Attending New York Fashion Week has always been on the top of my bucket list. I attended my first NYFW in 2014 and sat in the second row of the Badgley Mischka show. I was captivated by the fashion, the runway, the lights– you know, the GLITZ of it all. It was the most glamorous event I ever attended and in that moment I made it my goal to walk in a NYFW show one day.
I knew it wouldn’t be easy, considering fashion week historically was never size inclusive. The models are typically straight size, and meant to be a blank canvas so the designer’s clothes are the star of the show. Fashion Week happens twice a year, and for the past 5 years there’s been one designer’s show in particular I look forward to. I worked with this designer throughout my reign, and have immense respect for her as a badass woman.
2 years ago I attended my first casting for fashion week. I walked into a room with over 100 girls, and it was obvious to myself and everyone else that I was the biggest model in attendance. I had the goal of being the fist “curvy” model in the designer’s show, so I consciously made the decision not to compare myself to anyone else in the room. I waited for an hour before it was my turn to walk. There were 2 casting directors, the designer, and a photographer whom I’ve shot with 3 times prior– judging each girl as she did her “runway walk.” I approached the table with a huge smile, excited to see some familiar faces, when I noticed the photographer was looking at me very unpleasantly. The first words out of his mouth were: “what size are you?” I replied, “I’m a size 6.” Without hesitation he said, “You’re at the wrong casting. NEXT.”
The designer quickly apologized and turned to him saying: “I personally invited her, this is Miss Arizona USA 2014– you’ve worked with her before.” He looked shocked and was at a loss for words. I gave him the fiercest walk of my life, and kindly said “nice to see you, again. Take care”. I left the room with my head held high. Generally I like to be everyone’s cup of tea. But I felt a switch flip in me. I was frustrated that anyone would treat me like that, especially someone I thought I had a business relationship with. I was so fired up, I went into my next casting with a chip on my shoulder.
20 minutes later I walked into Michael Costello’s casting, determined to not let the previous experience make me self-conscious. He applauded my confidence, and booked me on the spot. I felt is accomplished knowing I was going to be one of the first in-between sized models in the history of NYFW.
This day, I realized I’ll never be everything to everyone.
This experience was so pivotal for me, because it strengthened my confidence in a way that nothing else ever did. I’ve fought so hard to love the skin I’m in, and I’ll be damned if I let another person’s abrupt and ignorant opinion of me change that. Every time fashion week rolls around I think back to the feeling I had walking out of that first casting. I learned that everyone is going to have an opinion about you, but the most important is the one you have of yourself.
So whether you’re on the catwalk, or just strutting your stuff through everyday life– remember your confidence and self worth is up to YOU. You don’t need outside validation. Cut out the negative noise and focus on being comfortable in your skin. No one is you, and that is your super power.