Thursday, February 25, 2016
Model Confessional: "Why I Quit Fashion Week"
"I did Fashion Week from the ages of 18 to 21, with big dreams of landing a campaign. But because it's all about booking the right shows, when you don't, all you do is walk away with fried hair, clogged pores, blisters and around $200 per show. Eventually, I realized that catalog and print advertising work was the way to go because the money is so good and the job isn't stressful. Until I had that epiphany, show after show, I'd have barely enough money to pay my rent, which was $1500 a month, and a book's worth of backstage horror stories to tell my mother.
Everyone thinks fashion week is crazy, but it's really the two weeks beforehand for models that is really insane. You're expected to go all over the city to fittings and castings. There's no time to eat lunch. And you're so stressed out that you're not even hungry anyway. Yet, a designer will see an outfit on you once, wait until you leave the casting, and then call your agent and ask why you've gained weight. And all you can think is, Seriously?! Once, while staring at my breasts, a designer said: "Have your boobs gotten bigger?" I said, "Yes, I just started taking a new birth control pill."
This designer then told my agent that I had to switch pills or else I wouldn't be hired. Luckily I never had any other weight issues, but some of my friends did and they lost out on a lot of work.
The hardest part of fashion week for me though was when I sat in the hair and makeup chair. My skin is sensitive and I'd breakout almost immediately after they'd apply foundation.
It actually got so bad that I started carrying around my Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation to each show, asking the makeup artists to use that instead, or else my face would start to burn and I'd get an inflamed rash all over. And — ready for this? — makeup artists set the makeup with hairspray (yes, they spray hairspray in your face), which didn't help matters! So basically, my skin never had a chance to calm down because the next day, the layers-of-foundation plus hairspray would go on. And on. And on.
Oh, and you think cotton pads are soft, right? They're not.
During the day it's a lot of putting on — and wiping off — makeup with cotton pads. And there's nothing gentle about that process, especially when you get your makeup changed about five plus times a day. A Q-tip ends up feeling like a tiny knife after it's used to straighten eye liner and get rid of smudges for the one hundredth time (a lot of the shows call for a smoky eye). Needless to say, my skin—and my eyes—looked tired, irritated, and always felt super dry after each day of shows, so I'd have to sleep wearing a mask of Cetaphil Lotion every night.
While, in all fairness, some tried to be gentle, the truth is, most were more concerned with getting the job done. I felt like they didn't think about how a human was attached to the hair and that I was a mannequin head. And with all of the styles, tangles, and tight braids that I endured, I'd have to go home and throw a ton of conditioner in my hair every night. Then after each season, I'd get a few inches cut off, since it was so matted and damaged.
I also have a bad habit of biting my nails, so the manicurists often put on acrylic tips, which would make my nails thin and weak. And if I didn't have blisters from running around to the castings, I'd get them from wearing shoes that didn't fit. Designers only order a certain number of each size shoe and whoever gets to the casting first, gets the right shoe size. The others just have to make the pairs that are left fit.
Posted by at 5:48 AM