‘Butt Breathing’ & 6 Other Things You Didn’t Know About Models
February may be the official month of love, but to the style-obsessed, it’s all about fashion: The first of many a Fashion Week kicked off in New York on the 6th and then we’re off to London, Milan and Paris. So why fuss about romance when there are meggings (yes, that’s leggings for men) and orange lipstick to discuss? Many fashionistas would take a runway show over a candlelit dinner any day.
Like good magicians, great fashion shows will blow you away and leave you wondering how they ever pulled it off. As models move flawlessly forward, they exhibit goddess-like confidence and fierceness. Victoria Secret has even dubbed its models “Angels.” But don’t be fooled: Behind every Aphrodite is a real woman -- with real thoughts, worries and funny little habits that make her even more gorgeous. To discover this other side of models that we never get to see on the runway, we went behind the scenes and talked to the people who make the magic happen. Here are seven amazing things we found out about models.
1. They sometimes just want to get it over with.
You know those let’s-just-get-this-over-with things we have to do sometimes (i.e., public speaking, gyno appointments, job interviews)? Well, walking down a runway is just as nerve-racking, and like with public speaking, speeding through it will only make it worse.
“The camera shot is what lasts,” says Iris Latour, fashion coordinator, host and model with eight years of industry experience. “I always tell my girls to slow down. Nothing is worse than a fast walk. Imagine that you're speeding up so fast that the photographer can't even get a good shot of you! Then, why did you walk in the first place?”
Iris Latour taking it slow. She knows the camera phones are watching! (Photo credit: Pete Hopkins)
2. They’ll pick bagels over apples any day.
A lot of people assume models fast or skip meals before a show -- and that they have superpowers that allow them to do ridiculous things like say no to nachos! Not true. With all that strutting and stress, models can’t run on empty. And like the rest of us, they crave carbs when the pressure’s on. Food is often provided at fashion shows, and during New York Fashion Week, models often pick bagels over fruit. Who can blame them? They are in New York, home of the world’s best bagels, after all.
You’d be clapping too if there were bagels waiting for you backstage! (Photo credit: Gerry Shih)
3. They “breathe through their butts.”
The best advice I ever got, says Ella Cooley, a California model with five years of industry experience, is “Breathe through your butt.” As silly it may sound, focusing your breath towards your rear end helps your shoulders drop and keeps your chest from moving in ways that might affect the look as you walk. They’re actually also great “words to walk by” for those of us (finger pointed at my tall-girl slouch) who struggle with maintaining good posture.
Ella Cooley butt-breathing down the runway. (Photo credit: Shubham Garg)
4. They sometimes get left behind.
It takes a village to dress a model at a fashion show. “There are several dressers assigned to each model,” says Cooley. “They make sure that I get in and out of each look safely and back out on the runway in good time.” A team of people working all up in your personal space is essential. “I've been forgotten before,” says Latour, “and you can't imagine how insane it is to rip off my own clothes, headdress, shoes and try to slink into something else on my own!”
Pre-show “all hands in” backstage. One, two, three: No model left behind! Photo credit: Nick Navarro
5. They often feel nervous when all eyes are on them.
Models can’t just imagine everyone in their underwear to calm their nerves, especially when looking down can cause them to misstep, or worse, become yet another viral video of modeling falls. Instead, models have to find a way to balance being in the moment while not messing up their walk. “I remind myself not to fall and find a soft focus where the things I see around me are present but fuzzy,” says Cooley.
6. They study a lot to get ahead.
Shows require beauty and brains. To do right by the designer, Cooley says, you have to study their work so you can develop the right walk. “Clothes can be used to tell a story,” she says. “Taking on the appropriate attitude for a piece is important to help the audience realize the overall aesthetic the designer is going for.”
Just your typical Tuesday night study group. (Photo credit: Alamedia Design)
7. They love BYOB.
And by BYOB, we mean “bring your own bra,” of course. We all know that bra size doesn’t mean a bra fits. And since models aren’t preternaturally immune to this phenomenon … “I always pack a nude bra and thong, and a black bra and thong,” says Latour.
Misplaced your invite to your favorite designer’s show? No worries. Just attend fashion weeks across the globe virtually by cruising Twitter and Instagram. Check out the official fashion week hashtags #NYFW, #LFW, #MFW and #PFW. And don’t forget to share your fave fashion finds with us on Twitter @thestyleglossy!