Models of the Runway

I was in New York the days leading up to Fashion Week.

Picture from Stylehive.

I always love the ‘scene’ in New York. I live in a wonderful, cosmopolitan, huge city of ‘my own’, but it is so fun to visit somewhere else, and soak up the flavor, and feel and culture. New York and San Francisco could not be more different.

We were in the SoHo area ‘early’ on Friday morning, and in between shops, I spotted some girls who I thought must be models. Later I saw a few more. And then, they seemed to be everywhere.

I have not ever hung out with runway models. (well, not since I gave up being a professional ab model after college. ) And it was interesting to see them in person. If you had told me before I left,  that I would be seeing lots of models, I might have experienced a moment of being bummed out. “For real, lets loose this ‘baby weight” ! Or “if only I could “wear those clothes”. Yet, when I saw them in person, my response was completely different, and unexpected, and refreshing.

First of all, the models are girls. They didn’t look 16 (and they were not with their ‘stage Moms’).  They looked 19-24. They were thin, yes, but they were also tall. SO so tall. They all had long hair, and for the most part, it was back in a pony tail. Many of them had very unusual faces. Not ‘classic beauty’ and very little to no make-up. Now, they were stylish. Let’s make no mistake about that. They looked ‘cool’ and tragically hip in a way that I was not when I was 19. But they were so tall and so thin that I never thought “oh, I wish I looked like that”.  It didn’t make me want to starve to be like them. Because it was clear in an instant that if I weighed 50 pounds less,  than I do, I would not look anything like them. It also didn’t make me throw in the towel and run to Starbucks to wash down a cake-pop with a Vendi Mocha Frap with extra Caramel and whip on top.  I didn’t want to ‘be like them’ any more than I want to join the NBA or be a professional jockey. It finally just struck me that they are a profession with a very specific body type. And I don’t have that body type. Simple as that.

Now, let’s not misunderstand, I think the Fashion Ideal of Beauty is certainly unrealistic. And yes, there are teens out there who are in fact starving in an effort to look like ‘that’. And yes, many of the models are not that naturally thin (or very healthy) and they are not doing good things to their bodies. I don’t ‘like’ that. Sadly though, I don’t really feel like there is much that I can do to influence that particular dynamic. The clothes that my favorite program makes are hung on very thin, very tall young ladies. And that is the state of affairs. It is actually a tale as old as time, (corsets, bustles, even bound feet! …) it’s just that through the decades, and the centuries, the goal posts keep moving. The “ideals” have changed, but they have always been unrealistic.

What I can say is this: I don’t wish I was a model. I don’t wish for that body, or that life either. They were working their tiny butts off in an expensive city, trying to get around, and get work in that important week in their industry. And dang, it was hot and muggy out. I can tell you, I was working hard on my shopping and catching up with the lovely ladies that I was with. I was hot and exhausted, and I did not have a time-table to keep, or clients to meet and “walk for”. And I COULD stop and suck down a Frapp if I felt like it. Which I did. I’ll worry about the “baby weight” before her 17th birthday. Now, to I wish I could be in the cast of Billy Elliot? Oh yes! There is a ‘good’ unrealistic goal!

13 years ago by in Project Project Runway | You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
2 Comments to Models of the Runway
    • Sea
    • I have been a “runway model” in my past…and I love the fact that people look at me and can’t figure what I have just said…but my youngest Aunty was/is a fashion designer..and she the time in children’s clothes…and I was her principle model.

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