New York Fashion Week is swiftly approaching, the evidence of which is crawling all over lower Manhattan in the form of leggy teenagers from Eastern Europe. Yes, I’m talking about models. Like the roar of cicadas is a reliable sign that summer has arrived, the young and beautiful girls traipsing through SoHo, portfolios and high heels tucked in a tell-tale canvas bag, are the surest indication NYFW is just moments away. I would know; I used to be one.
For a model, Fashion Week is a particular kind of hell. On the one hand, there’s the impending, addictive excitement of another round of runway castings, the chance that you, as a model, might score the booking that could make or break your career. All you need is to open Marc Jacobs or get an exclusive with Calvin Klein and your troubles as a broke and irrelevant unknown are practically solved in one fell swoop. Presto chango. Supermodel time.
But those slots are few and far between. The other side of the Fashion Week coin is something the modeling industry is practically founded on: seemingly limitless rejection. All day, you run around Manhattan, standing in hallways filled with one hundred prettier, thinner girls, all of you in the same pair of black skinny jeans, all of you breathing in the same hot and stagnant air, waiting for your chance to hand your portfolio to a casting director, throw your limbs around, and walk out swearing you’ll never subject yourself to another casting again. Until twenty minutes later you arrive at your next destination, another casting.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s plenty of great things about NYFW, especially when you’re young. The internationals, the parties, the free booze: it’s all a recipe for a very good time. But when it comes down to it, modeling is a job, and Fashion Week is one of the most unforgiving–and uncomparable–parts of the gig.