I am not a model scout. I do not coach models. I am not an agent.
And, I have never modeled. (Except for that time when I had to stand in for one of my own models during a dress rehearsal/run-through while she was vomiting in the bathroom. Due to illness, not lifestyle. There was zero people in the audience, but that sure didn’t stop my stagefright.)
Anyways, Omaha Fashion Week is hosting its final model call for their August 2012 runway shows: http://www.facebook.com/events/215024305266182/ Whenever Omaha Fashion Week has model auditions, I get bombarded with messages and emails from hopeful potential models. Mostly they want to know how to get chosen. OFW has some helpful tips here: http://omahafashionweek.com/2012/02/ofw-model-call-2012/ Since I work with models on a regular basis, I’ve dealt with the good, the bad, and the super-beautiful-but-ugly-on-the-inside.
But what do I look for? I really look for four basic things: Responsibility. Confidence. Distinction. Fun.
(Notice how my criteria has NOTHING to do with size, experience, age, or even gender. Reeeeeeally not that picky about those things.*)
*Although, I am hoping to cast alot of male/masculine models for Omaha Fashion Week 2012.
1) Responsibility: I don’t care how good-looking you are, how well you move on the runway, how perfect your hair does that flippy thing that I want to be part of my styling for the show, if you are not going to show up then I don’t want to bother casting you. When I cast a model, I’m trusting that they are prepared to be at the model meetings, rehearsals, the long salon hours, the and backstage waiting marathon. There’s at least 12 hours of waiting for maaaaaayyybe a minute and a half on the runway, tops. It’s boring, but it’s part of the gig. So, SHOW UP. And email me back. It’s simple. Paid or unpaid, it’s a commitment. You’ve been chosen over hundreds of other people to represent my brand. And let me tell ya, my brand SHOWS UP.
(Okay, sometimes real life things actually come up and you have to back out……I get that. Look at me being reasonable.)
2) Confidence: Can you handle the fact that your role is to be judged by a gazillion people at once while you are alone on the runway? No? Then get out of the kitchen. I look for people who have loads of confidence. Sometimes I dress people WAY over-the-top for the runway and I need models who can handle THAT MUCH LOOK. Some models wear the outfit, and some outfits wear the model–and it’s all because of their level of confidence.
3) Distinction: This is the most vague and indescribable quality I look for. When I go to model calls, I see hundreds of pretty faces walking down the same runway. Just walking. Pretty face…..walking….done. Pretty face…..walking….done. Over and over. You have to have some sort of distinction to get noticed.. There must be something to set you apart. When people say “Some models just have it.” It’s that elusive THING that sets them apart that is hard to describe and probably frustrating to develop.
I often choose models with prior stage experience. Sometimes they are musicians, sometimes they are dancers, sometimes they are actors. The “stage presence mentality” is what makes my models stand out. Also, theater background or the past experience of creating a stage persona is helpful because I like to describe the vibe of my collection to my models before each show. This helps me to give them direction about how they should carry themselves, or what they should be thinking, or what sort of attitude they should exude. It’s more of a character synopsis for a theatrical performance than your standard runway modeling instructions: walk, pose, don’t fall. Sure, they look like they are runway models, but they have an extra layer of subtle theatricality infused into their runway presence. This ability is the particular distinction that I look for.
I also like someone with a distinct look. Some designers cast models that all look the same. They might hope to cast an army of pale-skinned, brunettes that are a size 0-2 and are 5’10”. They are all about consistency. As you can see from my run-through photo, I don’t do this. Tall, short, dark, light, thick, thin…..whatevs. You just gotta look good. And you most likely have something very unique about your look. I’m a sucker for interesting bone structures. And androgyny.
4) Fun: Why would I want to work with un-fun people? If I’m going to spend 12 hour days with a group of people, I want to combine a bunch of mega-awesome personalities into an epic team of FUN.
Other last minute tips gleaned from Audio’s real-life experiences for your runway audition:
-Dress simply. This isn’t a runway show. If I remember your outfit and not you, you’ve done something wrong. “Remember that girl with that weird hat?” Fail. “Remember that guy that wore the aviators on the runway?” Double fail. I don’t care how fashionable you are, do NOT let your outfit overpower your audition.
-Don’t wink at me (or the judges) as you pose on the runway. It will not get you brownie points. It will not schmooze me into casting you. In fact, I have NOT casted excellent models for just this. It’s unprofessional.
-Don’t jump and squeal with your audition buddies when you step off the runway. Nailing your audition walk is awesome. Managing not to fall is also awesome. Ruining all your professional model cred with a girly jump/squeal session? Not so awesome.
-Have a decent online portfolio. You don’t necessarily have to hire someone to take a thousand photos and create a website…..but, c’mon….give me something! Just put a few decent quality pictures up, even if they are just in a separate folder on your facebook. Face shots and full body shots are helpful. If I can go home and be reminded of your great look when I facebook stalk you (and I probably will….who doesn’t?), it will be in your favor. I’m a visual person, so I’d be way more likely to choose you.
Best of luck to all you model-hopefuls!