What would happen if an average Joe becomes a model for one day? To answer this question, 24-year-old Sam Stryker tried to live the life of a male model. He swept the runway in a fashion show and sat to share his inspiring tale.
The first step to getting started in modeling is basically to submit yourself to agencies or clients. In order to be considered, Sam submitted his photo to Style Fashion Week (also known as Los Angeles Fashion Week). As Sam stands over six feet tall, his PR contact for the show seemed very excited to have him.
As someone who doesn’t have any know-how about modeling, he asked for random pieces of advice from people he knew. He asked his friend, whose boyfriend is a model, about what he usually does before big shoots. The response he got was, his boyfriend “might take laxatives the day before a shoot in order to be all cleared out”. Luckily, he didn’t have to go through this because he is very regular with his bowel movement.
His modeling journey started with the LA Fashion Week casting, which was held at a fancy hotel in Downtown, Los Angeles. When he arrived at the venue, he immediately walked to the ballroom and saw a line of good-looking and tall guys and gals. Upon seeing them, he swallowed the lump in his throat and told himself, “It had begun”.
The first part of his journey started with some observations like the following:
1. Everyone was really good-looking.
The venue was filled with lots of good-looking individuals. The females were really tall, and the guys were almost equal in height.
2. There were lots of people who wanted to become a model, but the modeling world is a small place.
Sam described the casting for LAFW as a “nightmare version of America’s Next Top Model”. It was the second day of casting, and the line of potential models was very long that it ran from the back of the ballroom all the way to the lobby.
3. To land a spot, you have to show off what you have.
Even if you attend the casting, this does not guarantee a sure spot in the LA Fashion Week. Hence, you still have to compete with everyone to make it to the show. Just like the other aspiring models, you need to have your test shots taken, then line up to show off your practice walk.
At the back of the room, casting agents, designers, and PR people will watch your every move. Once you’re through, you stop by and have a talk with each of them. From there, you will know if they are interested in working with you or not.
4. In walking down a runway, a serious technique is involved.
During Sam’s practice walk, he concentrated on staying in step with other models so he would not look like a newbie. Also, he didn’t smile because male models never smile.
After this, he met a real model, who helped run the event. He asked her how he did on his walk. She said he was “average” and gave these pointers:
Everything seemed to happened really fast. He was cast, and he had to prepare for it all weekend. On a Saturday afternoon, he received a call for a fitting. He then went downtown to be introduced to the designer, who only looked at him and told him he would be fitted right before the show the next day.
On the day of the fashion show, he headed back to downtown. The second half of his journey continued.
5. Everything was really fancy, especially the porta-potties.
The portable toilet looked really luxurious. He even thought he was in Versailles. And, everyone at the event was dressed really fancily and they even had fancy drinks.
6. To make the models look good, a lot of work has to be done.
At first, two women helped him in applying makeup. He got really excited when they were, according to Sam, “doing that contour thing that the Kardashians are known for”. After makeup was applied on him, he went over to the hair department to get his hair styled.
7. Models are still people. Some of them are friendly, and some aren’t.
Sam got the chance to talk to his fellow models. He noticed some of them were willing to talk with him, while others weren’t. While there were those who were eager to share their knowledge and stories of how they got started in the industry, there were some who didn’t care.
8. You have to wait for hours.
On the day of the event, Sam arrived at 3PM. He went through hair styling and makeup application, which lasted for a few minutes and attended the walk-through for forty-five minutes. After which, the long wait began. Because the show started at 9PM, there was plenty of time, when he had nothing to do except to sit.
9. You have to be used to being naked in front of people.
Because there were no changing rooms backstage, Sam saw lots of boobs and butts. Everyone was changing as quickly as possible.
10. Seeing their outfits, you will notice that there is a great difference between fashion and what you wear on a day-to-day basis.
Sam walked for the label Heterophobia, which is run by Antti Asplund. The clothes he creates are all gender-neutral. However, these seemed more like art projects than something you would buy at the mall.
11. When the show begins, all the careful preparations come right on stage.
Once the show starts, everything in the backstage becomes a total mess. In his show, there were sixteen models, but it seemed like there were almost forty faces. This meant that everyone had to wear two or three outfits. Despite all the chaos backstage, the audience would never notice if something goes wrong.
12. Walking down the runway happens in a flash.
As soon as you step on the stage, everything that happened backstage is forgotten. And, you have to do your job and grace the runway and sell the outfit you are wearing.
13. When you get off stage, you need to change fast.
Once you get off the stage, you had to rush and change into your next look. You don’t have any time to screw up and have to move rather fast.
After the event, Sam went on to the last part of his journey.
14. He ended his runway experience with a good meal.
This isn’t really the case, but for Sam, this is just how he rolls.
15. He realized he wouldn’t be quitting his day job to become a model anytime soon.
For Sam, modeling is hard. The hours are very long, and it is surprisingly boring. Basically, it is a hard job, and so much more goes into it than just standing there and looking pretty.
Sam’s modeling experience taught him a lot of things. He was reminded of how important it is to really “feel” your look. According to him, “I’m no Greek god with an eight-pack, but walking in the show reminded me confidence is like hair gel—a little goes a long way.”
“Life is your runway. Strut your stuff,” he added.