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Runway Casting Tips

Over the last few seasons Modelresource has compiled tips from the various runway castings we've attended, coming up with a fairly comprehensive set of guidelines to help models increase their odds of booking shows. This season, instead of directing you to various related pages, we're putting together one massive checklist of what you need to consider, if you want casting agents to consider you.

BEFORE THE CASTING:
  • Research your opportunities. When you're being sent to castings ask your agency what to expect. Google the designers to get a sense of their work. Try to learn as much as you can about the people you want to work for.
  • Invest in a good pair of practice heels. One of the most booked runway models in the city in the past five years, Drea, puts it's well in her article on runway castings.
  • Research the different walks. Go to Style.com, YouTube, google, Yahoo!, and whatever other sites are offering the goods for free. You've got internet use it! See what other models are doing and make it your own.
FOR THE CASTING:
  • Remember why you're doing this. Fashion shows aren't about you. As Heather Marks told Modelresource, "...treat it like a job. You're there to sell the clothes, not to show yourself off. As much as people think that's what you're doing, you're selling the clothes. You have to learn how to sell everybody's clothes. You can't say "I'm only doing Baby Phat." You have to do everything."
  • Bring comp cards. It's really difficult to book you if the casting agent doesn't know which agency you're with.
  • Bring a good pair of heels. Although you're comfortable in anything by this point, don't wear slingbacks, don't wear hooker heels. Wear heels that give you the best walk (but it's not a bad idea to bring another couple of pairs, just in case).
  • Have a clean, organized portfolio. Don't shove a bunch of stuff in the back that isn't meant to be seen. When the book lands in front the casting agent nothing is off limits (I look through everything to get a sense of the model). Loading the pocket full of old photos that aren't good enough to be in the rest of the book is a bad idea. The only things that should be in the pockets are comp cards, vouchers, or items related to the current casting.
  • Edit your portfolio before you get to the casting. The not-so-artful nude shots you did for the Athens market aren't going to impress most clients in Toronto. Some nudes are fine if they're tasteful, but your booker should know the difference.
  • Show off your style, but don't hide your figure. It used to be that models wore a simple black dress to castings. Although you still want your best features seen, clients tend to be fashion-conscious people and are more likely to remember you if you put yourself together well.
  • Show the client you are serious by asking a few questions... like "Do you want Paris Hilton or Joan Jett?" or "do you want a slight, sexy smile, or a big, glowing smile?" Remember, the client WANTS you to do well, because it puts them in a more confident position at decision-making time. If a client is willing to take the time to go through an entire casting, they will be happy to take 15 seconds to answer questions for those that are serious about doing it properly.
  • Wear your hair down, but bring something with you to tie it back We want to see your hair, and if you let it down after you arrive you're going to have a distracting kink where the elastic had been.
  • I don't suggest them, but if you're wearing jeans, choose them carefully. They should be freshly washed so they don't look dumpy. Last season however, all of NAM's models showed up to Pink Tartan's casting wearing something other than jeans, and they were spectacular! Grooming and style, when they're done well, make a huge difference.
  • Don't wear a padded bra. The casting agent needs to see your true figure, and it's a rare casting that penalizes you for appearing to be less than a 'C' cup.
  • Perfume Don't wear it. Scent has the strongest attachment to memory and if the really rude girl before you was wearing the same fragrance you're wearing now, you've already got a strike against you before you even start. One model last season had so much perfume my eyes were watering (which made it difficult to watch her walk)
AT THE CASTING:
  • It is to your advantage to arrive early in the casting. You don't want to be one of the last models to be seen, after scores of models have already shown they belong in the show.
  • I know Mom told you to dress in layers when it's cold out, but you should probably shed some of them when you arrive unless you want to look bigger than you really are.
  • Gum. Get rid of it now!
  • Don't assume you know the instructions until they have been given to you. Until you can actually see the area where you will be auditioning, don't assume you know where you will be starting from and stopping at.
  • Interact with the casting agent. I realize it can be uncomfortable putting yourself on display but the people doing the hiring want to know you're someone with whom they can work. Personality and professionalism go a long way. Show the designers you're pleasant to be around. Give them a reason to believe you care about the success of their show.
  • Pull yourself together. As nervous as you may be standing around a bunch of other gorgeous, confident models you only get one chance to impress the client (and if the client is Paola Fullerton, she remembers girls from season-to-season). Make eye contact, smile when you're told to smile, and listen to instructions. Modelling is a lot like acting and if you can't play a role for the three minutes you're in front of the client you aren't going to get the part.
  • If you don't understand the directions, don't be afraid to ask. The casting agent would rather take a few seconds to explain it again, than watch you go down the wrong hallway.
  • When you actually are doing the walk, don't talk. Just stick to doing your walk and listen for instructions.
  • If you're told you weren't what they were looking for, don't cut them off while they give their reasons. First, it's a chance to learn. Second, it's really rude to cut someone off when they're trying to be helpful. It leaves a bad impression.
This is just meant as a checklist. For another angle on the whole process I strongly recommend Drea's piece on Runway Castings.

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Blogs We Follow

Cailin Hill (The Model Burnbook)

Natalia Zurowski & Jasmine Chorley Foster (The Business Model)

Madison Schill & Addison Gill's (Mind Over Model)

Ania Boniecka (A n i a . B)