much more than what you do on the runway. You have to promote yourself on Instagram and in street style and build your personal brand. Part of the reason I document my life is to turn the camera around — to photograph the world that photographs me.
*This article appears in the October 20, 2014 issue of New York Magazine.