I found myself on top of a long stretch of shiny black vinyl coated floor. I hear the music pumping in my ears, muffling the sounds of my heart and lungs expanding and collapsing. There are faces that I can’t make out in the distance, but I know they are watching. A small guy waves his hand to me, signaling that I have to make haste and it’s my turn. I took a long breath, held it, climbed up the stairs and blocked every stimulus that distracts me.
I walked with passion. Long powerful strides, chin held up high, tummy tucked in and butt stuck out. I can feel the floor shaking under my weight. There are flashes erupting from every direction. There are blurred entities from afar, they seem to be watching and judging. I can see their vague expressionless faces fold and crumple to every move I make.
My heart is pumping blood infused with adrenaline. I thought to myself, “DON’T FUCKING TRIP ON THE RUNWAY!” This is the moment I’ve worked hard for. Months of diet and yoga have done wonders to my lean frame. This is my chance to show off, now I’m just basking in all my glory. My face was burning and I was sweating profusely.
The vest I wore almost slipped on my shoulders; luckily I got to the end of the runway with my clothes intact. I turned and posed, cameras were clicking and flashing. I had to keep my face from smiling, my natural instinct in front of the lens. I just had to “smile with my eyes” without my lips or my cheeks moving. Just for a few seconds, I had to make my way back.
Long powerful strides without looking too cocky, that’s what the designers wanted.
I reached the backstage, it was utter chaos. I smell hairspray, make-up and burning cigarettes. Three guys rushed to me; one was removing the torn off-shoulder shirt with the plaid vest, the other was removing the high-cut dunks, and the last one was unzipping the ripped denim shorts. I only had my nice undies after that. Then a girl handed me a long-sleeved tie-dyed shirt, apparently I had to do it 2 more times. There was this tall guy who grabbed my chin and started brushing my face and crunching my hair. A retouch. I zipped up the salmon colored roll-up pants and wore the tan topsiders. Time was running short and the little guy was screaming and waving his hands to me.
The music changed, but it’s still that electropop beat, the kind that puts people in a weird trance. The lights also changed hues. It was time to strut and sell the clothes again.
The hype was addicting. It was a mixture of anxiety, nausea, hunger, fatigue and fulfillment. It was worth it. I was giggling with my girlfriend/co-model backstage. My skin was itchy and I felt like I needed a bath but I can’t just yet. We still had to do post runway shoots, which is weird because we were asked to never publish them on our facebook accounts.
My first show was a success. The designers were happy. Models were busy shaking hands and getting each other’s numbers. Photographers just come in and out and take snaps of everyone. I was living my dream. All the pain and shame of being rejected time and time again was worth it. I don’t care if this is going to be my last, but I finally felt like a real model for the first time in my life. Even if it’s just for a local label.
After the show, everyone was invited to go and mingle in the nearby club. Hopefully to book more jobs and projects for the free lance models and even find an agency that will take care of them. Booze, food and sex; it’s everyone’s Cheat Day. But everyone knows not to be too out there. A couple of pounds gained would end someone’s career.
I wonder if I ever get to do those again, I seem to be getting the hang of it. I always go to casting calls and go-sees but I seldom book jobs for myself. It was blood, sweat and tears just to find an employer. The pay is bad also, but I want to keep on doing this. I got hooked.
Doors are slowly opening for me. I just need to choose one, yet again.