Pose, and walk, and pose, and walk.
Don’t run. Don’t stumble. Please, in the name of all that is holy, do not fall.
That’s pretty much all that was going through my mind this past weekend when I made my first official trip down the runway as a fashion model for Sassanova Baltimore.
And yes, it was a real runway.
And yes, it was real fashion.
And yes, I will promptly explain how little ole me got involved in something so very not little ole me like.
As many of you may know, in my capacity as an online “influencer” (imagine me doing finger quotes because the word influencer is a weird word for me), I often get asked to work as an ambassador for brands in various capacities. I produce brand content, I shoot brand videos, and take brand photos in my roll as a brand ambassador quite often. You see it regularly on this blog and in my social media streams. It also explains why you see me on the morning news from time to time talking about awesome brand products, or providing “expert” tips to help you live a more joyful and efficient life.
That’s what brand ambassadors do.
So, when Sassanova, an upscale boutique in Baltimore reached out and asked me to join them as a brand ambassador by being a part of a fashion show they were participating in, I agreed.
Because, it sounded like a fun take on what I do.
And like, seriously, how different could this be?
The way I imagined things, myself and a host of other Maryland “influencers” would participate in a free, little fashion show hosted by the boutique, share some pics and stories on Instagram, maybe go to a little mixer at the Sassanova store, and that would be that.
Only, when the day drew near and I decided to do a little prep work for the event, I made a few somewhat horrifying discoveries.
First of all, it wasn’t about to be a little fashion show. In fact, what it was about to be was the biggest annual fashion show in Baltimore, hosted by the city’s mayor. We’d be walking down a runway set up in the middle of the major Inner Harbor shopping area where hundreds of people would be watching.
It also wasn’t a free event. People would pay a good chunk of change to be able to sit beside the stage in the VIP section and enjoy the show up close and personal.
Think about those images of New York fashion shows you see with the celebrity filled rows of chairs down the sides and at the end. This? SAMESIES. Only minus the celebrities.
Here is a photo for proof…
THAT is the runway I was being asked to walk.
And, it wouldn’t just be Sassanova participating. Several stores were lined up for the event, many of which are major, national brands you’ve likely heard of before (Lululemon and Anthropologie, for example).
Oh, and if all of this info wasn’t enough to get me feeling a little barfy, I also discovered that this wouldn’t be an “influencer thing” in the traditional sense of “influencer things”, it would be a fashion model thing, in the traditional sense of fashion model things. We influencers were thrown in for fun.
Suffice to say, when I arrived for dress rehearsal Friday night and watched as each of the men and women before me practiced their cat walks, my mind was blown. Because holy-6-foot-tall-sexy-lady-fierce-model-walks-Batman!
My legs don’t stride like that. And my hips don’t jut like that. And my face doesn’t doesn’t slay like that.
I’m more of a shuffle step, wave-and-walk, try-not-to-fall, finger-guns-when-I-pose type of girl.
Which explains why my insecurities were in full bloom causing me to want to fake a sprained ankle and stay home from the show Saturday morning.
I went home that night and sobbed to my husband about why I just can’t go be in a runway fashion show with actual fashion models.
I’m too short, and round, and old, and round for that.
He gave me a laundry list of reasons why I shouldn’t feel badly about participating and then, because he likes to give me options, he followed up with at least five creative excuses I could use to get out of it, should I decide to go that route (something about explosive diarrhea was thrown in there as I recall).
However, not one to quit in the face of adversity (or blame explosive diarrhea for my absence), I put on my big girl panties (literally, they were huge), and hit that fashion show hard Saturday.
I sat for hair and makeup. I mingled with the other ladies. I tried not to fall asleep backstage while waiting three hours for the show to start. And when it was stage time, I went out there and did my thing the only way I know how –with a smile and a wave (don’t worry, I holstered my finger guns).
At the end of the day I’m grateful for the opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone and I learned a ton too.
I Spent a Day as a Runway Model and Here’s What Happened
I’m wearing my clothing too big.
This first came up when I was on What NOT to Wear and we determined that I buy them too big because I don’t want anyone to see the true shape of my body. I should probably stop doing that.
Find similar dress here: Trina Turk zip front dress
Fuscia is totally my color.
Seriously, I don’t know why I don’t own a single piece of clothing in this shade of pink. It’s perfect for my skin.
I’ve been parting my hair on the wrong side for like ever.
According to the hairstylist who pulled off this magic do, it looks better parted this way than it does to the side I usually choose.
There is no room for modesty in a runway fashion show.
They had us dressing in a tent behind the stage. When they first went over the day I figured, okay, fine, I guess there will be some sort of partitions down there for us to change behind. Only, nope. It was a big open room. All of the models, male and female, were pushed inside, directed to our racks, and told to change. In the tent. Together. At the same time. I told myself that no one was looking at me in my granny panties and double Spanx while real models were flitting about in thongs and bras. I choose to take that belief to my death bed.
It’s not about you.
Modeling isn’t about the models, it’s about the clothing. And, if you remember that, it’s a lot easier to not feel embarrassed.
You can’t really eat in double Spanx.
And breathing is harder too. Shallow breaths and a quarter of a wrap is what I survived on Saturday.
Going to the bathroom is only going to be easy if you can also dislocate your shoulders.
Because that’s what I needed to do in order to snap my Spanx bodysuit back together. I decided to lay off the water for the rest of the day so as not to subject myself to that level of body contortionism again.
The audience wants you to succeed.
I don’t know if it was my obvious basicness or the fear they spied in my eyes, but I hit that runway and people cheered! I think they could instinctively tell that their cheering was helping me avoid tragedy, and I 100% thank them for their support.
It takes 37 seconds to walk up and down a runway.
And it is the slowest 37 seconds of your life.
But when it’s over, you feel kind of amazing.
I guess that’s the adrenaline talking. And the feeling of I-didn’t-fall-to-my-death-in-front-of-hundreds-of-people euphoria was not unique to me. The men all exited the stage to chest bumps and vigorous hig-5s (ugh, I wish I were a dude sometimes, their lives are so fun!). Obviously they were feeling some type of way as well.
Want to see what I wore and all of the other amazing pieces featured in the show? Check out Sassnova Baltimore (or Bethesda) for more!