Models are the life-blood of Charleston Fashion Week

More than mannequins

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City Paper intern Olivia Gossett is volunteering as a model at Charleston Fashion Week this year. Read her perspective on the stressful weeks leading up to CFW.

It began with a walk, a walk to the audition at the Art Institute on North Market Street. A walk in line, among the hundreds of other CFW model hopefuls. And finally, a walk for the judges, a catwalk, to be exact, which led to months of waiting.

In reality, that’s what modeling for CFW mostly consists of. Walking and waiting. Walk to the audition, wait for an answer. Walk to the rehearsal, wait to walk. And so on. But we do all of this walking and waiting because of what we anticipate for this coming week. Charleston Fashion Week, five days of promised fun parties, makeup and fashions, where models rule the runway, and you get to be one of those models.

Most of the rehearsals, three of which were required, call for all the women to wear heels, of course, so we can learn how to strut in our stilettos. With everyone there, rehearsals were a mixture of meet-and-greet moments and runway education. Many were learning the catwalk basics: don’t swing your arms too much, remember facial expression, don’t bounce too much, but don’t walk like a zombie.

Soon the e-mails of where our casting calls were came trickling in. We would go, walk, and wait to hear whether we were cast or not. Models waited weeks, sometimes over a month, to hear back from the designers and stores they auditioned for. But ultimately, the making-the-cut satisfaction was well worth the wait. The fittings came next, with clothes to be tried on, and outfits to be put together. This year, models are only wearing one look per designer or store, so casters chose carefully when deciding who wore what. But, you’ll have to come to the shows to see how that all turned out.

Now, as I’m sitting backstage, waiting for my hair and make-up (three and a half hours before my show), I can’t wait to step out onto the runway and show everyone, from the front to the back row, what I, and all the models, have been working for over the past few months.

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