It all looks glorious from the outside, doesn’t it? The fashion industry is one in which all the ladies in the world would like to spend their time. Let’s think about it: beautiful women and beautiful men, the best clothes in the world, shoes beyond your wildest dreams, there is always someone taking care of you and your face, you get to travel across the entire world and, above everything else, you’re famous. Everybody wants to be a fashion model and that knowledge comes along with a totally different perception of yourself. You know you have power, you know that everybody wants you and that can be as exciting as it can be terrifying. You can imagine that this sort of knowledge generates some kind of behavior behind the curtains. We only get to see the goodies, but the truth is that fashion models have a really, really tough life, the sort of life that no many common people would be ready to undertake. Not in the name of “being better” and not in the name of fame. Actually, if many actually understood what fame requires they would downright loathe it. So do you think you have what it takes to walk the walk?
It comes in different forms. Let’s start with the 10 minutes of fame. Yes, those are the 10 minutes that a model gets to spend on the stage, walking back and forth with different designs. Fashion Week is the most expected event of the year and people really need to prepare for it. Designers put on their best shows and models need to be in the best shape of their lives. Preparation time: four months. You’d think that would be enough, right? You have more than enough time to think your designs through, you can plan the event, you already know where it is going to take place, models know that they have to stay fit so they constantly exercise (not like they don’t exercise anyway). What could possibly go wrong? Your brain. The answer is “your brain”. Even though there has been more than enough time to prepare, everybody freaks out the day before the event.
It is like some sort of pattern with these events. It’s not like everybody who is coming knows exactly what’s going on behind the scenes. People know that they are going to have a good time anyway, so they are very excited. But the organizers and the models go mad! What if something doesn’t work? What if someone slips? What if the dress does not fit? Every possible challenge in the world starts to emerge. It doesn’t really matter if there is no chance for it to happen. What if it does? This sort of pressure gets to people. So what happens? The event turns out to be a success, everybody applauds and has a great time and then they get to go home. Everything lasted for a few minutes. Thank you all for coming, have a good night, see you next year. Four months for this! But as funny as it sounds it’s also dead-serious. The show is the most exquisite event in the world of fashion. We did not mention variables that also seem to pop up one day before the show. Maybe the design director suddenly changes his mind one day before the grand event. Backstage insanity is off the charts. Models wonder if they are going to make it, you see people looking after something everywhere, panic, screams, occasional laughter and a lot of emotions. You get the picture. It’s total chaos. But hey, it’s Fashion Week. You either go perfect or go home!
Everything You Heard About the Models Is True
You heard that they are as moody as possible? Yes, the fashion industry does contain this feature too. Underfed? Totally. It’s a total paradox because you are considered a lucky model if you get to walk in different shows, but that also multiplies the stress level tenfold. Glamor can get to their heads quite fast. Some do not come on time, others demand silly things and sometimes their attitude just feels something like “everyone around me is so unworthy”. Some designers claim that dealing with a model is the equivalent of dealing with a three year old who does not like anything but enjoys all the booze. Yes, for those of you who have heard about it, food is prepared for all the ladies. It’s just that they do not eat anything. Who would in that situation? Well, yes, you and we, but them? No, not a chance. Apart from the dangerous mindset, the girls also have to put up with some really uncomfortable footwear.
Imagine this particular scenario: you fix her all up and send her onto the stage. You just started thinking about those huge heels and the fact that the runway is perhaps the slipperiest thing you might have seen in your life. You don’t get to finish the thought and you hear a huge “bum”. There’s a loud crowd gasp, the band stopped playing and then there is complete silence. You know it happened. You know she fell, but you also hear her picking herself up and being applauded by the audience. You feel good that she’s ok, but you also know what went through her heart and her head at that moment. “I failed. How could I have done this? Why me? I’m not worthy? All the important people saw it. This is going to mark my career.” All those thoughts come roaming in through her head. You imagined this? You know it was just your imagination, but the truth is that these things do happen. If you can feel just a fraction of it all, imagine how the real deal feels like.
When Paranoia Kicks In
We all know that the models walking down the alley look good. Come on, saying anything else would be purely superficial. They exercise every day, they have the strictest diets of all and they look gorgeous. They do not think that way. Most of them actually think they are fat. No, no, do not take it as a surprise or as paranoia. It’s paranoia for us, but not for them. Every one extra gram is the difference between perfection and imperfection in their heads. It is somewhere at the border of normality and abnormality. The truth is that they all look good, but things are completely different on the stage. The competition is there, the willingness to be better, to surpass the others, to be the next Gigi or Karlie. It’s all a big game. And someone always needs to win the game. But there are some little things that really work out for you. You get to party hard and you get all sorts of goodies. They are actually called goodie bags and they can contain anything that is super valuable: fragrances, sunglasses, scarves and sometimes you even get to take something that you wore on the stage home. So all that effort was indeed worth something. And it’s not just that you get to take nice things home, but you can finally relax and enjoy the atmosphere. Who doesn’t like a good party? And (sorry for spoiling it) it often happens that everybody is just too tired for the event. All the stress just wastes them and everything they want to do is just sleep. But it’s a super cool party and you should be there… so you pull yourself up and you try go there and dance. It’s not that bad most of the time. You get to have a nice time and be happy that you are done with it all. Then you go back home, pardon, to your glorious five star hotel, get your beauty sleep and wake up comfortably in the morning… if you are not supposed to be in that 5 AM plane to your other show.
So what do you think? Is it still as glamorous as you still believed it to be? You do get the spoils of war in the end, but the truth is that it’s not about how it ends. It’s about how you manage your way towards the end. Designers are constantly under pressure because they know they have to come up with something unique over and over. Models exercise every day and they starve themselves for “maximum performance”. Small things like slipping or the extra gram that you have and your colleague doesn’t become the hardest burdens that you need to hold on your shoulders. Make no mistake: the fashion industry is the most glamorous one in the world, but it is a ruthless one. But there are people who make it. Hard work and perseverance can get you anywhere. As with anything else, it is only a matter of discipline and what you decide. If you want to be successful in this industry you can do it just like in any other. You have more than enough examples to inspire you.