The month of February has always been an extremely busy month for fashion in New York City. Not only is it the beginning of Black History Month but it is the month in which New York Fashion Week falls. Historically there is usually an abundance of shows and events going on this month. While plus sizes are STILL excluded from the tents of Bryant Park, that doesn’t mean that things are not happening for us OUTSIDE of the tents. Auditions abound everywhere and a smart plus sized model will be on top of her game right now looking for work.
Always remember that Preparation Is Key! Come armed with the tools of your trade and nail your auditions! Pack all the tools that are needed in your bag and leave the excuses at home.
Tips for Auditioning during Fashion Week:
If you are auditioning for runway shows, make sure you cover all of your bases. Ask questions (to your agent or the producer) if there’s something you don’t understand or if there is information needed that hasn’t been stated. Always keep a small pad and paper in your to take notes when necessary.
Listen & Follow Directions: If the producer is specific about what the models are required to bring to an open call or a show; make sure you have whatever it is that is requested in your bag when you arrive.
For example: If the call requires that you bring a 3-inch heel, bring a 3-inch heel. If the call requires that you wear a specific type of clothing – WEAR it! If they ask you to turn off or put your cell phones on vibrate – do it! (Excuse yourself if it’s a call you absolutely have to take…then take the call outside, so as not to disrupt the proceedings.) If the producers ask the models for a specific “routine” for the audition (i.e. “Give me an entrance pose, then walk to the end of the runway, pose and walk back and close with an exit pose) then that’s exactly what you should do. If the producers don’t ask you to throw some additional turns in – don’t’. The last thing you want to do as a model is stand out because you CAN’T or WON’T follow directions.
It goes without saying that if you are auditioning for a runway show, that you should always have a proper pair of pumps in your bag. But you would be surprised at how many aspiring models I see showing up for shows with flats, sneakers and clunky platform shoes. All that does is telegraph to the producers that you are not what they are looking for. It takes a lot of money to put on a really good production (and the costs go up exponentially during fashion week) and the last thing that a producer wants the audience and press to see is a show with models who don’t really know what they are doing.
Patience is a Virtue: When auditioning for shows during fashion week, keep in mind that the rule is “the bigger the show, the longer you may have to wait to be seen.” And I will warn you, I have been to some auditions where the wait time can be absolutely ridiculous, sometimes going on for several hours. Work in the possible wait time beforehand and resist the urge to make a scene because you feel your time is being wasted. If you don’t want to wait, just leave – quietly.
Working With Producers: Last month I traveled down to Washington DC to make an appearance at a fashion show and I had an opportunity to hang out and observe some of the models as they waited to get their makeup done. A little while later the producer of the show came out and made an announcement for models to begin moving to the backstage area. Apparently one of the models took issue with the tone that the producer used on her and voiced her objections…loudly. The verbal sparring between the model and the producer continued as the room watched and escalated into the near physical. The model then proceeded to dive into histrionics as she proclaimed to the world “I don’t need this show because everyone KNOWS I can walk!” Then she stomped into the backstage area simultaneously packing her bags and refusing to be calmed down. She yelled and screamed all the way downstairs and out the door. THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR…Ever. All of said model’s hard work, time and efforts went right out the window because she couldn’t or wouldn’t control her temper. Although the producer in question here was gracious about the situation this time around – If I were the producer in this situation, I don’t care how magnificent her walk was/is or how beautiful she was, I would never hire her for anything again.
In fashion the one thing I can guarantee is that you WILL come across a producer who is difficult to work within your career. It’s inevitable and it’s usually not personal. Producers can be very temperamental and it only gets worse the closer they get to show time. This is why they delegate most production duties to their staff. All they want to do at show time is focus on the show – they don’t want to answer questions about how your makeup looks, what routine will look better on the runway or which body foundation you should wear. These are all minute details that can be handled easily by the production staff people he or she has put in charge. You risk incurring the full wrath of a generally overwhelmed producer if you bombard them with this sort of stuff an hour before show time.
Producers (and their minions) can also be notoriously shady during open calls; they can and will insult you right to you face. Unfortunately, it’s the nature of the business and your best bet is to ignore it, stay and prove them wrong or if the slight is so offensive to you that absolutely cannot work with the offenders, leave and don’t look back.
Now if you have done all that you can do to stay out of a producers way and you still managed to get screamed on (yeah…it happens), my suggestion to you is to suck it up and keep moving. In fashion you HAVE to have a thick skin or you’ll be crying all the time. Take some deep breaths and walk away. You can table it for a later discussion when the producer has your full attention, if it bothers you THAT much. Otherwise, let it go and keep focused on the task at hand – after all…doing the show IS the priority for you isn’t it?
Putting Your Best Face Forward: Don’t make the freshman mistake of not looking your best at your auditions. Your best bet is to put on a light foundation (if you have blemishes you need to conceal) or a little bit of powder or bronzer (if you have nothing to hide), a little bit of mascara and a natural looking lip-gloss. You really don’t need any more than that.
Showing up to auditions not wearing any makeup at all is a definite no-no, as few of us leap out of bed looking fabulous first thing in the morning. Don’t show up to your audition looking tired and worn out…take a moment to touch yourself up. If you prefer being barefaced (as I do) when you are not working…always keep the basics (powder/foundation, mascara & lip gloss) in your bag at all times.
Make sure you bring your composite card with you: You can bring your book with you if you like but most producers like to use your comp card for their show charts and/or lineups, so it’s a good idea to keep them with you. Depending on how long the audition runs, they (the producers) may not have time to go through you book. If you don’t have a comp card yet (gasp!) bring a nice clean, clear photo of yourself that you are willing to leave behind.
FYI: Fight the urge to bring your high school graduation photos or that picture you took at Sears last year with you. You will be lucky if they don’t laugh right in your face.
Keep your clothing simple as well, this would not be a good time to have your boobies bursting out all over or having the crack of your butt showing. Keep your hair simple and off your face, if that’s a good look for you and leave the colored hairpieces at home. Wear fashionable but comfortable shoes that you can walk in. Depending on the size of the show, you might have to walk for more than one designer.
Personality, Personality, Personality: I can’t say it enough. Bring it with you because you’re going to need it! Your acting skills must come into play here because your job will be to dazzle the producers with your look, your walk and your energy. If you go into your audition and give them (the producers) the same basic everyday walk and bore them to death….chances are you will be just as boring during the actual show – and that will lessen your chances greatly. Remember, you are already in a room full of beautiful women – you MUST find a way to stand out and be noticed. Make your audition a memorable one. Pack the razzle dazzle in your bag of tricks and unleash it the MOMENT it is your turn to be seen. If they should ask you questions make sure you answer them honestly and with charm, personality and humor (if the moment calls for it).
Good luck to you all and I’ll see you on the runway…..
Now go out and change the world ladies…..it’s TIME!
“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. “–William Faulkner